Category: News and Events

Yair Lior on Kabbalah and Neo-Confucianism

January 26th, 2015 in News and Events

At our first BUJS forum of 2015, Visiting Researcher Yair Lior (Religion) traced cross-cultural patterns in the development of Kabbalah and Neo-Confucianism. Both movements radically altered the canons of established traditions but were nevertheless able to achieve legitimacy. Dr. Lior will compared these two case studies and considered a broader question: how do religious traditions adapt to cultural change?

February 18, 2015 at 12:30 pm
Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies
147 Bay State Road, Second Floor

Italian Holocaust Remembrance Day

December 16th, 2014 in News and Events

Schedule of Events

12 pm – Refreshments and Jewish/Italian music

12:30 pm – Opening remarks from the Italian consul general, Israeli consul general, and AJC director

12:50 pm – Talk by Prof. Sergio Parussa (Wellesley College): “Film and Public Memory,” with introduction by Prof. Nancy Harrowitz (MLCL)

1:30 pm – Film: Carlo Lizzani’s “L’oro di Roma” (“The Gold of Rome,” 1961)

3:15 pm – Audience questions and roundtable discussion with Sergio Parussa and Nancy Harrowitz

This year’s commemoration will consist of a talk by Sergio Parussa, a specialist in Italian Jewish literature and culture under Fascism, and the screening of a newly restored and subtitled version of Carlo Lizzani’s “L’oro di Roma” (1961), the first film based on events leading to the final deportation of the Jews of Rome. On September 26, 1943, Nazi Colonel Herbert Kappler summoned representatives of the Jewish community of Rome and ordered them to collect fifty kilograms of gold within thirty-six hours. Their punishment, in case of failure or disobedience, was the detention of 200 people. Gold was collected, but on October 16, 1943, nothing could save 1,259 Jews from deportation: it was the beginning of the end for the Jewish community of the Roman Ghetto.

January 25, 2015 from 12-4 pm
GSU Conference Auditorium
775 Commonwealth Avenue, Second Floor

A Musical Salon

December 1st, 2014 in News and Events

Join us for an evening of Jewish art songs performed by Benjamin Harris (CFA ’15), baritone, and Victoria Nooe, piano. The program will include Yiddish songs by Lazar Weiner and Moses Milner, as well as Hebrew songs by Samuel Adler and Maurice Ravel. Wine and cheese will be served at 7:30 pm, with the program starting at 8 pm. Dessert will follow.

December 4, 2014 at 8 pm
Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies
147 Bay State Road, Second Floor

An Inspiration in Bronze

December 1st, 2014 in News and Events

Recommended from BU Today: an article and a video about the bust of Elie Wiesel donated by Pam (CAS ’98, MED ’03) and Jonathan Taub.


Japonica Brown-Saracino on Commerce and Gentrification

November 17th, 2014 in News and Events

“The Last Store Standing: Commerce as Force, Symbol and Casualty
in the Gentrifying American City”
Japonica Brown-Saracino

Drawing on her comparative ethnography of four gentrifying places—two Chicago neighborhoods and two small New England towns—Professor Brown-Saracino (Dept. of Sociology) will explore the role of commerce in gentrifying neighborhoods. She will highlight the complex position of commerce in these changing places, from efforts to preserve an “authentic” Swedish deli in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood to the celebration of new businesses that signal neighborhood transformation. Brown-Saracino will reveal how residents—new and old, wealthy and poor—use talk of local commercial establishments to promote, bemoan, and forestall gentrification and the myriad social, material, cultural, and political changes it advances.

November 20, 2014 at 7 pm
Florence and Chafetz Hillel House at Boston University
(213 Bay State Road, Fourth Floor)

Robert Margo on Race and Economic Inequality in the US

November 10th, 2014 in News and Events

“Obama, Katrina, and the Persistence of Racial Inequality”
Robert A. Margo

Professor Margo (Dept. of Economics) will survey what economic historians know about the evolution of racial (black/white) differences in economic status (income, wealth, education) from the end of the Civil War to the present. He will argue that, while there has been a narrowing of racial differences in the long run—what economists call “convergence”—the extent of convergence is considerably less than that predicted by the standard economic model of the transmission of inequality across generations. In addition, convergence has been episodic—occurring during specific periods of time—rather than continuous, as the standard model predicts. He will argue that the long-run evolution of racial economic differences is better described empirically by a model in which African-Americans constitute a separate economic “nation,” implying an important role for racial segregation and discrimination in the historical narrative.

November 13, 2014 at 7 pm
Florence and Chafetz Hillel House at Boston University
(213 Bay State Road, Fourth Floor)

Christoph Kreutzmüller on “Kristallnacht”

November 4th, 2014 in News and Events

“Kristallnacht and the Destruction of Jewish Commercial Activity in Germany”
Christoph Kreutzmüller

Despite increasing discrimination against Jewish businesses, Jewish entrepreneurs were able to find ways to push back against the Nazis. The impact of antisemitic measures was a certain consolidation. In Berlin, for example, the size of Jewish-owned businesses had shrunk, but not their number. Recognizing that legislation alone would not destroy the Jewish commercial presence in Germany, the Nazis resorted to violence on November 9, 1938. Despite the material destruction and psychological blow unleashed by the pogrom, some Jewish businesspeople managed to struggle on even after “Kristallnacht.” In fact, some businesses were liquidated only after the deportation of their owners during the war. In his lecture, Dr. Kreutzmüller will analyze events leading up to the pogrom and the pogrom itself, as well as the plundering of the remaining businesses owned by Jews in Germany after “Kristallnacht” and the destruction of Jewish entrepreneurship in Germany.

Learn more about our Economic Racism in Perspective series here.

November 9, 2014 at 5 pm
Florence and Chafetz Hillel House at Boston University
213 Bay State Road
Boston, MA 02215

Middle East Month at the Center

October 7th, 2014 in News, News and Events, Uncategorized

Screening and discussion of The Gatekeepers (2012)

Set against the backdrop of renewed violence in the Gaza Strip, Dror Moreh’s 2012 documentary includes interviews with six former heads of Shin Bet, Israel’s Secret Service, who reflect on their individual successes and failures in that office. For more, see the official website at

Monday, October 6, 2014 at 7:30 pm
CAS 211 (685 Commonwealth Avenue)
Kosher pizza served at 7 pm


Middle East Feast

Join us on Monday, October 20 in the GSU Alley (downstairs) to celebrate the cultures of the MENA region and learn about BU’s growing major in Middle East and North Africa Studies. Eat Middle Eastern food! Enjoy music by Matti Kovler Ensemble and the BU a capella group “Kol Echad”! While you’re there, meet some of the MENA faculty and hear mini-presentations on our Spring 2015 course offerings and Study Abroad programs! We hope to see you and your friends there. Please contact with any questions.

Sponsored by the MENA Studies Program at the Pardee School of Global Studies, the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations, and the Department of Modern Languages & Comparative Literature. Special thanks to the Core Curriculum.

Monday, October 20th at 6-8 pm
GSU Alley (775 Commonwealth Avenue, downstairs)
Please RSVP to


Amichai Ayalon: “Security and Democracy Today: An Israeli Perspective”
The 2014 Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Lecture

Former Israeli intelligence chief and member of the Knesset Amichai Ayalon will survey this year’s events in the Middle East, with emphasis on the recent military operation in Gaza, its implications for Israeli democracy and for Israel’s international standing. Yahuda Yaakov, Consul General of Israel to New England, will speak about the legacy of Yitzhak Rabin, and Joseph Wippl (Director of Graduate Studies and Professor of  the Practice of International Relations) will introduce Ami Ayalon.

The 2014 Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Lecture is generously supported by Jonathan Krivine (CAS ’72).

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 7-8:30 pm
George Sherman Union Conference Auditorium                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   (775 Commonwealth Ave, Second Floor)

Reception to follow


Coming up in November: Sayed Kashua

A tribute to Elie Wiesel

July 15th, 2014 in News and Events

We call it Take a Teacher, Make a Friend. The essays and a poem by Elie Wiesel, here translated for the first time, are written by twenty-four out of the hundreds of students Elie Wiesel taught during his distinguished career at Boston University of nearly forty years. Center director Michael Zank and graduate assistant Leanne Hoppe, a graduate student of poetry and creative writing here at BU, collated and edited the contributions and designed this token of appreciation for our colleague, on the occasion of his eighty-fifth birthday. Copies of this first, limited edition will be on sale on September 22, when Elie Wiesel returns to BU for a conversation with Alan Dershowitz.


Read the table of contents here.

Visiting Professor Thomas Meyer in the NY Times

April 7th, 2014 in News and Events

MARCH 30, 2014: Elie Wiesel Center visiting professor Thomas Meyer was recently quoted in the NY Times as he offered insight into the revived debate on the question of German philosopher Martin Heidegger’s anti-Semitism. Heidegger’s recently published “Black Notebooks,” which until now have remained restricted from the public, offer clarification for some scholars and perplexity for others. Professor Meyer suggests the notebooks demonstrate a closer relation between Heidegger’s thought and Nazi policy than previously acknowledged; he points to a 1938-1939 passage where Heidegger reinforces the “inner necessity” of National Socialism and its significance in the realm of intellectual consideration.

Thomas Meyer focuses on modern German philosophy and the history of ideas. He has published broadly on Ernst Cassirer as well as on Jewish philosophy and theology of the 20th Century. Currently he is working on an intellectual biography of Leo Strauss. He received his Doctorate in 2003 and his Habilitation in 2009, both from Ludwig Maximilians-University. Since then, he has held visiting professorships in Zurich and Graz. He taught at the University of Chicago (2011-12), Vanderbilt University, Nashville (2012-13), and Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem (2013).

Read the full article here:

The philosopher Martin Heidegger, circa 1933. Credit Corbis

The philosopher Martin Heidegger, circa 1933. Credit Corbis