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Kraft-Hiatt Program

Past Events

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April 14, 2024
Feminist Rage and the Book of Judith — Jennifer L. Koosed, Chair of Religious Studies at Albright College, examines the multivalent violence wielded against and by Judith, focusing especially on the ways this scene has become a site of female resistance and feminist rage. This lecture is in memory of Alice Laffey, a long-time professor of Religious Studies at Holy Cross who passed away in 2023.

April 5, 2024 
O Lungo Drom (The Long Road): An Oratorio On The Sinti And Roma — Ever since they appeared in Europe over a thousand years ago, the Roma have been subject to constant discrimination and persecution, punctuated by infernal periods of enslavement and genocide. Jointly with his home institution Boston College, Holy Cross premiered Ralf Yusuf Gawlick’s oratorio O Lungo Drum, chronicling the history of the Roma and Sinti through the words of Roma/Sinti poets and writers themselves. 

Monday, March 18, 2024
The Survivors Among Us: Today and Tomorrow — Alan Rosen examines what might lie behind the questionable focus on Holocaust survivors’ disappearance and sets out a different way to think about the survivors among us, highlighting the lessons we continue to glean.

September 21, 2023
When Immigration Was Stopped by Eugenics: A Dark Chapter in American History — Daniel Okrent, a prize-winning author of six books, talks about how the 1920s movement to stop immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe united with the simultaneous development of the false science of eugenics. 

November 15, 2022
Home in a Distant Land: Archaeology and the Study of Uprooted Communities in Israel — Based on excavations at Tel Hadid, Israel, Ido Koch, senior lecturer in archaeology at Tel Aviv University and co-director of the Tel Hadid Expedition, describes a community of deportees from Babylonia (southern Iraq), focusing on their experience of being deported, how they rebuilt their life in a new place, and how archaeologists can find them.

November 9, 2022
Preaching from the Roots: A Retreat for Catholic Clergy — Catholic priests from dioceses in and adjacent to Massachusetts gather at the serene Joyce Contemplative Center for an immersive, interactive retreat in preparation of the upcoming Advent season to focus on ways of preaching from Hebrew Scripture that are authentic to both Catholicism and Judaism and avoid anti-Jewish signaling and misinterpretations of the texts. Learn more.

April 11, 2022
The Pope’s Rabbi on Meaningful Interfaith DialogueArgentinian-born Rabbi Abraham Skorka, a longtime friend of Pope Francis, focuses on deepening Catholic-Jewish relationships—not to convince the other of their personal beliefs, but to open up a dialogue between their faiths to help address global issues and problems affecting members of both religions. With Francis, he co-authored “On Heaven and Earth” in 2010.
April 4, 2022
How to Read a Biblical Rape Story — Rhiannon Graybill, associate professor of religious studies at Rhodes College, analyzes three biblical rape stories: Dinah (Gen. 34), Tamar (2 Sam. 13), and Lot’s Daughters (Gen. 19) and challenges the idea of consent as a centerpiece in the discussion of sexual violence. Instead, she offers strategies for understanding sexual violence that tends to the ambiguity and confusion that often surround these experiences. Part of the Hebrew Bible Lecture Series.

February 23, 2022
On the Trail of an Antisemitic Myth: Or How Lies Are Turned into "Facts" Magda Teter, professor of history and the Shvidler Chair in Judaic Studies at Fordham University, unpacks the enduring power of blood libel—false allegations of Jews murdering children as justification for violence against them—and explains how and why it came to be rooted in Christian imagination, reaching beyond medieval Europe to contemporary America and the Middle East. Teter is author of Blood Libel: On the Trail of an Antisemitic Myth (Harvard University Press, 2020), winner of the 2020 National Jewish Book Award.

November 2, 2021
Muslims and the Holocaust — Mehnaz M. Afridi, associate professor of religious studies and director of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College, discusses her journey with Judaism as a Muslim, her interviews with Holocaust survivors, antisemitism and Islamophobia, and Islam and memory. She is author of Shoah Through Muslim Eyes (American Studies Press, 2017).

November 13, 2019
Memory as Protest: How and Why We Remember the Holocaust — Alan Rosen, our Kraft-Hiatt Scholar in Residence, explores the ethics of commemoration. He explains the importance in Jewish tradition of commemorating the people, places and times of those murdered. Rosen is a lecturer at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, and has held fellowships at the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah in Paris and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

November 6, 2019
Wrestling with the Word: Moral Ambiguity in the Hebrew Bible — Andrew Davis, associate professor of Old Testament at Boston College, and Mahri Leonard-Fleckman, assistant professor of religious studies at Holy Cross, assert that while reading the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament, requires different rules of engagement than the New Testament, it seeks to immerse us in the most difficult issues of human nature, and that its lessons can speak to our world today.

October 23, 2019
Anne Frank, Otto Frank, and the Creation of Memory — Following his one-person performance of "Otto Frank," actor, writer and director Roger Guenveur Smith joins a panel of Holy Cross faculty to explore the profound complexities entailed in the creation of both individual and collective memory. Co-sponsored with Arts Transcending Borders.

April 2-3, 2019
Readings from the Roots: Bible Translation and Its Impact — This two-day conference highlights a new, historically-sensitive translation of the Revised Common Lectionary — the collection of readings from Scripture used in many Christian services — to reduce the potential for anti-Judaism by enriching Christianity through its roots in Judaism. Featuring a keynote by Mary C. Boys, vice-president of Academic Affairs and dean and the Skinner & McAlpin Professor of Practical Theology at Union Theological Seminary, on "Seeing Judaism Anew: Jewish Christian Dialogue." Learn more»

February 20, 2019
The Holocaust on the Local Level: Coexistence and Genocide in one Galician Town — Omer Bartov, the John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History at Brown University, traces the history of the Eastern European border town of Buczacz, decimated in World War II, to explain how genocide is intimate, committed among neighbors, where there are no bystanders, only degrees of engagement. Bartov is author of “Anatomy of a Genocide: The Life and Death of a Town Called Buczacz” (Simon & Schuster, 2018).

October 30, 2018
Holocaust Witness: Back to Basics Alan Rosen, Kraft-Hiatt Scholar-in-Residence, weaves personal stories of European Jews who survived or died in the Holocaust with historical background on the events that led up to and shaped World War II in Europe. He then reflects on what it means to bear witness.

September 20, 2018
Contemporary Global Antisemitism as Rejection of the Other: Implications for Human Rights and Democratic PrinciplesCharles Asher Small, founding director of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP), breaks down the forms of antisemitism in a historical context, their prevalence today, and the threat they pose to human rights and democratic principles.

April 19, 2018
Jews, Intersectionality and Contemporary Anti-Semitism — Katya Gibel Mevorach, professor of anthropology and American studies at Grinnell College, offers a historical and global perspective on contemporary anti-Semitism, exploring various Jewish and intersectional identities. Her talk was supported by a grant from the Academic Engagement Network.

April 16, 2018
The Story of Hebrew — Lewis Glinert, professor of Hebrew Studies at Dartmouth and author of “The Story of Hebrew” (Princeton University Press, 2017), explores the extraordinary hold that Hebrew has had on Jews and non-Jews alike. Preserved by the Jews across two millennia, Hebrew endured long after it ceased to be a mother tongue, resulting in one of the most intense textual cultures ever known. Part of JCC Author Series.

November 6, 2017
Anti-Semitism on the WebSeth Stephens-Davidowitz, a former Google data scientist and author of "Everybody Lies," breaks down Big Data on Google searches and membership to hate sites like to reveal the types of users who are looking for anti-Semitic, racist and Islamophobic content online, how search trends correlate with hate crimes and rhetoric, and possible approaches to reducing hate.

November 1, 2017
'Out of the Depths': Jewish Religious Life and Practice During and After the HolocaustAlan Rosen, Kraft-Hiatt Scholar-in-Residence, talks about the normal religious life and practice of Jews and shares testimony of how Holocaust survivors pursued spiritual life with even greater tenacity during times of crisis and sorrow. Rosen is a rabbi, a scholar of Holocaust literature, a lecturer at Yad Vashem, and author of "The Wonder of their Voices: The 1946 Holocaust Interviews of David Boder," "Sounds of Defiance: The Holocaust, Multilingualism, and the Problem of English" and "Dislocating the End: Climax, Closure, and the Invention of Genre."

April 5, 2017
Time Capsules Under the Rubble: The Secret Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto — Samuel Kassow, the Charles H. Northam Professor of History at Trinity College and author of “Who Will Write Our History?” (Indiana University Press, 2007), speaks about Emanuel Ringelblum and members of his secret Oyneg Shabes organization who studied and documented Jewish life in Nazi-occupied Warsaw and buried the archive to preserve this history for posterity.

March 21, 2017
Theatre as a Form of Resistance to Oppression and Genocide — Joshua Sobol, a prolific and award-winning playwright, director and author, talks about the genesis of his most famous play, "Ghetto," which explores the role of theatre as a form of resistance in the Vilna Ghetto of Nazi-occupied Lithuania in World War II. His talk was co-sponsored with Israeli Stage, where Sobol is playwright in residence.

November 14, 2016
United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom David Saperstein is a principal advisor to the president and secretary of state and serves as the United States’ chief diplomat on issues of religious freedom worldwide. A rabbi and an attorney, he speaks on the work to promote religious freedom around the world and to fight religious persecution, discrimination and genocide by governments and by terror groups like ISIL.

November 9, 2016
After the Holocaust the Bells Still Ring — Rabbi Joseph A. Polak, author of the award-winning memoir “After the Holocaust the Bells Still Ring” (Urim Press, January 2015),  explores how he (a toddler at the time), together with his mother, survived two concentration camps, and, after the war, battled demons of the past, societal rejection, disbelief and invalidation as they struggled to reenter the world of the living.

October 26, 2016
An Ottoman Tableau of Faith: A lecture-demonstration — The DÜNYA ensemble will present a historical tableau of different religious musical practices in Islam, Christianity and Judaism, especially centered in Ottoman Istanbul. The many layers of communal interaction in the city created deep historical and musical influences between these religious traditions. Co-sponsored with Arts Transcending Borders.

October 18, 2016
Raise the Roof: Film Screening and Panel Discussion — This film documents artists Rick and Laura Brown of Handshouse Studio as they reconstruct the elaborate roof and painted ceiling of an 18th-century synagogue that was destroyed by Nazis in Poland. Leading over 300 students and professionals from 16 countries, the Browns grappled not just with the echoes of World War II, but also with warped timbers, tricky paints, and period hand tools. Following the screening, a panel that includes Rick and Laura Brown will discuss the history and art of the synagogue. Co-sponsored with Visual Arts and the Cantor Art Gallery.

April 11, 2016
Philosophy and Theology or Philosophy vs. Theology: Lessons from Jewish Thought — Alan Mittleman, the Aaron Rabinowitz and Simon H. Rifkind Professor of Jewish Philosophy at The Jewish Theological Seminary, argues for an affirmation of a philosophically articulated Judaism, which nevertheless respects the particularity and thickness of Jewish tradition. He is author of "Human Nature & Jewish Thought: Judaism's Case for Why Persons Matter."

February 10, 2016
Jesus: Bad Jew or Good Jew? — Adele Reinhartz, professor in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa, Canada, explores how Jesus’s Jewishness has been construed in 19th-21st century scholarship, and highlights examples of his Jewish observance and practice as described in the gospels of Matthew and John to weigh the good Jew/bad Jew dichotomy.

October 26, 2015
Jesuit Kaddish: Encounters Between Jesuits and Jews and Why These Might Matter to Us — Rev. James Bernauer, S.J., is Kraft Family Professor of Philosophy and director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College. His talk offers an overview of how Jesuits became a leader in dialogue with Jews and will focus on encounters in the 20th century, with special attention on the historical context of the Holocaust.

April 15, 2015
Père Marie-Benoît and Jewish Rescue  — Historian and author Susan Zuccotti discusses her recent biography of the French Capuchin priest, “Père Marie-Benoît and Jewish Rescue: How a French Priest Together with Jewish Friends Saved Thousands during the Holocaust” (Indiana University Press, 2013). Zuccotti, author of "The Italians and the Holocaust: Persecution, Rescue, and Survival," has taught Holocaust history at Barnard College and Trinity College.

April 8, 2015
Teaching at the Jezreel Valley Art Center in Israel, where Jewish, Christian and Muslim Youth are Making Music Together — Acclaimed harpsichordist Marina Minkin was born in the Ukraine and immigrated to Israel in 1981. In a luncheon discussion, she shares her experiences teaching at the Jezreel Valley Art Center in Israel, where both students and teachers represent the cultural and ethnic mosaic of the region, including Jews and Arabs, Christians and Muslims, religious and secular.

February 25, 2015
Oh God — The Israeli Stage, a Boston-based theatre troupe dedicated to producing the works of Israeli playwrights for college audiences, reprises their American premiere of Anat Gov’s play about a psychotherapist and single mother to an autistic child who gets a visit from a new, desperate patient: God.

February 24, 2015
The Pope and Mussolini — David Kertzer talks about his recent book, “The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe” (Random House, 2014). He is the Paul Dupee University Professor of Social Science at Brown University, where he is also professor of anthropology and Italian studies. Co-sponsored with the Worcester JCC.

November 3, 2014
To Capture the Fire: The Life and Works of Elie Wiesel — Alan Rosen, a renowned scholar of Holocaust literature, talks about the life and works of Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, under whom Rosen studied. Rosen is editor of "Celebrating Elie Wiesel: Stories, Essays, Reflections" (University of Notre Dame Press, 1998), "Approaches to Teaching Wiesel’s Night" (Modern Language Association, 2007) and, with Steven Katz, "Obliged by Memory: Literature, Religion, Ethics: A Collection of Essays Honoring Elie Wiesel’s Seventieth Birthday" (Syracuse University Press, 2006).

October 6, 2014
Understanding American Jews: demographically complicated, religiously diverse, stronger than ever, and still at risk — Rabbi Eric Yoffie is a writer, lecturer, and internationally known religious leader. A Worcester native, he is president emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism, representing 1.5 million Reform Jews in the United States and Canada. Co-sponsored with the Worcester JCC, the Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts and Temple Emanuel Sinai. Read more.

March 20, 2014
Food that Divides, Food that Unites: Food Metaphors for the Experience of the Divine in Jewish and Christian Tradition— Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus, professor and chair of religion and coordinator of Jewish Studies at Wheaton College, analyzes religious rituals involving food that are intended to create synaesthetic, or multi-sensory, experiences.

November 7, 2013
Jesus and Judaism: The Connection Matters - Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University. Author of  "The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus" and an editor of "The Historical Jesus in Context," Levine explains how understanding Jesus in his Jewish context brings new meaning to his parables, his politics, and his piety, and it offers as well a new path for Jewish-Christian relations.

Thursday, October 24, 2013
Jewish Music and Musicians from 17th-Century Italy to 21st-Century America: The Sounds of Faith, Perseverance and Optimism - Mark Kroll is professor emeritus at Boston University and harpsichordist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. His lecture traces, in words and music, the rise, fall, and rebirth of the Jewish performers and composers such as Salomone Rossi, Felix Mendelssohn, Ferdinand Hiller, Leonard Bernstein and others.

Fall 2013
International Visiting Kraft-Hiatt Fellow — Dror Burstein, winner of the Jerusalem Prize for Literature (1997), the Ministry of Science and Culture Prize for Poetry (2002), the Bernstein Prize for his novel, "Avner Brenner" (2005) and the Prime Minister's Prize (2006), taught a course at Holy Cross on Genesis in Art and Literature, exploring the Book of Genesis through the eye of various disciplines and artistic media. He also gave two public lectures: "Pictures of Meat" on October 21, 2013, and "Why it is (almost) impossible to write a novel in Israel these days" on November 14, 2013. His fellowship was made possible primarily through the Schusterman Visiting Israeli Artists Program.

March 21, 2013
Israel's Security in a Changing Middle East - Yaakov Katz, the military reporter and defense analyst for The Jerusalem Post and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, talks about the changes in the Middle East and their impact on Israel's strategic standing in the region. He also offers a close look at the threat posed to Israel by Iran with its pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
Watch the video: Stream Online» | Free iTunes download»

March 14, 2013
From Tolerance to Celebration: Confessions of a Jewish Bridge Builder — Rabbi Abie Ingber is executive director of the Center for Interfaith Community Engagement at Xavier University. Recognized for his work in advancing Catholic-Jewish dialogue, he shares opportunities for interfaith collaboration and celebration at Holy Cross.

November 5, 2012
Passivity of Bystanders in Genocide and Mass Killings, and Generating Active Bystandership — Ervin Staub is professor of psychology emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and founding director of it Ph.D. concentration in the Psychology of Peace and Violence. He has also worked in the field to develop training programs after the Rodney King riots, Hurricane Katrina, and in Rwanda, and served as an expert witness in the Abu Ghraib trials.

April 25, 2012
Jewish Life in Nazi Germany - Marion Kaplan, Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History at New York University, has written extensively on how Jews, and particularly Jewish women, negotiated everyday life and coped with the repression of everyday sociability in Hitler's Germany. This lecture was sponsored by the Derrick Lecture Fund of the Department of History, with additional support from Peace and Conflict Studies, Philosophy, and the McFarland Center.

April 24, 2012
Oral History of a Holocaust and Schindler's List Survivor - When the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, Rena Ferber Finder was a Jewish girl living in Kracow. In this oral history, she shares her stories of life before the war, being relocated to the ghetto, time spent in Auschwitz, and working for German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who ultimately saved her.

February 28, 2012
"The Words, Too, Will Nourish": Poetry and Resistance — Alan Rosen, a Holocaust scholar who teaches at Yad Vashem, considers how poetry written during the Holocaust and after served as a form of spiritual resistance.

November 16, 2011
Augustine and the Jews: A Christian Defense of Jews and Judaism Paula Fredriksen, William Goodwin Aurelio Chair Emerita of the Appreciation of Scripture at Boston University, talks about her recent book, which traces the origins and growth of Christian anti-Judaism, while exploring Augustine's singular response and challenge to it. The lecture was presented with the Worcester JCC.
Download Paula Fredriksen's handout (pdf)

October 17, 2011
Stuck: Why Israel is in so much trouble and how it can dig out — Nir Eisikovits teaches legal and political philosophy at Suffolk University, where he co-founded and directs the Graduate Program in Ethics and Public Policy. His teaching and writing focus on how countries emerge from war and how they come to terms with their past. He is a senior fellow at the International Center for Conciliation and author of Sympathizing with the Enemy: Reconciliation, Transitional Justice, Negotiation. His talk is co-sponsored with Peace and Conflict Studies. Read more.

March 15, 2011
James Carroll on Jerusalem - Renowned author and Boston Globe columnist James Carroll, distinguished scholar in residence at Suffolk University, speaks about his newest book Jerusalem, Jerusalem: How the Ancient City Ignited Our Modern World. Presented in partnership with the Worcester JCC, Congregation Beth Israel, Temple Emanuel and Temple Sinai.

March 2, 2011
Killing Time, Saving Time: Defying the Holocaust by Counting the Days - Alan Rosen, renowned Holocaust scholar and educator, talks about his current project, "A New Index for Time: Calendars and the Holocaust." Deprived of basic physical and cultural necessities, Holocaust victims often found it impossible simply to keep track of the day's date. Rosen shares a new vocabulary for timekeeping as well as the calendars and diaries victims kept while in hiding and in ghettos.

October 25, 2010
From Brother to Other and Back - Eugene Pogany, author of In My Brother's Image: Twin Brothers Separated by Faith After the Holocaust, tells how the disparate experiences of his father and uncle during the Holocaust irreparably severed their twin bond. Pogany is a practicing psychologist in Newton, Mass. He has written and lectured over the past several years on subjects relating to Jewish-Christian relations, the Holocaust and anti-Semitism.
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April 20, 2010
Every Person Has a Name: My time at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and Teaching the Holocaust — Thomas Doughton, historian and senior lecturer in the Center for Interdisciplinary and Special Studies at Holy Cross, reflects on his participation in a seminar on teaching the Holocaust at Yad Vashem.

March 23, 2010
The Representation of the Holocaust in Poetry - Marc Lee Raphael is professor and chair of religious studies, Nathan and Sophia Gumenick Professor of Judaic Studies and director of the program and minor in Judaic Studies at the College of William and Mary.

November 18, 2009
The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany - Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College, discussed the influence of Nazism on German Protestant theologians during the Third Reich.
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November 12, 2009
"How to Prevent the Next Great Depression: A Jewish Law Perspective." Aaron Levine is the Samson and Halina Bitensky Professor of Economics and chairman of the department at Yeshiva University. A noted authority on Jewish commercial law, he recently published "The Global Recession and Jewish Law” in American Economist and is editor of the forthcoming publication Judaism and Economics (Oxford University Press, Spring 2010).
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November 11, 2009
Summer in the Holy Land — Two students, Amy Lazarus '10 and Miriam Westin '11, shared their experiences as part of the Rothberg Summer Institute at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, last summer. Amy spoke about studying Judaism in Jerusalem and of her interactions with local Israelis and fellow international students. Miriam shared what was unearthed during her three-week archaeological dig at Tel Hazor in Northern Israel and talked about her experiences living in a kibbutz.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Holocaust and the Jewish Resistance — Yehuda Bauer is known worldwide as a compelling speaker and one of the world's most important scholars on holocaust studies.

March 16, 2009
The Religious Enlightenment - David Sorkin, professor of history and Frances and Laurence Weinstein Professor of Jewish Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison, suggests that the Enlightenment, which gave birth to Modernity, should best be understood as a religious, not an anti-religious, project.
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March 17, 2009
Lessons from the Shoah: Why we teach the Holocaust at Holy Cross, Daniel Bitran, associate professor of psychology, visited Yad Vashem in Jerusalem in 2008 and participated in the intensive International Seminar for Educators Teaching about the Shoah and Antisemitism. His lecture reflected on his experience and the ways we can better understand and teach the Holocaust at Holy Cross.
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