Fall 2019 CJS speaker series announced

The College of Jewish Studies will present its fall 2019 series, “Antisemitism, Then and Now,” starting Thursday, September 5, and continuing during the two following weeks. “Antisemitism is sadly a permanent if not a perpetual fact in Jewish history,” notes Jonathan Karp, associate professor of history at Binghamton University, and the chairman of the CJS. “It ebbs and flows, but, unfortunately, during the last several years we seem to have entered a period of upsurge.” The sources and manifestations of this resurgence are varied, including the nationalism and populism that is currently sweeping Europe and beyond, controversies over Israel, economic polarization and Holocaust denial. The speaker series will seek to address both the earlier history of antisemitism and some of its current expressions.
Professor Anna Sommer Schneider of Georgetown University will begin the conversation on Thursday, September 5, with a presentation on antisemitism in contemporary Poland and Eastern Europe. The right-wing governments of both Poland and Hungary have deployed antisemitic images in their efforts to promote policies hostile to immigrants, and denigrate individuals and institutions that work to promote ethnic and religious tolerance. Both governments have also deployed “heavy-handed tactics” to minimize discussion of their people’s degree of collaboration during World War II in the Nazi Holocaust.
The second speaker, Steven Englund, is an independent scholar who has taught at Cornell University, as well as in France and Germany. The author of a biography of Napoleon, among other works, England has devoted recent years to producing a new study of the history of antisemitism that emphasizes its fundamentally religious character, not only in pre-modern Europe, but in the 20th century, as well. Englund’s talk on Thursday, September 12, will expose these lines of continuity between antisemitism past and present.
The final speaker will be Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, director of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. Kurtzer is a specialist on contemporary Jewry, particularly the relationship of American and Israeli Jews. His talk on Thursday, September 19, will focus on Israel and Zionism as the locus of recent antisemitism, especially on the left, and will address the question of where the line between antisemitic anti-Zionism and legitimate criticism of Israeli governmental policies can be drawn.
The College of Jewish Studies was founded in 1986 as a coalition between the Judaic Studies Department of Binghamton University, and several local Jewish sponsoring institutions: the Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Federation of Greater Binghamton, Beth David Synagogue, Temple Concord and Temple Israel. The purpose is to provide quality adult Jewish education to the Greater Binghamton area, providing a wide array of programs dealing with Jewish history, culture, religion and politics.
College of Jewish Studies programs are open to the entire community; general admission is $8 per lecture, or $20 for all three lectures; senior admission is $5 per lecture or $12 for all three lectures. BU students are welcome to attend at no charge. Individual sponsorship is available (and encouraged) and donations are always welcomed.  Individual sponsorship of $100 includes admission to both fall and spring programs. All lectures begin at 7:30 pm at the Jewish Community Center.
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.