Previous Public Programs & Cultural Events

2015-2016 Public Events

Judaism and the New Reason: Reconciling Jewish Learning and the Science of Knowing

Randi RashkoverRandi Rashkover, George Mason University
Thursday, September 10, 2015 | noon | Lattie F. Coor Hall, room 3323

Understanding Judaism in a Pluralistic World: Who is My Neighbor and Who is the Stranger
Thursday, September 10, 2015 | 7 p.m. | Temple Emanuel, Tempe

For centuries, Jewish philosophers have sought to negotiate between a science of knowing and the study of Jewish texts. Still, it can be argued that the much 20th and 21st century Jewish thought has reveled in a rejection of the effort to reconcile Jewish and non-Jewish learning, influenced as it has been by post-war doubts about the value of human reason. A new engagement between Judaism, Jewish text study and recent trends in philosophy is called for. Such an engagement begins where the work of Hermann Cohen left off by providing a renewed account of transcendental logic and reflection in the context however of a post-Kantian analysis of language, cognition and the negotiation between theoretical and practical knowing.

From State to Star:
Franz Rosenzweig’s Passage from Political Philosophy to Philosopher of Religion

Jules Simon2015 Harold and Jean Grossman Lectures in Jewish Thought
Jules Simon,
University of Texas at El Paso
Thursday, October 1, 2015 | noon | Lattie F. Coor Hall, room 3323

Franz Rosenzweig is one of the most important Jewish Philosophers of the 20th Century whose body of work continues to challenge our traditional philosophical and religious sensibilities. For this talk, I will present a reading of Rosenzweig’s passage from his early years as a committed and patriotic academic student of the German state to his identity as a Jewish philosopher-in-exile who, in his socio-political life choices and intellectual commitments, enacted a critique of the German state he had previously so eagerly embraced. I will do so by exploring the genetic relationship of his early work, Hegel and the State, to the work that earned him international fame, The Star of Redemption. more

Rediscovered Voices: The Music and Stories of Jewish Composers

Arizona Opera LogoWednesday, October 7, 2015 | 7 p.m.
Congregation Beth Israel
| 10406 North 56th Street, Scottsdale

This free concert and lecture features Arizona Opera vocalists. Audiences will explore music from Jewish refugee composers, as well as other selections from the middle of the 20th century. Selections will include music from Arizona Lady, Brundibár and Der Kaiser von Atlantis, among others. 

This Arizona Opera project is funded by a grant from the Jewish Commumity Foundation of Greater Phoenix. Community partner: ASU Jewish Studies.

Suddenly They Were Gone: Austria’s and Hungary’s ways of dealing with their Jewish Past

Ursula Mindler-SteinerUrsula Mindler-Steiner Assistant Professor
Andrássy University Budapest and Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 | 4:30 p.m. | Lattie F. Coor Hall, room 4403

This talk will be an overview of the course of events in Austria and Hungary, to the present day. Questions addressed will include: Which different strategies and politics were used to avoid a discussion about the past? Why? How did they try to establish a “new identity”, a new “collective memory”? Who were essential supporters among society? To what extent was it successful? What is to say about the most recent developments, where the National Socialist past is connected to the current “refugees crisis”? download flyer

Jewish Refugees in Shanghai Exhibit

Jewish Refugees of Shanghai

Sunday, October 18, 2015 - Tuesday, December 15, 2015
main exhibit: Culter-Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center, Phoenix
additional related materials: Hayden Library, ASU-Tempe campus

download flyer  

The ASU Confucius Institute, together with the ASU Center for Jewish Studies and the Arizona Jewish Historical Society will present a travelling exhibit of the Shanghai Jewish Refugee Museum. Jewish Refugees in Shanghai, 1933–1941, brings together photos, personal stories, and artifacts from Shanghai’s Jewish Refugee Museum. Located in the former Ohel Moshe Synagogue in the Tilanqiao Historical Area, the museum has played an important role in educating local and international visitors about the unique story of Jewish refugees in Shanghai.

Lincoln & the Jews with Jonathan D. Sarna, author

Lincoln and the JewsOctober 28 | 7 p.m. | Congregation Beth Israel
$18 suggested donation | 
register now

Dr. Jonathan Sarna is the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University. He is a nationally renowned lecturer and the author of numerous books about Jews in America. His newest book is Lincoln & the Jews.

this lecture is held in partnership with Valley Beit Midrash

The Hilltop with Assaf Gavron, author

The Hilltop book coverNovember 4 | 1:30 p.m.
ASU Tempe campus | Virginia G. Piper Writers House
free and open to all | no reservation required

Assaf Gavron, writer and translator, grew up in Jerusalem and studied in London and Vancouver. He currently lives in Tel Aviv, and has published five novels, a collection of stories, and his fiction has been translated into 10 languages. Meet Assaf Gavron and have him sign your book.

A limited number of copies of The Hilltop will be sold at this event (exact payment cash/check required). Book pre-orders recommended via

Evan's Story or: The Clang Echoed in All of Us

Evan Sachs

Saturday, November 21 | 6-8 p.m.
ASU Tempe campus | Nelson Fine Arts Center, room 133
free admission | 75 minutes runtime, plus optional talkback

Jeff tells his brother’s story as he tries to understand how Evan went from a bright, eager honors student to convicted felon. Mom remembers the story differently...

performances by Jeff Sachs and Haley Honeman
dramaturgy by Ashley Laverty
direction by Amanda Pintore

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This reading is made possible by the 
Joan Frazer Memorial Award for Judaism & the Arts at Arizona State University a designated scholarship of the Jewish Studies Program, an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, awarded in cooperation with The Joan Frazer Memorial Award for Judaism & the Arts Selection Committee. Funding for the award is designated through the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix.

“A wall of sound made from 6,000,000 voices...”

part of Can There Be Music After Auschwitz?
series of curated concerts about music and the Holocaust
organized by 2014-2015 Jess Schwartz Scholar, Gil Dori

Tuesday, December 1 | 6 p.m.
Tempe Public Library

Electro-acoustic music written in response to the Holocaust, created by electronic means, and meant to be played through speakers

special thanks to the Cutler✡Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center and Tempe Public Library for their support for more information visit:

Butterflies Do Not Live Here

part of Can There Be Music After Auschwitz?
series of curated concerts about music and the Holocaust
organized by 2014-2015 Jess Schwartz Scholar, Gil Dori

Wednesday, January 27 | 7 p.m.
Cutler✡Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center

This concert presents different musical settings of poems written by children imprisoned in Terezin, compiled in the book I Never Saw Another Butterfly

special thanks to the Cutler✡Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center and Tempe Public Library for their support
for more information visit:

2016 Albert & Liese Eckstein Scholar-in-Residence Lectures

Lynn Rapaport Lynn Rapaport Henry Snyder Professor of Sociology, Pomona College
Monday, February 1| two public lectures | reserve my seat

The Holocaust in Popular Culture: A Close Look at Schindler's List
10:30 a.m. | ASU Tempe campus | Lattie F. Coor Hall, room 4401

Anti-Semitism on College Campuses
7 p.m. | Cutler✡Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center | 122 East Culver Street, Phoenix

Lynn Rapaport is the author of Jews in Germany after the Holocaust: Memory, Identity, and Jewish-German Relations—which won the 1998 Most Distinguished Publication Award in the Sociology of Religion from the American Sociological Association. She is currently working on a project about the portrayal of Holocaust in American popular culture from the 1940s to present day.