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CU Boulder Program in Jewish Studies Continues Peak to Peak Series on Zoom

Updated: May 14, 2021

From food and social justice to Holocaust memory and American history, the University of Colorado Boulder Peak to Peak series brings CU Boulder scholars into conversation with audiences and communities across Colorado and beyond.

Exploring influential historical figures and events and enduring human questions, these online learning opportunities are offered through the CU Boulder Program in Jewish Studies in partnership with the Office for Outreach and Engagement Arts and Humanities Initiative and communities and organizations across Colorado including: Corazón de Trinidad Creative District, Durango Creative District, Garfield Public Library District, Trinidad Carnegie Public Library, Western Colorado University, Aspen Jewish Congregation, Boulder JCC, and Temple Aaron in Trinidad.

Each Peak to Peak talk will start with a 20-minute presentation on the topic, followed by a 20-minute conversation with Elias Sacks, director of the Program in Jewish Studies and the organizer of this year’s series. Another 20 minutes is set aside for questions and answers. The format is similar to that of previous years, but will now be done over Zoom. Learn more at the CU Boulder Jewish Studies website:



Thursday, March 18, 2021

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM (MT - Mountain Time) via Zoom

Judaism and the Black Experience — 2021 Sondra and Howard Bender Visiting Scholar

Professor Bruce D. Haynes, University of California, Davis

Free of charge and open to participants in all locations, within Colorado and beyond

In this webinar, Professor Bruce Haynes (University of California, Davis) will speak about his award winning book The Soul of Judaism: Jews of African Descent in America (NYU Press 2018), the first comprehensive study of African-American Jewry. His approach draws upon theories of racialization and orientalism to provide insights into the negotiation of Afro American claims to Judaism. Blending historical analysis and oral history, his work shows how Black Judaisms (in both their confrontational and collaborative forms) are racial projects, and how both Blacks and Jews have navigated the boundaries of the American color-line. Professor Haynes challenges normative understandings of Jewish identity, group boundaries, and the process of Jewish conversion.

Bruce D. Haynes was born in Harlem, New York. After receiving his B.A. in Sociology from Manhattanville College, he conducted applied research, under the sociologist Jay Schulman, selecting juries for trials throughout New York State. Haynes went on to earn his doctorate in sociology from the City University of New York (1995) and was appointed Assistant Professor of Sociology and African-American Studies at Yale University (1995-2001). In 2001, he joined the faculty at the University of California, Davis, where he now serves as Professor of Sociology. In addition, Haynes is a Senior Fellow in the Urban Ethnography Project at Yale University.


Thursday, November 19, 2020

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM (MT - Mountain Time) via Zoom

Professor Hilary Falb Kalisman, Assistant Professor of History and Endowed Professor of Israel/Palestine Studies, University of Colorado Boulder

Free of charge and open to participants in all locations, within Colorado and beyond

In the Spring and Fall of 2020, the world has had to decide how much standardized testing really matters. In the United States, with levels of COVID-19 rising, few universities thought it worth their while to make the SAT or GRE a necessary part of students’ applications. In Israel, Jordan, and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, however, thousands of students practiced for and took their high-school leaving exams without incident if not quite as usual. Their parents and their governments believed these exams, and the futures they represented, to be worth the risk. How do some standardized tests come to matter more than others? What types of politics are involved in the creation and persistence of standardized tests? What futures can exams promise in times of crisis?

Professor Hilary Falb Kalisman (Assistant Professor of History and Endowed Professor of Israel/Palestine Studies, University of Colorado Boulder) will explore these questions by discussing the history of standardized testing in the Modern Middle East. She will show how a colonial legacy of universal, meritocratic but out-of-reach standards forged regimes of high-stakes testing that persisted across crises, from wars to COVID-19.


Monday, December 14, 2020

7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. (MT - Mountain Time) via Zoom

Yonatan Malin, Associate Professor of Music Theory and Jewish Studies

Free of charge and open to participants in all locations, within Colorado and beyond

This lecture will introduce klezmer music as a kind of Jewish dialogue, or Jewish discourse. Klezmer is Jewish instrumental music from Eastern Europe, and it comes from the same culture as the Yiddish literature of Sholem Aleichem, S. J. Abramovitsh, and others. It makes sense that the music and literature of this culture would share certain features. But can we specify what those are? Or are music and literature too distinct? Professor Yonatan Malin will address these questions from cognitive, cultural, and music-analytical perspectives. Musical examples will include recordings from the early 20th century to today. The lecture does not require any background in music or Yiddish.

Yonatan Malin, Associate Professor of Music Theory and Jewish Studies research areas include klezmer, Jewish liturgical music, cantillation, and German Lieder. He teaches Music in Jewish Cultures every other year. In the spring of 2018, he participated in the inaugural Archive Transformed Residency together with klezmer fiddler Alicia Svigals, and he has participated in and contributed to workshops at Yiddish New York and KlezKanada. Professor Malin was a panelist on the first Embodied Judaism Symposium honoring Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. He also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the College of Music, and his book Songs in Motion: Rhythm and Meter in the German Lied was published in 2010 by Oxford University Press. He served as editor of Music Theory Online, a journal of the Society for Music Theory, from 2011 to 2014.


Monday, September 14, 2020

7:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M. (MDT - Mountain Daylight Time)

Jewish Messianic Heresy and the Right to Privacy: Louis Brandeis and Sabbatian Origins of an American Legal Doctrine

Nan Goodman, Professor of Jewish Studies and English, University of Colorado Boulder

On September 14, Professor Nan Goodman will discuss her book on Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish U.S. Supreme Court Justice.


Thursday, August 20, 2020

12:00 P.M. - 1:00 P.M. (MDT - Mountain Daylight Time)

Grief: The Biography of a Holocaust Photograph – A Conversation With David Shneer

David Shneer, Professor of Jewish Studies and History, Louis P. Singer Endowed Chair in Jewish History, University of Colorado Boulder

On August 20, David Shneer, a professor of Jewish Studies and history, will host a talk on “Grief: The Biography of a Holocaust Photograph,” the book he is scheduled to release Aug. 3. The book is about a photo he calls the “first Holocaust commemoration scene,” taken in 1942. In his book, David Shneer tells the story of how that one photograph from a series taken by Dmitri Baltermants, a photojournalist working for the Soviet newspaper Izvestiia, took that day in 1942 near Kerch. This photo became much more widely known than the others, eventually being titled "Grief," and is currently in a Moscow art gallery. Join the discussion to learn why the photographer chose to take the photo, its journey through time and how it has made an impact.


Events are free of charge and open to participants in all locations, within Colorado and beyond.

For additional information, contact

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