Film and Discussion: Senior Moments @ Wells Hall B-122
Nov 25 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Film and Discussion: Senior Moments @ Wells Hall B-122


Film and Discussion

Senior Moments


Tamar Kay will introduce her film Senior Moments and lead a discussion after the screening. Funny, witty, bold and revealing, the creators of “Senior Moments” document intimate meetings with 10 resilient active elderly folks surviving old age with a vengeance. It cohesively samples a cultural variety of personalities in modern-day Israel and provides an inspiring outlook on what it means to be old this day and age.

Directed By: Tamar Kay & Yair Agmon, 2018


Tamar Kay graduated from the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in Jerusalem in 2015. “Unchained,” an Israeli TV drama (12 episodes, 40 mins each) Tamar created with Yossi Madmoni & David Ofek, will have its premiere in November 2019, at the Israeli KAAN channel. She is a two-time Israeli Academy Award nominee.

The Mute’s House, which she directed and co-produced was shortlisted for the 2017 Best Short Documentary Academy Award (Oscars) and screened internationally and at MSU, winning numerous awards in prestigious festivals. Tamar edited the TV series, “Arik Einstein: A Standard Love Song”, which won the Israeli Emmy for Best Documentary TV Series (2018).


Yiddish Between Worlds @ Wells Hall, B-342
Feb 6 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Yiddish Between Worlds @ Wells Hall, B-342 | East Lansing | Michigan | United States

Dr. Margot B. Valles

Dr. Dov-Ber Kerler, Dr. Jack Kugelmass and Dr. Eli Rosenblatt

Dr. Margot B. Valles (MSU) will chair a panel bringing together three scholars of Yiddish who are 2019-2020 Frankel Institute Fellows exploring the theme of “Yiddish Matters” at the University of Michigan. Dr. Dov-Ber Kerler (Dr. Alice Field Cohn Chair in Yiddish Studies at Indiana University) is a contemporary Yiddish poet and ethnographer who is currently exploring the relationship between Yiddish poetry and the status of Yiddish today. Dr. Jack Kugelmass (Professor of Anthropology and the Melton Legislative Professor at the University of Florida) is a cultural anthropologist who studies Jewish identity and ethnography, particularly through travel narratives. Dr. Eli Rosenblatt (Northwestern University) works on racial politics and Ashkenazi identity through Yiddish literature. Together the panelists will explore Yiddish writing and culture in diverse contexts. 

Holocaust by Bullets: Model for the Modern Genocide @ The Kellogg Center Auditorium
Feb 10 @ 7:00 pm
Holocaust by Bullets: Model for the Modern Genocide @ The Kellogg Center Auditorium | East Lansing | Michigan | United States

Father Patrick Desbois

Meticulous Nazi records of Jews killed in the death camps identify fewer than half of the Holocaust’s victims. When, where and how were the other victims killed? Father Patrick Desbois, Founder and President of Yahad – In Unum and Braman Endowed Professor of the Practice of the Forensic Study of the Holocaust at the Center for Jewish Civilization of Georgetown University, has sought and found the answers to these questions.

In 2004, he founded Yahad – In Unum (“Together in One”) whose original charter was documenting the evidence of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe. By studying the archives and interviewing the eyewitnesses to the 75-year-old crime of the Holocaust, Father Desbois and his team were able to shed light on a forgotten mechanism in Hitler’s killing machine – the Einsatzgruppen, mobile killing squads that rounded up Jews by the thousands and shot them dead in towns and villages across Eastern Europe.

Yahad-In Unum’s relentless study and research into the “Holocaust by Bullets” has revealed chilling parallels between the Nazi atrocities and those committed today by ISIS – particularly in its murder and enslavement of Yazidis. For the last several years, Father Desbois and his team have been gathering testimony from the survivors of those crimes in Northern Iraq. They have also established centers for children and women in refugee camps to help former captives’ transition back into society.


Guest Speaker: Dr. Devin E. Naar @ Kellogg Conference Center
Feb 17 @ 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Guest Speaker: Dr. Devin E. Naar @ Kellogg Conference Center | East Lansing | Michigan | United States

The Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel presents

Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece: The Fate of Salonica ‘Jerusalem of the Balkans’

Dr. Devin E. Naar, University of Wisconsin

From 1492 until the twentieth century, the city of Salonica–once part of the Ottoman Empire and today the second biggest city in Greece– was home to the largest community of Ladinospeaking Sephardic Jews in the world. This talk focuses on how this once-thriving Jewish community grappled with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of modern Greece prior to the devastation of the Holocaust. Dr. Devin E. Naar is Isaac Alhadeff Professor of Sephardic Studies and Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies at the University of Washington. His book, Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece, won a National Jewish Book Award and the grand prize from the Modern Greek Studies Association.

Monday, February 17, 8:00-9:30 PM followed by reception

The Kellogg Center Auditorium

Co- sponsors: James Madison College, the College of Arts and Letters, College of Social Science, Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, Department of History.

Dr. Devin E. Naar  event flyer

Secular Meditation Workshop: Nature @ MSU Union, Lake Michigan Room
Feb 27 @ 7:00 pm

Meditation and Consciousness: Secular Techniques for Mastering Anxiety and Distraction

Nature: Thursday, February 27th, 7:00pm
MSU Union, Lake Michigan Room

Betting on Democracy: the Faith of an American Jewish Pragmatist @ Zoom
Feb 23 @ 7:00 pm
Betting on Democracy: the Faith of an American Jewish Pragmatist @ Zoom | Michigan | United States
Betting on Democracy: the Faith of an American Jewish Pragmatist with Rabbi Matthew Kaufman
In this significant American political moment, this presentation on the thought of American Jewish philosopher Horace M. Kallen is a timely exploration of his unique and creative conception of democracy as a religion. As we now grapple with understanding what America is and who we are as a people, Kallen’s ideas resonate as a sounding board for new debates on the viability of cooperative unity as the operative condition of American society.
Classes with CAL 2021 – Innovations in Teaching in the Arts and Humanities @ Zoom
Mar 17 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm


Innovations in Teaching in the Arts and Humanities

Take time during Covid to get back in Class! Please join us for a night of innovative thinking with some of the College of Arts and Letter’s finest. All staff, faculty, retirees, friends, and family are welcome!

Date: March 17th from 6:00-8:00


6:10-6:35 Talk #1 “The science and art of wellbeing: Integrating student wellness into CAL courses” with Dr. John Ritz; College of Arts and Letters Inaugural Director of Student Wellness

Jon Ritz, WRAC faculty member and CAL’s new Director of Student Wellness, will discuss CAL’s new effort to integrate wellness concepts and practices into its undergraduate learning goals, with a focus on mindfulness, creativity, and resilience. Jon will provide a brief overview of the evidence-based approach that undergirds the effort and how it will be delivered to students through cocurricular activities and direct integration in CAL courses. He will also touch on ways that a wellness-infused curriculum can help reinvigorate the arts and humanities as sites of undergraduate education.

6:35- 7:00 PM Talk #2 “It is never too Late to Learn a Language” with Sandhya Shanker; Academic Specialist at the Center for Language Teaching Advancement

In a globalized world, learning a language is not only useful when traveling but also boosts brain power. Learning a language as an adult enhances the ability to multitask, sharpens the mind and improves memory. The MSU Community Language School offers online language classes for adults with sessions in the fall, spring and summer. Information will be shared about our program offerings as well as a short taste of our online program experience.

7:00-7:40 Talk #3 “Evolving Pathways to Social Justice in the Arts and Humanities: Creativity in the Academic Class” with Julian Chambliss, Nancy DeJoy, and Natalie Phillips, CO-PIs on an Andrew Mellon Foundation Just Futures Grant.

In this presentation Chambliss, DeJoy, and Phillips discuss how centering creativity as opening paths to social justice encourages us to see creativity as central to teaching and learning in the humanities. Using the class work that inspired their Mellon Foundation Just Futures grant, the three will discuss how creativity is vital to inclusive curricula and how it expands our opportunities for community partnerships to inform our teaching.

Student Spotlight 7:40-7:55


Broad Underground Film Series @ Via Zoom
Mar 19 @ 7:00 pm
Broad Underground Film Series @ Via Zoom

Rania Stephan and The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni

Join video artist Rania Stephan for a screening and discussion of her award-winning video, The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni (2011). Stephan’s film, what she calls “an archaeology of images, identity, and memory,” ponders one of the great disappearing acts in the history of global cinema: the legacy and still mysterious death of Egyptian actress Soad Hosni. Hosni’s creative labor and iconic roles helped to define Egyptian cinema, and her personal life, never far from the public eye, generated a robust media legacy of its own. Drawing on footage from more than sixty rare videotapes that took Stephan over a decade to collect, the video emphasizes not official film archives, but the analog consumer electronics that kept Hosni’s work alive informally.

RSVP here.

Finifter Panel on The Holocaust in Greece @ Zoom
Mar 23 @ 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Finifter Panel on The Holocaust in Greece @ Zoom

The College of Arts and Letters Jewish Studies Presents:

Finifter Panel on The Holocaust in Greece


Hear from three international historians, Dr. Andrew Apostolou, Dr. Leon Saltiel, and Dr. Giorgos Antoniou as they cover “The Thirst Perspective on the Holocaust: Non-Jews and the German Murder of their Jewish Neighbors,” “A City Against its Citizens?,” and “Revisiting Bystanders Rescuers and Collaborators: Social Distancing and Social Networks in Thessaloniki before and during the Holocaust.”

Apr 12 @ 1:00 pm
ART AS ACTIVISM: SEEDS OF RESISTANCE @ Via Zoom | Michigan | United States

Jackie Sumell is a prison abolitionist and multidisciplinary artist inspired most by the lives of everyday people. A former artist-in-residence at MSU, she will be talking to us about her contribution to the Broad Museum exhibit “Seeds of Resistance” and her collaboration with students in SS2020 GSAH 201: Introduction to Global Studies.

RSVP here.