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Sunday, March 18

9:00am CDT

Torah Scrolls Have a Life of Their Own: The Perilous Journey of the Torah Scroll MST-501
Come follow the journey taken by a Torah scroll, a survivor of the Nazi plunder of Jewish life in Europe during World II, to its final destination at Temple Emanu-El in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Dr. Steven Jacobs will recount negotiations with the Westminster Temple in London (a depository for the scrolls) for the acquisition of Torah Scroll MST-501. Unlike other scrolls from the same depository, Torah Scroll #501 was an “orphan” whose ancestry and antiquity were unknown. Geochemist Paul Aharon will explain the methodology he used to determine the precise age of its parchment and discuss the implications for the ongoing search for and discovery of the oldest complete Torah scroll in existence today.

avatar for Paul Aharon

Paul Aharon

Paul Aharon, MS, PhD, is a Professor of Geochemistry at the University of Alabama where he has held the Ray E. Loper Endowed Chair of Geology since 2001. Previously he was a Professor of Geology at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge (1982-2001). Author of more than 300 refereed... Read More →
avatar for Steven Leonard Jacobs

Steven Leonard Jacobs

Steven Leonard Jacobs, DHL, DD, is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama where he has held the Aaron Aronov Endowed Chair of Judaic Studies since returning to the university in 2001.  He is the author, editor, and translator of more than fifteen books and more... Read More →

Sunday March 18, 2018 9:00am - 10:00am CDT
Dance Studio, JCC

11:30am CDT

Reformulating 'Jesus & the Jews' over the Centuries: Persistent Failures of the 'Cafeteria' Approach'"
How can we explain the ever-rolling stream of contradictions over whether Jesus was a pacifist, militant, prophet, reformer, apocalyptist, healer, magician, exorcist, philosopher, or even outright myth? Why do researchers so easily lapse into seeing Jesus more as they are than as he was? (Is this analogous to peering down a well at a “person below” who is only our self-image reflected?) Shouldn't Jews be able to enlighten Christians concerning “Gospel Dynamics”--those techniques by which Gospel editors molded a Jesus figure addressing their own needs decades well after Jesus's own ministry? Discuss these questions with Michael Cook, the only New Testament scholar who teaches at a rabbinical seminary.

avatar for Michael Cook

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is Bronstein Professor of Judeo-Christian Studies (Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati), the only American rabbi with a full-professorial chair in New Testament. In 2003, he was asked by the U.S. Bishops to assess Mel Gibson's advance controversial script, "The Passion... Read More →

Sunday March 18, 2018 11:30am - 12:30pm CDT
Room 202b, JCC

2:45pm CDT

Judaism, Racism, and a Sense of Justice: When the Law Is Used Against the Jews
As Americans, we live in a society where there is a respect for the law, a way to challenge unjust laws, and a belief in the ability of the judicial system to ultimately right wrongs. But what if one lived in a society where the laws were unjust, where the legal system was unfair, and where there was no way to vindicate legal rights? That happened not only in Nazi Germany but also in Louisiana before the Civil War and even afterward. This fast-paced, multimedia presentation will explore the role of Jews who had to battle unjust laws in Nazi Germany, discuss Louisiana’s history of unjust, racist laws, and illuminate the unusual and unexpected connections between these disparate times and events.

avatar for Michael Rubin

Michael Rubin

Michael H. Rubin is an attorney, the author of award-winning legal thrillers, and a nationally-known speaker and humorist who has given more than 400 major presentations throughout the United States, Canada, and England. His debut novel, The Cottoncrest Curse, a historical thriller... Read More →

Sunday March 18, 2018 2:45pm - 3:45pm CDT
Dance Studio, JCC

2:45pm CDT

The Auschwitz Classroom: Learning, Teaching and Understanding Empathy and Coexistence in 20th-Century Poland
In 2006, I spent the summer in Oswiecim, the Polish town better known by its infamous German name, to study and learn at the Auschwitz Jewish Center. Spending two months in southwestern Poland solidified both my commitment to study for a doctorate in the modern Jewish history of east central Europe and, ironically, my inability to fully understand that tragedy that had unfolded in this sad yet beautiful place. One decade later, with my PhD and glossy new business cards from Tulane University in hand, I returned to Oswiecim to once again become part of a classroom, but this time as a professor. In this session, I will take my audience on a journey that is at once personal and professional. I will explore how learning, teaching and understanding in the Auschwitz classroom can illuminate the trajectory of Jewish-Gentile coexistence in modern Poland, help us understand how minorities and refugees “fit” into European societies, and, finally, can engender empathy that has the potential to transcend classroom walls.

avatar for Sarah Cramsey

Sarah Cramsey

Dr. Sarah A. Cramsey is a Professor of Practice of Jewish Studies at Tulane University. She received her doctorate in history from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as degrees from Oxford University and the College of William & Mary. Dr. Cramsey has received funding... Read More →

Sunday March 18, 2018 2:45pm - 3:45pm CDT
Library, JCC

4:00pm CDT

What Could Have Been: A Discussion of Women in Judaism
This interactive session will discuss how women have been viewed throughout Jewish history. We first will compare the lives of matriarchs with those of other female leaders such as Naomi, Ruth, and Esther. We then will review brief biographies of relatively unknown Jewish women heroines, such as Dona Gracia de Nasi, Sarah Aaronsohn, Annie Londonderry, Haika Grossman, and Bessie Margolin. With this as background, we will reassess how Jewish women should have been viewed as leaders in religious and secular areas in Jewish communities around the world. How would have our religion and the state of Israel have been different if women’s contributions had been more widely taught and incorporated into our sense of the Jewish people? How we can ensure more female-centric Jewish education in the future?

avatar for Suzanne Stone

Suzanne Stone

Suzanne Stone is a life-long history student with 25 years of experience educating adults, in Jewish programming, as a docent with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, and as a licensed tour guide in New Orleans. She has developed specialized tours on women and... Read More →

Sunday March 18, 2018 4:00pm - 5:00pm CDT
Library, JCC