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2011 Conferences and Events

Hosting conferences at Pepperdine and within the Los Angeles 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. In the past year, it has sought to identify the common ground among the children of Abraham, sponsored a national conference of the Jewish Law Students Association, sponsored intimate colloquia, and promoted informal guest luncheons. Discussing controversial topics 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. Please see the links to past events for more information on panel topics, speakers, and highlights.

Fall 2011 Events

Faith in the Power of Freedom
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
September 13, 2011 5:00 PM

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

Outdoor Amphitheater; PLC 125
Thursday, October 20, 2011 6:30PM

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
Kresge Reading Room, Payson Library
Tuesday, November 1, 2011 4:00PM

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
Fireside Room
Thursday, November 10, 2011 7:00PM

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
Elkins Auditorium
December 8, 2010 7:00PM

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 2011 Events


“Traces of Memory: A Contemporary Look at the Jewish Past in Poland”
Payson Library, Pepperdine University Malibu campus
Opened February 1, 2011, ran through April 25, 2011

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
Kresge Reading Room, Payson Library

April 14, 2011 4:00 P.M.

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
Kresge Reading Room, Payson Library

Thursday, March 31, 2011 4:00P.M.

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
Elkins Auditorium

Thursday, March 24, 2011 7:00 P.M.

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
Fireside Room, TAC

Thursday, March 10, 2011 7:00 P.M.

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
     Kresge Room, Payson Library

     Thursday, March 10, 2011 4:00P.M.

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
Raitt Recital Hall
February 23-24, 2011 7:30 P.M.

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
Kresge Reading Room, Payson Library
Sunday, February 20, 2011 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.

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
James Irvine Reading Room, Payson Library
Thursday, February 10, 2011 4:00 P.M.

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
Payson Library
Tuesday, February 1, 2011 4:00 P.M.

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.