Past Sessions

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Fall 2018

October 17

"Re-examining Relevance in the Jewish Studies Classroom"

  • Ziva Hassenfeld, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education
  • Moderator: Matt Boxer, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies
November 7

"Jewish Identity: Shaping the Future Together at Brandeis"

  • Barry Shrage, Hornstein Program
  • Moderator: Jon Levisohn, Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education
December 5

"Crazy Rich Haredim: Religion, Money, and Love in Israeli Television"

Spring 2019

January 16

Honoring Our Founding Values at Brandeis: A CJL Conversation

President Liebowitz has created a Task Force on Honoring Our Founding Values at Brandeis. In this special session, we invite the CJL community to an open conversation of several of the key questions that the task force is considering.

February 13

Before Wild Things: Maurice Sendak and the Postwar Jewish American Child as Queer Insider-Outsider

Moderator: Jonathan Krasner, Mandel Center

March 27

Next Year in Jerusalem in Contemporary American Haggadot

Moderator: Susanne Shavelson, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education

April 10

How Many Jews? The American Jewish Community in 2018

Moderator: Stephanie Sanger-Miller, Hillel
May 8

The Pursuit of Jewish Literacy in Jewish Education

Moderator: Yehudah Mirsky, NEJS

Fall 2017

October 4

Studying Contemporary Jewish Life: the Brandeis Agenda for 2017-18

October 25

How Jewish Law Changes: The Case of Assisted Reproductive Technologies

December 6

Pursuing Fluency in Tanakh: An Intervention Study in a Seventh Grade Classroom

Ziva Reimer Hassenfeld, (MCSJE)

Spring 2018

February 1

"Beyond Ten Days: The Long-Term Impact of Birthright Israel"

  • Leonard Saxe, (CCMJS)
  • Moderator: Sharon Feiman Nemser, (MCSJE)
February 28

"Hebrew, Jewish Overnight Camps, and the Summer Shlichim Program"

March 7

"Whence Orthodox Feminism? Cognitive Dissonance Theory and Religious Change in the United States"

  • Michelle Shain, (CMJS)
  • Moderator: Ziva R. Hassenfeld, (MCSJE)
March 21

"Join Our Family: A Halakhic Conversion Policy for Our Time"

  • Zvi Zohar, Bar-Ilan University
  • Moderator: David Ellenson, SCIS
May 9

"American Christian Zionism: Beyond the Bible"

  • Walker Robins, (SCIS)


Fall 2016: How Contemporary Jews Read Texts

A: October 26

Iddo Haklai (NEJS/Schusterman): "How Contemporary Secular Israelis Read Texts"

Diane Tickton Schuster (Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education): "How American Jewish Adults Read Texts"

B: November 30
"The Intersection of Religious Law, Family and Gender in Israel Today"

Ronit Ir-Shai, Rikki Shapira and Avishalom Westreich (Hadassah-Brandeis Institute)
This special CJL session is hosted by the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies.

C: December 14

Charlie Schwartz (Precollege Programs): "How American Jewish Adolescents Read Texts"

Ziva Reimer Hassenfeld (Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education): "How American Jewish Schoolchildren Read Texts"

Special event
The 2016 Presidential Election and the Jewish Community: A Brandeis Conversation
January 19, 2017

For the Jewish community, the election raised a particular set of questions, around anti-Semitism and the rise of the alt-right, around minority and immigrant rights, around domestic and foreign policy including Israel and the middle east, and most fundamentally, around the health of our democratic institutions and our democratic culture.

Many of these questions are also the focus of other conversations, as they should be. But this event provided a space for the Brandeis Jewish community, in particular, as well as friends and colleagues from outside the Jewish community.

Learn more

Spring 2017: How Contemporary Jews Read Texts, continued

D: January 25
E: February 8
  • Elyse Winick, Combined Jewish Philanthropies: "Five Kinds of Lizards:  Opening Traditional Text to the Nontraditional"
  • Ariel Pardo, Hillel at Brandeis: "How Young Contemporary Jews Study in the Brandeis Beis Medrash”
  • Sharon Feiman-Nemser, Mandel Center and NEJS: moderator

Additional Spring sessions:

March 22
  • Eugene Sheppard, NEJS:  “236 Autobiographies of Life in Germany Before & After 1933”
  • Rachel Fish, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies: moderator
May 3

Fall 2015

September 30
Critical Connections: How Families and Social Circles Shape American Jewish Individuals and Societies

Sylvia Barack Fishman, NEJS and Hadassah-Brandeis Institute

Jon A. Levisohn, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education

October 28
Millennial Children of Intermarriage: Touchpoints and Trajectories

Fern Chertok, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies

Introductory remarks:
Len Saxe, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies

Sylvia Barack Fishman, NEJS and Hadassah-Brandeis Institute

December 9
Making Sense of Contemporary Israeli Culture: A Look Back at the Last 30 Years of Literature, Television and Film

Ari Ofengenden, NEJS and Hebrew Program

Moderator: Rachel Fish, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies

Spring 2016 

January 27
Learning to do  Shabbat at Camp

Joseph Reimer, Education and Hornstein Programs
Jon A. Levisohn, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education

February 24
A National Study of Chabad on Campus: Preliminary Findings

Mark Rosen, Hornstein Program
Discussants: Elyse Winick, Hillel at Brandeis; Peretz Chein, Chabad of Brandeis

April 6
Race, Religion, Food and Community: Doing Public History in Mattapan, MA

Sara Shostak, Sociology
Moderator: Ellen Smith, Hornstein Program

May 4
Orthodoxies Then and Now: What the Controversies in the 1860s Tell Us about the Controversies Today

David Ellenson, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies


Fall 2014

October 22
Why Rav Kook Still Matters--and in America, Too

Yehudah Mirsky, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies

November 5
The Government of Israel-World Jewry Joint Initiative: A Perspective from the Jewish Agency

Alan Hoffman, Director General, The Jewish Agency for Israel

December 3
Israel, Gaza and Contemporary Jewish Life


Spring 2015

February 25
Encounters with Anti-Semitism: Jewish Feminists and the Feminist Movement

Joyce Antler, American Studies

March 25
Jews Who Choose for Twos: Exploring the Demographic of Families with Young Children

Mark Rosen, Hornstein Program

April 15
On the Origins and Persistence of the Jewish Identity Industry in Jewish Education,
Celebrating Jonathan Krasner's Appointment to the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Chair in Jewish Education Research

Jonathan Krasner, Mandel Center and NEJS