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Jewish Studies Program
Jewish Studies Program: San Diego State University

Last Update:
February 23, 2016


Lawrence Baron -  Professor Emeritus of Modern Jewish History

This past year Emeritus Professor Laurie Baron delivered lectures on various topics related to Jewish cinema at Ohio State, Tufts, Wesleyan, and York Universities, University of Cincinnati, and Boston College. He gave two talks on American and Israeli depictions of Jewish immigrants in film as Temple Beth El’s scholar-in-residence. 

He organized the Jewish Film Festival held in conjunction with the annual Association for Jewish Studies Conference this December in Boston and serves on a focus group for the San Diego Jewish Film Festival.  His article “Jews, Kangaroos, and Koalas: The Animated Holocaust Films of Yoram Gross,” was published in Post Script: Essays in Film and the Humanities 32:2 (Winter/Spring 2013).  His latest article,“ 'Empty Hearts and Full Wallets: Wealth and Poverty in American Films 1922-1933," appears in Wealth and Poverty in the Jewish Tradition, Ed. Leonard Greenspoon (Purdue University Press: 2015).

Baron writes the columns "The Wandering Review" and “Humoring the Headlines” for the San Diego Jewish World and is currently working on an article about Steven Spielberg’s Jewish identity. He has continued to write satire and was profiled for it in the Times of San Diego.

phone: (619) 594-5338


June S Cummins-Lewis - American Jewish Literature
phone: (619) 594-5442

June will be giving a lecture called "Lifting the Lamp: The Hidden Jewish Women Behind American Identity" at the Carlsbad Library on February 3 at 7:00 pm and again at the Coronado Library on February 5 at 10:00 am. The lectures are free and open to the public

She is also currently writing the introduction to More All-of-a-Kind Family. The four sequels to All-of-a-Kind Family are being reissued by Lizzie Skurnick Books, and she is writing the introductions for them.

Articles since 2011:

“‘Where in America Are You, God?’ Judy Blume, Margaret, and American National Identity.”  Oxford Handbook of Children’s Literature.  Eds. Lynne Vallone and Julia Mickenberg.  New York:  Oxford University Press. 2011.  351-369.

“Marketing.” Keywords in Children’s Literature.  Eds. Philip Nel and Lissa Paul.  New York:  New York University Press, 2011.

“What Are Jewish Boys and Girls Made Of?  Gender in Contemporary Jewish Teen and ‘Tween Fiction.”  Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 36.3 (Fall 2011):  296-317.


Ilya Kaminsky - English and Comparative Literature

Ilya Kaminsky was born in Odessa, former USSR and arrived in the United States in 1993, when his family was granted asylum by the American government. For his poetry he has won many awards, including American Academy of Arts and Letters' Metcalf Award, Lannan Foundation Award, Writing Award in the USA, Yinchuan International Prize for Poetry in China. And, in 2013 he was shortlisted for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. His books are published in several languages, including French, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Turkish, Romanian, Russian and Dutch. His books include "Dancing in Odessa," (Tupelo Press) and his anthology "Ecco Anthology of International Poetry" (Harper Collins).


Risa Levitt-Kohn - Bible and Judaism, Director of Jewish Studies
phone: (619) 594-5327

Veronica Shapovalov - Professor of Russian , Department of European Studies

My field of research is memoirs of the prisoners of the Gulag.

Recent publications (Articles)

“Children of the Enemies of the People: “We all came from our childhood”— Gulag Studies # 4 (2011), pp 41-58.

“Sestrenki, mamki, damki: zhenshchiny i nasilie v GULAGe (Sisters, Moms, Broads: Women and Violence in the GULAG),” in Bytovoe nasilie v istorii povsednevnosti Xi-XXI vv. (Everyday Violence in the History of Russian Everyday Life, Xi-XXI centruties ) Izdanie Evropejskogo universiteta, Sankt-Peterburg, 2012., pp. 142-163.

“The Rebellion is not over: the self-obituary of Evgeniia Yaroslavskaya-Markon,” (in Russian) forthcoming in Vestnik Tverskogo Universita (Messenger of Tver University), 2014 Тhis article examines a unique document—the autobiography/self-obituary of Evgeniya Yaroslavskaya-Markon (1902-1931), daughter of a well-known scholar of Judaism, Isaak Markon. She wrote her self-obituary in the punishment isolator in the Solovetsky camp several days before she was executed by the firing squad.


Alana Shuster - Hebrew
phone: (619) 594-6389


Yale Strom - Klezmer and Jewish Heritage

Artist in Residence Yale Strom is working on his ninth documentary film, "American Socialist: The Life and Times Eugene Victor Debs", to be released in 2016. Strom also saw his thirteenth book, Shpil: The Art of Playing Klezmer, an authoritative how-to book, in which each member of his band wrote a chapter on how to play klezmer on their specific instrument, published by Scarecrow Press. Strom edited and wrote the historical chapters as well as the chapter on the violin. His fifteenth recording comes out this November (2015) on the ARC Music UK label, called "City of the Future." Strom arranged the songs for seven of the world's most acclaimed Yiddish singers, who hail from Israel, Europe and the United States.The music is  based upon Shmuel Polonski's1931 book published in the USSR, "Yidish Lider Far Yungt" (Yiddish Songs for Youth).  This year, Strom's violin took him to Carnegie Hall, where he performed with his ensemble Hot Pstromi. His photo exhibition "Fragments: Jewish Life in Eastern Europe 1981-2007" opened in at the Anne Frank Center in NYC in 2014 and is now traveling the country and will be presented at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and at UCLA in 2015. Lastly Strom was one of fifty Jewish personalities chosen by the Gary Rosenblatt (editor of the Jewish Week) to participate in "The Conversation 2015" conference in Baltimore this October.

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