Harry Spindel Memorial Lectureship

Established in 1977 by the gift of Rosalyne Spindel Bernstein, Honorary 1997, and Sumner Thurman Bernstein in memory of her father, Harry Spindel, as a lasting testimony to his lifelong devotion to Jewish Learning, this fund is used to support annual lectures in Judaic studies or contemporary Jewish affairs. The fund has celebrated Jewish culture and identity through lectures, music, photography, and film.

Current lecture co-chairs: Jennifer Taback and Jill Pearlman

Thursday, October 19, 2017
Did God Abandon the Ghetto?
Peter Fritzsche, Professor of History at the University of Illinois
Professor Fritzsche's talk will examine how beleaguered Jews in German-occupied Poland answered the pressing question "Where was God?" as the Nazis' murderous intentions became increasingly clear. A great deal is known about how the Christian churches responded (or didn't) to the persecution of the Jews, but much less about individual believers and the test of their beliefs in the frightful years 1941 to 1945. Professor Fritzsche has written extensively on cultural history; his books include Reading Berlin 1900 (1996) and Stranded in the Present: Modern Time and the Melancholy of History (2004). He has also continued to explore German and Holocaust history in Life and Death in the Third Reich (2008) and An Iron Wind: Europe under Hitler (2016) which was recently short listed for Phi Beta Kappa's 2017 Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize for contributions to the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Issues of Identity
Adi Nes, artist
Israeli artist Adi Nes will discuss his personal artistic language, accompanied by images of his work. He will touch upon issues related to hidden layers in his photographs, the use of canonical icons and social ideas ascribed to them, staged photography which creates reality as opposed to photography which usually reflects reality, and the various faces of Israeli identity. Nes is one of Israel's most prominent photographers. Since his graduation from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem (1992), his works have been presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Israel and abroad, achieving great recognition and success. Nes' body of work includes five main series to date: Soldiers (1994-2000), Boys (2000), Prisoners (2003), Biblical Stories (2004-2007) and The Village (2012). His creations have won various prestigious awards, including the Anglo-Israeli Photographic Award (1993), the Education, Culture & Sport Minister's Prize for Artists in the Visual Arts (1999), the Gottesdiener Foundation Israeli Art Prize, Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2000), and the Constantine Prize for Photography (2003).

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Dealing with the Devil: Mussolini, the Vatican, and Italy's Anti-Semitic Racial Laws
David KertzerPaul Dupee University Professor of Social Science and Professor of Anthropology and Italian Studies at Brown University
Professor David Kertzer is an internationally renowned scholar and authority on politics and culture, European social history, anthropological demography, 19th-century Italian social history, contemporary Italian society and politics, and the history of Vatican relations with the Jews and the Italian state. He is also an expert on the Vatican's role in World War II and modern anti-Semitism. Kertzer is the author of numerous books and articles focusing on these topics. The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara was a finalist for the National Book Award in Nonfiction in 1997, and The Popes Against the Jews, published in 2001, was described as "one of the most critically acclaimed and contentious books of its genre and generation." He received the Pulitzer Prize for his recent work, The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe. From 1973 to 1992, Kertzer was a member of Bowdoin's Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
How the Jews Invented Hollywood and Why
Neal Gabler, author
Neil Gabler is a distinguished author, cultural historian, and television commentator who contributes regularly to the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times. An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for history, and the Theatre Library Association Award for the best book on television, radio, or film. In An Empire of Their Own, author Neal Gabler examines the psychological motivations of these film moguls, arguing that their background as Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe shaped their careers and influenced the movies they made. He explores how these producers (the 'Hollywood Jews') generally came from poor, fatherless backgrounds, and felt like outsiders in America because of their Jewishness. In Hollywood they were able to run their own industry, assimilate into the American mainstream, and produce movies that fulfilled their vision of the American dream.

April 1, 2014
Recovering Nazi Art Loot — Unfinished Business
David D’Arcy

David D'Arcy is a film producer, journalist and critic who is a correspondent for The Art Newspaper of London. D'Arcy, a frequent commentator on the BBC, has been writing about cultural property disputes for more than 25 years for many publications, including The Economist, Vanity Fair, Art + Auction, and Art & Antiques. He is the co-producer and co-writer of "Portrait of Wally," a documentary film about a Nazi-looted painting that turned up on loan at the Museum of Modern Art.

April 11, 2013
Becoming a Jewish Writer
Allegra Goodman
, author
Allegra Goodman is the author of Intuition, Paradise Park, Kaaterskill Falls, The Family Markowitz, and Total Immersion. The Other Side of the Island is her first book for younger readers . Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Commentary, and Ploughshares, Prize Stories: the O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories. Her essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The New Republic, The Boston Globe, and The American Scholar.
Raised in Honolulu, Goodman studied English and philosophy at Harvard and received a PhD in English literature from Stanford. She is the recipient of a Whiting Writer's Award, the Salon Award for Fiction, and a fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced study.

April 17, 2012
The Poetry of Kabbalah, The Kabbalah of Poetry: Ruminations and a Reading
Peter Cole, visiting fellow at Yale University, Judaic Studies Program
Peter Cole is a poet and translator of poetry and prose from Hebrew and Arabic whose work has received much recognition, including a MacArthur Fellowship.  His familiarity with the contemporary Middle East and intimacy with medieval Hebrew come together in his recent book  (co-authored with Adina Hoffman): Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza.

March 29, 2011
That Obnoxious Order: Ulysses S. Grant and the Jews
Jonathan D. Sarna, Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University, and chief historian, the new National Museum of  American Jewish History
On December 17, 1862, as the Civil War entered its second winter, General Ulysses S. Grant issued a sweeping order, General Orders #11, expelling “Jews as a class” from his war zone. It remains the most notorious anti-Jewish official order in American history. The order came back to haunt Grant in 1868 when he ran for president. Never before had Jews been so widely noticed in a presidential contest, and never before had they been confronted so publicly with the question of how to balance their “American” and “Jewish” interests. During his two terms in the White House, the memory of the “obnoxious order” shaped Grant’s relationship with the American Jewish community. Surprisingly, he did more for Jews than any other president to his time. How this happened, and why, sheds new light on one of our most enigmatic presidents, on the Jews of his day, and on America itself.

March 9, 2010
Jews as Global Citizens: Our Responsibility in the World
Ruth W. Messinger, president of American Jewish World Service (AJWS)
AJWS is a faith-based international human rights organization that works to alleviate poverty, hunger and disease in the developing world. In addition to its grantmaking to over 400 grassroots projects around the world, AJWS works within the American Jewish community to promote global citizenship and social justice through activism, volunteer service and education. Ms. Messinger assumed this role in 1998 following a 20-year career in public service in New York City, where she served for 12 years on the New York City Council and 8 as Manhattan borough president. She was the first woman to secure the Democratic Party’s nomination for mayor in 1997. Ms. Messinger is continuing her lifelong pursuit of social justice at AJWS, helping people around the world improve the quality of their lives and their communities. Considered a national leader in the movement to end the genocide in Sudan, Ms. Messinger was among leading anti-genocide, peace and human rights advocates called upon to advise President Obama and the new special envoy for Sudan, General J. Scott Gration, in March 2009. In recognition of her leadership, she was recently appointed to the Obama administration’s newly formed Task Force on Global Poverty and Development. She is also involved in organizing faith-based efforts to secure human rights around the world.

March 31, 2009
An Evening with Jonathan Safran Foer
Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of the international bestseller Everything Is Illuminated, which was published when he was just twenty-five, and hailed as the “debut of the decade.” It was named Book of the Year by The Los Angeles Times and won numerous awards, including the National Jewish Book Award. His second novel is the national and international bestseller Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.


Robert Bernheim '86

Putting History to Work: One Holocaust Historian's Long Winter from Moscow to Maine.
February 25, 2008


James Carroll

No War is Holy: Constantine, Crusades, and the Present Crisi
April 16, 2007


Art Spiegelman



Daniel Boyarin

Why is Rabbi Yohanan a Woman: Platonic Love and the Talmud


Rabbi Michael Lerner

God and Global Judaism: Strategies for Spiritual Transformation and Social Healing in the Age of Bush and Ariel Sharon

25th Anniversary Series 2002-03


Sandi Simcha DuBowski

Trembling Before God


Almuth Herbst and Marien van Nieukerken

Vocal Music on Jewish Themes


Arthur Giglio, Sean Fleming and Anthony Antolini

Ernest Bloch's Sacred Service


Susannah Heschel

We're Not Jews: Multiculturalism and the New Jewish Studies


Shimon Attie

The Writing on the Wall


James Young

After-image of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art


Tony Kushner

Evening Conversation with Tony Kushner


Samuel J. Freedman

Jew vs. Jew: the Struggle for the Soul of American Jewry


David Horovitz

Ariel Sharon's Israel: Heading for War or Peace?


Ian Lustick

Israel and the Iron War: The Role of War in the Peace Process


Arthur Green

Hasidism: The Life of Piety at Modernity's Door


Jehuda Reinharz

100 Years of Zionism: Statesmanship Without a State


Cheryl Greenberg

Negotiating Many Americas: Jews, African Americans and Diverse Identities: Blacks and Jews in the Age of Identity Politics


Michael Walzer

The Politics of Biblical Wisdom


Sharon Pucker Rivo

Yiddish Cinema: Between Two Worlds


Dori Laub

Testimony and Truth


Barney Frank

The Politics of Jewish/African-American Relations


Roberta Apfel Bennett Simon

Gas Chambers to Gas Masks: Trauma and Resiliency in Children of War


Susannah Heschel

Jewish-Christian Feminists in Dialogue


Wolf Blitzer

Between Washington and Jerusalem


Grace Paley

Who's in Charge of Jewish?


Elizabeth Holtzman

U.S. Government and Nazi War Criminals


Symposium: Judaism and Otherness:Symposium: Judaism and Otherness:

Livia Bitton-Jackson

The Jewish Literary Stereotype as Metaphor for Cultural Otherness

Peter Gay

In Germany at Home: German Jews In The Weimar Republic

Vivian Gornick

The Feminization of Otherness

Geoffrey Hartman

The Sweat of The Hayyot: Some Images of Otherness In Jewish Thought


Robert Skloot

Images of Survival: The Theater of Holocaust


Arthur Hertzberg

Spinoza: The Fount of Jewish Modernity


John Hollander

Autobiography and the Jewish Poet


Elaine Brody

The Jewish Connection in Nineteenth Century Music


Nathan Glazer

American Jews, the United States, and Israel: The Delicate Triangle


Jacob Neusner

Story as History in Ancient Judaism


Irving Greenberg

Ethical Implications of the Holocaust


Irving Howe

East European Jew and American Culture


Lucy Dawidowicz

Historiography of Holocaust