Programs @AJHS

Programs@AJHS offers something for everyone, inviting you to take part in unique, entertaining, and thought provoking themed programs, film screenings, panel discussions, book talks, performances, and more-both as presenters and as audience. Through organizing events that either relate directly, or contribute in adding to, AJHS's established archival collection on American Jewry, Programs@AJHS works to build a community around research and cultural exchanges, extending and expanding conversations on American Jewish history, culture, identity, and the arts.

Be the first to find out about upcoming exhibitions, documentary screenings, panel discussions, and other special events!

Call for Submissions

We are currently accepting proposals from artists and researchers whose work encompass Jewish American history, culture and identity, relate to our collections and/or require visiting it, and resonate with the mission of AJHS. Please browse through our website before submitting. Click here to submit your proposal.

A Family Fun Night of Baseball

In Celebration of the Pop-Up Exhibition Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American

Tuesday, June 14, 2016, 5:30 pm
Ticket Info: General: $15; Students/Seniors/AJHS Members: $10; Children (ages 6-17): $5; Children (ages 5 and under): FREE

Join us a special event for all ages: A Family Fun Night of Baseball, in celebration of Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American, a pop-up exhibition from Philadelphia’s National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) that will be on display here on 15 West 16th Street from April 14 through July 31, 2016. 

The exhibit weaves together America’s favorite pastime and national identity with the story of American Jewish immigration and integration. Both educational and entertaining, the event will feature a Family Guide developed by NMAJH exclusively for the exhibit and have a fun baseball-park theme (hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, etc.). It will also include distinguished speakers on baseball who will discuss the close ties between Jews and the sport, AJHS archivists who will explain the significance of the baseball items in the AJHS collection, and some exciting activities for kids of all ages! 

This special program will feature a Family Guide developed by NMAJH exclusively for the exhibit, and a fun baseball-park theme, with exciting games and activities for kids of all ages, courtesy of the Brooklyn Cyclones and the Staten Island Yankees and a variety of baseball related raffle items from New York area teams!

We are delighted that Art Shamsky from the 1969 Miracle Mets, Brooklyn Cyclones Vice President Steve Cohen, and Staten Island Yankees team owner Glenn Reicin will be in attendance that night and expect more special guests to confirm shortly. Please check back regularly at for updates.

In addition, AJHS is proud to be partnering with the Staten Island Yankees on their Jewish Heritage Night, which is scheduled for Wednesday, August 17th at 7:00 pm and will feature the team taking on their cross-bridge rival – the Brooklyn Cyclones – at Richmond County Bank Ballpark in Staten Island!

Should you like to attend BOTH the June 14th event and the August 17th Staten Island Yankees baseball game, please click here for a SPECIAL DISCOUNTED TICKET PACKAGE!


Staten Island Yankees Jewish Heritage Night

Join AJHS as the Staten Island Yankees take on the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016, 7:00 pm
Ticket Info: Pricing and seating selections information available at Ticketmaster.

The American Jewish Historical Society is proud to be partnering with the Staten Island Yankees on their Jewish Heritage Night, which is scheduled for Wednesday, August 17th at 7:00 pm and will feature the team taking on their cross-bridge rival – the Brooklyn Cyclones – at Richmond County Bank Ballpark in Staten Island!

The night will celebrate the rich Jewish heritage of New York City, include music and trivia, and prominently feature AJHS – both on the concourse where some of our exciting archival items will be displayed and on the team’s digital scoreboard and LED Wall.

Should you like to attend BOTH the June 14th AJHS Family Fun Night of Baseball event and the August 17th Staten Island Yankees baseball game, please click here for a SPECIAL DISCOUNTED TICKET PACKAGE!

A Forbidden Conversation: Speaking, the Unspoken, and the Conversations on Israel in America

A One-Act Play and Conversation 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016, 7:00 pm

Join us for a groundbreaking program on a difficult topic we all want to talk about. A Forbidden Conversation — from actor Gili Getz — presents a new and personal nonfiction monologue about the heated arguments that his family had during the recent war in Gaza. Post-performance, Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein (14th Street Y Executive Director) and Steven M. Cohen (Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy at Hebrew Union College) will lead a thought-provoking discussion.

Kosher USA: How Coca-Cola Came to the Passover Seder and Other Tales of Modern Kosher Food

Book Talk and Food Tastings

Tuesday, April 19, 2016, 7:00 pm

Come hear about Roger Horowitz’s new book Kosher USA, and taste some trendy boutique kosher food at this special program, Kosher USA! The book Kosher USA follows the journey of kosher foods through the modern industrial food system. Drawing on episodes in the lives of the author’s own family, it traces how iconic products such as Coca-Cola and Jell-O tried to become kosher, and what made Manischewitz wine the very first kosher name-brand product to gain a wide non-Jewish audience.

Jews on First (aka The Right Pitch)

A Jewish Musical about More than Getting on Base Play and Discussion

Monday, April 11, 2016, 7:00 pm

Jews on First, adapted from Larry Ruttman’s award winning book American Jews & America’s Game — is an exploration of Jewish assimilation, identity, and guts viewed through the lens of America’s favorite pastime. It tells the story of Myron “Butch” Cedarbaum as he faces the biggest crisis of his life: to pursue his dream or the path his loving parents have sacrificed so hard to ensure —law school. The play is a dramatic examination of Jews’ enduring and mysterious love of baseball.

Yearning to Breathe Free: The Jewish Response to the Global Refugee Crisis

A Roundtable Discussion presented in partnership with the Museum at Eldridge Street,  The Anne Frank Center USA, and the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees (MFA). 

Thursday, April 7, 2016, 7:00 pm

According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the number of refugees and internally displaced people has reached nearly 60 million people — the highest point since World War II. What can we do in response to this refugee crisis?

Yearning to Breathe Free is a special roundtable program hosted by and held at the Museum at Eldridge Street, speakers from AJHS, The Anne Frank Center USA, MFA, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), and others will discuss the mounting crisis and the American Jewish response to it.

France, Jewish Identity, and the Holocaust: Yellow Stars of Tolerance and Cojot

Film screenings

Wednesday, March 23, 2016, 7:00 pm

Join AJHS as we present new documentary work, one complete and one in production, by American filmmakers, who examine Jewish identity in France today, revisiting holocaust memory and commemoration in France in the late 20th century/early 21st century. Highly relevant given recent occurrences in France, the two documentaries look at various ways of addressing and reclaiming the ongoing genocide trauma and resisting and combatting violence.

Yellow Stars of Tolerance (Curt Fissel and Ellen Friedland, 28 mins) documents a project to preserve yellow stars that were painted during the Holocaust in World War II on a synagogue exterior wall in Normandy, France to terrorize the local Jewish community. A testament to that terrible chapter of history, he preservation project emerges against the backdrop of the 70th anniversary commemoration of D-Day in Normandy in June 2014.

Cojot (In production, Boaz Dvir, 20 mins preview)

A suspenseful character study, COJOT tells the mostly unknown story of a Parisian banker catapulted twice onto history’s stage in 1975-­‐76. His journey begins during World War II in Nazi-­‐occupied France. It hits a fork in the road in Bolivia=when he hunts down ex-­‐Gestapo Commander KLAUS BARBIE. It peaks in Entebbe, Uganda when Cojot plays a pivotal role in the 20th century’s most daring hostage-­‐rescue operations. 

Carvalho’s Journey

Film Screening and Conversation with the FilmmakerPresented by AJHS and ASF as part of the Sephardi Film Festival

Tuesday, March 15, 2016, 8:00 pm

A real life 19th century American western adventure story, Carvalho's Journey tells the extraordinary story of Solomon Nunes Carvalho (1815-1897), an observant Sephardic Jew born in Charleston, South Carolina, and his life as a groundbreaking photographer, artist, and pioneer in American history.  A post-screening discussion will feature filmmaker Steve Rivo and distinguished historians on Sephardi American history. 

Flory’s Flame

Film Program in Partnership with the American Sephardi Federation

Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 7:00 pm

Meet Flory Jagoda.  Her trilling voice invokes the soulful musical Altarac family heritage stretching back to pre-Inquisition Spain. Flory’s Flame  introduces us to the legendary Sephardi musician who shares her inspiring life story interwoven with original songs. Post-screening conversation featuring Flory Jagoda.



The Right Wrong Man: John Demjanjuk and the Last Great War Crime Trial

Book Talk

Thursday, February 4, 2016, 7:00 pm

Join us for a book talk with Lawrence Douglas about his new book.


Demjanjuk’s legal odyssey began in 1975, when American investigators received evidence alleging he had collaborated in Nazi genocide. Demjanjuk was twice stripped of his American citizenship and sentenced to death by a Jerusalem court —only to be cleared in one of the most notorious cases of mistaken identity in legal history.


A Modest Suggestion

Theater Program 

Thursday, January 21, 2016, 7:00 pm

Join us for a special theater performance of Amy and Ken Kaissar’s A Modest Suggestion, followed by a panel discussion with the show’s director and actors.  

In an anonymous conference room, in an anonymous city, an anonymous group of businessmen meet to discuss the next item on their agenda.  As the four yes-men weigh the pros and cons of one pretty tough question, A Modest Suggestion asks:  Why do racism and anti-Semitism exist?  What does it mean to be Jewish?  How does racism turn into violence?  And, do Jews eat bacon?

The evening will provide a daring and thought-provoking discussion around some difficult topics – oh, and quite a few laughs too!

Alyad: the Refusnik movement

Screening and Panel. In Partnership with the Moscow Museum.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 7:00 pm

Join AJHS and our friends at the highly praised Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, for a special screening of the documentary film Alyad (Nika Vashakidze, 2015, 60 mins.)

Get to know the personal, previously untold, stories of the Russian Jewish Refusenik activists, as they share their everyday lives and spiritual journeys, across time and various continents, in their own voice. Beautifully tailoring intimate, compelling portraits of former Refuseniks in the aftermath of the migration waves from the former USSR to the US and Israel, Alyad shifts the focus from the political-ideological to the mundane and private struggles and questions of the people who made the movement, offering a fresh perspective about the Refusnik movement as a whole. 


Tuesday, December 8, 2015, 7:00 pm

Opening Night: December 8th 2015, 7:00 PM

Join us to celebrate the opening of Shmattes and the third Hanukah candle!
Special Wine and Lattkes Reception for Hanukah- come schmooze with wine, latkes, and music!
Live T-Shirt Printing = Buy 1 Ticket Get 1Tee Printed for You Onsite FOR FREE! 

A new exhibit surveys the numerous ways in which hip, secular, young American Jews wear their Jewishness on their sleeves, literally speaking. With various contemporary, funny, edgy Jewish-themed T-shirts on display, Shmattes will challenge the common ways we think of American Jewishness today. Featuring t-shirts ranging from celebrated brands as LA-based Unkosher Market, politically savvy independent artists selling their work globally, Shmattes has a special tee for everybody!

“This collection attempts to ‘track’ via t-shirts the ways in which American Jews have creatively dealt with what it means to identify as culturally Jewish.  Self-aware, visually striking, and often funny and provocative, these t-shirts are narratives of wildly divergent culturally Jewish identities.  With their cheeky, status-conscious treatments of what is (and what is not) Jewish, these shirts challenge the myth of a united and dominant American Jewish identity” (Anne Grant,

Legalizing Acts, Illegal Enactments: Historical and Comparative Perspectives About Illegal Jewish Immigration to America in the 20th Century

Panel Discussion

Tuesday, November 10, 2015, 7:00 pm

20th century American history is marked by several key legal acts concerning immigration and nationality, notably those taking place in 1921, 1924, 1946, 1952, and 1965.  While these acts paved the paths of migration for some national and ethnic groups to the US, they also blocked the gates on others – either directly or indirectly – and consequently contributed to personal and collective tactic operations of illegal immigration to the US.

Two occasions inform this special program on immigration: the first being the 50th anniversary of the passing of the 1965 Hart-Cellar Immigration and Nationality Act, and the second, the awarding of the 2015 Viener Prize to Libby Garland for her book After They Closed The Gates: Jewish Illegal Immigration to the United States, 1921-1965.

Join us as we discuss how contemporary scholarship of American and Jewish-American history challenges the confining and often exclusionary binaries and definitions that these immigration and nationality acts have constructed.  Specifically, we will explore the differences between legal and illegal forms of migration; lines of ethnic, racial, gender, and age identifications; as well as geographic and territorial spatial boundaries.   We are will focus on comparative Jewish-Latino/a studies engagements for this interdisciplinary panel.

Featuring: Libby Garland (CUNY Kingsborough College), Hasia Diner (NYU), Carl Bon-Tempo (SUNY Albany) Dalia Kandiyoti (CUNY College of Staten Island), Joseph Nevins (Vassar College)

Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Murder of Leon Klinghoffer Aboard the Achille Lauro: An Evening of Conversation and Stories

Thursday, October 8, 2015, 7:00 pm

A special program commemorating the 30th anniversary of Leon Klinghoffer's murder during the hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship featuring Ilsa and Lisa Klinghoffer, Justin Davidson (New York Magazine), Julia Wolfe, filmmaker Carla Singer.

Comics and its Jewish Beginnings

Panel and Auction

Wednesday, October 7, 2015, 6:30 pm

Join us for a meet & greet with the key Jewish figures of the comic industry, a panel on history of Jews and their formative contribution to the establishment of the comic books industry in the US, and a special silent art auction. The panel will feature Karen Green, Danny Fingeroth, Arie Kaplan, and Paul Levitz. The panel will be followed by a special silent auction of a limited edition of a comic book written especially for the event, featuring works by prominent comic writers.

Yitzhak portraying his Grandma Sarina Taragano

Alexandrian Summer

Book Launch & Screening

Sunday, September 20, 2015, 6:30 pm

Learn about transnational and intertwined Sephardi-Mizrahi histories in Israel and the US.

Join us for a reading, panel, and screening to celebrate publication of novelist and playwright Yitzhak Gormezano-Goren’s book Alexandrian Summer in English, and the premiere screening of Alexandrian Summers Again and Forever (working title) by filmmaker Amit Goren. Featuring a panel discussion with Professor Hannan Hever (Yale University) and Joyce Zonana (BMCC CUNY).

Alexandrian Summer is the first translation from Gormezano-Goren’s acclaimed work to English. First published in 1979 in Hebrew, Alexandrian Summer became a milestone in Mizrahi literature and culture in Israel. Gormezano-Goren has written numerous novels, plays, and has founded the groundbreaking academic journal Direction: Eastward. 

Presented by The American Jewish Historical Society and the American Sephardi Federation.

In partnership with the Mizrahi Film Series, the Taub Center for Israel Studies, The Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Department, and the Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, New York University.

Unanimous Praise for Alexandrian Summer:

"An arresting story .... " - Haaretz
"Brilliant" - New York Magazine
"One of the great triumphs of "Alexandrian Summer" is the richness of its evocation of this city  and the multiple cultures pressed together within it... " - The Forward

More Praise:

"Resurrecting an Extinct Novel: On Rereading 'Alexandrian Summer'"

Book Review - Alexandrian Summer

New York 1, Tel Aviv 0

Book Talk & Signing

Thursday, July 9, 2015, 7:00 pm

"Sharply observed, beautifully rendered stories about gender, sexuality, and nationality by a fresh and original literary voice.”

Join us as we welcome Shelly Oria, a brilliant New York based Israeli author, to read from her best-selling debut New York 1, Tel Aviv 0, and talk to us about writing between the here and there of spaces and languages, about the amalgamating Israeli and American literary influences on her work, and more.  

Enter the world of New York 1, Tel Aviv 0, where the characters are as intelligent and charming as they are lonely. A couple discovers the ability to stop time together; another couple lives with a constant, loud beeping in their apartment, though only one of them can hear it. A father leaves his daughter in Israel to pursue a painting career in New York; a sex worker falls in love with the Israeli photographer who studies her.

Read more:

CBST@40: Living NYC’s LGBTQ Histories

Book Celebration & Talk

Tuesday, June 23, 2015, 6:00 pm

Do you know the histories of LGBTQ Jews in NYC?

Come learn about it with Programs@AJHS, as we mark pride month in the city!

This special program will host two of the foremothers of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the LGBTQ synagogue: the book’s author, Rabbi Ayelet S. Cohen, and the author of its preface, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, for a stimulating conversation on their longtime work at CBST.

We will celebrate the publication of Changing Lives, Making History: CBST - The First Forty Years – CBST’s 40th Anniversary Book. We will discuss the place, voice, and status of the LGBTQ Jewish community within the NYC Jewish community and the American Jewish community as a whole, the intersection of LGBTQ Jews’ work with other struggles for minority rights in NYC and America.

We will have a special display of AJHS’ archival materials telling the histories of LGBTQ Jews in America up for only one night. Refreshments will be served.

“The story, or rather the stories in Changing Lives, Making History: Congregation Beit Simchat Torah illuminate forty revolutionary and transformative years in the life of New York City. These past forty years have witnessed, among other things, the impact of AIDS, breakthroughs in reproductive technologies and the gay baby boom, the emergence of queer and trans movements, and major Supreme Court decisions in support of equal rights. Through it all, CBST has been at the epicenter.”  

Come learn about it with Programs@AJHS, as we mark pride month in the city!

This special program will host two of the foremothers of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the LGBTQ synagogue: the book’s author, Rabbi Ayelet S. Cohen, and the author of its preface, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, for a stimulating conversation on their longtime work at CBST.

We will celebrate the publication of Changing Lives, Making History: CBST - The First Forty Years – CBST’s 40th Anniversary Book. We will discuss the place, voice, and status of the LGBTQ Jewish community within the NYC Jewish community and the American Jewish community as a whole, the intersection of LGBTQ Jews’ work with other struggles for minority rights in NYC and America.

We will have a special display of AJHS’ archival materials telling the histories of LGBTQ Jews in America up for only one night. Refreshments will be served.

“The story, or rather the stories in Changing Lives, Making History: Congregation Beit Simchat Torah illuminate forty revolutionary and transformative years in the life of New York City. These past forty years have witnessed, among other things, the impact of AIDS, breakthroughs in reproductive technologies and the gay baby boom, the emergence of queer and trans movements, and major Supreme Court decisions in support of equal rights. Through it all, CBST has been at the epicenter.”

Touchdown Israel, Film Program

Sunday, June 7, 2015, 8:00 pm

Join us for a special screening of Paul Hirschberger’s Touchdown Israel (2015), learn about the Jewish connection to football, and enjoy a fabulous display of some of AJHS’ rare football items, on view especially for the screening night!

America's favorite sport is spreading to Israel and bringing together a diverse cast of characters. Israeli Jews, Muslims and Christians as well as Americans living in Israel, and religious settlers all playing together, shows how sports can be a unifier in a complex, multifaceted society.

In partnership with JCC Manhattan’s 2015 Israel Film Festival.

Watch the Trailer:


Charles Neidich, clarinetist

Music in Our Time: 2015

Sunday, May 31, 2015, 3:00 pm

The program will present highlights from Osvaldo Golijov’s acclaimed chamber work The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind; French double bassist and composer Rémy Yulzari’s Le Grand Méchant, l’Oud and Il était une Fois; Laura Kaminsky’s Duo for Cello and Piano; selections from Gerald Cohen’s compelling opera Steal a Pencil for Me, based on a true story of survival, love and courage during the Holocaust; and, in commemoration of their 100th anniversaries, Ladino songs by Richard Neumann and Irving Fine’s A Short Alleluia.

Performers include renowned clarinetist Charles Neidich; bassist Rémy Yulzari and his ensemble; soprano Ilana Davidson; pianist Laura Leon; mezzo-soprano Donna Breitzer; guitarist Nadav Lev; and Artists from Mannes College The New School of Music.

Film Screening and Discussion: A Wing and a Prayer (Boaz Dvir, 2015)

Director Present for Conversation

Monday, May 18, 2015, 7:00 pm

A Wing and a Prayer tells the virtually unknown story of World War II aviators who risked their lives and freedom in 1948 to prevent a second Holocaust. This hour-long film features exclusive interviews by the operation’s key members, including mastermind Al Schwimmer and chief pilot Sam Lewis.  Written, directed and produced by Penn State University Senior Lecturer Boaz Dvir (Jessie’s Dad, Discovering Gloria), A Wing and a Prayer features firsthand accounts of daring escapes and heart-pounding action by Schwimmer, Lewis, and other members of the group, including Christian radio operator Eddie Styrak, who was arrested by the British for trying to bring Holocaust survivors into the burgeoning Jewish state.

Watch the Trailer:

WING AND A PRAYER clip from Boaz Dvir on Vimeo.

Todd Endelman, Leaving the Jewish Fold: Conversion and Radical Assimilation in Modern Jewish History

Book Talk

Tuesday, May 12, 2015, 7:00 pm

Join AJHS for a celebration of the new publication of Todd Endelman’s “Leaving the Jewish Fold: Conversion and Radical Assimilation in Modern Jewish History.”

What did Jews need to do, and would do, to escape mass stigmatization and discrimination, and earn a living, and some pride, in 19th century Christian Europe and America? We are delighted to host Todd Endelman for a talk on his new book, on Jews’ conversions to Christianity in the early modern period, on the desires for and tolls of Jewish assimilation in the Euro-American Christian world, and about relevance of conversion and assimilation to today’s Jewish American culture, life, and conversation.

Women, Theatre, and the Holocaust

Theatrical Excerpts, Launch of Educational Unit & Panel Discussion

Monday, April 13, 2015, 7:00 pm

A special evening to launch Women, Theatre, and the Holocaust, Remember the Women Institute’s new on-line educational unit.  The evening features three short dramatic presentations by professional actors and musicians and a panel discussion.

Presented by AJHS, Remember the Women Institute.



'What If' in American Jewish History and Contemporary Jewish Life

Book Talk

Monday, March 30, 2015, 7:00 pm

The Holocaust Averted (Rutgers University Press), a new book by historian Jeffrey S. Gurock, boldly considers an alternate history: What might have happened to the Jewish community in the United States if the Holocaust had never occurred? Join Professor Gurock  in conversation with Rabbi Golub as they explore the implications of this alternative reality.  This program will be broadcast live at 7:30pm on the Jewish Broadcast Service.

Presented by YUM, AJHS, Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies of Yeshiva University, in partnership with Rutgers University Press.

Filming at Imperial War Museum Airfield, Duxford, England

Above and Beyond

Film and Discussion

Monday, March 9, 2015, 7:00 pm

The first major feature-length documentary about the foreign airmen in the ’48 war, this film brings together new interviews with the pilots, as well as stunning aerial footage, to present a fascinating, little-known tale filled with heart, heroism and high-flying chutzpah. The film follows the pilots on their circuitous route from the United States – where they met and trained in secret and struggled to stay two steps ahead of the FBI – to Panama, Italy and Czechoslovakia, where they flew versions of the very Nazi planes they had tried to shoot down in World War II. Machal Veterans will be here along with the film’s producer, Nancy Spielberg.

Presented by AJHS and CJH.

"Roads Taken" cover by Source: Amazon, copyright 2015.

Roads Taken

The Great Jewish Migrations to the New World and the Peddlers Who Forged the Way

Tuesday, February 24, 2015, 6:30 pm

Book Talk

Between the late 1700s and the 1920s, nearly one-third of the world’s Jews immigrated to new lands. This new publication is the first attempt to tell the remarkable story of the Jewish men who put packs on their backs and traveled forth to sell their goods to peoples across the world, propelling a mass migration of Jewish families out of central and eastern Europe, north Africa, and the Ottoman Empire to destinations as far as the U.S., Great Britain, South Africa, and Latin America.  Historian and author Hasia Diner, New York University, tells the story of discontented young Jewish men who sought opportunity abroad brought change to the geography of Jewish history. With Jose Moya, Barnard College.

Presented by AJHS and CJH.

"Mina Bern". Via Google Images.

Mina Bern: A Celebration

Sunday, January 11, 2015, 2:00 pm

Memorial Event

This event marks the 5th anniversary of Mina Bern's passing at the age of 99, the last great star of the interwar European Yiddish stage who was still active. Bern’s absence is felt among the Yiddish and theater communities, who wish to honor her memory and remind the world of her contribution. A wonderful actress and entertainer in her own right, Bern was also mentor to many of those who keep the field of Yiddish theater vibrant. She was also one of the most colorful personalities in a milieu not short on colorful personalities.

The program will feature material associated with Mina Bern, including sketches from the Broadway shows Those Were the Days and Let’s Sing Yiddish; songs that she put her mark on; documentary footage of Bern talking about her life and performing; and of course reminiscences by those who worked with and were influenced by her.

Most importantly, Mina Bern mentored artists of all ages who sought to keep the flame of Yiddish language and theater alive. Among those who worked with and learned from her are the event organizers, Tony-nominated director and actress Eleanor Reissa, Congress director Shane Baker, and photographer Joan Roth; as well as event participants including founding Klezmatics member and world-renowned trumpet star Frank London; Broadway actresses Lori Wilner and Joanne Borts, and Broadway actors Allen Lewis Rickman and Bob Abelson; actresses Yelena Shmulenson and Rachel Botchan; Rabbi Avram Mlotek; Chazzan Shira Flam; actors Sandy Leavitt and Hy Wolfe; pianist and actor Steve Sterner; and stage manager David Rosenberg.

Kosher refreshments will be served.

Presented by AJHS and the Congress for Jewish Culture.


“A Master of Sephardic song”- The New York Times

The Hanukkah Concert

Featuring Gerard Edery and His Virtuoso Musicians

Sunday, December 21, 2014, 3:00 pm

Gerard Edery has a remarkable range of ethnic folk styles and traditions from around the world, including songs from Europe, the Middle East, South America, and ancient Persia.  Collaborating with his virtuoso musicians, Edery energizes this repertoire for contemporary audiences.  Ellen Gould, the Emmy award-winning actress and playwright (Bubbe Meises), will open the program with a story from the pen of a great Jewish writer - a tradition of the annual Hanukkah concert. Plus... Menorah Lighting, Singing, and Refreshments.

Presented by AJHS and ASJM


World War I — Jewish Experiences in the Trenches and at the Home Front Film Series

Monday, December 1, 2014, 6:30 pm

This film was made by Aleksandr Askoldov in 1967, but was banned by Soviet censors for 20 years. The reason is the film’s sympathetic depiction of Jews. Commissar is a heartbreaking story of a Jewish family in backwater Ukrainian shtetl ravaged by war and pogroms. When a female commissar fighting in the Red Army gets pregnant, the Jewish family takes her in, as she is expecting to give birth and to return to the front. The film is remarkable for its beautiful cinematography, contrasting the domestic Jewish life with powerful images of the Russian Civil War. Discussant: Jonathan Brent, Executive Director, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

Presented by CJH, AJHS, LBI

Giving Women Their Place in Holocaust History

Panel Discussion

Thursday, November 13, 2014, 7:00 pm

The exhibition October 7, 1944 recognizes and presents an artistic American response to the heroism of four young women whose names are not all well-known. Just as these women’s stories are often left out of the history of Auschwitz-Birkenau, women's experiences have been left out of Holocaust history and history in general. Marisa Fox, Elisa v. Joeden-Forgey, Rochelle Saidel and Rachel Lithgow, moderator, go beyond this specific episode to also discuss integrating women’s stories and experiences into history.




A brivele der mamen (Letter to Mother), Poland/USA, 1939

A Letter to Mother

World War I — Jewish Experience in the Trenches and at the Home Front

Saturday, November 1, 2014, 6:30 pm

This 1939 film is one of the last Yiddish films made in Poland before the Nazi invasion. The plot centers on the story of mother’s persistent efforts to support her family, while her husband moves to America. After her family is pulled apart by severe poverty and the turmoil of WWI, she finally makes her way to New York in hopes for better future. A Letter to Mother was hailed by the New York Times as one of the best Yiddish films to reach America. It was the highest grossing Yiddish film of its time. Discussant: Eric Goldman, Adjunct Professor of Cinema, Yeshiva University.

Presented by CJH, AJHS, and LBI

Event Webpage

Gertrude "Tiby" Eisen. American Jewish Historical Society Photography Collection.

Jewish Women in American Sport: Settlement Houses to the Olympics

Film and Discussion

Monday, October 20, 2014, 6:30 pm

As athletes, administrators and activists, Jewish women have been involved in sports from the settlement houses in the 1880s into the 21st century, confronting ethnic and gender constraints and changing American society. Join us for an evening of film and discussion with historian Linda J. Borish whose recent research sheds additional light on the fascinating and growing historical impact of women in sports.

Presented by CJH and AJHS

La Grande Illusion (The Grand Illusion)

World War I — Jewish Experiences in the Trenches and at the Home Front Film Series

Monday, October 13, 2014, 6:30 pm

In this 1937 French war film directed by Jean Renoir, the story concerns class relationships among a small group of French officers who are prisoners of war during WWI plotting an escape. The perspective of the film is generously humanistic to its characters of various nationalities, a key character among them is Rosenthal, a wealthy French Jew. It is regarded by critics and film historians as one of the masterpieces of French cinema and among the greatest films ever made. Discussant: Stuart Liebman, Professor of the History and Theory of Cinema, CUNY Graduate Center.

Presented by CJH, AJHS, LBI

"Fighting 69th VHS cover" by Source: Amazon, copyright 2000 Warner Home Video. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

The Fighting 69th

World War I — Jewish Experiences in the Trenches and at the Home Front Film Series

Monday, September 15, 2014, 6:30 pm

A 1940 Warner Brothers film directed by William Keighley, the film is based upon the actual exploits of New York City’s 69th infantry Regiment during WWI. The plot centers on misfit Jerry Plunkett (James Cagney), a macho and a coward, unable to fit into the Irish brigade. Among the cast of characters is also Mischa Moskowitz (Mike Murphy for his Regiment friends), who speaks Yiddish, prays in Hebrew, but fights like an Irishman. Discussant: Thomas Doherty, Professor of American Studies, Brandeis University.

Presented by CJH, AJHS, LBI

Luis Moses Gomez: A Pioneer Merchant in Colonial America

Exhibit Opening and Benefit Reception

Thursday, June 19, 2014, 6:00 pm

Benefit for Gomez Foundation for Mill House.
Presented by Gomez Foundation for Mill House in partnership with ASF, AJHS.

Center for Jewish History, NYC

"Zorn@60@Met" by DISEman - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Music in Our Time: 2014

Presented by AJHS & ASJM

Sunday, June 1, 2014, 3:00 pm

The annual Music in Our Time concert features music with Jewish content. This year’s concert features a work by John Zorn (in honor of his 60th birthday), played by his musicians, as well as music by Schoenfield, Fridman, Binder and Bauer, performed by the young artists of the Mannes College of Music The New School, plus Yiddish songs of Lazare Weiner, sung by Cantor Robert Ableson with pianist Laura Leon.

Prayers for Fellow Prisoners

Presented by AJHS and ASJM

Thursday, May 29, 2014, 7:00 pm

Norway’s acclaimed Ullern Kammerkor presents music dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust—“Bøner for medfangar” (“Prayers for Fellow Prisoners”) by Kristian Hernes with a text by Dietrich Bonhoeffer—and music by Gideon Klein and Viktor Ullmann, composers active during imprisonment in Theresienstadt.

Watchers of the Sky

Film and Discussion

Monday, May 19, 2014, 6:00 pm

Join us for a special preview screening of Watchers of the Sky, the Sundance Film Festival award-winning documentary that uncovers the forgotten life of Raphael Lemkin. Lemkin coined the term “genocide” and campaigned for international laws that would prevent and punish this crime against humanity. The post-screening discussion will include Philippe Sands, distinguished international criminal lawyer and Professor of International Law at University College London, filmmaker Edet Belzberg, and Donna-Lee Frieze, editor of Lemkin’s recently published autobiography Totally Unofficial.

“Native Genius”: A Night of Entertainment Celebrating the History of Jewish Contributions to American Theatre, 1800-1860

Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 6:30 pm

Join us for an evening of lively and interactive 19th-century theater featuring the drama, comedy, music and poetry of Jewish playwrights and artists from the pre-Civil War period. In conjunction with the exhibition By Dawn’s Early Light: Jewish Contributions to American Culture from the Nation’s Founding to the Civil War, on view through August 16, 2014.

Mixing Music: Istanbul Jews and Their Sacred Songs

Lecture with musical examples

Monday, March 24, 2014, 7:00 pm

Dr. Maureen Jackson traces the linked histories of Istanbul and its Jewish community, as well as the historical-musical vestiges of multi-religious music making in Ottoman and Turkish society. She focuses on the Jewish religious repertoire that developed in interaction with Ottoman court music and people, places, and practices that shaped an Ottoman music world and Jewish cultural life to present day. Dr. Munir Beken, ethnomusicologist and oud master, will bring to life the Turkish musical forms at the heart of Dr. Jackson's talk.

Presented by AJHS and ASJM

American Jewish Political Culture and the Liberal Persuasion

Book Talk

Monday, February 24, 2014, 6:30 pm

Henry L. Feingold speaks about his new book (Syracuse University Press, 2013). The sustained loyalty of the Jewish electorate to the Democratic party, while other ethnic voters cast their ballots elsewhere, has long puzzled political pundits and chagrined Republican stalwarts. Yet efforts to turn the Jewish vote have thus far failed. The majority of Jewish voters continue to pull down the democratic voting lever as if guided by some divine force. No Republican presidential candidate has won the Jewish vote since the election of Theodore Roosevelt in 1904.
Since the heady years of the New Deal, Jewish liberalism has found shelter under the left wing of that party and Jewish voters have become some of the most politically engaged citizens of the Republic. American Jewish Political Culture and the Liberal Persuasion searches for the source of such political engagement, exploring the constantly adapting liberalism at the heart of American Jewish political behavior. Drawing on sociology and philosophy to inform his historical synthesis of a centuries-long, transcontinental pattern, Feingold eschews voting statistics and political theory. Instead, he tells the story of three overarching concerns that weave throughout the political priorities of contemporary American Jews: an ever-changing definition of liberalism; the hope and turmoil of Israel; and the obsession with the Holocaust. The resulting tapestry demonstrates a culture of great complexity and a political voice that often lacks coherence despite these consistent threads.
The book begins with the historical background of American Jewish politics before delving into old roots and then moving onto a thematic understanding of American Jewry's political psyche. This exhaustive work answers the grand question of where American Jewish liberalism comes from and ultimately questions whether the communal motivations behind such behavior are strong enough to withstand twenty-first-century America.
Henry L. Feingold is Professor Emeritus of history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and Baruch College. He is the author of several books, including The Politics of Rescue: The Roosevelt Administration and the Holocaust and Bearing Witness: How America and Its Jews Responded to the Holocaust. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Leo Baeck Institute.

American Jerusalem: Jews and the Making of San Francisco

Tuesday, February 18, 2014, 6:30 pm

Jewish immigrants played a central role in transforming San Francisco from a sleepy village to a thriving metropolis. In the process they reinvented themselves as well, becoming a distinctly new kind of Jew - a San Francisco Jew. Join us for a screening of a new documentary about this transformation, followed by a discussion in which a panel of scholars will explore the intertwined destinies of San Francisco and the Jews who settled there.

America’s Enduring Cantorate: Lecture with Musical Examples

Sunday, January 26, 2014, 3:00 pm

The roles of cantors, and the music they sing, have developed from European heritage and responded to changing aesthetic needs across centuries. Noted scholars Dr. Mark Kligman and Dr. Mark Slobin, and Cantors Jack Mendelsohn and Barbara Ostfeld- Horowitz, will explore the legacies of cantors in America.

David’s Harp Returns! The Hanukkah Concert

Sunday, December 8, 2013, 3:00 pm

Sephardic, Israeli, Turkish, Greek, Egyptian, Ottoman, Bukarian and Yemenite songs will be featured in this thrilling performance byDavid’s Harp. The group returns by popular demand after its sell-out Hanukkah performance in 2011. Its five-piece ensemble will sing and play santouri, darbuka, keyboard, zills, flute, guitar, mandolin, electric bass daf and violin. A special guest will open the program with a story from the pen of a great Jewish writer-a tradition of the annual Hanukkah program. Plus menorah lighting, singing and refreshments!

Unbroken Spirits: Yosef Mendelevich and Soviet Jewry Activists

Wednesday, November 20, 2013, 7:00 pm

Although less well-known than Sharansky, Yosef Mendelevich was one of the boldest and most influential Refuseniks. He will discuss his riveting new memoir and be reunited with prominent veteran activists for an evening of memory, song and inspiration.

German-Jewish Intellectuals in the Old World and the New

Tuesday, November 12, 2013, 6:30 pm

This event celebrates the publication of Against the Grain, Jewish Intellectuals in Hard Times (edited by Ezra Mendelsohn, Stefani Hoffman and Richard Cohen; Berghahn Books, NY)-a volume that reveals how Jewish intellectuals from German-speaking Europe reacted to the multiple crises of the 20th century. It honors the work of Steven Aschheim, esteemed scholar, teacher and mentor of a new generation of researchers in this field, some of whom are represented in the book. With Richard Cohen (Hebrew University), Marion Berghahn (Berghahn Books), Jerry Muller (The Catholic University of America), Adi Gordon (Amherst College), Ezra Mendelsohn (Hebrew University) and Steven Aschheim (Hebrew University).

Stealing Home: The Mystery of Moe Berg

Tuesday, October 8, 2013, 7:30 pm

Be one of the first to enjoy a new play based on the true story (and mystery) of Moe Berg, a professional baseball player and scholar-and one of the nation's first atomic spies. This staged reading of Stealing Home (by Allan Appel, directed by Avram Ludwig) will be performed by members of the Actors Studio.

Archives Week

Tuesday, October 8, 2013, 6:30 pm

Click here for Program

Passages through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War Curator’s Tour

Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 6:00 pm

Passages through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War Curator’s Tour

Music in Our Time: 2013 Concert

Sunday, June 2, 2013, 3:00 pm

The American Society for Jewish Music and AJHS’s annual concert of Jewish music from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Jewish Women and the Civil War

Monday, May 6, 2013, 7:00 pm

Historians and literary scholars discuss whether as volunteers in hospitals and charity groups, proud resisters of military occupation, or even spies, Jewish women played a prominent role in nearly all aspects of the war - some were even important memoirists of the conflict.

Kaddish for Lincoln

Monday, April 29, 2013, 7:00 pm

In this discussion of Jewish attitudes toward Lincoln--and Lincoln’s evolving attitude toward Jews, Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer explores the 16th president’s relations with Jews during the Civil War, and assesses whether the Great Emancipator deserved the name many contemporaries gave to him in the 19th century: American Moses.

An Evening with Ken Burns: Revisiting the Civil War Documentary Series 20 Years on Discussion

Sunday, April 14, 2013, 6:30 pm

Over the course of 5 days in September 1990, Americans were captivated by Ken Burns? master history lesson on America?s bloodiest conflict. This program features the reflections of the Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated filmmaker on the 150th anniversary of the war.

Rescue in the Philippines Documentary Film

Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 6:30 pm

This documentary tells the little-known story of the Philippines’ rescue of over 1,300 Jews from Nazi Europe. Orchestrated by Filipino and American politicians, Colonel Dwight Eisenhower and the Frieder brothers, Cincinnati-based businessmen, this film premiere will feature a discussion with the director, producers, former refugees and Frieder family descendants.

Passages through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War Curator's Tour*

Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 6:00 pm

Passages through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War Curator's Tour*

Louis Marshall and the Founding of Modern American Judaism

Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 7:30 pm

Marshall was a brilliant lawyer and a pioneer of civil rights and environmental causes who exerted a profound effect on the American Jewish community. Yet today Marshall’s memory has faded, even as his legacy lives on. Scholar Matt Silver discusses the paradox of Marshall’s extraordinary career in his new biography. The author in conversation with AJHS Executive Director, Jonathan Karp.

FDR and the Jews

Thursday, March 7, 2013, 6:30 pm

Join Richard Breitman, Allan J. Lichtman and Elizabeth Borgwardt for a discussion of Breitman and Lichtman’s soon-to-be-published book FDR and the Jews, a fascinating new investigation of the machinations, compromises, and dilemmas surrounding the Roosevelt administration's reactions to the Holocaust-- and of the limitations of the presidency.

“A Night of Jewish Baseball”

Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 6:30 pm

“A Night of Jewish Baseball”

The Sixties and Jewish Celebrity: A Conversation with David Kaufman

Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 7:00 pm

Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Sandy Koufax and Lenny Bruce all helped reshape American culture during a revolutionary decade. What role did their Jewish identity play? Join David Kaufman, author and Associate Professor of Religion at Hofstra University, in conversation with AJHS Executive Director Jonathan Karp.