CJS series to highlight “Jews and Ukraine: History & the Current Conflict”

The College of Jewish Studies spring 2023 Lecture Series will highlight the topic “Jews and Ukraine: History and the Current Conflict.” The series will feature a Zoom presentation on Thursday, April 26, at 7:30 pm, by Marci Shore; an in-person talk at the Jewish Community Center by Binghamton University’s Gina Glasman on Thursday, May 4, at 7:30 pm, and a Zoom presentation on Thursday, May 11, at 7 pm, by Lord Maurice Glasman, member of the British House of Lords, who has recently returned from a visit to war-torn Ukraine. There is a charge of $8 for the in-person talk, except for students for whom there is no charge. Registration for one or all lectures is available through the CJS Facebook pagethe Judaic Studies homepage, or here. You can also contact Jon Karp to register via e-mail at jkarp@binghamton.edu. There will be a modest admission charge for the in-person talk.

Shore will speak on “The War in Ukraine – What It Means for Jewish History.” “A hundred years after Scholem Aleichem and Isaac Babel wrote of timid Jewish tailors and emasculated yeshiva boys, and Bruno Schulz painted hunched Jewish men, sometimes crawling, shunned by coldly enticing women, Jews are making the pilgrimage from the Pale of Settlement to Jerusalem in reverse,” said organizers of the event. “Israeli Defense Force veterans are training Ukrainian soldiers. Chasids are wearing vyshyvankas (embroidered shirts) under their tefillin. And as Europe hovers on the edge of the third world war, a Russian-speaking Jewish comedian accused of being a Ukrainian Nazi has stepped into the role of Winston Churchill. What does this war – which has brought a decisive end to a post-communist narrative arc – mean for Jewish history?”

Shore is associate professor of history at Yale University and a regular visiting fellow at the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna. Her research focuses on the intellectual history of 20th and 21st century central and eastern Europe. She is the translator of Michal Glowinski’s “The Black Seasons” and the author of “Caviar and Ashes: A Warsaw Generation’s Life and Death in Marxism, 1918-1968,” “The Taste of Ashes: The Afterlife of Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe” and “The Ukrainian Night: An Intimate History of Revolution.” Her articles and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Jewish Review of Books, The Atlantic, The New York Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. In 2018, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship for the book project she is currently completing about phenomenology in East-Central Europe, tentatively titled “Eyeglasses Floating in the Sky: Central European Encounters that Took Place while Searching for Truth.”

Gina Glasman will speak on “Charting a Jewish Geography of Ukraine.” Odessa and Lviv, Kyiv and Donetsk: these are some of the place names that feature in daily newsfeeds because of the war. “But they were once heavy with a very different kind of cultural resonance,” said organizers. “This is the lost Jewish geography of present-day Ukraine.What that geography once represented, both historically and perceptually, will form the subject matter of Glasman’s talk.”

Glasman is lecturer in Yiddish language and culture at Binghamton University. She holds degrees from Cambridge University, the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University. She is the author of “East End Synagogues,” as well as various articles and translations from Yiddish and Hebrew, including the translation of a 1904 article by historian Simon Dubnow recently published in “Jews in Early Modern Europe, Classic Essays in Jewish History,” edited by Jonathan Karp and Francesca Trivellato (Routledge, 2023). Glasman is the recipient of the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching for 2015-2016 and is a 2022-23 Faculty Fellow at Binghamton’s Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention.

Lord Maurice Glasman’s Zoom talk is titled “There are No Jews Left in Ukraine.” “Based on his recent speech to the British House of Lords and his April trip to Odessa, Maurice Glasman provides a sad and hauntingly disturbing picture of a community where in 1941 there were more than two million Jews, but that is now characterized by closed synagogues and poignant traces of a once-remarkable Jewish civilization,” said organizers of the event. “Although entirely supportive of Ukraine’s struggle against Russian invasion, Glasman discusses some of the war’s unfortunate side-effects for the country’s Jewish legacy, including the rehabilitation of Ukrainian nationalist figures who had victimized Jews in Ukraine’s past.”

Glasman is an English political theorist and Labour Party life peer in the House of Lords. He is the author of “Unnecessary Suffering: Managing Market Utopia” (1996) and “Blue Labour: The Politics of the Common Good” (2022). His articles and essays have appeared in the New Statesman, The Nation and Tablet, among other venues.

The College of Jewish Studies provides opportunities for adult Jewish education for the Broome County community by offering fall and spring programs. Drawing on local resources and inviting scholars and experts from a range of universities and cultural and religious institutions, CJS sponsors a wide array of programs dealing with Jewish history, culture, religion and politics.

The College of Jewish Studies, founded in 1986, is an informal coalition between the Judaic Studies Department of Binghamton University and several area Jewish sponsoring institutions: the Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Federation of Greater Binghamton, Beth David Synagogue, Temple Concord and Temple Israel. Programming for CJS would not be possible without the additional financial support of a grant from the Community Foundation for South Central New York – David and Virginia Eisenberg Donor Advised Fund, the Jacob and Rose Olum Foundation, the B’nai B’rith Lectureship Fund, the Victor and Esther Rozen Foundation, an endowment fund from the former Temple Beth El of Endicott, a grant from the JoyVel Charitable Fund and the donations of individual sponsors.

“If you are not one already, please consider becoming an individual sponsor so that the CJS can continue bringing quality programs to the community,” organizers said. “For more information on how to become an individual sponsor or to make a donation, please e-mail us at bingcjs@gmail.com. The College of Jewish Studies is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.”

For more information on the College of Jewish Studies and its programs, visit their Facebook page or this form.