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Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Program


Calendar of Fall 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013The Jewish Immigrant in World Cinema
11:00 - 12:15 p.m.

Sierra Hall 268

The Jewish Immigrant in World Cinema
Presented by Lawrence Baron, Ph.D.

Jews have been extraordinary in world history for their migration to distant lands over the centuries.  How does world cinema  portray this?  Professor Lawrence Baron will discuss this topic, illustrated with select movie clips.

About the presenter:  Lawrence Baron, Ph.D., is author of The Wandering View: Modern Jewish Experiences in World Cinema and Projecting the Holocaust into the Present: The Changing Focus of Contemporary Holocaust Cinema. The former Nasatir Chair of Modern Jewish History at San Diego State University, he currently lectures and writes. He authors a regular film review column for the San Diego Jewish World.

Please call (818) 677-4724 or email jewish.studies@csun.edu.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013Archaeological findings
11:00 - 12:15 p.m.

Juniper Hall 1212

Israel Today Through the Lens of History
Presented by Moshe Goldin

Moshe Goldin, a licensed Israel tour guide and former geography teacher, will speak about archaeology in Israel today. In addition to showing examples of pottery and artifacts found in archeological sites, he will also discuss some of the current controversies within present-day Israeli archeology.

Please call (818) 677-4724 or email jewish.studies@csun.edu to reserve a seat.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013Taken from the Sephardic Community site
11:00 - 12:15 p.m.

Juniper Hall 1212

Crypto-Jews and the L.A. Sephardic Community
Presented by Art Benveniste


Please call (818) 677-4724 or email jewish.studies@csun.edu to reserve a seat.





Sunday, October 6, 2013Natasha By Daiv Bezmozgis
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

CSUN Hillel
17729 Plummer St.
Northridge, CA 91325

Book Discussion Group
Natasha by David Bezmozgis
Discussion leader, Dr. Audrey Thacker

“A dazzling debut, and a publishing phenomenon: the tender, savagely funny collection from a young immigrant who has taken the critics by storm.”

“…the stories in Natasha possess a serious wit and uniquely Jewish perspective that recall the first published stories of Bernard Malamud and Philip Roth, not to mention the recent work of Jhumpa Lahiri, Nathan Englander, and Adam Haslett.”

Natasha and Other Stories is available for purchase at many places online, including Amazon.com, or for borrowing at the Los Angeles Public Library.

Please call (818) 677-4724 or email jewish.studies@csun to let us know you will be attending.

Monday, October 7, 2013Kabbalah and the Spiritual Quest
4:00 - 5:15 p.m.

Sierra Hall 314

Kabbalah Centre: A New Religion? A "Cult"?

Jody Myers, Ph.D., is professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Jewish Studies Program at CSUN.  She has authored a book and articles on contemporary Kabbalah, in addition to works on other aspects of Jewish thought and history.  

Please call (818) 677-4724 or email jewish.studies@csun.edu to reserve a seat.






Thursday, October 10, 2013Cow Farmer
12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

University Student Union, Flintridge Room

The Ethics of Factory Farming
Presented by professor Aaron S. Gross, Ph. D.

Factory farming radically transformed animal agriculture over the last half century with few people realizing the many difficulties it produces for animal welfare and worker treatment, in addition to the environmental pollution it produces.  How are we to respond?  Aaron Gross will share insights from his work on these issues as both the founder of the nonprofit Farm Forward and as a scholar of Jewish studies.

Aaron S. Gross is professor of theology and religious studies at the University of San Diego and holds graduate degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of California, Santa Barbara's Department of Religious Studies. Gross chairs the Steering Committee of the American Academy of Religion's Animals and Religion Consultation and collaborated heavily with Jonathan Safran Foer on Foer’s book Eating Animals. Gross’s new book, Animals and the Human Imagination: A Companion to Animal Studies, explores the new interdisciplinary field known as "animal studies" to challenge the way we think about animals. He has played a leadership role in a wide variety of national and international farmed animal welfare campaigns in the Americas, South Asia, and the Middle East since the mid-1990s.

Limited seating. Please call (818) 677-4724 or email jewish.studies@csun.edu.

Sunday, October 20, 2013The Pin film
10:00 a.m.

Laemmle's Town Center 5
17200 Ventura Blvd.
Encino, CA 91316

The Pin

THE PIN is the first Yiddish language film (with English subtitles) to be shot in Canada and the 2nd in North America in over 70 years.   It is a love story told in flashback.   An elderly religious Jewish man working in a morgue as a shomer (a person who keeps the body company until it is ready for burial) is plunged into memories when the body of his long-lost first love arrives.   We see their meeting in a deserted Lithuanian barn during the Nazi invasion when both had fled from the killing squads.  Over the few days of their hiding, their fear and desperation turn into love for one another and a pledge of eternal commitment -- until an unexpected intrusion changes everything.   This film is not really about the Holocaust, although the horrible events are necessary to the story, but about love, forgiveness, and coming to terms with the past.  The film's poetic quality, quiet beauty, and superb acting make it a real gem.  83 minutes.  Followed by Q & A with CSUN Jewish Studies faculty.

Co-Sponsored by Adat Ari El, Temple Ahavat Shalom, Temple Kol Tikvah, Temple Ramat Zion, Valley Beth Shalom, and CSUN Hillel.

No more seats are available for our screening.
You may view this film at the following locations: Laemmle Theater Royal starting on October 25th, Laemmle Theatre Playhouse 7 and Laemmle Town Center 5 starting on November 1st.

Sunday, October 27, 2013Marc Gopin
6:30 p.m.

Temple Ramat Zion
17655 Devonshire St.
Northridge, CA 91325


Monday, October 28, 2013
9:30 - 10:45 a.m.

University Student Union, Thousand Oaks Room

Due to an emergency, this event has been cancelled. It will be rescheduled at a date in the near future. Check back for the new time and date.


The good news on global violence reduction, the bad news on America, and how interfaith relations can help shape our future
Presented by Marc Gopin, Ph D.

Research analyzing data from across the globe confirms that violence has been plummetting in recent decades, but really consistently and slowly for a couple of hundred years. The more complicated question is why and how is this happening. Research is providing some good foundations for the trends, and it seems clear that our values and our attitudes, our very thoughts have a great deal to do with our evolution away from violence. We will review the evidence on violence reduction, the factors contributing to it, and the role of world religions in violence and anti-violence in the past and what the prospects are for the future. The fields of conflict analysis and resolution, human rights, women's rights and international development will be reviewed for their contributions to the global trends, and the contributions and problems of religious traditions past, present and future will be critically analyzed. 

Marc Gopin is the Director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution (CRDC), the James H. Laue Professor at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, Arlington, Virginia, USA, and co-owner of MEJDI, a peace tourism business that embraces the multiple narratives of indigenous peoples. Gopin has pioneered projects at CRDC in Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Palestine and Israel.  He received his Ph.D. in Ethics from Brandeis University.  He is the author of five books, including To Make The Earth Whole: The Art of Citizen Diplomacy in an Age of Religious Militancy and Holy War, Holy Peace: How Religion Can Bring Peace to the Middle East

Please call (818) 677-4724 or email jewish.studies@csun.edu to reserve a seat.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013Mike Stein
11:00 - 12:15 p.m.

Juniper Hall 1212

Jewish Music: The Soul of the People
Presented by Cantor Mike Stein

Enjoy great Jewish music from around the globe?  Come hear the incomparable Hazan Stein for a melodic and joyful taste of diverse Jewish music. 

Please call (818) 677-4724 or email jewish.studies@csun.edu to reserve a seat.




Wednesday, October 30, 2013 Fagan Ancestry
12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

Flintridge Room, University Student Union

Traces of Family in Lithuania
Presented by Lisa Lainer-Fagan

Hear about the extraordinary research and commemorative trip taken by Lisa Lainer-Fagan and her family to discover the fate of the family members that disappeared during the Holocaust.  This slide-lecture will feature photographs of the many clues they followed in learning the truth – actual letters, survivor testimony, historical photos, government documents, maps – as well as the actual sites in Lithuania that they visited.     

Limited seating. Please call (818) 677-4724 or email jewish.studies@csun.edu.



Wednesday, November 13, 2013Warsaw Ghetto
11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Sierra Hall 268

The Holocaust through the Eyes of Warsaw Jews
Presented by Beth Cohen, Ph.D.

This lecture on the Holocaust focuses on the experience of the Jews in Warsaw, Poland.  Through film clips and diary excerpts, you will see the effect of the Nazi invasion, the building of the Warsaw ghetto, the Warsaw Ghetto Revolt, and the devastation of the Warsaw Jews.  Archival materials and films bring this era back to life. 

Please call (818) 677-4724 or email jewish.studies@csun.edu.


Sunday, November 24, 2013 400 Miles to Freedom
10:00 a.m.

Laemmle's Town Center 5
17200 Ventura Blvd.
Encino, CA 91316

400 Miles to Freedom

In 1984, the Beta Israel, a secluded 2,500-year-old community of observant Jews in the northern Ethiopian mountains, fled a dictatorship and began a secret and dangerous journey of escape to Israel in the exodus known as Operation Moses.  Co-director Avishai Mekonen, then 10 years old, was among them, and this dramatic documentary presents the Ethiopian Jewish experience from his perspective.  With a level of detail and sensitivity unusual for this topic, Mekonen tells his story as he ends his 20 year silence around the kidnapping he endured during his community's exodus out of Africa, and while he explores issues of race and Jewish identity in Israel and the U.S.  This documentary was produced by Be'chol Lashon (In Every Tongue), a non-profit organization based in San Francisco, California whose mission is to grow and strengthen the Jewish people through ethnic, cultural, and racial inclusiveness.  In English with occasional sub-titles for Hebrew and Amharic. 
61 minutes, followed by Q & A with CSUN Jewish Studies faculty.

Co-Sponsored by Adat Ari El, Temple Ahavat Shalom, Temple Kol Tikvah, Temple Ramat Zion, Valley Beth Shalom, and CSUN Hillel.

Please call (818) 677-4724 or email jewish.studies@csun.edu to reserve a seat.