News and Events

Global Antisemitism

Global Antisemitism: General Trends and Recent Threats in the Western World

Wednesday, March 6, 2024
5:30-7 p.m.
Location: Hepner Hall (HH), Room 120

Advanced registration is required for this event.

Featuring Professor Uffa Jensen, a historian of modern history and deputy director at the Centre for Research on Antisemitism at the Technische Universitat in Berlin

Part of Jewish Hertiage Month


Maya Tevet Dayan

Award-winning Poet and Essayist, Maya Tevet Dayan

Wednesday, November 8, 2023, 7 p.m.
Location: Love Library, Room 430

Visiting Israeli Artist, Maya Tevet Dayan will read from her most recent publications including the poetry collection, Wherever We Float, That’s Home.

Maya Tevet Dayan is an Israeli-Canadian poet and writer. She’s the recipient of the Israeli Prime Minister award for literature for 2018. Poems from her three critically acclaimed poetry collections have been translated into English, Spanish, German and Chines. Her poem “Foreign-ness” was a finalist for the Rattle Poetry Prize for 2019, and her poem “Cotton” won the 2021 Rhino translation prize. Her latest book, Feminism, as I Told it to My Daughters (Israel, 2023) is a short memoir in essays based on her highly popular feminist columns and essays published over the years in “Haaretz” magazine.

Sponsored by the Murray Galinson San Djeiego-Israel Initiative (MGSDII) and part of the Hugh C. Hyde Living Writers' Series.


Roundtable on Research and Academic Life in China, Israel, and Turkey

Roundtable on Research and Academic Life in China, Israel, and Turkey

Friday, October 20, 2023, 12 p.m.
Location: Finch Conference Room (AL 660) or Zoom

Visiting scholars Xi Cao (Anhui University), Amos Nadan (Tel Aviv University), and Çiğdem Sofuoğlu (Yildiz Technical University) discuss their work.

Xi Cao is an Associate Professor in the History Department at Anhui University in China.  Her current research focuses on U.S. influence on education in Taiwan, especially since the lifting of martial law there in 1987. 

Amos Nadan is a Professor at the Department of Middle Eastern and African History (Tel Aviv University), and the vice director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies of that university. He holds a PhD in economic history from LSE.  His research focuses on economic history, peasant history and political economics of the Middle East.

Çiğdem Sofuoğlu is a PhD candidate in the Political Science and International Relations Department at Yildiz Technical University in Turkey.  Her research uses the concept of asabiyah, often translated as social solidarity, to trace the development of Christian nationalism in the United States starting from Colonial Era to the end of the Trump presidency. 


Past News and Events

Ran Tal

For Budding Filmmakers, English Course Opens a Window to Diverse Perspectives

Two award-winning filmmakers from Israel to teach Techniques of Screenwriting

By Leslie L.J. Reilly

Students dreaming of writing and directing films have a chance to learn from an award-winning independent film director, Ran Tal, who is co-teaching a screenwriting course.

A visiting artist in the Jewish Studies program at SDSU, Tal will teach Techniques of Screenwriting (ENGL-577) with another Israeli visiting artist, Matan Yair, an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker.

Read the full story on SDSU NewsCenter.


Save the Date!  Exclusive Sneak Premier: 1341 Frames of Love & War

black and white image of soldiers looking at skyThursday September 22 | 5:30-8:00 PM PDT
at Museum of Photographic Arts
649 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101

Tickets will be limited and by invitation.
Registration info coming soon...

Join our partners at the Murray Galinson San Diego Israel Initiative for an exclusive San Diego “Sneak Premiere” of Fall 22 Visiting Israeli Artist Ran Tal's acclaimed new documentary 1341 Frames of Love and War at the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts. Tal will introduce the film and answer questions.

1341 Frames of Love and War explores the work of Israel's most celebrated war photographer, Micah Bar-Am, mining his extraordinary archive of over half a million negatives, while exploring gut-wrenching questions of purpose and self-doubt in a profound journey of photography, memory, and the personal cost of a life devoted to recording conflict and nation building.

Winner of three key awards at DocAviv Film Festival this summer, Tal took home best director prize while Nilli Feller won best editor award. In addition, the doc won the Kedar Foundation Award for a film inspired by Israel’s history and society.


glalery of people from Ukraine

Stories of Ukraine

Wednesday, August 17, 2022
9 - 10 am  PST (12-1 pm EDT)
Free Zoom Program - RSVP required
In 2019, a team from the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) travelled to Ukraine to interview Ukrainians on identity and culture. Follow the project’s journey with team members Risa Levitt, Myroslav Shkrandrij, Anzhelika Vengrus, and Daniela Rupolo, and its response to shifting experiences of Ukrainian identity between 2019 and 2022. Through video storytelling and exclusive interviews, the Ukraine Project offers a compelling record of a country's ongoing cultural journey and introduces video recordings as powerful and significant additions to museum collections, exploring the various tangible and intangible ways stories can be told. 

Learn more about the event.

Fireside CharlaHalpern Appears on SDSU President’s Podcast

Gilad Halpern visiting Israeli scholar appeared on SDSU President Adela de la Torre's podcast, Fireside Charla. Gilad is a journalist, broadcaster and media historian. He is the News and Current Affairs Editor at TLV1 Radio, and host of The Tel Aviv Review, a podcast dedicated to all things intellectual (and Israeli). He is an Idit Fellow at the University of Haifa, researching the history of the Jewish press in Mandatory Palestine. Previously, he was Managing Editor for Ynetnews and Assignments Editor for Haaretz English Edition. His work appeared on the BBC, Al Jazeera, Al Monitor, Time Out magazine, the Jewish Quarterly and the Jewish Chronicle.

New Netflix Series

Be sure to watch the new Netflix series written by Visiting Artist Ronit Weiss Berkowitz.
Read more at Gizmo Story | Netflix Life | Israel Hayom

Film Screening and Happy Hour

Tuesday, May 3 | 3:30-5:00 PM PDT
at Leichtag Commons
441 Saxony Rd, Encinitas, CA 92024


Join our partners at the Murray Galinson San Diego Israel Initiative for a free in-person community event with happy hour drinks and movie treats while 
screening two award-winning short movies, Empty Spaces and Shabbat, followed by a talk with the filmmakers.

Empty Spaces is deeply touching drama about a soldier and the coping he goes through after a traumatic event. 
Shabbat is a quirky comedy about friendship after the arrival of an unexpected house guest on the eve of Shabbat.

Tal Comay and Ben Ziv, the winners of the Esther Fischer Emerging Israeli Filmmaker Artist in Residence Prize from the Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival, will be in San Diego for three weeks to meet students and faculty as they present their work at several San Diego universities.

Ukrainian Jews and Putin's War on Ukraine: Making Sense of the Current Crisis

Natan MeirDiscussion & Update with Dr. Natan Meir, Lorry I. Lokey Chair in Judaic Studies, Portland State University

Tuesday March 8th at 7:00pm

We are now hearing non-stop news reports about the unfolding situation in Ukraine, but what does it all mean?
In this "explainer session," Dr. Natan Meir will provide historical and geopolitical context for Russia's attack on Ukraine. He'll discuss the complex historical relationship between Russia, Putin, and Ukraine, the ethnic and linguistic makeup of Ukrainian society, and the impact of all of this on Ukraine's Jewish community.

At the conclusion of the talk we will be joined by friends on the ground in Ukraine for a live update and Q&A session not to be missed...

About Dr. Natan Meir

From his groundbreaking research on the Jews of Eastern Europe to his work as a consultant for Moscow’s Jewish Museum, Dr. Natan Meir has earned an international reputation as a scholar of Jewish social, cultural, and religious history. His latest book, Stepchildren of the Shtetl: The Destitute, Disabled, and Mad of Jewish Eastern Europe, 1800-1939, which was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award, recovers the histories of Jewish Eastern Europe’s social outcasts -- the disabled, the mentally ill, orphans, and beggars. He is currently engaged in a new project on folklore, magic, and gender in European Jewish culture. He speaks or reads eight languages, leads study tours of Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.

Israel's English-Language Media and its  Jewish-American Readers

Gilad HalpernThursday, February 3 | 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. PST

with SDSU Visiting Professor, Gilad Halpern

All attendees must register in advance.
This event is free and open to the public

Over the last few decades, the media industry has suffered a tremendous blow. Decline in trust, the collapse of a once-robust business model, and the proliferation of social media have all turned the traditional media into a shadow of its former self. In contrast, Israel’s initially tiny English-language media has grown exponentially. What are the factors behind this growth, and how does it tie into the changing dynamic of the American Jewish community?

Gilad Halpern is a Visiting MGSDII Professor at SDSU. He is a journalist, broadcaster, and media historian. He is part of the acclaimed TLV1, an English-language podcast network based in Tel Aviv. Their shows engage local and international audiences on topics in Israel that matter, whether from street-level or the hallways of government. He is also a founding co-editor of the Tel Aviv Review of Books magazine, an English-language online quarterly, and an Idit Fellow at the University of Haifa, researching the history of the Jewish press in Mandatory Palestine. Previously he was Managing Editor for Ynetnews and Assignments Editor for Haaretz English Edition. His work has appeared on the BBC, Al Monitor, Time Out magazine, the Jewish Quarterly and the Jewish Chronicle.

Program offered in partnership with the Murray Galinson San Diego Israel Initiative

Through the Lens: Israel’s Success in Television Netflix's "The Girl from Oslo"

Thursday, January 27 | 1:15 - 2:15 p.m. PST
via ZOOM

with Visiting Professor and Screenwriter, Ronit Weiss-Berkowitz and Special Guest Star, Amos Tamam

All attendees must register in advance to receive the link..
This event is free and open to the public.

The Girl from Oslo has become one of the most viewed series on Netflix. Join screenwriter Ronit Weiss-Berkowitz for a discussion about her hit series, what she is working on now, the Israeli television industry, and her role as one of Israel’s “leading ladies” of film and television.

Ronit Weiss-BerkowitzRonit Weiss-Berkowitz
Ronit teaches screenwriting at the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television at Tel Aviv University and is one of the founders of the Screenwriting Program at the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School in Jerusalem. She has been a writer on several television series, directed documentaries and also served as a script editor on two series. She is well known in Israel for the drama A Touch Away and the documentary A Place Under the Sun. She was Editor-in-Chief at Keter Publishing House, one of the largest publishers in Israel, and has edited books by celebrated writers, including Amoz Oz, Shemi Zarhin, and Nava Semel. Her latest series, Abducted (an Israeli Norwregian co-production) will premiere on Netflix later this year.

Amos TamamAmos Tamam
Tamam has appeared in the film "Little Heroes" directed by Itai Lev. In 2006, he starred in "Three Mothers" (directed by Dina Zvi Riklis), "Nuzhat Al-Fuad" (directed by Jad Ne'eman), "A Movie of Wanderers" (directed by David Darzi and Maayan Rogel) and "Now or Never" ( TV movie on "Network"). In 2011 he starred in the movie "One Column to Dream". In 2013, he starred in the action film "Bayonet" directed by Emanuel Nakash. He played the lead role, Adi, in the film "Good Boy Jerusalem", a romantic comedy by Ran Appelberg directed by Roi Florentin, alongside Meital Gal Suissa, Mali Levy and Evelyn the Redeemer. That same year he starred in the film The Wedding Plan directed by Rama Burstein.

In 2017, he voiced the main character in the Hebrew version of the animated film "Ferdinand". In 2018, he appeared in the lead role in the film by Erez Mizrahi and Sahar Shavit "Halomim". In 2004, he began acting in the yes musical drama series - "Our Song", in which he played for two seasons. He also hosted the educational television program "Sabers - Read Will Succeed" to encourage reading among teenagers. In 2007, he played a football player in the series "Arranged" on Channel 2 as part of "Rainbow Broadcasts". In 2008, he played the character of Amir, a young divorcee from religious Zionism, in the series "Knitted" in Yes, and continued to appear in it in the second season (2009–2010) and the third (2011). In 2010–2011 he played with me in the series "Asfur". In 2011, Tamm played the lead role in the Channel 10 action series "One Zero Zero" as cop Eric Arbel. In 2012 he played a lead role in the drama series "Strike" in yes. In 2013 he hosted the "Extreme Makeover" program on Channel 10.In 2017, he began playing in HOT3's vampire series "Judah", which was created, written and starred by his friend from the days of "What's up", Zion Baruch.In 2019 he started playing in the "dubbed" crime series, of yes. In the same year, he played in the series "Eli", in the role of Maurice Cohen, Eli Cohen's brother. In 2020, he began playing in the suspense series "Manaich" on Channel 11 here, the character of Deputy Chief of Staff Barak Harel and as the Minister of Intelligence in the series "What Happened in Oslo."

Program offered in partnership with the Murray Galinson San Diego Israel Initiative


Global Antisemitism: A Conversation with Jonathan Sarna & Meir Litvak

Assault, harassment and vandalism against Jews remain at near-historic levels across the globe. Here in the U.S., the deadly attacks in synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway have made American Jews feel more vulnerable than they have in decades.

On behalf of the Jewish Studies Program at San Diego State University and the Murray Galinson San Diego Israel Initiative, we invite you to join us for animportant webinar discussion with two leading experts on global antisemitism in the 21st century. 

Monday, December 6, 2021
at 4pm 

Watch the recording of this event

This event is free and open to the public

About Meir Litvak 


Dr. Meir Litvak is a Professor at the Department of Middle Eastern History and former Director of the Alliance Center for Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University. His research focuses on modern Islamic movements, Arab perceptions of the Holocaust and Palestinian Collective Memory and National Identity.

Dr. Litvak has written numerous articles and books on modern Shi‘a and Iranian history, as well as on modern Islamic movements. He is the author of Shi'a Scholars of Nineteenth Century Iraq: The ‘Ulama’ of Najaf and Karbala’ (Cambridge University Press, 1998); and co-author of From Empathy to Denial: Arab Responses to the Holocaust (Columbia University Press, 2009) and of Iran: from a Persian Empire to an Islamic Republic (Open University of Israel Press, 2010). In addition, he is the co-editor of Religious Fanaticism (Zalman Shazar Center, 2007); Palestinian Collective Memory and National Identity (Palgrave-McMillan); and The Sunna and Shi‘a in History Division and Ecumenism in Islam (Palgrave-McMillan, 2011). His most recent book, Know Thy Enemy: Evolving Attitudes towards "Others" in Modern Shiʻi Thought and Practice was recently published by Brill.

He received his PhD from Harvard University in 199. Dr. Litvak currently serves as MSGII Visiting Israeli Scholar at SDSU where he is teaching HIST 474 Middle East since 1500 and HIST 574 Arab Israeli Relations Past and Present.

About Jonathan Sarna 


Dr. Jonathan Sarna is the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History and Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University. He is also past president of the Association for Jewish Studies and Chief Historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.

Dubbed by the Forward newspaper in 2004 as one of America's fifty most influential American Jews, he was Chief Historian for the 350th commemoration of the American Jewish community and is recognized as a leading commentator on American Jewish history, religion and life. In 2009, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He holds four honorary degrees.

Dr. Sarna attended Brandeis University, the Boston Hebrew College, Merkaz HaRav Kook in Jerusalem, and Yale University, where he obtained his doctorate in 1979. From 1979-1990, Dr. Sarna taught at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, where he rose to become Professor of American Jewish history and Director of the Center for the Study of the American Jewish Experience. He has also taught at Harvard, Yale, the University of Cincinnati, and at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Dr. Sarna came back to Brandeis in 1990 to teach American Jewish history and now directs its Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. He also chairs the Academic Advisory and Editorial Board of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati.

Dr. Sarna has written, edited, or co-edited more than thirty books, including Lincoln and the Jews: A History (with Benjamin Shapell) and When General Grant Expelled the Jews. He is best known for the acclaimed American Judaism: A History, recently published in a second edition. Winner of the Jewish Book Council's "Jewish Book of the Year Award" in 2004, it has been praised as being "the single best description of American Judaism during its 350 years on American soil."


Author Reading & Book Signing Event: Mark OppenheimerMark Oppenheimer

On behalf of the Jewish Studies Program at SDSU and the Presedential Task Force on Antisemitism, we invite you to join us for this important author reading and book signing event by Mark Oppenheimer.

Wednesday, October 13, 11 a.m.
Scripps Cottage Patio (outdoor seating)

The first 100 people to register will receive a complimentary copy of the book: Squirrel Hill: The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and the Soul of a Neighborhood.

About Mark Oppenheimer                  

Mark Oppenheimer hosts Unorthodox, the #1 Jewish-themed podcast in English (according to iTunes). For six years, from 2010-2016, he wrote a biweekly religion column for The New York Times. He now writes for The New York Times Magazine, Mother Jones, Slate, and Tablet. He teaches English at Yale University, where he is Director of the Yale Journalism Initiative.


Ori Elon

A conversation with screenwriter Ori Elon

October 17, 2021, 5 - 8 p.m.

Please join us, in partnership with the Murray Galinson San Diego Israel Initiative, for a conversation with screenwriter Ori Elon, our fall 21 visiting artist, and the creator of the smash Netflix series Shtisel. Ori will provide an intimate look into the making of the series. Together, we will visit the Geula neighborhood of Jerusalem with the man behind the stories!

Learn more and register.

Oxford Scholars in Residence

This summer professors Risa Levitt (Study of Religion/Classics & Humanities) and David Cline (History) are serving as Scholars in Residence at Oxford University’s Institute for Curriculum Development in Critical Antisemitism Studies.

The program is intended primarily for professors with full-time college or university positions. Under the guidance of leading international academics, Scholars-in-Residence are required to develop a course syllabus and curriculum in the interdisciplinary study of critical contemporary antisemitism. 

The Presidential Task force for Antisemitism presents: The Antisemitism Crisis at SDSU: Why it matters. What to do. August 17, 2021 1:30pm-3:00 pm, SDSU, Register online, This  is a virtual event
(Click the image above to go to the registration page)

What San Diego Can Learn from Israel's COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout: Successes & Challenges

A conversation with Dr. Manfred Green, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Haifa, and Dr. Eyal Oren, Director of the School of Public Health at San Diego State University

Wednesday March 17, 2021 | 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Register for this event

Israel has more people vaccinated per capita than anywhere else in the world. Join Dr. Manfred Green, Director of the Masters in Public Health program and Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Haifa, and Dr. Eyal Oren, Director of the School of Public Health at San Diego State University, for an in-depth discussion about the "vaccination of Israel," lessons learned from Israel's response to the pandemic, and societal implications moving forward.


Mini Lecture Series: The Chinese and the Jews

"Above the Drowning Sea" Virtual Film Screening and Panel Discussion
February 21, 2021 |  10:00 a.m.

This documentary recounts the stories of Jewish people who were able to escape Nazi-controlled Vienna in the mid-20th century and find refuge in Shanghai, thanks to a diplomat.  Commentary will be provided by producers René Balcer & Carolyn Hsu-Balcer. 

Virtual seating is limited, register for the 2/21 event.


San Diego Sneak Preview of “Our Natural Right”

January 26, 2021 | 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

From the Creators of "Golda"

Join award-winning filmmakers Udi Nir and Sagi Bornstein for a sneak preview of their new documentary, “Our Natural Right,” followed by a discussion with special guests, descendants of the signers of Israel’s Declaration of Independence interviewed in the film!Registrants will receive a link to the film on Friday, January 22.
Over seven decades ago, the members of the People’s Council sat down to draft the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel. Every word and comma led to hours of debate. The declaration was signed, the State established, but the debate still rages. The grandchildren of the signers of the Declaration of Independence return to the hall in Tel Aviv where the document was signed. Who are the descendants of the people who established the state? What do they think of it today? Can they agree on one correct path for Israel? Watch the film’s trailer.

Register for the 1/26 event.


Watch MGSDII Screening of "Children of the Sun" + Director Talk

December 3, 2020 |  11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

You're invited to watch “Children of the Sun" (winner of Israel’s “Oscar,” the Ophir Prize) and join the film’s creator, Ran Tal, for an in-depth discussion. View a trailer of the documentary.

This brilliant film, made by one of Israel’s most important documentary filmmakers, tells the  story of 18 children born and raised in the first kibbutzim in Israel beginning almost two decades before the establishment of the state in 1948.  As the stories of the children’s lives unfold, so do the long-term impacts of this ideological and social experiment, with ramifications that still reverberate in today’s Israel.

Learn more and register for the 12/3 event Registrants will receive access to the film on Sunday, November 29th. 

Jisr az-Zarqa and the Technion: Bringing Technological Capital to the Community

November 11, 2020 |  11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Mor ShilonJoin Mor Shilon, MGSDII Visiting Israeli Professor at UCSD, and other Israeli educators who are advancing social change through campus-community partnerships. Using the Israeli Arab town of Jisr az-Zarqa as a case study, the panelists will discuss their research  and intervention in the poorest village in Israel, making technological capital accessible for Jisr’s residents. With the Covid-19 pandemic, and the use of technology becoming the most basic practice for daily living, the Jisr project is more relevant than ever.

Mor earned her PhD from the Technion Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, where she was awarded the Jacobs Scholarship for Academic Excellence. In her research, Mor investigates the relations between people and technology in complex urban settings. During her studies, she researched hi-tech development in weakened areas.  During her postdoctoral studies (2017-2019), she conducted a thorough study of the emergence of technological start-ups in the mixed region of Haifa and Nazareth where she worked with Next Generation Technologies (NGT) 3.

Learn more and register for the 11/11 event


Meet the MGSDII Award-Winning Israeli Filmmakers from The Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

October 26, 2020 | 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

An exclusive “meet and greet” with the MGSDII Emerging Israeli Filmmakers whose films will be shown at The Joyce Forum Jewish Short Film Festival (October 23-25). During the event, we will engage with the creators of these fabulous shorts and hear more about their films and the creative process behind them.

Guy Hodes and Kibbutz DaliaWith Slight Steps

Film director Guy Hodes takes his 96-year-old grandmother back to Kibbutz Dalia and to a time when she was the high-priestess of Israeli folk dancing. Seeing the deterioration of the amphitheater is hard for her, ideals have changed. Yet With Slight Steps, she will dance with her grandson.

Wside shot of a man wearing beaniehite Eyes

Tomer Shushan’s astonishing film White Eye focuses on a man who discovers a shocking revelation when trying to find his stolen property. This important film won the Best Short Film Award at Haifa International Film Festival in 2019 and it won the 2020 Narrative Short Jury Award at SXSW Film Festival, the Oscar qualifying film festival where the film was scheduled to have its North American premiere but due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the festival had been cancelled.

Learn more and register for the 10/26 event


Blueish: Jews and the BluesBlueish: Jews and the Blues

Thursday, November 7, 7:00 pm-9:00 pm, Smith Recital Hall

An all-star concert in  celebration of the intersection of Jews and Blues – the concert features music in English and Yiddish and draws inspiration for the music from Chess Records, the go-to Blues label in Chicago.

Performers include Yale Strom and members of  Hot Pstromi -Tripp Sprague- tenor saxophone, Duncan Moore - percussion, Gunnar Biggs -bass, Fred Benedetti-guitar, and Elizabeth Schwartz- vocals, Yale Strom, violin.

Special guests Tomcat Courtney (guitar), Sue Palmer (piano), and Robin Henkel (dobro guitar).

View the Nov. 7th event flyer

Poway Vigil

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Scripps Cottage

In the aftermath of Saturday’s Poway Chabad shooting, stand together with the SDSU community—faculty, students, staff, administrators—against all forms of hatred and violence on our campus, in our community, and in our world. National Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah) begins at sunset on May 1st.

The event will be held at noon in the courtyard outside of Scripps Cottage. All are welcome to attend, and we urge you to come as a community of colleagues and friends.

Songs of Home and Exile

Tuesday, April 9, 7pm, in Smith Recital Hall at SDSU

Join us to celebrate Chloe Pourmorady, a Persian-Jewish violinist, vocalist, and composer, influenced by the rich musical language and spirituality of her roots and from around the world. She naturally blends many styles and languages together from Western classical, Middle Eastern, to Balkan and rock.

Chloe is a winner of two Independent Music Awards in the “Eclectic” category, and has performed for a number of galas, collaborative concerts in Los Angeles and abroad. In addition to performing, Chloe is a dedicated teacher of violin, singing, and songwriting while incorporating the pedagogy of Zoltan Kodaly into her work with children and adults.


  • Guest musician Ava Nahas, Percussion
  • Elizabeth Schwartz, Vocals
  • Coral MacFarland Thuet, Vocals
  • Jiri Svoboda, Guitar
  • Jeff Pekarek, Contrabass
  • Yale Strom, Violin

Broken Consort: Shimmering Lights

Tuesday, December 4, 7pm, in Smith Recital Hall at SDSU

Join us for this free concert celebrating the release of Yale Strom's new CD, Broken Consort: Shimmering Lights, on the ARC UK label.

The album is all about traditional and new Khanike songs from Morocco to Poland to Turkey to America. The music is infused with blues, bluegrass, jazz, classical, klezmer, Arabic and rock improvisation. The artists are: Sara Caswell - violin, David Wallace - viola, Amos Hoffman -oud/guitar, Fred Benedetti - guitar, Jeff Pekarek - bass, Alex Greenbaum - cello, Elizabeth Schwartz - vocals and Yale Strom - violin.

Free and open to the public.

Learn more about the album 

Nevertheless, We Persist

Tuesday, March 13 at 7pm, Smith Recital Hall

SDSU Jewish Studies Program Presents: The PerSisters

Three of San Diego’s celebrated female vocalists unite to perform songs of love, defiance, persistence, faith  and humanity. The repertoire will draw from the Latin American, African American and Jewish American experiences from the point of view of women. With Gunnar Biggs, contrabass, Fred Benedetti, guitar.

Coral MacFarland Thuet has been teaching at SDSU in the Department of Chicana/o Studies for the past 10 years. She has recorded several jazz and Latin music albums with top jazz musicians, performing in Spanish, English, Portuguese and Ladino.

Elizabeth Schwartz performs regularly with Yale Strom and Hot Pstromi as well as a solo artist. She has made appearances across North America and Europe in venues ranging from jazz clubs to concert halls as well as synagogues and festivals.

Lisa Payton is a native San Diegan, graduate of the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. Her early professional career began in the 90’s and since them she has been seen in numerous productions in San Diego and abroad.

Free and open to the public

A talk by historian Timothy Snyder, Professor of History at Yale University, about his 2017 book On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

Monday, March 19, noon at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union Theatre

Book signing to follow

Professor Snyder is an internationally renowned historian whose scholarship focuses on Europe and whose forthcoming book is The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America. Among his many books are the acclaimed Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin (2010) and Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning (2015). Translated into 33 languages, Bloodlands has won twelve awards, including a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Hannah Arendt Prize in Political Thought. The widely translated Black Earth has also received multiple honors, including an award from the Dutch Auschwitz Committee. Professor Snyder’s most recent publication, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017), offers a series of parables, at once chilling and inspiring, about the dangers facing countries across the globe where democratic ideals are imperiled.  

This event is free and open to the public!

Professor Snyder’s lecture is part of this year’s Common Experience program and has been sponsored by the College of Arts and Letters and the SDSU Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs. The organizers of Imagining Europe are also grateful for the support of European Studies, German Studies, Jewish Studies, and the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences; and for the help of the SDSU Press, the Department of English and Comparative Literature, the Department of History, and the Department of Political Science. Lecture arranged courtesy of Adventures by the Book.

Reading with Author Ayelet Gundar-Goshen

Wednesday, March 21st at 7 p.m. in Love Library, Room 430

The Jewish Studies Program in partnership with the Hugh C. Hyde Living Writers Series presents a reading with Israeli author Ayelet Gundar-Goshen. She will read from her critically acclaimed new novel Waking Lions.

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, born in Israel in 1982, is the author of Waking Lions, a bestselling novel in Europe and Israel that was released in the United States in February 2017 to outstanding reviews. The book is being adapted as an American television series. Gundar-Goshen’s debut novel, One Night, Markovitch, won the prestigious Sapir Prize for Debut Fiction in 2012. She is also a psychologist and screenwriter and her screenplays and writing for television have won international recognition.

Supported by the Murray Galinson San Diego-Israel Initiative.

American Socialist: The Life and Times of Eugene Victor Debs

Edwards San Marcos | Sun, Feb 11 11:00 AM
Edwards Mira Mesa Stadium 18 | Tue, Feb 13 5:00 PM

Join the SDSU Jewish Studies Program for the 28th Annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival for the screening of American Socialist: The Life and Times of Eugene Victor Debs.

San Diego’s Yale Strom (Artist in Residence) dives deeply into the life of Eugene Debs, a five-time candidate for President of the United States representing the Socialist Party of America which he co-founded. He championed labor rights and stood against income inequality, becoming a de facto progenitor of Bernie Sanders. Narrated by Amy Madigan, the film overflows with captivating and compelling historical footage, imagery and documentation.

Read the articles on the San Diego Reader | San Diego Uptown News | Chicago Tribune

Screening of An Open Door: Holocaust Haven in the Philippines

November 9, 2017 @ 6:30 PM in Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union, Theater

An Open Door: Holocaust Haven in the Philippines is a historical documentary that presents the dramatic story of rescue and friendship in an effort to save thousands of Jewish lives. As Nazi persecutions intensified in the 1930s, refugees sought distant havens scattered around the world. Philippine President Manuel Quezon granted refuge to over one thousand persecuted Jews, offering a sanctuary of religious freedom and cultural acceptance in the Philippines.

The Film has won: Best Picture, World Humanitarian Awards, Bali; Silver Telly Award in History, highest honor; Best Documentary, White Nights Film Festival, St. Petersburg, Russia; Best Feature Documentary, Madrid IFF and London IFF; plus 7 other international awards.

Special Guests

  • Consul General, the Honorable Adelio Angelito S. Cruz, Republic of the Philippines
  • Director, Noel Izon
  • Associate Producer and Lecturer in Department of History, Dr. Bonnie Harris

The event is sponsored by SDSU’S Department of History, the Jewish Studies Program, the Center for Asian & Pacific Studies, the Jewish Historical Society of San Diego, along with the Consul General, the Hon. Adelio Angelito S. Cruz, of Republic of the Philippines.

Read the SDSU NewsCenter article about the event. 

An Evening with Film Director Nir Bergman (Schusterman Visiting Israeli Artist)

Monday, October 16th @ 6:30 PM in Scripps Cottage

Nir Bergman is one of Israel's most acclaimed directors. He is the co-creator of "Betipul" (2005) which was sold to HBO as the series "In Treatment." His feature films have won awards at some of the most prestigious international festivals. Nir was born in Israel and studied at the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in Jerusalem, graduating with honors in 1998. His graduation film, "Sea Horse" (Sus Yam), received the Miki Albin Prize for Best Short Script at the International Haifa Film Festival and a number of prizes at the Munich, Greece and Poland film festivals. The film was chosen in an international competition with directors such as Pedro Almadovar and Paul Newman as the best film ever made at Sam Spiegel. Nir's next film "Broken Wings" won the Best Film at the Jerusalem Film Festival, the Grand Prix at the Tokyo International Film Festival, Best Debut Feature at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival Panorama Audience Award. It also won the Israel Academy Awards Prize for the Best Director, Screenplay, Picture, Cinematography, Actress and Supporting Actress. "Broken Wings" has been distributed in the U.S.A, England, Germany, Mexico, France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Greece Romania and others.

Tower of Babel Concert

November 2, 2017 @ 7 PM at Smith Recital Hall

Tower of Babel: Klezmer, Roma, Balkan Dance Party features Jewish Studies Artist-in-Residence Yale Strom and his band appearing with special guests Rumen Shopov on tambura & vocals and Peter Stan on accordion.

The spirited music, some from Strom's ethnographic research, will take you on a trip to the villages of Eastern Europe and the Balkans where Jewish, Romani, Romanian, Bulgarian, Greek and Muslim musicians created infectiously pulsating rhythms still heard throughout the world today.


  • Fred Benedetti-guitar
  • Tim McNalley-bass
  • Duncan Moore-percussion
  • Elizabeth Schwartz-vocals
  • Tripp Sprague-tenor sax
  • Yale Strom-violin

Peter Stan's heritage is Romani, although he was born and raised in Australia. Peter began playing accordion at an early age and now performs internationally as a soloist and with small groups. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, and Joe's Pub in NYC, the International Accordion Festival in Texas and other venues in Europe, Hong Kong, Turkey and throughout the US.

Rumen "Sali" Shopov is a singer, multi- instrumentalist, bandleader and teacher born and raised in Yampol, Bulgaria. His musical training took place in the streets of his mahala, or neighborhood, in the Turkish-Romani quarter of Goce Delchev. He began drumming as a little boy, on instruments made from cans, for community processions. Romani music is not taught formally and does not have a system of notation, but is passed on from musician to musician, generation to generation.

Film Premiere

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at 7:00 PM

Please join us for the San Diego premiere of Visiting Israeli Artist Nir Bergman's latest film: Saving Neta

Join one of Israel’s most acclaimed directors, Nir Bergman, for the San Diego Premiere of his newest film, Saving Neta. Bergman is the director, writer, and co-creator of the hit HBO TV series “In Treatment” starring Gabriel Byrne. He is currently  Visiting Israeli Artist at San Diego State University teaching a Screenwriting class in the English Department. His feature films have won awards at some of the most prestigious international festivals.

Saving Neta tells the stories of four women whose lives change after their brief encounter with a man called Neta. This film features humor, drama, love and hope, to showcase a powerful and moving portrait of family relationships and parenthood in modern life.

Presented in partnership with The Murray Galinson San Diego-Israel Initiative

Desert Caravan: New Jazz from Israel and Beyond

April 12 at 7pm in Smith recital Hall

Free and open to the public

Acclaimed Israeli jazz guitarist and oudist Amos Hoffman and Toronto based pianist and composer Noam Lemish lead a powerful and imaginative quartet that presents original compositions as well as fresh arrangements of existing songs that fuse middle-eastern sonorities with the sounds of jazz and classical music. They will join SDSU Jewish Studies Artist in Residence, Yale Strom, and Hot Pstromi (Elizabeth Schwartz - vocals, Duncan Hunter - percussion, Jeff Pekarek - bass, Yale Strom – violin).

Amos Hoffman is an Israeli Jazz Oudist and Guitarist known worldwide as a pioneer in fusing the rhythms and melodic themes of the Middle East with Modern Jazz.  Hoffman started playing guitar at the age of 6, and oud a few years later. He studied guitar privately, and later attended the prestigious Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem. His search for new musical experiences led him first to Amsterdam, and then to New York City, where he played jazz with both established musicians and up and coming talents like Jason Lindner, bassist Avishai Cohen, and Claudia Acuna. To date, Hoffman has recorded 5 solo albums, The Dreamer (1999), Na’ama (2006), Evolution (2008) Carving (2010) and Back to the City (2015).  He has also contributed on dozens more for artists in Israel and worldwide including Avishai Cohen, Kiko Berenguer (Spain), and Jan Mlynarski (Poland). In 2013 Amos was awarded one of Israel’s most prestigious prizes – The Landau Prize for Arts and Sciences for outstanding achievement in the field of Jazz. Now based in the U.S., Hoffman looks forward to creating new musical adventures and reaching an even larger audience.

Noam Lemish is an Israeli-American jazz pianist and composer currently based out of Toronto, Canada. He has appeared in numerous performances across the US, Canada, Europe, Israel, and in Bhutan having played and performed with such musicians as: Sheila Jordan, John Handy, Julian Lage, James Newton, Dayna Stephens, Cameron Brown, George Marsh, Frances-Marie Uitti, Babatunde Lea and many others.  He has several recordings to his credit, including The Turning (2016), The Magic Clavier Book I (2015), Nightfall (2013), The People’s King (2010) and Yes And (2008). His compositions include chamber, choral, piano, numerous jazz works and “The People’s King”: a commissioned multi-cultural suite in celebration the King of Bhutan’s 30th birthday composed while teaching music in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan in 2010.

Israeli Artists in Conversation: A Film Symposium

Tuesday April 18, 7:00pm in Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Center, Theater (2nd Floor)

Join us for this exciting event as some of the most cutting edge and award winning Israeli actors, directors and writers examine Modern Israeli society through film. Drawing on their own works, the panelists will focus on the meeting and mixing between social groups, identities, conflicts and art forms.

The participants will engage with each other and the audience through panel discussions to explore how film reflects Modern Israel today.

This event is free and open to the public.

Meet the Award-Winning  Actors, Directors, Writers:

Dana Ivgy is a three-time recipient of the Israel Film Academy's Best Actress Award, most recently for her role in Zero Motivation (2014), which won Best Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival. In addition to her critically acclaimed success in Zero Motivation, she is also known for her roles in Or (My Treasure) (2004) and Jaffa (2009). Ivgy is also an Artistic Director of the Israeli stage comedy troupe Tziporela, which performs internationally.

Nitzan Gilady is a film director who has written, produced and directed the documentary films In Satmar Custody(2003), Jerusalem Is Proud to Present (2008) It Runs in the Family (2010), and Wedding Doll (2016). His films have received 13 international awards, been screened in over 120 international film festivals and broadcast on TV channels over the world including Sundance Channel and ZDF-ARTE.

Elite Zexer is director of the critically acclaimed film Sand Storm (2016). The film was shown in the Panorama section at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival. At the 2016 Sundance Film Festival it won the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Dramatic section. It also won the Best Film Award at the Ophir Awards and was selected as the Israeli entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards.

Presented in partnership with the The Murray Galinson San Diego-Israel Initiative

Computational Poetry with Eran Hadas

Wednesday, April 19, 4-5:30pm in Love Library 430

Join us in welcoming Israeli poet, software developer, and new media artist Eran Hadas, who will discuss his work of poetry in the age of computation, as well as his collaborative projects including a headset that generates poems from EEG brain waves, and a documentarian robot that interviews people about what it means to be human.

Presented in partnership with the Digital Humanities Initiative.

Israel in the 21st Century: New Hopes, New Challenges

Two lectures by Dr. Eugene Kontorovich

UNSC 2334: Is going to the Kotel now a Crime?
Thursday March 2 at 12pm
Melvin Garb Hillel Center

Unsettled: The Legality of Israel’s Settlements in International Law
Thursday March 2 at 7:00pm
AL 101

Prof. Eugene Kontorovich's teaches at Northwestern University School of Law, and a is a Senior Fellow at the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem.

He specializes in constitutional and international law. He is one of the world's preeminent experts on international law and the Israel-Arab conflict. He is regularly called on to advise legislators and cabinet members in the U.S., Israel, and Europe on questions pertaining to Israel and international law. He has served as a consultant for the U.S. Defense Department, wrote a Supreme Court amicus brief in the Jerusalem passport case, and his scholarship has been cited in leading international law cases in the U.S. and abroad. Prof. Kontorovich "has emerged as a one-man legal lawfare brain trust for the Jewish state," according to a recent essay in Haaretz.

Kontorovich regularly briefs visiting European and American legislators and celebrities on their trips to Israel, as well as speaking to hundreds of universities, synagogues, Jewish and professional groups in the U.S. and Europe. His scholarship has been published in leading academic journals and his expertise is often sought out and quoted by major news organizations such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR News, Associated Press, LA Times, and numerous television and radio programs.

Prof. Kontorovich's writings on Israel have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Jerusalem Post, and numerous other publications, and he is a contributor to the Washington Post's Volokh Conspiracy legal blog.

He has been honored with a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, in 2011-12, and with the Federalist Society's prestigious Bator Award, given annually to a young scholar (under 40), for outstanding scholarship and teaching.

He attended the University of Chicago for college and law school, and ultimately taught there. After law school, he clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.    

Co-sponsored with Hillel of San Diego.

Daniel Landau's Time-Body Study

Monday, 1 /23,  2-3:30 in Love Library 430

Time-Body Study is a performative experiment created by media artist and researcher Daniel Landau exploring the boundaries of body, identity, and self using virtual reality technology. This live event includes a lecture and demonstration of an experiment where a participant, wearing a virtual reality head-mounted display (HMD) is re- embodied in the body of a 7, 40, and 80 year old person.

Daniel Landau - a media artist and researcher. His work resides in the intersection of Art, Technology and Science - exploring the complex relationship between body and technology. Core to his work is the attempt to trace techno-political processes and their impact on social and private spaces. Daniel is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Interdisciplinary Centre, Herzlia. He is also the Co-founder and Director of oh-man, oh-machine - an art, science and technology platform that includes an international conference, workshops and a research lab. ​

Sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program and the Digital Humanities Initiative.

Jewish Studies Program Reception

For those of you attending the Association for Jewish Studies National Meeting (December 18-20), please joins us for a reception on:

Monday December 19th
9:15 PM -10:15 PM
Room: Aqua 310B

Reception sponsored by the Jewish Studies Programs at UC San Diego and San Diego State University.

To the Moon and Beyond

Monday December 5th 3:30pm
Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union, Second Floor, Theater

with Yonatan Winetraub, Co-Founder of Space IL

SpaceIL is an Israeli non-profit organization participating in the Google Lunar XPRIZE, an international competition to land an unmanned spacecraft on the Moon. Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub founded SpaceIL in 2010 with a focus on inspiring children and promoting education and scientific exploration.  The potential prize money will be used to ensure that Israel will continue to live up to its reputation for excellence in science, engineering, technology and math. The talk will reveal some of SpaceIL's achievements, challenges, technology and will highlight lessons learned in starting a private space program‫.

About Yonatan Winetraub

Yonatan Winetraub, is  co-founder of SpaceIL, an Israeli non-profit organization that is attempting to land an unmanned spacecraft on the Moon. A key goal of this mission is to inspire the next generation of space researchers and to promote education and scientific exploration.  To date, SpaceIL has reached over 150,000 children across Israel. He is a PhD candidate at Stanford in Biophysics studying a method to interpret and intercept cancer cell communication. In addition, he was part of the International Space University Program at NASA Ames studying how we can create Martian colonies utilizing shelter and water from Martian lava caves. He studied Electrical Engineering and Computational Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University focusing on how regions in the brain collaborate to create our emotions.

The Leichtag Foundation honors the legacy of Lee and Toni Leichtag through igniting and inspiring vibrant Jewish life, advancing self-sufficiency and stimulating social entrepreneurship in coastal North San Diego County and Jerusalem.

The San Diego-Israel Initiative seeks to strategically promote, support and catalyze knowledge discourse and interaction on the modern state of Israel through scholarship, engagement and collaboration.

Free and open to the public

A Conversation with Alana: One Boy’s Cultural Rite Of Passage

Join us for a performance by the author and playwright, Dr. Carlos Cortés, UC Riverside Professor Emeritus of History

Thursday, November 3, 11:00 am-12:15 pm
Montezuma Hall, Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union

In this one-person autobiographical play, Carlos Cortés presents his story of growing up as a young man of mixed ancestry in racially segregated, religiously divided, early post-World War II Kansas City, Missouri.

The son of a Mexican Catholic immigrant father and an American born Jewish mother, whose parents came from Austria and Ukraine, Cortés had to learn to navigate Kansas City’s rigid racial, ethnic, and religious fault lines, while simultaneously dealing with the internal conflicts of his own divided family.

Dr. Carlos Cortés is a nationally known and award-winning author, teacher, consultant and speaker on a wide variety of issues related to multiculturalism, diversity, the impact of media, and cross-cultural understanding. He is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of California, Riverside.

Co-sponsored by Departments of Anthropology, Classics and Humanities, Religious Studies, the Center for Latin American Studies, and MALAS

JEWGRASS: the Appalachians meet the Carpathians

November 2 @7pm at Smith Recital Hall

Free and open to the public

Yale Strom & Hot Pstromi will be joined by special guest, Hot Tuna’s Barry Mitterhoff, to perform “Mountain Music” from the klezmer of the Carpathian Ukraine to Old Time Americana from Appalachia. Mitterhoff, a virtuosic mandolinist, will present music that is an essential part of both Eastern European Jewish and Southern mountain Christian cultures. Both traditions, born in isolated and rural mountain communities meld together spirituality, culture and geography.

Featuring: Jeff Pekarek, Duncan Moore, Walt Richards, Fred Benedetti, Tripp Sprague, and Elizabeth Schwartz

City of the Future: Songs from the Golden Era of Yiddish Culture

Tuesday April 12th @7:00pm in Smith Recital Hall

Free and Open to the Public

A concert celebrating the release of SDSU Jewish Studies Program Artist in Residence Yale Strom’s latest CD, City of the Future: Yiddish Songs from the Former Soviet Union, released on November 13, 2015. The recording is a cultural record of music written in the 1930s by Shmuel Polonski.

In 1931, Yiddish culture was thriving in the former Soviet Union. There were Yiddish schools, theatres, choirs, literature and discussion groups. Shmuel Polonski was a 29 year-old composer who wanted to spread the joy of Yiddish and the Soviet way of life through his songs, which were to be sung by youth choruses. Polonski set his original compositions to poems by such renowned Yiddish poets as Perets Markish, Izi Kharik and Itzik Fefer.

The evening will feature the following artists:

Singers: Michael Alpert - Scotland, Judy Bressler - Boston , Anthony Russell - Oakland , and Elizabeth Schwartz - San Diego

Musicians: Norbert Stachel - reeds (NYC), Peter Stan - accordion (NYC), Jeff Pekarek - bass, Fred Benedetti - guitar, Duncan Moore - percussion, and Yale Strom - violin

Reading the Bible in Exile: A Prophet's Take on the Exodus from Egypt

March 23, 10:30 am at the Coronado Public Library

Lecturer: Professor Risa Levitt Kohn, SDSU

Ezekiel is the first biblical prophet since Moses to see visions of God outside of Israel. The prophet and his contemporaries, by virtue of their dislocation from Israel, had to rethink tradition in order to remap their newly formed communities. We will explore the creative way in which the prophet casts his current audience as the exodus generation. The wandering and rebellion did not end for Ezekiel, as they do in Torah, upon entry into the land. The current exile does not simply recall the travails of the exodus from Egypt; instead, it is an extension of that initial event.

Israel in the 21st Century: New Hopes, New Challenges

An Intersectional Failure: Situating Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews in Contemporary Jewish Discourse

Monday April 25, 7pm in Arts and Letters, Room 101.

Analucía Lopezrevoredo and David Schraub

Both within and outside of the Jewish community, discourse about Jews often omits or downplays Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews as significant subjects of analysis. The conception of the Jew is instead largely Ashke-normative—presenting the Ashkenazi experience is the de facto Jewish experience. Ashkenazi history and culture primarily structures institutional Jewish dialogue and experiential learning; it likewise dominates non-Jewish understanding of Jews and Jewish lives. Where non-Ashkenazi Jews are considered at all, they are often forcibly assimilated into foreign narratives—Mizrahi Jews are either Jews who had labored under centuries of Arab oppression before finding liberation through the establishment of Israel, or happily integrated Middle Easterners who became the "other victims of Zionism". In neither case are Mizrahi Jews respected as independent subjects of analysis, whose relationship to both Israel and the Arab world does not necessarily map onto the frames the normative (Ashkenazi) Jewish or (non-Jewish) Middle Eastern community seeks to impose. Done right, Intersectionality Theory has much to offer in rectifying this gap, promising renewed attention to the internal pluralism within groups and acknowledging the unique perspective and experience an individual with multiple minority identities can have.

Analucía Lopezrevoredo is an ethnographer, activist, and social work educator working in academia and the Jewish non-profit world. A Sephardic Jew who's family lived in numerous places in the Diaspora, Analucía has dedicated her life to raising awareness of the Sephardic, Mizrahi, and Jew of color experience among Jewish and non-Jewish communities. Analucía holds Bachelor degrees in Political Science, Urban Studies, and Economics from Loyola Marymount University, a Master’s degree in Organizational Management and Leadership from the University of the Pacific, and is completing her Ph.D. in Social Work and Social Research at Portland State University. Her research interests include racial disparities, immigration and xenophobia, and social movements that make the needs of marginalized communities more visible. Analucia currently serves as the Program Director for JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa, and works as an Adjunct Instructor at Portland State University's School of Social Work.

David Schraub is the Darling Foundation Fellow in Public Law and a Senior Research Fellow at the California Constitution Center, both at the

University of California, Berkeley Law School. His research interests are in constitutional law, contemporary issues of discrimination and inequality (with particular focus on racism and anti-Semitism), and deliberative democracy. David's scholarship has been published in, among other forums, the University of Chicago Law Review, the California Law Review, the Boston University Law Review, and Social Theory & Practice. He also blogs regularly at "The Debate Link"

David received a B.A. in political science from Carleton College, his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, and is currently a doctoral candidate in political science at the University of California, Berkeley.

Soft-power warfare in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Politics of Human Rights and International Law

Monday April 11th, 7pm in Arts and Letters, Room 101.

Dr. Gerald Steinberg

Israel is frequently accused of violating human rights and international law, and such allegations are the justifications for boycotts and "lawfare" cases in international legal frameworks. In this seminar, we will examine the history of this "soft power" warfare, the main battlegrounds, and the core actors, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the UN and the media. In addition, we will consider Israeli responses and potential future developments.

Dr. Gerald Steinberg is professor of Political Studies at Bar Ilan University in Israel, and president of NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institute. His research areas include Middle East diplomacy and security, the politics of human rights and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Israeli politics and arms control. Steinberg is a member of Israel Council of Foreign Affairs; contributes to the Institute for Counter-terrorism; the Mideast research group of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI); and an adviser to Israeli governmental bodies and Knesset. Recent publications include “NGOs, Human Rights, and Political Warfare in the Arab-Israel Conflict"; "The UN, the ICJ and the Separation Barrier: War by Other Means" (Israel Law Review); “Best Practices for Human Rights and Humanitarian NGO Fact-Finding” (co-author), Nijhoff, 2012; and “Filling in the Blanks: Documenting Missing Dimensions in the UN and NGO Investigations of the Gaza Conflict”, 2015. In 2013, Professor Steinberg and NGO Monitor were awarded the prestigious Menachem Begin Prize.

Intersectionality Makes You Stupid: The Regressive Left, Israel and Third Worldism

Wednesday April 6th, 7pm in Arts and Letters, Room 101.

James Kirchick

Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East; the only country in the region that protects the rights of gay people, women and religious minorities. So why has the progressive left turned against it? Essayist and foreign correspondent James Kirchick argues that “intersectionality,” a once-esoteric concept now increasingly in vogue with activists and opinion-makers, explains not only the progressive turn against Israel, but its deeper embrace of what are in fact regressive values.

James Kirchick is a journalist and foreign correspondent currently based in Washington. He is a correspondent for The Daily Beast and writes the “Continental Drift” column on Europe for Tablet. Kirchick’s writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Ha’aretz, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, Slate, The Weekly Standard, National Review and Commentary, among other publications. A former editor at the The New Republic and writer-at-large for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty based in Prague, he is a recipient of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Journalist of the Year Award. Kirchick has been a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow in Berlin, a Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and is a professional member of the PEN American Center and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a fellow with the Foreign Policy Initiative in Washington.

Israel's Soft Power: Public Diplomacy in Action

Tuesday March 22nd, 7pm in Arts and Letters, Room 101.

Dr. Chanan Naveh

This lecture will focus on Israel’s struggles in the arena of Public Diplomacy, particularly its challenge to persuade others that its society has many facets beyond those of war and occupation. Yet, despite a narrative underscoring its democracy, quality of life for all its citizens, support for disaster zones all over the globe, significant achievements in High-Tech and modern agriculture and even cultural exports such as TV programming, it appears that public perception in many countries has not followed suit. We will review examples of Israel’s efforts to explore the ideas of Soft Power and Public Diplomacy.

Dr. Chanan Naveh is a senior lecturer in the School of Communications, Sapir College, (Israel) and was the Chair of the School in the years 2010 – 2014. For 15 years he was a lecturer at the International Relations Department, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and at the Political Science Department at Tel Aviv University. From 1969-2004 he worked for Kol Israel (Israeli Radio), news division in various positions including Editor-in-Chief and managing editor. Dr. Naveh specializes in research of the Internet and international relations, international media, media and foreign affairs, the radio in Israel and practicing these topics in international simulations. The University of Michigan Press published his latest book, World Politics Simulations in a Global Information Age, in 2015. His recent publications include: "Crisis Press Coverage in the Arab-Israel & East-West Conflicts", Media, War & Conflict (2013); "Israeli Radio during the Six-Day War", The Journal of Israeli History (2009); The Web as an Israeli Solidarity Environment during The second Lebanon War (2008) and Pirate Radio in Israel (2007), awarded the distinguished grant of the Second Authority for Radio and Television (Israel).

Book Reading

Wednesday, March 9th at 7 p.m. in Love Library, Room 430.

Visiting Israeli Author, Assaf Gavron, reads from his award-winning novel, The Hilltop.

A chill settled on the hilltop during the course of the night and sparkled when morning broke in millions of refractions of frost from among clods of earth, gardening tools, cacti, upturned push cars, and on the windshields of vehicles. The day opened its eyes with a wide yawn, and hours would go by before it would shake off the cold.

–From, The Hilltop

Event co-sponsored with the MFA Program in Creative Writing@ SDSU as part of their Living Writers Series

Inaugural Lecture of the Rebecca E. Moore Lecture in Religious Studies

Jewish Scholars and the New Testament: Re-Evaluating the Sources for Christian Origins

Thursday March 3rd, 3:00 PM at Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center, SDSU

Rebecca Moore is Emerita Professor of Religious Studies at San Diego State University. An expert in the history of Christianity, in 2015 she published Women in Christian Traditions, a feminist analysis of the role women have played in the development of Christianity (New York University Press). She authored Voices of Christianity: A Global Introduction (McGraw Hill 2006) as well. Dr. Moore also studies New Religious Movements, where she has concentrated on interpreting Peoples Temple and the events at Jonestown, Guyana that occurred in November 1978. This work can be seen on the website and in the book Understanding Jonestown and Peoples Temple (Praeger 2009). She is currently the Reviews Editor for Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions.

Co-sponsored with the Department of Religious Studies

A Water Crisis is Coming… What Can We Do to Avoid It?

Wednesday, December 9, 3:30 P.M. in Physics 148

A Lecture By Seth M. Siegel, Author of Let There Be Water: Israel's Solution for a Water-Starved World

Despite scant natural water resources (roughly 60% desert), a rapidly growing population and economy, and often-hostile neighbors, Israel has consistently jumped ahead of the water innovation-curve to assure a dynamic, vital future for itself. How did Israel transform itself from a parched land into a water superpower and how might this model inform the United States and countries everywhere by showing how to blunt the worst of the coming water calamities? Join us for a lecture on water conservation, cooperation, and hope for a more stable future.

Presented by the Jewish Studies Program, Department of Geography, Watershed Science Institute and Blue Gold Initiative

Somalia Quartet

Oct. 6, at 7:30 pm at the San Diego Repertory Theatre

Strom's idea was to take Somalian folk music and weave it with western classical motifs. He hopes this piece welcomes and introduces the Somalian community to San Diego. The premiere will be performed by the outstanding Hausmann Quartet. They will open the concert with a composition by the Hungarian composer Bela Bartok "Quartet No. 2."

Tango Nuevo

October 20, 2015 at 7pm in Smith Recital Hall Music Bldg.

An evening filled with Tango music that explores the unique connection between Jewish composers and musicians from Poland and the way that they integrated tango music into their own repertoire.

Featuring the unique sounds of Camarada, a collection of five exceptionally trained and gifted instrumentalists:

  • Lou Fanucchi, accordion
  • Fred Benedetti, guitar
  • Jeff Pekarek, double bass
  • Elizabeth Schwartz - vocals

Inspired by the music of Astor Piazzolla, who introduced this form of music and dance by incorporating jazz and classical music with traditional Argentinean Tango music; Camarada's Tango Nuevo promises to be an inspiring evening of music.

New addition to the program just announced! Live Tango dancing Featuring award-winning Tango dancers Irina Bell Chalkevitch and Derek Bell.

Free and open to the public. Seating is limited.

Jews and Latinos! Jewish Music and Hot Latin Rhythms

April 22 @ 7pm in Smith Recital Hall - SDSU

The concert will explore how Jewish and Latino musicians worked together in the 1950's through 1960's popularizing Latin dance rhythms to new audiences especially Jewish audiences in South Florida. One way was to take Jewish songs or melodies and add the Afro-Cuban rhythms.

The show will feature Stephanie Richards - trumpet, Dan Reagan - trombone, Irving Flores - piano, Gene Perry - Afro-Cuban percussion, Duncan Moore - drums, Jeff Pekarek - bass, Fred Benedetti - guitar, Lou Fanucchi - accordion, Elizabeth Schwartz - vocals, Tripp Sprague - saxophone/flute and Yale Strom - violin.

Free and open the public

Israel in the 21st Century: New Hopes, New Challenges Lecture Series

Our tradition at San Diego State University's Jewish Studies Program is to bring to our community the most up to date research on Israel, the Middle East and related topics of interest.

This year, in partnership with Hillel of San Diego at SDSU, we are pleased to present to the San Diego community a three-part lecture series.

All lectures are free to the public.  

Israel's international Legal Challenges: What Lies Ahead?

Thursday April 16, 2015 at 7:00pm

Dr. Eugene Kontorovich - Professor of Law, Northwestern University, School of Law

Prof. Eugene Kontorovich's teaches at Northwestern University School of Law, and a is a Senior Fellow at the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem.

He specializes in constitutional and international law. He is one of the world's preeminent experts on international law and the Israel-Arab conflict. He is regularly called on to advise legislators and cabinet members in the U.S., Israel, and Europe on questions pertaining to Israel and international law. He has served as a consultant for the U.S. Defense Department, wrote a Supreme Court amicus brief in the Jerusalem passport case, and his scholarship has been cited in leading international law cases in the U.S. and abroad. Prof. Kontorovich "has emerged as a one-man legal lawfare brain trust for the Jewish state," according to a recent essay in Haaretz.

Kontorovich regularly briefs visiting European and American legislators and celebrities on their trips to Israel, as well as speaking to hundreds of universities, synagogues, Jewish and professional groups in the U.S. and Europe. His scholarship has been published in leading academic journals and his expertise is often sought out and quoted by major news organizations such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR News, Associated Press, LA Times, and numerous television and radio programs.

Prof. Kontorovich's writings on Israel have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Jerusalem Post, and numerous other publications, and he is a contributor to the Washington Post's Volokh Conspiracy legal blog.

He has been honored with a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, in 2011-12, and with the Federalist Society's prestigious Bator Award, given annually to a young scholar (under 40), for outstanding scholarship and teaching.

He attended the University of Chicago for college and law school, and ultimately taught there. After law school, he clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Israeli Arabs in Israel's Policy-Making

Wednesday March 18, 2015 at 7:00pm

Dr. Mohammed Wattad - Assistant Professor, Zefat College, School of Law

Dr. Mohammed Wattad is 2014-2015 Schusterman Visiting Israel Professor at the University of California, Irvine.

He is a legal scholar specializing in international and comparative criminal law, comparative constitutional law, international law and legal issues surrounding war, torture and terrorism. A graduate of University of Haifa School of Law, Dr. Wattad holds a Masters of Law degree from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He holds another Masters of Law degree from Columbia University, where he earned as well his Juris Doctorate, as a Fulbright Scholar.

Dr. Wattad completed post doctorate work as a Halbert Fellow of the Munk Center at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, where he was also a visiting scholar, and served as a Minerva Fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Germany. He is currently an assistant professor at Zefat College's School of Law in Israel and editor-in-chief of the International Journal Medicine and Law.

Dr. Wattad has expertise in the history of Israel and issues of self-image and identity in multi-cultural societies. He has written and spoken extensively on societal challenges confronting the Middle East and Israel, including relations between Israel's Jewish and Arab citizens and Israel's external relations with surrounding Arab states.

He served as a legal clerk at the Supreme Court of Israel under the supervision of Justice Dalia Dorner and was a member of the Legal Task Force of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.

A Town Hall with The Honorable David Siegel Consul General of Israel, Los Angeles

Tuesday March 10, 2015 at 7:00p.m.

David Siegel assumed the post of Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles in August 2011, where he serves as the senior representative of the State of Israel to the Southwestern United States.

Consul General Siegel most recently served as Chief of Staff to Israel's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. In this role, he was involved in policy formulation and decision-making at the highest echelons of Israel's foreign policy establishment.

Mr. Siegel also served two terms at the Embassy of Israel in senior posts and where he was the voice of Israel to the Washington press corps.

An expert on North American affairs, Consul General Siegel graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.A. in Political Science and earned a Master's Degree in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Boston. He served as a Commander in the Israel Defense Forces.

Seeking Justice: Strengthening the Prospects for Middle East Peace

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 7:00pm

Dr. David Makovsky - Ziegler Distinguished Fellow, Washington Institute Director, Project on Middle East Peace Process

Between November 2013 and September 2014, David Makovsky advised Secretary of State John Kerry as part of an elite team charged with seeking an historic peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. Makovsky's firsthand account of what it's like to work behind the scenes on the most difficult diplomatic issues of the last century provides a riveting view of the issues, the personalities, and the prospects for peace moving forward.

David Makovsky is the Ziegler Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute and Director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process. He is also an Adjunct Professor in Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and recently concluded an almost ten-month stint as a senior advisor on Secretary of State John Kerry's peace team.

Author of numerous Washington Institute monographs and essays on issues related to the Middle East Peace Process and the Arab-Israeli conflict, he is also co-author, with Dennis Ross, of the 2009 Washington Post bestseller Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East (Viking/Penguin).

25th Annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival presents Yale Strom's newest film Letter To Wedgwood: The Life Of Gabriella Hartstein Auspitz

Tuesday, February 10, 2pm at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center

In 1922 Mukaevo, Czechoslovakia, young Gabriella Hartstein presents a bouquet to Colonel Josiah Wedgwood, a British Christian visiting to support the Zionist cause. When fascists capture Mukaevo years later, the now-grown Gabriella frantically begs Wedgewood, now a Member of Parliament, for help. Will Wedgwood become her personal Righteous Gentile by helping Gabriella and her brother escape? Employing interviews, visual archives, and personal letters, San Diego director Yale Strom has dramatically documented this unusual aspect of Holocaust history.

Excavating the Holy City: New Archaeological Discoveries in Jerusalem

Tuesday, November 18 at 3:00 pm in Scripps Cottage

With Dr. Doron Ben Ami

Israel Antiquities Authority & Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Senior Archaeologist of the Givati Parking Lot Excavation in the City of David is the largest, most comprehensive excavation in Jerusalem today

Free & Open to the Public

Film Screening at UCSD

Thursday, December 4th at 5:00 pm

Join us at the UCSD campus for of a film by their viitng Israeli prof Rami Kimchi with comments by our visiting prof Sariel Birnbaum.

"The Night of Fools" Film Screening

The story of Algerian Jewry's Anti-Nazi Resistance, which on November 8th, 1942, succeeded (with only 400 young men) in taking control of the capital city of Algiers, where there were about 25,000 French pro-Nazi soldiers. They kept control for one night and handed over the city to the Americans, who landed on the city's shores the next morning. This is a very Jewish story of coping with a threat of annihilation, which demonstrates the qualities of Daring, Anarchism, Chutzpah, Cunning, Creativity and Faith.

Peter Cole, Acclaimed Poet & Translator, MacArthur "Genius" Award Recipient,  Reading from his new book The Invention of Influence

Wednesday, October 29th at 7 p.m. in Love Library, Room 430.

The recipient of a 2007 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, Peter Cole has published four books of poetry, Rift (Station Hill, 1999); Hymns & Qualms (Sheep Meadow Press, 1998); Things on Which I've Stumbled (New Directions, 2008); and The Invention of Influence (2014). A fifth volume, What Is Doubled: Poems 1981-1989, was published by Shearsman Books in the UK. “Prosodic mastery fuses with a keen moral intelligence [in Cole’s work]," wrote the American Poet. Other reviewers have noted the “politically charged and often dazzling” nature of the verse, as well as the “quiet, streaming power in [his] work that leads the reader back to it over and over again.” Cole’s vision of connectedness, his wit, and his grounded wisdom, along with his expansive sense of literature’s place in a meaningful life, render his poems at once fresh and abiding. His prize-winning translations of the Hebrew Golden Age poets have helped to recreate for contemporary American readers the multifaceted world of medieval Spain, in which Jewish artistic and intellectual communities flourished under Islamic rule. His anthology The Dream of the Poem (Princeton, 2007)—recipient of the National Jewish Book Award and winner of the American Publishers Association’s Award for Book of the Year—traces the arc of the entire period and reveals this remarkable poetic world in all of its richness, humor, grace, gravity, and wisdom. By far the most potent and comprehensive gathering of medieval Hebrew poems ever assembled in English, Cole’s anthology builds on what poet and translator Richard Howard has described as “the finest labor of poetic translation that I have seen in many years” and “an entire revelation: a body of lyric and didactic verse so intense, so intelligent, and so vivid that it appears to identify a whole dimension of historical consciousness previously unavailable to us.”

JSP Co-Sponsored Event with the Hugh C. Hyde Living Writer Series 

The Image of the Jew in Arab Cinema

Monday, October 20 at 7:00 pm, Carlsbad Dove Library

The San Diego Center for Jewish Culture’s Scholar Lectures on Jewish Studies, in Carlsbad, begins its season of free lectures with visiting Israeli scholar, Dr. Sariel Birnbaum..

How does the Arab cinema portray Jews? Jews are depicted in many films from the 1950’s and 1960’s according to anti-Semitic stereotypes, while in the 1990’s and 2000’s anti-Semitism was relegated to the margins. Are anti-Semitic motives in Arab cinema based on ancient Islamic traditions, or imported from Europe? Dr. Birnbaum will also discuss films concerning the early days of Islam and the place of Jews within them.

The same lecture will also be taught on Wed Oct 22 at 10:30 am at the Winn room of the Coronado Public Library

Common Chords V

Thursday, October 23, 7pm at Smith Recital Hall


  • JSP Artist in Residence Yale Strom
  • Persian pop star Hamed Nikpay
  • Indian tabla player Samir Chatterjee
  • Percussionist Sunny Jain, recognized as a leading voice in the emerging South Asian-American jazz movement

These stellar musicians will be performing in concert with Hot Pstromi: Elizabeth Schwartz (vocals), Mark Dresser (Bassist), Tripp Sprague (reeds) and Lou Fanucchi (accordion).

The Common Chords ensemble is comprised of Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Jain and Christian musicians.

In addition to the concert, there will be an opening program performed by the Tifereth Israel Community Orchestra, poetry readings from different cultures and faiths by students and faculty and the premiere of a new dance piece choreographed by John Malashock to an original composition which Yale composed for this purpose. The Common Chords concert will conclude the evening.

This event is part of the JSPs Initiative for Moral Courage and will be a featured concert for the Daniel Pearl World Music Days, with Ruth and Judea Pearl (Daniel's parents) in attendance to introduce the ensemble.

This event is free and open to the public.

Jews and Jazz: featuring Norbert Stachel with Yale Strom & Hot Pstromi

March 5th, 7:00 pm at Smith Recital Hall

Join us to celebrate the sounds of the 1920s to 50s, when jazz and klezmer happily intermarried. Jewish musicians learned to speak "jive", while African American musicians dug the music as much as they dug the Jewish deli cuisine after their gigs! Tunes and songs from Cab Calloway to Dave Tarras will be presented with a tasty dose of improvisation on the side. Hot Pstromi includes the world renowned artists Duncan Moore(percussion), Lou Fanucchi (accordion), Jeff Pekarek (bass), Elizabeth Schwartz (vocals), Gilbert Castellanos (trumpet), Tripp Sprague (tenor),Yale Strom (violin), Fred Benedetti (guitar) and special guest from NYC Norbert Stachel (baritone, clarinet, flute).

Norbert Stachel, a saxophonist and multi woodwind instrumentalist, is widely recognized for being a unique soloist and also for his strong ensemble contributions in all kinds of musical genres. Norbert has recorded, toured, and performed with a variety of known and established names, as well as artists deserving wider recognition. He has worked with famous names including: Aerosmith, Tower of Power, Roger Waters, Tony Toni Toné, Ted Nugent, Eddie Money, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Prince, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Dream Theatre, Diana Ross, Boz Scaggs, Bonnie Raitt, Cold Blood, Neil Diamond, En Vogue, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Sheila E, Quincy Jones, D’Angelo, Billy Joel, Jimmy Buffet, Quicksilver, Les McCann, Don Cherry, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Hargrove, Andrew Hill, Charlie Haden, Benny Green, Russel Malone, Woody Herman, Kenny Burrell, Buddy Montgomery, Joe Henderson, Eddie Henderson, George Cables, Bobby Hutcherson, Lou Rawls, Eartha Kitt, Dizzy Gillespie, Zigaboo Modeliste, Flora Purim & Airto, Merle Saunders, Bob Weir, Hiram Bullock, Carlos Santana, & countless others.

Norbert is accomplished on all saxophones, clarinets, flutes, and ethnic wind instruments. Norbert has 30+ years experience playing Jazz, Classical, Rock, R&B, Afro Cuban/Latin, Salsa, Klezmer, Middle Eastern, World, and most other forms of music. Norbert also composes instrumental & vocal music, and also arranges for any kind of instrumental ensemble or choir.

Common Chords IV

This special event features Pakistani rock star Salman Ahmad of the band Junoon, South Asia's most popular rock band, internationally renowned Indian tabla player Samir Chatterjee, and percussionist Sunny Jain, recognized as a leading voice in the emerging South Asian-American jazz movement. These three stellar musicians will be performing in concert with acclaimed klezmer ethnographer and SDSU Jewish Studies Artist-in-Residence Yale Strom and members of his band Hot Pstromi: Elizabeth Schwartz (vocals), Mark Dresser (Bassist), Tripp Sprague (reeds) and Lou Fanucchi (accordion).

Common Chords, presented on Thursday October 3 at 7pm in Smith Recital Hall in the Music Building celebrates the common roots of Muslim and Jewish music. As a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations, one of Salman Ahmad’s main goals is to foster mutual respect and understanding between Muslims and Jews by bringing these two groups of people together in concert settings.


Reading & Discussion with Etgar Keret, SDSU students & community members

Monday September 30th, @11:00am

Hailed as the voice of young Israel and one of its most innovative and  extraordinary writers, Etgar Keret is internationally acclaimed for his short stories.

Born in Tel Aviv in 1967 to an extremely diverse family,  his brother heads an Israeli group that lobbies for the legalization of  marijuana, and his sister is an orthodox Jew and the mother of ten children. Keret regards his family as a microcosm of Israel. His book, The Nimrod Flip-Out,(Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2006), is a collection of 32 short  stories that captures the craziness of life in Israel today.

Rarely extending beyond three or four pages, these stories fuse the banal with  the surreal. Shot through with a dark, tragicomic sensibility and casual, comic-strip violence, he offers a window on a surreal world that  is at once funny and sad.

His books are bestsellers in Israel and have been published in twenty-two languages. Books include Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God (2004, St. Martin's Press); Missing Kissinger (2007, Chatto & Windus); and Gaza Blues (2004). In France, Kneller`s Happy Campers is listed as one of the Fnac`s two-hundred books of the decade, and The Nimrod Flip-Out was published in Francis Ford Coppola`s magazine, Zoetrope (2004).

His most recent book Suddenly a Knock on the Door (2010),  became an instant #1 bestseller in Israel. Keret has received the Book Publishers Association`s  Platinum Prize several times, the Chevalier medallion of France's Order of Arts and Letters and has been awarded the Prime Minister's Prize, and the Ministry of  Culture`s Cinema Prize in Israel.

As a filmmaker, Keret is the writer of several feature screenplays, including Skin Deep (1996), which won First Prize at several international film festivals and was awarded the Israeli Oscar. Wrist Cutters, featuring Tom Waits, was released in August 2007. Jellyfish, his first movie as a director along with his wife Shira Geffen, won the  coveted Camera d'Or prize for best first feature at the Cannes Film Festival 2007.

Presented in partnership with the San Diego Jewish Academy with support from The Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles and The Jewish Federation of San Diego County