Events 2010 – 2011

“Medical Ethics in the Shadow of the Holocaust: The Nazi Doctors, Racial Hygiene, Murder and Genocide”

April 13, 2011

Medicine and Medical Ethics were forever changed by the Holocaust and revelation of the critical role Nazi Doctors played as participants, planners, and enablers of racial hygiene, murder and genocide. How was this possible? How did physicians go from the sterilization and euthanasia programs to selecting who would live and die at the ramps of Auschwitz? Why were close to 50% of German physicians members of the Nazi Party? How did healers become killers?

Professor Michael A. Grodin is Director of the Project on Medicine and the the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies. Dr.
Grodin has received a special award and citation from the United State Holocaust Memorial Museum for “profound contributions- through original and creative research – to the cause of Holocaust education and remembrance.” He has served on national and international panels and commissions focusing on medical ethics, human rights, and the holocaust, as well as authoring over 200
articles and editing or co-editing 5 books in the field of Holocaust studies, bioethics, health, and human rights.


The Nahum N. Glatzer Memorial Lecture at Boston University

April 7, 2011

2011’s lecture was delivered by Judith G. Wechsler, National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Art and Art History at Tufts University, and renowned documentary filmmaker. Professor Wechlser’s lecture, “Nahum N. Glatzer and the Transmission of German Jewish Learning,” discussed the context of Nahum
Glatzer’s German-Jewish education, and the theological, literary and
philosophical worlds from which he came and to which he contributed. Professor Wechsler is currently working on a documentary film about her father’s life, and she shared some film clips and images from this work-in- progress.

Judith Glatzer Wechsler is a scholar of 19th century French art. Among her books are Le Cabinet des Dessins. Honoré Daumier, (1999) The Memoirs of Naum N. Glatzer (ed. with M. Fishbane) (1998) A Human Comedy: Physiognomy and Caricature in 19th Century Paris, (1982) The Interpretation of Cézanne, 1981. On Aesthetics in Science (ed. and intro.) 1978. She has directed
23 films on art including “Rachel of the Comedie Francaise,” “Drawing the Thinking Hand” for the Louvre, and ”Jasper Johns: Take an Object,” with Hans Namuth (1990). Professor Wechsler has taught at MIT and RISH, and was visiting professor at Harvard, L’Ecole normale superieure in Paris, the University of Paris, and the Hebrew University in Jerusalelm. She was the National Endowment
for the Humanities Professor at Tufts University, now emerita, and was awarded a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French government.

“Sexuality, Secularization, and the Rise of Modern Jewish Literature”

March 31, 2011

A lecture presented by Noami Seidman, the Koret Professor of Jewish Culture and the director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.


Boston University’s Judaic Studies Forum

March 8, 2011

Professor Jonathan Klawans spoke about his current research on “Josephus and Ancient Jewish Theology: Immortality, Resurrection, and the Story of Masada.” The seminar, open to Boston University faculty and graduate students, featured a question-and-answer period, and a dinner.

US Premiere of New Work by Israeli composer Matti Kovler

March 1, 2011

Supported by the Boston University Humanities Foundation and the Boston Univeresity Jewish Cultural Endowment. This event featured the American premiere of Matti Kovler’s oratorio “The Escape of
Jonah.” This work of music theater retells the story of the biblical prophet Jonah from today’s point of view, bringing together the sounds of a solo trumpet, a nine-piece band, vocal ensemble and electronics. The concert also feature an additional work by Kovler: Here Comes Messiah!, for soprano and chamber ensemble. Featuring Reut Rivka, soprano, Ezra Weller, trumpet, New England Conservatory-based brass and chamber ensembles and the NEC Vocal Jazz Ensemble under Dave Devoe. Presented with additional support from The Other Within, a Jewish Studies Faculty Initiative at BU.

A Presentation by Dr. Edwin Seroussi

January 25, 2011

A presentation by Dr. Edwin Seroussi, Professor of Musicology, Head of the School of Arts, and Director of the Jewish Music Research Centre at Hebrew University, Jerusalem. This event was sponsored by The Other Within, and initiative by the Center for Cultural Judaism with support from the Jewish Cultural Endowment

The Honorable Aharon Barak, former President of the Supreme Court of Israel

January 19-24, 2011

Aharon Barak was born in Kaunus, Lithuania and immigrated to
Israel in 1947. He studied law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where, after completing a term of service in the Israeli Defense Forces, he received his doctorate in law in 1963. Thereafter, President Barak continued his relationship with the Hebrew University, serving as a lecturer, professor and dean of the law school. From 1975-1978, he served as Attorney General of the State of Israel. In 1978, he was appointed Justice of the Supreme Court of
Israel, where from August 1995 until his retirement in September 2006 he served as President. All these years he remained active in academia through his ongoing teaching relationship with the Hebrew University and Yale University in the United States. Since 2007, Professor Barak has been a faculty member at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya. He is also a visiting professor at Yale Law School. President Barak lives in Tel-Aviv with his wife Elisheva,
former Vice-President of the National Labor Court of Israel. They are the parents of four children, all trained in the law.

“On Law and Judging: A Judicial Point of View” Lecture

“The Judge” Documentary film, by Ram Landes and Ami Teer, viewing and question and answer session with The Honorable Aharon Barak

“Proportionality” Lecture

The Past is Present

December 12, 2010

The Boston Globe – a Boston University researcher stumbled upon a remarkable Holocaust artifact – and discovered that one of its creators lives just a few blocks away from him in Brookline. See the article online.

Boston University Judaic Studies Forum

October 26, 2010

Professor Jonathan Zatlin headed up the first Judaic Studies Forum with a lecture on “Making Present the Absent: Jewish Smugglers and German Communists after the Holocaust”.

Three Encounters with Elie Wiesel

October 25 – November 8, 2010

Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities, 2010. The Fascination with Jewish Tales

“In the Bible: A Judge Named Deborah” – introduction by Dr. Silber, President Emeritus, Boston University

“The Rebbe of Ger: A Tragedy in Hasidism” – introduction by Elaine Kirshenbaum, Boston University Trustee

“Ethos and Contemporary Issues” – introduction by Rabbi Joseph A. Polak, Director, Hillel foundation; Rabbi to the Jewish Community at Boston University