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Glazer Institute Speaker and Event Series

Hosting special events and conferences for the entire campus community allows the Glazer Institute to reach a wider audience and to attract a diverse and distinguished assembly of speakers to discuss some of the most challenging topics of the day. Discussing controversial issues in a respectful atmosphere has allowed audience members not only to better understand the facets of the topic, but also to learn from the example of panelists who respect differences while remaining faithful to their own traditions and ideals.

Events by Year


2009 | Finding Common Ground: Reconciliation Among the Children of Abraham

Jewish leaders speak at Finding Common Ground event - Pepperdine University

About the Conference

Jews, Muslims, and Christians all share a common heritage; we are all people of the book. Pepperdine University was pleased to convene this one-day conference that brought together leaders from the three great monotheistic religions to discuss our common ground. The event focused on shared issues that unite our communities.

Topics included:

Interpreting Sacred Texts

All Abrahamic faiths maintain that sacred texts are divinely inspired. But each faith struggles with the question of interpreting sacred text and applying it to the modern age. This panel wrestled with the foundational question of how one understands the method by which God has communicated to his people.

Dealing with the Outsider in Our Midst

Every Jew, Christian, and Muslim struggles with the question of the "other." In a pluralistic society we routinely rub shoulders with individuals who share our space but do not share our faith. This panel focused on how the Abrahamic faiths address the question of the outsider who is among us, but not of us.

Why Faith Matters

All people of faith struggle to respond to disbelief. In the keynote lecture, Rabbi Wolpe answered the new atheism by shining a light on religion’s deepest scars while at the same time showing how religions have also (almost) always been a force of good in the world.

National Identity and Religious Pluralism

Many nations of the world are deeply religious in their orientation. But that religious experience is often pluralistic, spanning a continuum from extremism to extreme accommodation. In this panel, political leaders from Turkey and Israel addressed religious pluralism as it is expressed in their respective countries.


Interpreting Sacred Texts
Watch the full video here.

Dealing with the Outsider in Our Midst
Watch the full video here.

Why Faith Matters

Watch the full video here.

National Identity and Religious Pluralism
Watch the full video here.

Conference Quotes

"Sharia law supports common principles: life, intellect, family, property, and religion. The theology of life to combat the theology of death."
Jihad Turk, Islamic Center of Southern California

"You cannot…cut windows in other peoples' souls. All you can do is see belief enacted. When we speak about what faith should be in the world, there's a part of me that thinks that all we're really talking about is how faith should be enacted in this world."

Rabbi David Wolpe, Sinai Temple

"We must not sacrifice our own identities in the quest to love others. Rather, we should recognize that they are like us—they are their own 'you', and their lives are every bit as precious, valuable ... and important as ours."
Mark Diamond, Board of Rabbis

Finding Common Ground ad - Pepperdine University

Classroom Lectures

In her first semester teaching at Pepperdine, Professor Rebecca Golbert gave a guest lecture on Judaism in Tim Pownall's class on Religion and Dispute Resolution, and has been instrumental bringing guest lecturers to campus. After her students read it for class, Rabbi David Wolpe came to speak about his book Why Faith Matters to a group of 40 students and faculty. On November 18, Rabbi Mark Diamond and Reverend James Butler had an intimate conversation about Christian-Jewish Dialogue in the Hahn Fireside Room. This event was co-organized with the SAAJ classes (with the help of Professor Jeff Banks).

Rabbi Wendy Spears came to speak in Professor Golbert's Introduction to Judaism class about the experience of being a female rabbi. Additionally, Valerie Kronsburg, who is a Moroccan Jew, came to speak about the Jews of Morocco in Golbert's Jewish Cultures class. Finally, Professor Golbert took students from her Jewish Cultures class (along with several students who joined them from her Introduction to Judaism class) to the Skirball Cultural Center for a docent led tour of the permanent exhibit.

2010 | Overcoming Life's Disappointments: A Discussion with Rabbi Harold Kushner

Harold Kushner lecture - Pepperdine University

Rabbi Harold Kushner is perhaps best known for his internationally-acclaimed work, When Bad Things Happen to Good People. First published in 1981, this book has been translated into fourteen languages and was recently selected by members of the Book of the Month Club as one of the ten most influential books of recent years. Since then, he has written six other New York Times best-sellers and spoken nationwide on topics that remain relevant today. On November 10, 2010, the Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies was honored to host Rabbi Harold Kushner for a discussion of his more recent work, Overcoming Life's Disappointments. Rabbi Kushner catered to the needs and concerns of Pepperdine's student body, discussing how we should define success and overcome rejection and disappointment. Rabbi Kushner has been honored by the Christophers, a Roman Catholic organization, as one of fifty people who have made the world a better place in the last fifty years and has twice been nominated for the Templeton Prize, the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for Religion.


"Jesus the Mohel: Paul's View of Circumcision Reconsidered"
A Lecture by Professor Joshua Garroway

November 17, 2010

Joshua Garroway lecture - Pepperdine University

In conjunction with Kindy DeLong's New Testament courses, the Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies hosted Professor Joshua Garroway on November 17th, 2010 to lead a discussion on Paul's connection to Jewish tradition. His lecture delved into New and Old Testament scripture, tradition, and culture to reassess Paul's perspective on Jewish law, as seen through his reaction to Christian circumcision.

Dr. Garroway is Assistant Professor of New Testament and Second Commonwealth Judaism at Hebrew Union College. Prior to arriving in Los Angeles, Dr. Garroway completed his rabbinical studies at HUC-JIR in Cincinnati and his doctorate in New Testament studies at Yale. His dissertation, entitled "Neither Jew nor Gentile, but Both: Paul's 'Christians' as 'Gentile-Jews,'" explores the ways in which Paul's epistle to the Romans constructs Jewish identity, and the role this played in the ensuing emergence of Christianity. Dr. Garroway's scholarly interests include Jewish identity in the ancient world, the origins of Christianity, Jewish-Christian relations in late antiquity, and postmodern historiography. Joshua is a native of Rochester, NY.

The Last Survivor Screening
November 1, 2010

The Last Survivor movie poster - Pepperdine University

The Glazer Institute was honored to co-sponsor the second film screening in the Fall of 2010 with the Center for Entertainment, Media, and Culture through Craig Detweiler’s class “A Social Scientific Perspective on Film.” On Monday, November 1st, the Glazer Institute presented the award-winning documentary, THE LAST SURVIVOR in Pepperdine University’s Elkins Auditorium.

THE LAST SURVIVOR offers hopeful, poignant, and inspiring portraits of four survivors active in the anti-genocide movement. Drawing upon firsthand experiences in Auschwitz, Rwanda, the Congo, and Darfur, THE LAST SURVIVOR offers lessons from history as a means to avert future atrocities.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 2006, filmmakers Michael Pertnoy and Michael Kleiman traveled to five countries across four continents to gather the moving stories of The Last Survivor and compile it into an award-winning documentary. Both directors joined us for a special post-screening discussion.

“The documentaries we have watched put a lot of weight on the shoulders of youth to somehow go out and make a difference and spread awareness for the tragedies that still go on today. I believe that a main goal of this and the other documentaries is to inspire those who watch it to take action on many levels in order to make sure that the destructive parts of history do not repeat themselves.”—Kara, a Seaver College Student and viewer of The Last Survivor

A Film Unfinished Screening
October 18, 2010

A Film Unfinished movie scene - Pepperdine University

Presented in coordination with the Center for Entertainment, Media, and Culture, The Glazer Institute screened A FILM UNFINISHED on October 18, 2010 in Professor Craig Detweiler's course on a Social Scientific Perspective on Film. A FILM UNFINISHED is one of the most acclaimed films of the year and a strong contender for the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary. For years, historians seeking to understand conditions in the Warsaw Ghetto used footage shot by the Nazis in 1942 as a resource. But what happens when a long missing reel, containing multiple takes of scenes, is discovered? A FILM UNFINISHED presents this raw footage in its entirety, revealing fictionalized sequences falsely showing “the good life” enjoyed by Jewish families. Israeli filmmaker Yael Hersonski probes deep into the making of Nazi propaganda. Special guest respondents included Dr. Michael Berenbaum from the American Jewish University in LA and Dania Berman, a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto.

"The screening of “A Film Unfinished”...was absolutely perfect for my students. We had just spend two class periods talking about Holocaust representation and memory, and all the problems inherent in even knowing what happened. The discussion at the end of the film between a survivor and a historian reinforced just about every issue we had been discussing. What made it so valuable, in fact, was that they were both there together. In fact, one of my students said on the mid-semester evaluation that their discussion was the most valuable aspect of the course so far." -Sharyl Corrado, Seaver College faculty member

8th National Jewish Law Students Association Conference

February 14, 2010

As Alan Dershowitz remarked in his keynote address on February 14, 2010, "There is no more important organization than Jewish Law Student organizations." This idea was both the motivation for and the model behind the commencement of the 8th National Jewish Law Students Association Conference. For a full day of panels and an evening banquet at the Museum of Tolerance, Jewish law school students from around the nation joined Pepperdine University students and community members to discuss the impact of Judaism on law on both international and domestic planes. Discussions featured noted academic and legal speakers from around the world, and fostered further dialogue on the role of Israel in the world, the growth of a Jewish presence in the legal community, and the need for socially-moral Jewish leaders to continue defending those in need. Learn more about the conference.

8th National Jewish Law Students Association Conference ad - Pepperdine University

Classroom Lectures

In the spring of 2010, Professor Golbert gave a guest lecture on Politics and Judaism in Chris Soper's class on Religion and Politics and a guest lecture on Culture and Mediation in Professor Robert Lloyd's class on International Conflict Resolution. Rabbi Judith HaLevy of the Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue came to speak in Professor Golbert's first-year seminar about Judaism, Purim, and the experience of being a female rabbi. Finally, distinguished professor John Roth gave two guest lectures later in the semester. The lunchtime talk (sponsored by ISL and the Glazer Institute) was titled "The Right Side of History? Mass Atrocity Crimes and Their Prevention." Professor Roth then gave an afternoon talk in Payson Library (sponsored by Payson Library and the Glazer Institute) as part of the Kresge Room Series. The afternoon talk was titled "Is God 'Dead'? Some Aftereffects and Aftershocks of the Holocaust."


2011 | Fall Events

Faith in the Power of Freedom

Natan Sharansky - Pepperdine University

On September 13, the Glazer Institute proudly co-sponsored an event with Pepperdine's School of Public Policy and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. To commemorate the 100th birthday of President Reagan, Pepperdine invited renowned human rights activist and former Russian dissident Natan Sharansky to speak on the faith of Ronald Reagan. Sharansky spoke of the impact Ronald Reagan's faith had on his fight for human rights and his Jewish identity. A fierce advocate of the State of Israel, Sharansky was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1986 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006.

The full lecture is available here.

Sukkot Convocation and Ushpizin Screening

Ushpizin movie poster - Pepperdine University

To commemorate the Jewish holiday season, the Glazer Institute will partner with the Judaic Cultural Awareness Club to host a lecture on traditions, meaning, and cultural significance of the holiday of Sukkot. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in the tradition of decorating the sukkah and then sharing a meal inside the sukkah. After the convocation, students will be invited into the Pendleton Learning Center (PLC) 125 for a screening of the film Ushpizin. Ushpizin centers on an Orthodox Jewish couple struggling to make ends meet during the holiday of Sukkot.

Pizza will be provided and convocation credit will be available.


Interacting with other Religions: A Look at Jewish-Christian Relations

On November 1, Pepperdine will welcome Dr. Michael Wyschogrod and Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein – two of the foremost scholars in Jewish-Christian relations–to campus to discuss the contemporary landscape of interfaith dialogue. Both scholars will explain why they believe that conversation between Jews and Christians is an essential part of the religious response to contemporary 21st faith challenges. In so doing, both Wyschogrod and Adlerstein will highlight how and to what extent understanding the faith principles of others can enhance our own faith journeys.

Convocation Credit will be available.

Religious Responses to Hunger

Bread for the World wordmark - Pepperdine University

On November 10th, the Glazer Institute jumpstarts its series on Religion and Food with an interfaith panel on Religious Responses to Hunger. The conversation will include three panelists: the CEO of MAZON, a Jewish response to hunger; a representative of Bread for the World, a Christian nonprofit focused on hunger issues; and a representative from the ILM Foundation, a Muslim organization that started Humanitarian Day in Los Angeles. They will discuss their religious calling to serve the hungry and the faith that prompts them in their work. Incorporating scripture to their message, these speakers will share a common call to give to others and the similarities and differences in each religion's call.

The full lecture is available here

Yale Strom on Klezmer Music and Film

Yale Strom - Pepperdine University

The Glazer Institute will once again partner with Craig Detweiler's Center for Media, Entertainment, and Culture to screen a film on Klezmer music followed by conversation with the director, Yale Strom. Yale Strom is one of the world's leading ethnographer-artists of klezmer & Rom music and history. Strom's prodigious body of work includes 12 books, his new release being "Dave Tarras: The King of Klezmer" (Or-Tav), 13 recordings (just released "The Devil's Brides – ARC UK), 7 documentary films, many photo exhibitions and 3 dramas. In addition to his art, Strom is artist-in-residence in the Jewish Studies Program at San Diego State University.

Spring Events

“Traces of Memory: A Contemporary Look at the Jewish Past in Poland”

Traces Exhibit artwork - Pepperdine University

“Traces of Memory” features photographs by the late British photojournalist Chris Schwarz and research and texts by Professor Jonathan Webber (vice-chairman of the Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies, Oxford, UK and professor at the Institute of European Studies at the Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland). Over a period of twelve years, they worked together to gather material that offers a completely new way of looking at the Jewish past that was destroyed in Poland. The resulting photographs and text of "Traces of Memory," the permanent exhibition of the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, Poland, piece together a picture of the relics of Jewish life and culture in Polish Galicia that can still be seen today, interpreting these traces in a manner which is informative, accessible, and thought-provoking. As part of the Glazer Institute’s goal to pursue reconciliation, the “Traces of Memory” photography exhibit reaches out to the Jewish and Polish Catholic community. In conjunction with the exhibit, the Pepperdine Library’s new Wavelengths series presented a variety of speakers and performances at Payson Library and on campus. The Wavelengths series offers exciting writers and thinkers a platform to discuss the pressing issues of the 21st century both at the Library and on-line. The exhibit was open to visitors during library hours for the Spring Semester (located here).

False Papers: The Tension Between Testimony And Story in a Holocaust Memoir

Robert Melson - Pepperdine University

In the final lecture in coordination with the "Traces of Memory" photography exhibition at Payson Library, the Glazer Institute welcomed Professor Robert Melson for a lecture on his own family's struggle for survival during the Holocaust. His book on this subject, False Papers, was runner-up for the National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category for 2001. Robert Melson is Professor Emeritus at Purdue University, where he taught political science and was a charter member of the Jewish Studies Program. He is a founder and former president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS). Among his other books and articles, is Revolution and Genocide: On the Origins of the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust (University of Chicago Press,1992), which won an international prize from Leiden University and Amnesty International for the best book on Human Rights in 1993. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard University, MIT, and Hebrew University, and was a Distinguished Professor at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University (2006-2007). He has lectured on problems of ethnic conflict and genocide at universities around the world.


CONVOCATION: Interfaith Dialogue

In the second installment of the Interfaith Dialogue convocations, sponsored by the Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies and ICA, Pepperdine welcomed women religious leaders from the three Abrahamic faiths to discuss their perspective experiences religious leadership. The discussion will include Rabbi Judith HaLevy of the Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue; Reverend Joyce Stickney of St. Aidans Episcopal Church; and May Alhassen, a Ph.D. student of American Studies and the Ethnicity and Middle East Studies Program at USC.

Film Screening: Strangers No More

Strangers No More movie poster - Pepperdine University

The Glazer Institute and the Center for Entertainment, Media, and Culture were thrilled to show the short documentary Strangers No More in conjunction with Professor Craig Detweiler’s course, A Social Scientific Perspective on Film, on March 24, 2011 at 7:00 P.M. in Elkins Auditorium. Strangers No More offers a glimpse into daily life at a school geared towards immigrants and refugees in Tel Aviv, Israel. Bialik-Rogozin School teaches children from forty-eight different countries, many of whom have never gone to school before. Strangers No More follows several students’ struggle to acclimate to life in a new land while slowly opening up to share their stories of hardship and tragedy; as these students begin to grow in school, they come together to form a unified community after fleeing from lives of poverty, political adversity, even genocide.

After the screening of the film, investors in the school joined a Pepperdine student who interned with the Bialik-Rogozin School last summer to discuss the film, the school, and questions from the audience.

Strangers No More won an Oscar in the category of Best Documentary Short Subject in February 2011.

CONVOCATION: Interfaith Dialogue

In an unprecedented convocation, the Glazer Institute co-sponsored a forum on the Middle East hosted by Christians, Jews, and Muslims of the Abrahamic Faiths Peacemaking Initiative (AFPI). Over the course of an hour, over 100 students met eight religious leaders, practitioners, and scholars from the three monotheistic traditions, representing diverse social, political, theological, and gendered perspectives. The representatives of AFPI engaged in a model dialogue on the Middle East in a way that is at once intense, personal, and deeply meaningful and at the same time civil, mutually respectful, and acknowledging of the multiple narratives, truths, and perspectives. By bringing together a collection of each faith’s relevant teachings, they aimed to contribute an authentic and substantive religious voice to the current peace movement, to activate Americans of faith to insist on peaceful solutions to local, national and global conflicts. This program challenged students to think differently about reaching across faiths to collaboratively problem-solve the problems of the Middle East at home and abroad.

For Faculty, Staff, and Administrators

Members of the faculty and staff joined a conversation on the Middle East with Christians, Jews, and Muslims of the Abrahamic Faiths Peacemaking Initiative (AFPI). Guided by eight religious leaders, practitioners, and scholars from the three monotheistic traditions, participants discussed the climate for Middle East conversations on university campuses and at Pepperdine. They will also addressed the critical question: How do we–as faculty, staff, and administrators committed to the education and development of our next generation of leaders–engage students of different faith and political traditions in difficult conversations on the Middle East? In such contexts, how do we foster civil discourse, open communication, mutual respect, and shared understanding? Participants left the AFPI-led conversation with expanded tools for promoting civil and open dialogue on the Pepperdine campus.

Rachel Calof

Rachel Calof - Pepperdine University

The Pepperdine Libraries presented actress Kate Fuglei (known for her roles in Desperate Housewives, N.C.I.S, The Closer, and Nip/Tuck) in Rachel Calof, a one-woman show with music, based on the real-life story of a Jewish pioneer to North Dakota in the 1890’s. Rachel Calof was born in Russia in 1876 and sent to America without a dowry as a mail-order-bride for a young man named Abraham Calof. She and Abraham journeyed from New York to North Dakota; her memoirs capture the struggle to adapt to difficult positions and grow in her relationship with her husband. Eventually she and her family became well-known and respected throughout the area, and she and her husband were integral to the establishment of the first organized local school district. For this work, they received letters of commendation from Presidents William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson. Adapted from the memoir by Ken LaZebnik (playwright and screenwriter–A Prairie Home Companion, with Garrison Keillor), with music by New York composer Leslie Steinweiss, and directed by Emmy-award winning director Ellen S. Pressman.

Public Lecture by Dr. Jonathan Webber

Jonathan Webber - Pepperdine UniversityPhoto: Mikołaj Grynberg

Dr. Jonathan Webber, former UNESCO Chair of Jewish and Interfaith Studies, University of Birmingham, UK, and current professor at the Institute of European Studies at the Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland, gave the keynote lecture about the “Traces of Memory” exhibition on February 20, 2011. Working with the late photographer Chris Schwarz, Dr. Webber helped create the exhibit and corresponding book on Polish remembrance of the Holocaust. Dr. Webber received his doctorate in social anthropology from Oxford and built a career on interests of Polish-Jewish relations. In 1999, he was awarded the Gold Cross of Service by the President of the Republic of Poland for his contribution to the Polish-Jewish dialogue and Polish-Jewish relations. At present, he is an associate professor at the Department of Jewish Social Studies at the Oxford Center for Jewish Studies and a lecturer at the Hebrew Center at the Institute of Social Anthropology at Oxford University. Following his lecture, Dr. Webber also participated in a dialogue with other distinguished scholars about the ongoing Jewish-Catholic reconciliation in Poland.

Jerome Rothenberg Reading

Jerome Rothenberg - Pepperdine University

Continuing the lecture series in coordination with the "Traces of Memory" exhibition, PEN-award winning poet Jerome Rothenberg read his poem, “Poland/1931” in front of the “Traces of Memory” photographs. An internationally-known American poet, editor, translator, and anthologist, Rothenberg remains one of the figures most closely associated with the ethnopoetic movement and was described by the poet David Meltzer as Rothenberg's “surrealist Jewish vaudeville.” His career has already spanned half a century, and includes seventy books of his own poetry, plus plays, acclaimed anthologies, and other works. In an interview for Samizdat, Rothenberg stated that he came to "believe early that poetry and art could make a difference . . . for the world-at-large at our most ambitious." He modeled his career off that belief, becoming “one of the truly contemporary American poets who has returned U.S. poetry to the mainstream of international modern literature.” Since 1989 he has been a professor of visual arts and literature at the University of California, San Diego. He was elected to the World Academy of Poetry (UNESCO) in 2001. A reception with the author followed the reading.


Opening Reception, Featuring Author Louise Steinman

Louise Steinman - Pepperdine UniversityPhoto: Rick Loomis, LA Times

To celebrate the successful beginning of the "Traces of Memory" photography exhibition, Pepperdine’s Glazer Institute hosted a public opening reception for the exhibit, featuring a lecture by author Louise Steinman. A friend of “Traces” photographer, the late Chris Schwarz, Steinman is currently writing The Crooked Mirror: My Conversation with Poland, an examination of her family’s personal history through the Holocaust. Louise Steinman is a writer and literary curator whose work frequently deals with memory, history and reconciliation. She has curated the award-winning ALOUD at Central Library series for the Los Angeles Public Library for the past seventeen years.

Galicia logo


The Traces of Memory exhibition was on loan from the permanent exhibition of the Galicia Jewish Museum, Krakow. (www.galiciajewishmuseum.org)

For more information regarding the "Traces of Memory" exhibit, please visit the library's website here.

2012 | Fall Events

Hosting special events and conferences for the entire campus community allows the Glazer Institute to reach a wider audience and to attract a diverse and distinguished assembly of speakers to discuss some of the most challenging topics of the day. Discussing controversial issues in a respectful atmosphere has allowed audience members not only to better understand the facets of the topic, but also to learn from the example of panelists who respect differences while remaining faithful to their own traditions and ideals. 

Marvin Sweeney

Dr. Marvin Sweeney
Professor of Hebrew Bible, Claremont School of Theology,
October 11, Kresge Reading Room, Convocation Event
"Jewish Biblical Theology"

Monica Osborne

Dr. Monica Osborne
Visiting Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies
October 17, Kresge Reading Room
"After Representation: On Catastrophe, Literature, and the Midrashic Impulse


Students gather together outside of the Museum of the Holocaust

Museum of the Holocaust
Educational Tour, October 17, with Zenon Neumark,
Holocaust Survivor's Testimony, 2:30pm
"Hiding in the Open: A Young Fugitive in Nazi-Occupied Poland"


Museum of Tolerance

Museum of Tolerance
Education Tour, October 21
"Holocaust in Literature and Film"

Ziony Zevit

Dr. Ziony Zevit
American Jewish University, Distinguished Professor in Bible,
October 25, 4pm, Elkins Auditorium, Convocation Event
"Of what was Eve guilty"

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Education Tour, November 1,
"Hebrew Heroes in Renaissance Art"

Zion Ozeri

Zion Ozeri
"Jewish Identity, Jewish Diversity through Photography" 

 "The Language of Photography, Spring Board to a Social Action"

Dr. Jeffrey Siker

Dr. Jeffrey Siker
"The Gospel of John and the Jews"

Dolphin Boy movie poster

Dolphin Boy: A Film Screening and Discussion

Dr. Carol Newsom

Dr. Carol Newsom
"Putting God on Trial:
Job as a Vehicle for Post World War II Experiences of Trauma"

2012 | Spring Events

Art Survives Exhibit

The Glazer Institute, in the spring of 2012, was pleased to the exhibit "Art Survives: Expressions from the Holocaust" in the Payson Library Gallery. This exhibit showcases the work of five Holocaust survivors who created work during and following the Holocaust as a response to their experiences. The exhibition was inspired by Hilary Helstein's documentary film, "As Seen Through These Eyes," which will be shown on campus February 1, in partnership with Pepperdine's Center for Entertainment, Media, and Culture.

Art Survives Exhibit - Pepperdine University

Inspiring Truth: The Simon Hero Foundation

On Tuesday, January 17, at 4 pm, The Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute honored American heroes and Holocaust survivors Bernd and Judy Simon in a special ceremony at Pepperdine University's Payson Library. "Inspiring Truth: The Simon Hero Foundation" featured Bernd Simon telling his extraordinary life story, as well as a special viewing of the art exhibition "Art Survives: Expressions from the Holocaust." Bernd and July Simon survived the Holocaust and concentration camp internment before marrying and moving to the United States. Bernd then enlisted in the Army and flew on a B-24 crew over Europe during World War II. The Simon Hero Foundation has been created to tell their story through a groundbreaking new social media platform.

"Pepperdine is embracing the Simon's story, which embodies the sort of moral courage our school aspires to," says Dean of Libraries Mark Roosa. "And The Simon Hero Foundation's innovative platform is an exciting new tool that inspires learning and action in communities." The Foundation created in their name tells the story of Bernd and Judy Simon through an advanced "social education platform," accessible online and powered by Marquee Productions. The Simon Foundation goal is to create and distribute customized 3D social education platforms for use in museums, schools, and universities worldwide, providing users with the tools to learn, discover, socialize, and educate, in the hope of inspiring truth, compassion, involvement and action in communities.

Lani Netter, founder of The Simon Hero Foundation, says "We are excited to support the Art Survives program through the eyes of true "global heroes" Bernd and Judy Simon by using both traditional and socialized new media."

Inspiring Truth: The Simon Hero Foundation - Pepperdine University

"As Seen Through These Eyes" Screening

As Maya Angelou narrates this powerful documentary, she reveals the story of a brave group of people who fought Hitler with the only weapons they had: charcoal, pencil stubs, shreds of paper and memories etched into their minds. These artists took their fate into their own hands to make a compelling statement about the human spirit, enduring unimaginable odds. In a film that the New York Times calls "compelling," director Hillary Helstein presents As Seen Through These Eyes, a story of how art holds the power to heal and sustain in the face of inhumanity. Centering on the work of Holocaust survivors, the film expands on the Art Survives exhibit in Payson Library through February 17. The film will be screened in partnership with Pepperdine's Center for Entertainment, Media, and Culture and University Libraries and will conclude with a conversation with Hilary Helstein.

"As Seen Through These Eyes" Screening - Pepperdine University

We Are What We Eat: Interfaith Conversations about Religious Dietary Laws and Prohibitions

In the second installment of the Glazer Institute's series on religion and food, Pepperdine will welcome representatives of each of the three Abrahamic faiths to hold an academic and personal discussion on religious dietary laws. In addition to Dr. Christopher Doran from the Religion Division, the Glazer Institute will welcome Dr. Jody Myers and Dr. Mustafa Ruzgar to the first gathering of experts in religious dietary laws at Pepperdine. Delving into kosher and halal laws, speakers will also discuss Christian traditions on the heritage of food laws and differing perspectives towards them.

Surveying Sacred Space: An Interdisciplinary, Interfaith Symposium

On Friday, Feb. 17 and Saturday, Feb. 18, seven specialist scholars of sacred space from universities across the country will engage and collaborate with Pepperdine faculty members and students from different divisions in an interdisciplinary symposium on space, place, and religious meaning in the Abrahamic and other traditions. These visiting scholars will give presentations on a range of topics, including gendered spaces in Judaism, the role of church architecture in modern American faith, and ritual practices in Asia—to name but a few. Approaching from a variety of different disciplines, Pepperdine faculty members will present on such subjects as: the negotiation of Jewish ritual space in Los Angeles; holy places and political geography in 21st-century Israel; and Muslim spaces of the later Ottoman Empire. A group of Pepperdine undergraduates will also present their research or participate in debates on issues of historical and contemporary relevance in the study of ritual space. This unique gathering of Pepperdine faculty members and students with specialist visiting scholars will provide a productive forum for examining theories, research methods, current events, and sites of communal tension and collaboration. In addition, the symposium will permit the audience to participate in discussions about the nature of relations in, and among, communities of faith and about the ways that these encounters inform, or are shaped by, sacred space.

The Event is open to the public and co-sponsored by the International Studies and Languages Division, the Office of the Provost, the Center for Faith and Learning, and the Office of Intercultural Affairs. The event would not be possible without their generous support. 

Surveying Sacred Space: An Interdisciplinary, Interfaith Symposium - Pepperdine University


The Competing Claims of Law & Religion: Who Should Influence Whom?

The conference at the School of Law, led by the Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics and cosponsored by the Glazer Institute, will address a host of sub-questions all at the forefront of contemporary debates over the respective roles of law and religion. Among them:

• What constitutional restraints, if any, should be placed on the influence of religion on law?
• What constitutional restraints, if any, should be placed on the influence of law on religion?
• If religious faiths do not assert influence on law, will they be dominated by religious or secular traditions that are willing to do so?
• If religious faiths do not assert influence on law, will injustice reign?
• If religious faiths do assert influence on law, will injustice reign?
• Should the goal be autonomy within religious communities, or will that undermine the creation of an integrated and just society?

In many parts of the world, questions like this will engender not only controversy, but also outright hostility and aggression. At this conference, we look forward to a spirited, engaged, and thoughtful conversation that will explore numerous aspects of all of them.

Faculty Book Discussion Group, Sue Fishkoff's Kosher Nation

The Glazer Institute invites faculty members from all disciplines to a discussion surrounding Sue Fishkoff's Kosher Nation. The book centers around the spirituality of food and the motivations for the sudden surge of interest in eating kosher, or kashrut, certified food. Citing environmental, spiritual, and health-related reasons, Fishkoff elaborates upon why more than 80% of people buying kosher food today aren't Jewish. Combining this phenomenon with a career in journalism, Fishkoff delves into the business and the morality of kashrut foods. Faculty members will have an opportunity to discuss, from both Christian and Jewish perspectives, whether the act of eating should be considered a spiritual action and why. The group will meet once a week over lunch for three weeks, and will be joined for the last meeting by Sue Fishkoff.

Revenge, Responsibility, and Reconciliation:  Memories of a Grandchild of the Holocaust

Understanding the Religious Factor in Israeli Politics

The Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies is pleased to welcome Professor Ken D. Wald, Distinguished Professor of Political Science the University of Florida, for two lectures in Payson Library on Wednesday, March 7th.  An expert on religion and politics and Israeli politics, Professor Wald is the author of Religion and Politics in the United States, The Politics of Cultural Differences: Social Change and Voter Mobilization Strategies in the Post-New Deal Period, and The Politics of Gay Rights, among others.   He has been a Fulbright Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a visiting scholar at the University of Strathyclyde (Glasgow), Haifa University (Israel), Harvard University, and the Centennial Center for Political Science & Public Affairs in Washington, DC. Together with David C. Leege, he coedits the Cambridge Studies in Social Theory, Religion and Politics for Cambridge University Press.  At the University of Florida, he served as Chair (1989-1994) and Graduate Coordinator (1987-1989) of the Department of Political Science. From 1999 through 2004, he served as director of the Center for Jewish Studies.

From 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. on March 7th, Professor Wald will speak in the Kresge Reading Room at Payson Library on the topic “Revenge, Responsibility, and Reconciliation:  Memories of a Grandchild of the Holocaust.”  Later that day, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the same room, Professor Wald will offer his thoughts on “Understanding the Religious Factor in Israeli Politics.”

Borders of Faith
A Series of Events on the Role of Religion in American Foreign Policy

No more significant issue may be affecting America today – and be less examined in the American consciousness – than how the shared faiths of America impact our foreign policy. Borders of Faith will draw upon the established strengths of Pepperdine University by bringing together leaders of the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faiths to explore the ways these faiths impact national relationships in the Middle and Near East. It will unfold over the third week of March, 2012, with a keynote speech, panel discussions, and a concluding presentation.

This effort will be a partnership between the Pepperdine University Libraries, the Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies, and the Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute for Law, Religion, and Ethics at the School of Law. This project is part of Pepperdine's work as a member institution of the Blair Institute's Faith and Globalization Initiative through the Office of the Provost.

Ambassador Tony Hall, Keynote Speaker

Tony Hall served in the U.S. House of Representatives for more than 20 years, then was appointed Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food Agriculture. He has subsequently worked on a Middle East peace initiative in collaboration with the Center for the Study of the President. He currently serves as the Director of the Alliance to End Hunger. As a keynote speaker for the Borders of Faith symposium, Ambassador Hall will discuss how religion has impacted his own career, and how the power of religion often transcends political boundaries.

An Interfaith Discussion on the Role of Religion in Politics

Leaders of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities will continue this discussion through a panel examining how Abrahamic faiths both interact with each other on an international level and affect American foreign policy. Throughout the Los Angeles area and around the world, religious leaders representing each of the Abrahamic religions continue to create meetings in which active laypeople, clergy and religious educators came together to discuss the obligation for peacemaking, conversing both within their own faith traditions and across faith lines.

"America, Faith and the Middle East" with Dr. Arieh Saposnik

America has played a pivotal role in the interactions between Israel and its neighbors, leading dialogue between a Jewish state and Muslim dominated countries. What role has faith within America played in these interactions? To address this issue, we have extended an invitation to Dr. Arieh Saposnik, the Gilbert Chair in Israel Studies at UCLA to chair a panel discussion on this topic. He received his Ph.D. in History and Jewish Studies from New York University, and after holding the Jess Schwartz Chair in Hebrew Culture at Arizona State University, joined the faculty at UCLA in 2009. His research focuses on the history of Zionism and Israel and on the varieties of Jewish nationalism. His book, Becoming Hebrew: The Creation of a Jewish National Culture in Ottoman Palestine was published in 2008. To respond to his talk, the Glazer Institute will welcome Dr. Chris Soper and Dr. James Coyle.

Arieh Saposnik - Pepperdine University

Borders of Faith in American Military Policy

Continuing its discussion on religion and foreign policy, the Glazer Institute will partner again with University Libraries and the Nootbaar Institute to connect this topic to military policy. To discuss this issue, we will welcome Pepperdine University professors Dr. Dan Caldwell and Dr. David Simonowitz to discuss how American military policy in the Middle and Near East is impacted by the differing faiths it encounters. An additional panelist will be Iraq veteran and School of Public Policy professor Russel Burgos, offering a valued perspective from the ground on this issue.

Improving Interfaith Relations

Moderated by the School of Law Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution on improving interfaith relations, this event will conclude the series by addressing informal efforts at joining religion with the political process in the Middle East and elsewhere. Representatives of the PACIS Project Professor Tim Pownall and Reverend Brian Cox will lead this panel by speaking on their work with the Straus Institute in faith-based reconciliation and Track II diplomacy.

Borders-of-faith Symposium - Pepperdine University

Kosher Nation with Sue Fishkoff

Continuing the Glazer Institute's series on Religion and Food, Pepperdine welcomes Sue Fishkoff, author of Kosher Nation to Malibu to participate in a discussion on the spirituality of food and the motivations for the sudden surge of interest in eating kosher, or kashrut, certified food. Citing environmental, spiritual, and health-related reasons, Fishkoff elaborates upon why more than 80% of people buying kosher food today aren't Jewish. She will be joined in the discussion by Dr. Christopher Doran, who will provide insight into this topic from a Christian perspective and elaborate upon why Christians need to be more conscious about what they eat.

Kosher Nation with Sue Fishkoff - Pepperdine University

Passover Seder

In coordination with Dr. Andrea Siegel's course on Western Civilization, the Glazer Institute invites students and members of the Pepperdine community to a Passover Seder on April 5th. Weather permitting, the Seder will take place at Alumni Park (in the event that is not possible, the event will be held in the Seaver cafeteria). Featuring presentations from students highlighting Passover traditions from around the world, attendees will also be able to participate in the Seder and eat a full meal prepared by students. This will conclude the Glazer Institute's series on Religion and Food.

Passover Seder - Pepperdine University

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