E-Blast: July 9

RESISTANCE: Film Discussion with Jesse Eisenberg

Wednesday, July 15 | 7:00 PM | Free

resistanceLong before he rose to international fame as a mime, Marcel Marceau put his fledgling career as an artist on hold to spirit Jewish children out of Nazi-occupied France. Watch the extraordinary new film Resistance about that little-known chapter in Marceau’s life, and then join our discussion with the film’s star, Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), director and screenwriter Jonathan Jakubowicz, and actress Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones).

NOTE: A screening of the film is not included in the event.

Advanced registration is required by Wednesday, July 15, at 3:00 PM.

Register here

  • Watch the trailer here.
  • Rent the film here.
  • Read more about portraying Marcel Marceau on screen here.

IFCPresented by the Rutgers Jewish Film Festival in partnership with IFC Films and Tamar Simon of Mean Streets Management.

Mini-Course on S.Y. Agnon

Stories and Other ProseMondays, July 13, 20, and 27 | 7:00 PM | Free

Join us for a three-part mini-course taught online by Professor Emeritus Curt Leviant: From Yiddish Folktale to Hebrew Work of Art: Stories and other Prose by Israeli Nobel Laureate S. Y. Agnon.

Advance registration required by July 10 at 1:00 PM.

Register here

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E-Blast: July 2

RESISTANCE: Film Discussion with Jesse Eisenberg

Wednesday, July 15 | 7:00 PM | Free

resistanceLong before he rose to international fame as a mime, Marcel Marceau put his fledgling career as an artist on hold to spirit Jewish refugee children out of Nazi-occupied France, even as his own father was murdered at Auschwitz. Watch the extraordinary new film Resistance, about that little-known chapter of Marceau’s life, and then join our discussion with the film’s star, Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), and director and screenwriter Jonathan Jakubowicz (Hands of StoneSecuestro Express).

Jesse EisenbergAdvanced registration is required.

Register here

  • Watch the trailer here.
  • Rent the film here.
  • Read more about Marcel Marceau here.

We are happy to offer these webinars free of charge in these challenging times and hope you enjoy them. Any contribution to support our efforts is appreciated.

IFCPresented in partnership with IFC Films and Tamar Simon of Mean Streets Management.

Faculty Promotions

We offer congratulations to these Rutgers faculty members who were recently promoted to the rank of full professor.

Sinkoff Nancy Sinkoff, academic director of the Bildner Center and professor of Jewish studies and history at Rutgers
Tartakoff Paola Tartakoff, professor of Jewish studies and history and chair of the Department of Jewish Studies
wasserman Emma Wasserman, professor of religion and an affiliated faculty member in Jewish studies

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E-Blast: June 26

MTI Summer Seminar:
History of the Holocaust: Resilience and Rescue

This summer’s introductory seminar for teachers, an online program of the Master Teacher Institute (MTI) in Holocaust Education, will run from June 29–30. We look forward to welcoming an international group of educators, including teachers from India, France, and Ukraine.

Meet the Instructors

We are delighted to have two distinguished, veteran instructors lead the virtual seminar.

Joanna SliwaDr. Joanna Sliwa is a historian of the Holocaust and Polish Jewish history and an archivist at the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. She has been involved for many years with the MTI as both an instructor and a faculty advisor.

~ Read an article by Joanna Sliwa about the lives of children in the Kraków Ghetto in Jewish Families in Europe: 1939–Present, edited by Joanna Beata Michlic (Brandeis University Press, 2017).

Colleen TambuscioColleen Tambuscio, founder and president of New Jersey’s Council of Holocaust Educators, is an award-winning teacher who has served as the pedagogical consultant to the MTI for more than fifteen years.

Exploring the Topic through Film

no place on earthThe first day of the seminar will focus on the Holocaust in Eastern Europe, including issues of survival and resilience raised in the film No Place on Earth, winner of the audience choice award at the Rutgers Jewish Film Festival in 2013. The program will feature a Q&A with Chris Nicola, the spelunker who helped the the story of survivors who hid in caves in the Ukraine during the Holocaust.

arms of strangersThe second day will explore rescue and resilience during the Holocaust, employing the academy award-winning documentary film Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport as a resource.

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E-Blast: June 17 

New Logo RGD
Today is Rutgers Giving Day, an annual initiative to support Rutgers units and programs. We ask that you take a moment to support the Bildner Center, which relies on community funding, particularly during these difficult times.

Stay connected to the Bildner Center with lectures, articles, music, and films to sustain and entertain you. This week we focus on faculty research and our Holocaust education summer seminars.

HermanMeet the Bildner Center’s New Visiting Scholar

We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Marc D. Herman, a specialist in medieval Jewish and Islamic jurisprudence, as the Aresty Visiting Scholar this fall.

For an introduction to Dr. Herman’s work, enjoy this podcast interview and read this essay published in 2019 in the Frankel Institute Annual.

Exploring the Literary Works of S. Y. Agnon

S. Y. Agnon
Join us for a three-part mini-course on the Israeli Nobel Laureate, taught online by Professor Emeritus Curt Leviant starting July 13.

For more information or to register

tale love darknessWatch these films based on Hebrew literature that were shown at the Rutgers Jewish Film Festival.

From Left to RightWriting the Life of Lucy S. Dawidowicz

If you missed Professor Nancy Sinkoff’s webinar on this pioneering historian of the Holocaust, or want to learn more about Lucy S. Dawidowicz, see this articlepodcast, and blogpost.

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E-Blast: June 12 

The Literature of Israeli Nobel Laureate S.Y. Agnon

Stories and Other ProseThe Bildner Center is pleased to offer the mini-course From Yiddish Folktale to Hebrew Work of Art: Stories and other Prose by Israeli Nobel Laureate S. Y. Agnon. Taught online by Curt Leviant, the course will be held July 13, 20, and 27, at 7 p.m.

For more information or to register

Curt Leviant is a novelist, translator, and professor emeritus of Hebraic studies at Rutgers University.

Israel’s Founding Novelist: S. Y. Agnon’s exquisite ironic fiction examined traditional Jewish life through a twentieth-century lens, by Adam Kirsch, New Yorker.

New Fiction by Sholem Aleichem, translated by Curt Leviant, Tablet.

Join Dr. Nancy Sinkoff for the Launch of her BookFrom Left to Right

Professor Nancy Sinkoff will discuss her critically-acclaimed new book, From Left to Right: Lucy S. Dawidowicz, the New York Intellectuals, and the Politics of Jewish History (Wayne State University Press, 2020) on June 17 at noon.

For more information or to register

WeAreHere IG TimezonesWe Are Here: 
A Celebration of Resilience, Resistance, and Hope

Join the Bildner Center and 100 other museums and cultural institutions around the world this Sunday for a commemoration of the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and a message of hope amid the crises we face.

HollowayJonathan Holloway on Race Relations and the Making of the United States

Tune in Monday to hear Rutgers president-designate in conversation with the United States Studies Centre about how America arrived at this fraught moment in its history.

Professor Gary A. Rendsburg, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Chair in Jewish History, was quoted in a recent Washington Post article about the Museum of the Bible. Learn more here.

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E-Blast: June 5

The Bildner Center joins the Rutgers community in grief and outrage at the death of George Floyd and the deaths of so many other Black Americans that have resulted from systemic racism and racial violence in our country. In this time of national pain, we are redoubling our commitment to social justice and the values of civility and tolerance for all Americans regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. The Herbert and Leonard Littman Families Holocaust Resource Center has a longstanding mission to reduce prejudice and promote tolerance through the study of the past. During the pandemic, we continue to work with public school teachers through online programming.

Stay connected to the Bildner Center with lectures, articles, music, and films to sustain and entertain you. This week we focus on faculty research and our Holocaust education summer seminars.

Raucher SquareIs There a Jewish Continuity Crisis?

Join Professor Michal Raucher for her online talk Is There a Jewish Continuity Crisis? for the Jewish Theological Seminary on June 8, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. She will examine the concepts of Jewish continuity and demographic crisis in relationship to the cultivation of enduring Jewish values.

Dr. Raucher is an assistant professor of Jewish studies at Rutgers and a former fellow at the JTS. She is the author of Conceiving Agency: Reproductive Authority among Haredi Women (Indiana University Press, forthcoming, fall 2020).

Writing the Life of Lucy S. Dawidowicz

From Left to RightJoin Professor Nancy Sinkoff for a talk about her acclaimed new book, From Left to Right: Lucy S. Dawidowicz, the New York Intellectuals, and the Politics of Jewish History (Wayne State University Press, 2020), the first comprehensive biography of Dawidowicz (1915–1990), a pioneer historian in Holocaust studies. The book chronicles Dawidowicz’s story as a window into twentieth-century Jewish life.

SinkoffPresented by the Bildner Center, the event will be held on June 17, 2020, at noon. Register here.

Dr. Sinkoff is academic director of the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life and associate professor of Jewish studies and history at Rutgers.

‘From Left to Right’ Review: Singed but Not Consumed by Benjamin Balint, Wall Street Journal

Read a blogpost by Professor Sinkoff about Lucy S. Dawidowicz, feminism, and women's history.

MTI Goes Virtual

The Master Teacher Institute (MTI) in Holocaust Education has moved online during the current public health crisis with two upcoming programs for middle and high school teachers.

An introductory seminar, “Holocaust History: Rescue and Resilience,” will be held June 29—30. “Media and Migration in Uncertain Times,” an advanced seminar for alumni of the MTI program will be held July 1—2. For more information or to register, contact Sarah Portilla at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The MTI is a dynamic advanced training program to develop expert teachers in Holocaust studies who will serve as resource providers in their schools, districts, and communities. It is a vital component of the Herbert and Leonard Littman Families Holocaust Resource Center at the Bildner Center.

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E-Blast: May 26

We Remember: Resources in Honor of Memorial Day:Following the Footsteps of My Father

As Americans mark Memorial Day on May 25, the Bildner Center shares highlights of a program cosponsored with the Rutgers Office of Military and Veteran Programs: Footsteps of My Father, the moving story of one American who saved Jewish POWs during World War II.

Oral Histories at Rutgers:

The Rutgers Oral History Archives includes testimonies of Rutgers alumni who are veterans.

We recommend these books by scholars who have given public lectures at the Bildner Center:

young lions
Young Lions: How Jewish Authors Reinvented the American War Novel

(Northwestern University Press, 2015)
Leah Garrett, Hunter College
The Abram Matlofsky Memorial Program – 2016

Grant Sarna
When General Grant Expelled the Jews

(Schocken/Next Book Jewish Encounter Series, 2012)
Jonathan D. Sarna, Brandeis University
The Toby and Herbert Stolzer Endowed Program - 2012

Rebecca Chanin '20 Honored:

We congratulate recent graduate Rebecca Chanin who was selected as a SAS Class of 2020 Paul Robeson Scholar. Rebecca successfully defended her interdisciplinary senior honors thesis, “At The Hands of Others: Stories of Holocaust Survival.” Her capstone project was a documentary film using materials from the Shoah Foundation Visual History Archives. 

RJFFFilms recommended by the Rutgers Jewish Film Festival

  • Above and Beyond
  • Jewish Soldiers in Blue and Gray
  • GI Jews: Jewish Americans in World War II

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E-Blast: May 21

We've all been sheltering at home, but now the weather is changing and farmers markets are opening. This week, we're thinking about gardens, things that grow, and fresh local food. Read about biblical connections to vegetarianism, and enjoy resources at the intersection of Jewish traditionenvironmentalism, and sustainable food practices.

A Biblical Vegetarian WorldviewFood Judaism

Read an article by Professor Gary A. Rendsburg, “The Vegetarian Ideal in the Bible,” in Food & Judaism (Creighton University Press, 2005).

Local Food, Environmentalism, and Sustainability

Berkshires Book Cover Bildners

Learn about the farm-to-table initiative and cookbook produced by Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, The Berkshires Farm Table Cookbook, just published (The Countryman Press, 2020).


Discover Hazon, the Jewish environmental and sustainability organization. Nigel Savage, director of Hazon, spoke at the memorial program for Joan Bildner connecting Jews, food, and sustainability in 2013.

cooks market logo
Support local farmers and food vendors at the Cook's Market at Rutgers Gardens.

Interested in planting a victory garden? Watch this video for tips from a local farm in East Brunswick.

RJFFFilms recommended by the Rutgers Jewish Film Festival

  • In Search of Israeli Cuisine
  • Sturgeon Queens
  • Dough
  • The Cakemaker

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E-Blast: May 15

This week, we showcase Jewish studies undergraduate and graduate student research at Rutgers, including a thesis on mental health in Russian Jewish immigrants and a talk on Jewish experiences in displaced person camps. Also, listen to a program on lost-and-found Soviet Jewish songs.

Student Profile:Fradkin

Read a Q&A with Dina Fradkin '20 about her thesis “The Beliefs About Psychological Services Amongst Russian-Jewish First Generation Americans".

Watch a video to learn more about her theses:

willard kyleDanielle Willard-Kyle: AJS Dissertation Talk

Danielle Willard-Kyle, PhD candidate in history at Rutgers, worked under teh supervision of Yael Zerubavel, professor emerita of Jewish studies and history and Belinda Davis, professor of history. She discusses her dissertation: "Living in Liminal Spaces: Refugees in Italian Displaced Persons Camps, 1945-1951" at the Center for Jewish History on May 19. Click here for more information and to register.

Yiddish GloryLast Yiddish Heroes

A rediscovered trove of Soviet Yiddish music, collected in the 1940s and forgotten until the 1990s, evolved into a Grammy nominated CD. Learn more about the music in a program hosted by the Bildner Center in March 2019.

Last Yiddish Heroes: Lost and Found Songs of Soviet Jews during World War II

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E-Blast: May 8

On May 5, student achievements in Jewish studies were recognized at a virtual end-of-year celebration and awards ceremony. Awards were given to undergraduate and graduate students for academic achievement and research in Israel. The ceremony also featured presentations of student research projects. We would like to acknowledge the generous support of the donors who made these awards possible.

Please join us in congratulating these Jewish studies students and their many achievements.

Photo Box

Student Reflections:

Watch our students reflect on their personal experiences in this short video montage.

Student Research Projects:

Amanda Leifer '20 discusses her experience traveling to Israel to do comparative research on the kibbutz and the moshav.

Rebecca Chanin '20 discusses her thesis documentary film, At the Hands of Others: Stories of Holocaust Survival, which tells about the rescue of Jews in Albania during the Holocaust.

For more highlights from the celebration, click through the gallery here.

ZerubavelProfessor Zerubavel Honored:

Congratulations to Professor Yael Zerubavel, recipient of the Association of Israel Studies Lifetime Achievement Award for 2019. This award honors her pioneering innovations and lifelong work in the field of Israel Studies. Learn more here.

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E-Blast: April 29

What do palm trees and Masada have in common?zerubavel

Read an article by Yael Zerubavel, professor emerita and founding director of the Bildner Center. "The Seed, the Symbol, and the Zionist Renewal Paradigm" was published in 2017 in the Frankel Institute Annual, a publication of the Jean & Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan.

Films recommended by the Rutgers Jewish Film Festival

Ben Gurion
Watch Ben-Gurion: Epilogue, directed by Yariv Mozer.

The film won the Audience Favorite Award, Rutgers Jewish Film Festival, 2017.

Click here to watch the story behind the making of the film.

Past LIfe
Meet Israeli director Avi Nesher in a curated online festival.

Click here for details.

You may have seen two of his films, The Other Story and The Matchmaker, in past Rutgers Jewish Film Festivals.

JerusalemJerusalem’s Hidden Literary Treasures

Click to listen to a podcast with Benjamin Balint, coauthor with Merav Mack of Jerusalem: City of the Book (Yale University Press, 2019), about Jerusalem’s libraries and archival treasures—some hidden, some public, all magical. Balint was to have been part of a Bildner Center public program on this topic, but it was canceled due to the pandemic. We hope to reschedule the event.

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E-Blast: April 20

On behalf of the Littman Families Holocaust Resource Center at the Bildner Center, we invite you to reflect on and commemorate Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Anne Frank, from Diary to Book: 

Watch a lecture by Rutgers Jewish Studies Professor Jeffrey Shandler, based on his book Anne Frank Unbound: Media, Imagination, Memory, coedited with Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (Indiana University Press, 2012).

Access Testimonies from NJ Holocaust Survivors:

Rutgers provides access through its libraries to the full range of testimonies housed in the Visual History Archive. Established by Steven Spielberg in 1994, the USC Shoah Foundation has recorded more than 54,000 video interviews with Holocaust survivors and other witnesses. Currently, 88 testimonies that were given in New Jersey are publicly available.
Margit Feldman
New Jersey Testimonies

We mourn the passing of Margit Feldman, pictured right, a longtime member of the NJ Commission on Holocaust Education. Listen to her testimony.

Visual History Archive Login

Virtual Commemorations for Yom HaShoah:

DaffadilesAttend an online event hosted by the United States Holocaust Memorial MuseumWhat You Do Matters: 2020 National Tribute Gathering. Watch live 4/21/2020, 6:00 p.m.

Attend an online program presented by the International March of the Living and cosponsored by the Rutgers Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience. Watch live 4/21/2020, 7:00 p.m.

Watch a virtual concert of songs derived from Holocaust survivors' testimonies, hosted by Yale's Slifka Center for Jewish Life and Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust TestimoniesOnline Concert: Zisl Slepovitch Ensemble & Sasha Lurje. Watch live 4/23/2020, 7:00 p.m.

Watch a video of a virtual ceremony hosted by the Museum of Jewish HeritageVirtual Presentation: New York’s Annual Gathering Of Remembrance. It originally aired 4/19/2020.

DahmeMaud Dahme:

Rutgers University libraries online hosts The Hidden Child (2007, NJN New Jersey Public Television & Radio), a documentary film about Maud Dahme, who was a hidden child in the Netherlands during the war. Maud Dahme, long time member of the NJ Commission on Holocaust Education has participated in the educational programs of the Littman Families Holocaust Resource Center.

Related films recommended by the Rutgers Jewish Film Festival that are available on streaming platforms:

  • Fanny's Journey
  • The Art Dealer
  • Killing Kasztner
  • No. 4 Street of Our Lady
  • Numbered
  • Remembrance
  • Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz

E-Blast: April 13

Go Behind the Scenes of the new HBO series:

HBO's The Plot Against America, based on the award-winning novel by the great 20th century American Jewish author Philip Roth, depicts an alternate history of World War II in which America descends into antisemitism after the election of an isolationist Nazi sympathizer as president. Tonight, April 13, 2020, is the season finale. Click below for interviews about the show.

the plot against americaRutgers alum Steven Gorelick, executive director of the NJ Motion Picture & Television Commission and member of the Rutgers University Jewish Film Festival advisory committee, talks about filming the series in New Jersey.

Chris Weiser, a scenic artist, discusses working on the sets for the series.

Click to watch the interviews

Listen to a podcast about the show.

Click to listen

Many thanks to Charles Ricciardi, Operations & Creative Director, NJ Motion Picture & Television Commission, for editing the interview videos.

Philip RothPhilip Roth (1933-2018) was the author of more than 25 novels. A native of Newark, his incisive literary imagination drew on his New Jersey roots.

Read about the history behind the novel The Plot Against America. - Read article

Watch an excerpt of an interview with Philip Roth from 2004 on PBS. - Watch interview

E-Blast: April 3

Passover begins next week, and we invite you to prepare for the holiday with the resources below, related to the Haggadah and its history. We share a few of our favorite Passover recipes at the bottom of the page. Wishing everyone a sweet and healthy holiday.

HagaddotThe Sarajevo Haggadah, Yale University Library Collections Professor Gary Rendsburg gives a lecture on the Haggadah through the ages. 

Watch the lecture   Download slides

Professor Azzan Yadin-Israel writes about connecting the Mitzvah of Maggid to the Seder night.

Read more

A gripping account of the rescue of the Sarajevo Haggadah by Geraldine Brooks:
The Book of Exodus: A double rescue in wartime Sarajevo


View beautiful illuminated Haggadot at Yale University's online Judaica Collection

View exhibit

A few of our favorite Passover recipes:

From Professor Nancy Sinkoff, Vincent Hodgins's Moroccan Spiced Gravlax, via Mark Bittman, The New York Times.

From Karen Small, two Passover cookie recipes.

Click for recipes

E-Blast: March 26

Regrettably the EXILE: Music of the Early-Modern Jewish Diaspora concert, scheduled for March 25, had to be cancelled. We look forward to it being rescheduled next year.

Keeping in the spirit of the EXILE performance, please enjoy music this week.

Sara Levy's World:

In Sara Levy s Salon CD cover
We invite you to enjoy music related to the 2014 symposium Sara Levy’s World: Music, Gender, and Judaism in Enlightenment Berlin, held at Rutgers and organized by Nancy Sinkoff (Professor of History and Jewish Studies) and Rebecca Cypess (Professor of Music and an affiliated faculty member in Jewish Studies). The symposium included recitals of music associated with Sara Levy (1761-1854), a Jewish salonnière, patron, and performing musician, featuring Cypess on fortepiano.

Click to watch a video of the performance.

Learn more about the symposium: Sara Levys World

Check out these informative blog posts by Professors Sinkoff and Cypess:

Also of Interest:And After Fire

Lauren Belfer’s novel And After the Fire (Harper Perennial, 2016), which won the National Jewish Book Award in 2019.

E-Blast: March 19

RendsburgThe oldest legible, intact Torah scroll sheet known to exist—a vital link to the founding documents of Judaism—was purchased by the Library of Congress for the public’s benefit, with help from Professor Gary A. Rendsburg, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Chair in Jewish History at Rutgers. The story of the Jews’ flight from Egypt is contained on the sheet, which was written in Hebrew on vellum in the Middle East during the tenth or eleventh century CE.

Link to lecture at Library of Congress by Professor Gary Rendsburg:

Watch lecture

Also of interest:

Rendsburg BookProfessor Rendsburg’s recent book How the Bible is Written (Hendrickson Publishers, 2019)
Book information

Professor Rendsburg's review of the new translation of the Hebrew Bible by Robert Alter
Read review

Movies of Jewish Interest:

Catch up on the best in Jewish films while staying at home.

Film LinksRecommended movies on Video On Demand that were shown in the Rutgers Jewish Film Festival:

    • Dough
    • Menashe
    • The Wedding Plan
    • Tel Aviv on Fire
    • Fanny’s Journey
    • 24 Days
    • The Art Dealer
    • Norman
    • Killing Kasztner

Menemsha Films, one of the top distributors in international Jewish cinema, is offering heavily discounted prices for their selection of films on VOD (Video On Demand), including iTunes and Amazon Prime Video. This is a limited-time offer. Many of the films are included with Amazon Prime or can be rented for as little as 99¢. For the complete list visit: https://www.menemshafilms.com

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