TC to hold Lunch ‘n Learn programs in December

Temple Concord will hold three Lunch ‘n Learn programs with Congregation Shaarey Zedek and Rabbi Amy Bigman of East Lansing, MI. On Thursday, December 3, Dr. Amy Simon will speak on “Teaching the Holocaust and Antisemitism in 2020.” On Thursday, December 10, Dr. Kenneth J. Levine will discuss on “How Samuel David Rocker and Die Yiddishe Velt Turned Jewish Immigrants into Jewish Americans.” On Thursday, December 17, Dr. Margot B. Valles will lecture on “Jewish Werewolves and What We Can Learn from Them.” All programs will take place from 11 am-noon. For Zoom links, contact the temple office at or 723-7355. 

“The December series has some surprising, thematic overlap,” said organizers of the event. “Each of these three presentations will deal with the meaning of Jewish identity in a complex world. In addition, all three speakers are professors involved with Jewish Studies at Michigan State University. Amy Simon will speak about her experiences teaching the Holocaust and antisemitism to students at MSU. Ken Levine will speak about a Midwestern Yiddish newspaper, The Jewish World, and how it helped Jewish immigrants socialize to the U.S. in the early 20th century. Margot Valles will talk about what we can learn from Jewish werewolves.”

Simon is the William and Audrey Farber Family Endowed Chair of Holocaust Studies and European Jewish History, participating in the Department of History, James Madison College, and Jewish Studies. Her research examines victim representations of perpetrators in Yiddish diaries written in the Warsaw, Lodz, and Vilna ghettos during World War II. She completed her Ph.D. at Indiana University in 2015 and was the recipient of a Saul Kagan Claims Conference Fellowship as well as the Leon Milman Memorial Fellowship at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

Levine earned his J.D. at Case Western Reserve University and his Ph.D. at Michigan State University. He is a faculty member in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University. His research agenda concentrates on leadership, organizational communication and small group communication within organizations. His organizational communication research centers on anticipatory socialization, specifically looking at the messages sent by and received from the various sources of socialization and the impact of these messages on work, work life and career aspirations. He is currently researching the impact of STEM-related media on career choices for elementary school-aged children. His research into leadership looks at the perceptions of what makes a person a leader and what makes a leader effective.

Valles is an assistant professor in the Departments of Religious Studies and English at Michigan State University. She teaches classes on medieval literature, Jewish literature and other topics that have to do with her research interests in the relationships between religion, language, literature and cultural exchange. She is also the director of Congregational Lifelong Learning at Congregation Shaarey Zedek.