Welcome to Jewish History Matters

Jewish History Matters features interviews and in-depth discussion of new research and enduring debates about Jewish history and culture and why it matters. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, or browse and listen to our latest episodes.

Pedagogy and Public Engagement in Jewish Studies with Lori Lefkovitz, Sara Wolkenfeld, Matt Williams, Jason Lustig, and Pamela Nadell

Listen to a roundtable discussion about pedagogy and public engagement from the December 2018 Association for Jewish Studies conference in Boston, where Lori Lefkovitz, Sara Wolkenfeld, Matt Williams, and Jason Lustig, along with Pamela Nadel, who chaired the roundtable, talked about the role of scholars in the public sphere and how it relates to teaching, pedagogy, and technology. Considering pedagogy in a broadly defined sense, we wanted to address how we combine teaching with public engagement: how and why teaching reaches outside the classroom and what tools (digital and otherwise) we use to present Jewish Studies as a topic of vital public need.

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Could It Happen Here? Fascism and Nazism in America with Steve Ross

Could fascists really have taken power in the US during the 1930s? It’s not just the stuff of fiction, as in “The Man in the High Castle” and The Plot Against America. In Steve Ross’ book Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America, we learn about the thrilling (and terrifying) history of how Nazis and fascists tried to establish a foothold on the west coast and the efforts of a handful of spies to try to take them down. In this episode, Steve Ross joins us to talk about his book and the history of fascist and pro-Nazi groups in LA, the real threat that fascism posed in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s, and what it teaches us, unfortunately, about our present moment.

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The Kishinev Pogrom with Steven Zipperstein

Steven Zipperstein discusses the Kishinev pogrom and its afterlife in modern Jewish history and memory: the tremendous influence of Kishinev on how Jews have seen the world, the dangers of misinformation and propaganda, and how one event can shape a generation. Ultimately, the pogrom highlights how and why history matters: how the Kishinev pogrom has become so influential in modern Jewish history, and also the tension between the public memory of the pogrom and the actual historical events themselves. Today, we’re in an age when actual facts and details do matter, but the Kishinev pogrom shows the power of myth and memory too.

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Holocaust Memory and the Digital Age with Jeffrey Shandler

Jeffrey Shandler joins us to talk about Holocaust Memory in the Digital Age: Survivors’ Stories and Memory Practices: How Holocaust memory and memorialization is changing in the digital age, the history and meaning of testimony and the Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive, and what the future holds in store for these memory practices.

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Modern Jewish Thought with Samuel Moyn and Eugene Sheppard

Samuel Moyn and Eugene Sheppard join us to talk about the expansive vision of what constitutes modern Jewish thought that they are exploring through the various books in the multi-volume book series Brandeis Library of Modern Jewish Thought, published by Brandeis University Press. Listen in for our conversation about how the series came together, what they have tried to achieve with it, and what it means to push the boundaries of modern Jewish thought.

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American Jews and the Israeli Settler Movement with Sara Yael Hirschhorn

Sara Yael Hirschhorn joins us to discuss her book City on a Hilltop: American Jews and the Israeli Settler Movement, and the big questions that it raises for how we understand Israel, American Jewry, and those American Jews who have moved to Israel and participated in the settler movement beyond the Green Line in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Sinai Peninsula: Why so many Israeli Jewish settlers are of American origin, how we can understand them as real people and not caricatures, and how looking closely at this group can help unsettle assumptions or preconceived notions about the nature of the settlements in the occupied territories.

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Moving Beyond “Chrismukkah” with Samira Mehta

Samira Mehta joins us to discuss her book Beyond Chrismukkah: The Christian-Jewish Interfaith Family in the United States and the meaning and complexities of interfaith marriage: Why it matters beyond the question of continuity, how it relates to broader social and religious trends, and how thinking through interfaith marriage can help us to understand our world at large.

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