Presentation and discussion with students on internship opportunities in Israel by Alon Tal
Sep 19 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Presentation and discussion with students on internship opportunities in Israel by Alon Tal

Presentation and discussion with students on internship opportunities in Israel by Alon Tal 

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Immediately following What Happens When the Middle East Gets Even Hotter? Israel’s Response to the Global Climate Crisis with Prof. Alon Tal 11:00am-12:30pm


Dr. Alon Tal is a Serling Visiting Israeli Scholar at James Madison College in MSU for the seventh time during the
Fall 2021 semester.
Dr. Alon Tal [Sc.D., Harvard University; Ll.B., Hebrew University] is the Chair of the Department of Public Policy at Tel Aviv University and founded the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, a graduate studies center in which students join Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian environmentalists to study common environmental challenges and solutions.
Dr. Tal served as the co-chair of Israel’s Green Party. He is also a founding member of the Blue & White party’s list of Knesset candidates, who actively participated in both 2019 campaigns.
He is the author of five books. The latest is The Land Is Full: Addressing Overpopulation in Israel, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2016.




Discussion of selected chapters in “Contending with Antisemitism in a Rapidly Changing Political Climate” @ B342 Wells Hall
Sep 24 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Discussion of selected chapters in “Contending with Antisemitism in a Rapidly Changing Political Climate” @ B342 Wells Hall | East Lansing | Michigan | United States

Discussion of selected chapters in “Contending with Antisemitism in a Rapidly Changing Political Climate”
Edited by Alvin H. Rosenfeld

Those interested in participating should contact Ariana at, to receive PDFs of the reading.
Chapters covered in this program include: Contending with Antisemitism in its Many Forms on American Campuses, In the Context of a Coarsened Climate, and Rethinking Campus Antisemitism in America and How to Address It.

Finifter Panel on Romaniote Jews/Greek Jews
Oct 1 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Finifter Panel on Romaniote Jews/Greek Jews

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This event will be virtual, Zoom link will be advertised through email. If you are not getting our emails, please contact us at

“Romaniote Jewry: Past-Present-Future riday”
This lecture will focus on the rich history and tradition of Romaniote Jewry , my personal story and the challenges of the present time as the first Jewish Mayor in Greece especially during pandemia.

Moses Elisaf is Professor of Medicine but also I have the honor to be the President of the tiny though historical Jewish Community of Ioannina for the last 20 years and also I am for more than one year the Mayor of the city of Ioannina and thus I have the strong commitment to preserve the memory of the city and to make known its rich multicultural past.

“From the Cobblestone Streets of Ioannina to the Sidewalks of New York”
From 1906 to 1924 over half of the Romaniote Jewish Community of Ioannina immigrated to the USA; for most the port of entry was Ellis Island in New York Harbor.

Why did the leave? What was different about their experience, both in Greece and in New York?
What institutions did they establish? What occupations did they engage in?
What remains of the Romaniote presence in New York?

It is my hope that this presentation will fill the void often felt by Romaniote Jews and how they are represented in mainstream studies.

Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos is Museum Director of Kehila Kedosha Janina and President of the Association of Friends of Greek Jewry. As a former educator, writer, editor and translator, she has dedicated her life to telling the story of Greek Jewry. Marcia was honored to be chosen a member of scholarly committee for review, translation and microfilming of Salonika Archives at YIVO and compiled the text and visuals for the USHMM’s website on the Holocaust of Greek Jewry.

“The Jewish Community of Ioannina: A Journey in Time through the Collections of the Jewish Museum of Greece”

This brief presentation by the Director of the Jewish Museum of Greece, archaeologist Zanet Battinou, will offer a journey through aspects of the Romaniote history and tradition of Ioannina, examining selected artefacts from the Museum Permanent Exhibition and Collections. The Jewish Museum of Greece was founded almost 45 years ago to collect, preserve, research and present evidence of the history and culture of the Greek Jews, in the long centuries of their presence in the southeastern corner of Europe.

Zanet Battinou is a native of Ioannina and of the local Jewish Community. She studied Archaeology and Museology and is the Director of the Jewish Museum of Greece. She represents the JMG in organisations, such as ICOM and AEJM. She has been participating in the biannual meetings of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance since 2000, as a member of the Greek National Delegation, while since 2005, she has been serving as a delegate in the Museums & Memorials Working Group of the organisation. Under her leadership, the JMG initiated Holocaust Education in Greece in 2001 and still works at the forefront of all relevant initiatives and actions. Zanet is married and the mother of three children.


The Jonathan Netanyahu Symposium on Antisemitism
Oct 8 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
The Jonathan Netanyahu Symposium on Antisemitism @ East Lansing | Michigan | United States

Symposium on Antisemitism

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Message from President Stanley

Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Jabbar Bennett will introduce the Symposium

Panel 1: 10:00am-12:00pm “Antisemitism: Past and Present Permutations”

David Nirenberg – “Does Anti-Judaism’s Past Tell Us Anything About Its Future?”
Anti-Judaism and Anti-Semitism have a long history. How can the study of that history help us to understand the present, and what can it offer the future?

David Nirenberg is Dean of The Divinity School and Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, where he has also served as Dean of the Social Sciences and Executive Vice Provost. Much of his research focuses on the ways in which Jewish, Christian, and Islamic cultures constitute themselves by relating to or thinking about each other. His prize-winning books include Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages, and Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition, and Neighboring Faiths: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism Medieval and Modern. His most recent book, written in collaboration with a mathematician, is Uncountable: A Philosophical History of Number and Humanity from Antiquity to the Present. He is currently at work on a World History of Race and Religion in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Eric Ward – “Skin in the Game: How Antisemitism Animates White Nationalism”
Where do we currently stand in relation to the nation’s reckoning with the issues of race, white privilege and inequality, and what stake do we have in this process? Eric K. Ward, Executive Director of Western States Center, will discuss the historical contexts, current challenges and future possibilities that together reflect the connections between antisemitism and white nationalist ideology in the United States.

Eric K. Ward is a nationally-recognized expert on the relationship between authoritarian movements, hate violence, and preserving inclusive democracy. In his 30+ year civil rights career, he has worked with community groups, government and business leaders, human rights advocates, and philanthropy as an organizer, director, program officer, consultant, and board member. The recipient of the Peabody-Facebook Futures Media Award, Eric’s widely quoted writings and speeches are credited with key narrative shifts. He currently serves as Executive Director of Western States Center, Senior Fellow with Southern Poverty Law Center and Race Forward, and Co-Chair for The Proteus Fund.

David Schraub – “White Jews: An Intersectional Approach”
The application of both “intersectionality” and “whiteness” to American Jews is controversial within many segments of the Jewish community. However, I suggest that an intersectional approach offers the best way of understanding the dynamic relationship between Jewishness and Whiteness, and can help illuminate elements of the Jewish experience that would otherwise remain obscure. Resisting simplistic conclusions that Jews uncomplicatedly either are or are not “White,” my core claim is that Whiteness and Jewishness in combination function in ways that are not necessarily grasped if one atomizes the identities and holds them apart. What Whiteness “does” to Jewishness is act as an accelerant for certain forms of antisemitic marginalization even as it ratifies a racialized hierarchy within the Jewish community. Absent an intersectional vantage, many political projects and controversies surrounding Jewish equality will be systematically misunderstood.

David Schraub is an Assistant Professor of Law at Lewis & Clark Law School, where he teaches courses on constitutional law and anti-discrimination law. He previously taught at DePaul University, the University of California-Berkeley, and the University of Illinois. David has published extensively on the subjects of antisemitism and anti-discrimination more broadly in both academic and popular outlets, such as the California Law Review, the American Political Science Review, and the Association of Jewish Studies (AJS) Review, as well as The Atlantic, The Jewish Daily Forward, and Haaretz. He holds a B.A. from Carleton College, a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, and a Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley.

Panel 2: 1:00pm-3:00pm “Antisemitism and the Campus Climate”

Saba Soomekh – “From the Classroom to the Quad: The Rise of Antisemitism and a Hostile Campus Climate”
Dr. Soomekh will discuss the many challenges Jewish and pro-Israel students deal with regarding the rise of antisemitism on campus and in the classroom. She will discuss how we can support Jewish students and their allies in order to build a secure and positive campus environment and empower campus leaders to strengthen their Jewish community’s position within the larger university. Finally, Dr. Soomekh will specifically address the antisemitism Iranian and other Mizrahi Jews experience in America and their Ashkenormative experience on campus.

Dr. Saba Soomekh is the Associate Director at the American Jewish Committee-Los Angeles and a lecturer at The Academy for Jewish Religion-CA, where she teaches Religious Studies and Middle Eastern History courses. Dr. Soomekh teaches and writes extensively on World Religions, Women and Religion, intersectionality and its impact on the Jewish community, and the geo-politics of the Middle East. She is a participant in the 2021 Fellows Program at King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), and was a Scholar-in-Residence at Oxford University with the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy. Professor Soomekh is the editor of the book Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in America and the author of the book From the Shahs to Los Angeles: Three Generations of Iranian Jewish Women between Religion and Culture.

Cary Nelson – “The Academic Mandate for Antisemitism”
Anti-Zionist beliefs have become institutionalized in a number of humanities and social science departments. As a consequence, the guard rails that blocked or discouraged their faculty from drifting from anti-Zionism to antisemitism have disintegrated. Teaching about contemporary antisemitism should therefore confront current faculty practices.

Cary Nelson is Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts & Sciences Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Nelson was President of the American Association of University Professors between 2006 and 2012. His 35 authored books include 5 about antisemitism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict including The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel (Co-edited with Gabriel Noah Brahm, 2015) and Israel Denial: Anti-Zionism, Anti-Semitism, & The Faculty Campaign Against the Jewish State (2019).

Ethan Katz – “From Jewish Studies Educator to Anti-Bias Training Filmmaker: How the Changing Realities of Campus Politics Led Me to the Fight Against Antisemitism”
In this talk, Prof. Ethan Katz will present the acclaimed training film Antisemitism in Our Midst: Past and Present, which he co-wrote with colleagues at UC-Berkeley. He will explain how over the past couple of years, his scholarship, background, and political circumstances have led him to focus substantial attention on antisemitism education at Berkeley and far beyond. Drawing on that experience, Dr. Katz will address what he sees as the key challenges and most promising approaches in that work today and how those shaped the training film.

Ethan Katz is Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies at the University of California-Berkeley, where he is also the Chair of the Chancellor’s Committee on Jewish Life and Campus Climate. Since the spring of 2019, he has been the co-founder and co-director of the Antisemitism Education Initiative at Berkeley (along with Rabbi Naftalin-Kelman). This effort brings together administrators, faculty, and leaders of the campus Jewish community to create a sustained program to combat antisemitism, and has been treated as a resource and model by colleagues on a number of other campuses. Dr. Katz is also currently the co-chair of a Task Force of the Association for Jewish Studies on Antisemitism and Academic Freedom.

As a scholar, Dr. Katz’s work has focused on the Jewish experience in modern Europe and the Middle East, especially in France and the Francophone world. Much of his scholarship examines Jewish belonging and exclusion, Jewish-Muslim relations, the Holocaust, Islamophobia, and colonialism and its legacies. His book The Burdens of Brotherhood: Jews and Muslims from North Africa to France (Harvard, 2015) received five prizes, including a National Jewish Book Award and two awards for the best book of the year in French history.

MI Supreme Court Justice @ Lincoln Room of the Kellogg Center
Oct 12 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
MI Supreme Court Justice @ Lincoln Room of the Kellogg Center | East Lansing | Michigan | United States

This event will be livestreaming on YouTube. To watch the event live, please click here:

“The Human Face of the Abraham Accords: Disability as a Common Struggle“

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein will discuss his experiences working, for three months in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and three months in Israel in 2021, to forge relationships and develop a common understanding of the struggles faced by the disabled, and the strength and resilience that emerges from those struggles. Justice Bernstein, who is blind, was invited by the UAE, in the wake of the Abraham Accords between Israel, the UAE, Morocco, and Bahrain — to help draft policy for disabilities. Bernstein will describe how leaders and community members of each country worked to promote cooperation in the areas of education, job placement programs, and athletic opportunities. Bringing Israeli assistive technologies and logistical capabilities in these areas to bear, Israeli organizations like the Shalva National Center and Access Israel, with Bernstein’s guidance, worked with organizations like the Ministry of Community Development of the UAE to develop new initiatives and projects, as well as develop relationships of mutual understanding through shared experiences. Richard Bernstein has been doing this kind of advocacy work with the United Nations for years.

Justice Richard Bernstein became the first elected blind justice to the Michigan Supreme Court in November 2014. Prior to being elected to Michigan’s highest court, Justice Bernstein was known as a tireless advocate for disabled rights heading the public service division for The 5am Bernstein Law Firm. Blind since birth, Justice Bernstein is a graduate of the University of Michigan and earned his JD from Northwestern University School of Law.
ln his spare time, Justice Bernstein is an avid runner, completing 24 marathons- including fourteen New York City marathons, a full lronman triathlon, and a half lronman.

MUSE Workshop @ MSU
Oct 20 – Oct 24 all-day

In 2018-19, the Department of English piloted a new program, MUSE: Mentoring Underrepresented Scholars in English. The third annual MUSE workshop will be held from October 20-24th, 2021 at Michigan State University, in East Lansing, MI. The Fall MUSE workshop is directed at prospective English graduate students from underrepresented groups, including students of African American, Latinx and Chicanx, Asian American, Native American, and Indigenous descent. The workshop will allow students to learn more about the English Department, visit graduate classes and co-curricular activities, meet with our graduate faculty and graduate students, and receive individual feedback from the faculty on their application materials for graduate school. Students will also have the opportunity to present their research to faculty. The workshop aims to introduce prospective students to a robust culture of mentoring essential for a rewarding graduate school experience, and a thriving life in academia.

The Inaugural Leonard Gilman Lecture on Jewish Culture: Black Folks and the Jewish Experience
Nov 2 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
The Inaugural Leonard Gilman Lecture on Jewish Culture: Black Folks and the Jewish Experience

The Inaugural Leonard Gilman Lecture on Jewish Culture:
Black Folks and the Jewish Experience
Tuesday, November 2nd 7:00-8:30pm

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Bruce D. Haynes, Professor of Sociology, University of California Davis will speak about his most recent publication, The Soul of Judaism; Jews of African Descent in America (NYU Press 2018), which challenges the dominant paradigm that Jews are white and of European descent. The book won the 2019 Albert J Raboteau Prize for Best Book in Africana Religions. Haynes has spent the last two decades studying Black-Jewish relations and Afro-Jewish identity in the U.S.

Dr. Haynes is professor of sociology at the University of California, Davis and a Senior Fellow in the Urban Ethnography Project at Yale University. Dr. Haynes’ work uses ethnographic and historical methodologies to extend and expand racialization as an analytical and explanatory framework for understanding racial group boundaries and neighborhood segregation.

Serling Modern Israel Lecture: The Struggle over Israel’s Legitimacy; A Status Report and Analysis @ Club Spartan, Case Hall (3rd Floor)
Nov 16 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Serling Modern Israel Lecture: The Struggle over Israel’s Legitimacy; A Status Report and Analysis @ Club Spartan, Case Hall (3rd Floor) | East Lansing | Michigan | United States

This event will be livestreaming on YouTube. To watch the event live, please click here

The struggle over the establishment of a Jewish state in a land sacred to the three main streams of monotheism is entering a second century after the beginnings of the dispute over the Balfour Declaration (1917) and the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine (1922). The establishment of Israel in 1948 did not end the conflict. In fact, it has reached a new stage in recent decades with Israel’s demonization as an apartheid, racist and colonial-settler state and the call for BDS. At the same time, Israel has reached unprecedented acceptance with recognition by more than 160 states worldwide including a growing number of proximate Arab, Muslim countries. The presentation will examine and comment on these contrary movements.

Ilan Troen is professor emeritus of both the Lopin Chair of Modern History (Ben-Gurion University, 2007) and the Stoll Family Chair in Israel Studies (Brandeis, 2017). He was the director of the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism (Sde Boker) and of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies (Brandeis). He is a past president of the Association for Israel Studies. Troen has authored or edited numerous books in American, Jewish, and Israeli history. He is the founding editor of the journal Israel Studies and the book series Perspectives on Israel Studies (Indiana University Press). Publications include Imagining Zion: Dreams, Designs and Realities in a Century of Jewish Settlement; with Jacob Lassner, Jews and Muslims in the Arab World; Haunted by Pasts Real and Imagined; and, with Rachel Fish (eds.), Essential Israel: Essays for the Twenty-First Century. He is completing a manuscript on Israel’s Struggle for Legitimacy; the First Century.

University Closed – Winter Break
Dec 24 – Dec 25 all-day
University Closed – Winter Break
Dec 31 2021 – Jan 1 2022 all-day