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. Our programs either relate directly or contribute in adding to AJHS's established archival collection on American Jewry. Programs@AJHS works to build a diverse and curious community around cross-cultural exchanges and multi-disciplinary research interests while expanding the conversations on American Jewish history, cultures, identities, and the arts.

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

March Mash-Up: A Family Festival

A morning of activity and cultural immersion for children of all ages!

Sunday, March 4, 2018, 11:00 am
Ticket Info:

Tickets per family: $10 general ● $5 students/seniors /AJHS, CJH, LBI, YUM, YIVO members 

Family Program in partnership with the YIVO, the Center for Jewish History, the Leo Baeck Institute, and Yeshiva University Museum

So many Jewish traditions under one roof, we’re kvelling! Join us as the American Jewish Historical Society teams up with YIVO and other partners at the Center for Jewish History for a Purim-themed March Mash-Up of family fun. Laugh along with a puppet show, enjoy storytelling from many lands, make colorful craft projects, sing-along to classic Jewish songs, and experience the delightful diversity of Jewish culture from countries around the world – right here on West 16th Street. Plus family friendly gallery tours of our new exhibitions Jews in Space and Hey, Wow! The Art of Oded Halahmy and delicious holiday treats too!

Featuring The Gefilteria’s Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz, Singer Eléonore Biezunski, Storyteller Shane Baker, and the Yiddish puppet theater troupe Great Small Works.

Pictured: A Purim party at the YWHA of Kansas City, MO, 1929 - from the AJHS Archives.

Triangle Fire: See You in the Streets

Commemoration of the Triangle Fire

Monday, March 26, 2018, 7:00 pm
Ticket Info:

$10 general ● $ 7 students/AJHS and CJH members/seniors

A Talk by Ruth Sergel and Nick Salvatore
In partnership with the Center Jewish History and the Jewish Studies Program of Cornell University

Presentation and discussion with author/artist Ruth Sergel and Cornell Professor Nick Salvatore. In its day, the worst industrial disaster in New York history, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, spurred labor organizers and others to enact progressive legislation. A hundred years later, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire is inspiring a new generation of activists to organize against sweatshops on a global scale. Learn about how Lower East Side Jewish and Italian immigrants lived and worked together in 1911. Hear about the annual commemoration that honors the loss and empowers the living through the memorial act of sidewalk “CHALK.”

This program is inspired by the many collections held by AJHS pertaining to the history of Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 20th century, and by such organizations as the National Council of Jewish Women and the Jewish Labor Committee

GI Jews: Jewish Americans in World War II

A Documentary Directed by Lisa Ades, Produced by Amanda Bonavita, and Written by Maia Harris

NYC Premiere Screening featuring post-screening Q&A with Lisa Ades, Professor Deborah Dash Moore, and Elihu Rose

Wednesday, April 4, 2018, 7:00 pm
Ticket Info:

Tickets: $10 general ● $7 students/AJHS members/seniors ● $12 at the door

GI JEWS: Jewish Americans in World War II is a feature-length documentary for national public television that tells the profound and remarkable story of the 550,000 Jewish Americans who served in World War II.

These brave men and women fought for their nation and their people, for America and for Jews worldwide. Like all Americans, they fought against fascism, but they also waged a more personal fight—to save their brethren in Europe. After years of struggle, they emerged transformed, more powerfully American and more deeply Jewish, determined to continue the fight for equality and tolerance at home.

The stories of these brave men and women, told onscreen, can also be discovered in the AJHS Archives. One such collection, the National Jewish Welfare Board-Bureau of War Records, tracks Jewish soldiers and sailors who served in World War II. It also includes surveys of Jewish doctors, dentists, farmers and refugees who served in the United States Armed Forces.

We Spoke Out: Comic Books and the Holocaust

A Book by Neal Adams, Rafael Medoff, and Craig Yoe

Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 7:00 pm
Ticket Info:

$10 general ● $5 students/AJHS members/seniors ● $12 at the door

Classic comic book stories about the Holocaust and interviews with their artists and writers, with a cover drawn especially for this book by Neal Adams. An amazing but forgotten chapter in comics history! Long before the Holocaust was taught in schools or presented in films such as Schindler's List, the youth of America was learning about the Nazi genocide from Batman, the X-Men, Captain America, and Sgt. Rock.

In this talk, comics legend Neal Adams, Holocaust scholar Rafael Medoff, and comics historian Craig Yoe bring together a remarkable collection of comic book stories that introduced an entire generation to an engaging and important subject. We Spoke Out is an extraordinary journey into a compelling topic.

To commemorate Yom Hashoah as well as the upcoming Memorial Day, this program pays homage to the Jewish American heroes who fought with the US Army to defeat Nazism in WWII. AJHS is home to many collections detailing their life stories, such as the National Jewish Welfare Board, the Jewish War Veterans of the United States, the Louis H. Tankin World War II memoirs, the Milton Weill papers, and many more.

Broadway Street the Jewish Way

A Celebration of Fran Leadon’s New Book Broadway: A History of New York City in Thirteen Miles

Thursday, April 26, 2018, 7:00 pm
Ticket Info:

$10 general ● $5 students/AJHS members/seniors ● $12 at the door 

Join us for the book talk and the launch of Broadway: A History of New York City in Thirteen Milesand hear from author Fran Leadon about the extraordinary ways in which American Jews contributed to making Broadway the iconic street that it is today. 

Broadway: A History of New York City in Thirteen Miles takes us on a mile-by-mile journey that traces the gradual evolution of the seventeenth-century’s Brede Wegh, a muddy cow path in a backwater Dutch settlement, to the twentieth century’s Great White Way. We learn why one side of the street was once considered more fashionable than the other; witness the construction of the Ansonia Apartments, Trinity Church, and the Flatiron Building; and discover that Columbia University was built on the site of an insane asylum. Along the way we meet Alexander Hamilton, Edgar Allan Poe, John James Audubon, Emma Goldman, “Bill the Butcher” Poole, “Texas” Guinan, and the assorted real estate speculators, impresarios, and politicians who helped turn Broadway into a living paradigm of American progress, at its best and worst. With maps and more than forty black-and-white photos throughout, Broadway tells the vivid story of what is arguably the world’s most famous thoroughfare.

This program is inspired by the many collections housed at the AJHS that tell the stories of Jews’ involvement in the history, nurturing, and everyday life of Broadway Street in commerce, activism, and entertainment, effectively making it into the iconic street we know it to be today. Such are: the Molly Picon papersthe Garfunkel-Trager Family Papers, and the UJA-Federation of New York Collections.

The Eddie Cantor Story: A Jewish Life in Performance and Politics

Book Launch and Talk with Author David Weinstein

Thursday, May 10, 2018, 7:00 pm
Ticket Info:

$10 general ● $5 students/AJHS members/seniors ● $12 at the door

Featuring materials from the AJHS collections pertaining to Eddie Cantor, this absorbing biography chronicles the life and work of one of the most important entertainers of the twentieth century. Eddie Cantor (1892–1964) starred in theater, film, radio, and television. His immense popularity across a variety of media, his pride in his Jewish heritage, and his engagement with pressing political issues of his time distinguished him from other headliners of his era. Paying equal attention to Cantor’s humor and politics, Weinstein documents his significance as a performer, philanthropist, and activist.

Many show business figures quietly shed their Jewish backgrounds, or did not call attention to the fact that they were Jewish. Cantor was different. He addressed the such vital issues as assimilation, identity, and anti-Semitism. He was especially forceful in opposing Nazism, which he paid for in 1939, when a sponsor cancelled the actor’s radio program.

In this carefully researched book, Weinstein uncovers sketches and routines filled with Jewish phrases, allusions, jokes, stories, and songs. Cantor did not mark his material as “Jewish,” relying instead on attentive audiences to interpret his coded performances. Illustrated in thirty photographs, The Eddie Cantor Story examines the evolution, impact, and legacy of Cantor’s performance style. His music and comedy not only shaped the history of popular entertainment, but also provide a foundation for ongoing efforts to redefine Jewish culture and build a Jewish community in contemporary America.

Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels: A Haven in Havana

A Film by Judy Kreith and Robin Truesdale

Thursday, February 15, 2018, 7:00 pm

NY Premiere Screening, post-screening Q&A featuring the filmmakers and a special performance of Cuban music from the film by The Pablo Moya Trio

In partnership with the Leo Baeck Institute

Please Note: The Auditorium seats for this event are sold out. The tickets currently available are for the full-quality simulcast in the Great Hall, at discounted rates. The Q&A after the film will also be simulcast, followed by a reception in the Great Hall for all attendees featuring the Pablo Moya Trio and a special rum tasting. Simulcast tickets are available here and at the above links.

Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels was born of the tales Marion Kreith told her daughter, co-director Judy Kreith. Marion escaped war-torn Europe as a young girl with her family, evading Nazi capture and crossing the Atlantic to a tropical paradise. In this film, her story mingles with the personal accounts of other refugees who recall their escape to Havana and the challenges they faced in the exotic and unfamiliar land. With a stunning musical score of Jewish melodies and the pulsating music of Havana, the film merges the realities of two vastly different yet intermingled cultures, bringing this colorful and uplifting piece of history to light.

AJHS is home to collections from the Joint Distribution Committee and the National Refugee Services- both involved in various negotiations with the Cuban government to help rescue Jews fleeing Germany in the late 1930s. AJHS is also home to the papers of the volunteer organization Machal, whose founder, Si Spiegelman, fled Nazi Europe and spent time in Cuba before arriving in the US in the 1940s. This program is inspired by these and other related collections housed at AJHS.

East West Street: Personal Histories of Genocide and Raphael Lemkin’s Thought

A Book Talk by Philippe Sands followed by a Discussion with Douglas Irvin-Erikson

Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 7:00 pm

Featuring remarkable materials drawn directly from the Lemkin Papers, housed at the AJHS archive, human-rights lawyer and author Philippe Sands will explore how personal lives and history are interwoven in his book East West Street, which received the 2016 Baillie Gifford (formerly Samuel Johnson) prize for nonfiction. The story – part family history and part legal thriller – connects to Sands’ work on crimes against humanity and genocide as well as to an untold story at the heart of the Nuremberg Trial that pitted lawyers Raphael Lemkin and Hersch Lauterpacht against Adolf Hitler’s former lawyer – Hans Frank.

A conversation with Douglas Irvin-Erikson, author of Raphäel Lemkin and the Concept of Genocide, will follow and focus on the consequences of the concept of genocide from the Armenian killings of 1915 – which inspired Lemkin’s work – to the atrocities perpetrated on the Yazidi community a century later.

From Brooklyn to Beirut

A film by Rola Khayyat followed by a discussion with Regine Basha

Thursday, December 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

In From Brooklyn to Beirut, Rola Khayyat explores the landscape of belonging for the community of Lebanese Jews in New York – along with the fragilities and complexities associated with their complex identity. Jews have lived in what is today Lebanon since Biblical times. As internal and regional tensions tore Lebanon apart, Lebanese Jews began to emigrate and settle abroad in countries such as France, Israel, Brazil, and the United States. In their new homes, Lebanese Jews, like other Lebanese emigrants, have formed vibrant communities where Lebanese traditions and values are maintained; Arabic language, music, and cinema are used and celebrated; and memories of Lebanon are constantly recalled and shared.

AJHS houses the records of hundreds of Jewish aid and charity organizations which aided and resettled Jewish immigrants and refugees from the Middle East; particularly Hebrew Immigration Aid Society (HIAS) Collection, which is currently being processed by AJHS archivists. These collections tell the stories of thousands of Middle Eastern Jewish and non-Jewish immigrant and refugees as they traveled to and settled in the United States. 

The Ruined House Book Launch

Ruby Namdar in conversation with Liel Leibovitz


Thursday, December 7, 2017, 7:00 pm

The Ruined House Book Launch: Presented and produced by American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History and 14th Street Y (Arts + Culture and DJL). Co-sponsored by Consulate General of Israel in New York. Supported by the Jewish Book Council and Tablet Magazine.

In the spring of 2000 Jerusalem-born author Ruby Namdar found himself wandering in the streets of New York, taking in the magnitude and glory of this larger-than-life city. Written in New York, in an unusually rich and complex Hebrew prose, The Ruined House was Namdar’s literary response to this experience, as well as to the experience of living and working outside of the “Hebrew territory”. Winner of the 2014 Sapir Prize, Israel’s most important literary award, the novel describes a year in the life of a university professor whose life begins to unravel as he is visited by a string of inexplicable visions of the Holy Temple in Roman era Jerusalem. A few months after Namdar won it, the Sapir Prize committee changed the guidelines in order to prevent other ex-pat Israeli authors living outside of Israel from submitting their work in the future. This controversial decision caused a lively debate, echoes of which still resonate now and then in the Israeli press.

The conversation between Ruby Namdar and Liel Leibovitz of Tablet Magazine will focus on questions such as: What does it mean to live in one language and write in another? Do language and literature have a territory? What do we mean when we say: “American Literature”, "Israeli Literature" and “Jewish Literature”? The discussion will be followed by a reception, a book sale and signing by the author. 

This is the closing event for the festival THE SEVENTH DAY: ISRAELI LITERATURE FIFTY YEARS AFTER THE SIX-DAY WAR. Festival Director: Hanan Elstein

This program is inspired by the papers of great Jewish New York novelists housed in our collections, such as the Abraham Shoenfeld Papers, the Henry Roth Papers, and the Walter Hart Blumenthal Papers – all, like Namdar, masterfully narrated themes of immigration, identity, and the American Jewish experience.

Before Brooklyn: Jewish Communities in Egypt

A book talk by Najat Abdulhuq followed by a discussion with Joyce Zonana

Thursday, November 2, 2017, 7:00 pm

In the years following Nasser’s rise to power as the second Egyptian President in the 1950s, the demographic landscape and the economy of Egypt underwent a profound change. While these shifts have mostly been discussed in the light of postcolonial studies and the nationalization policies in the wider region, Najat Abdulhuq’s book Jewish and Greek Communities in Egypt: Entrepreneurship and Business before Nasser instead focuses on the role that the Jewish and Greek minorities had in the economy of pre-Nasser Egypt.

Following Abdulhuq’s talk, Joyce Zonana (English Professor at Borough of Manhattan Community College), author of Dream Homes: From Cairo to Katrina, an Exile's Journey, will discuss Abdulhuq’s book comparatively – specifically drawing links between Jewish Egyptian community lives and politics in Egypt and Brooklyn, where many Egyptian Jews resettled after 1952.

Jewish New York, 1917

A panel discussion with Deborah Dash Moore and Ronit Stahl in conjunction with 1917: How One Year Changed the World 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 7:00 pm

When the US entered WWI in the spring of 1917, how did New York Jews respond? What were the key conflicts and creative responses to wartime in New York of 1917? As they faced military service, some Jewish New Yorkers sought to build new institutions to help Jews in uniform while others opposed war and championed peace. This panel explores these questions from the viewpoints of military history and urban history, and celebrates the launching of two new landmark books in the field of American Jewish History. Deborah Dash Moore’s Jewish New York reveals the multifaceted world of one of the city’s most important ethnic and religious groups. Spanning three centuries, Jewish New York traces the earliest arrival of Jews in New Amsterdam to the recent immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union. Ronit Y. Stahl’s Enlisting Faith plumbs the changes taking place in the US military’s chaplaincy which, upon entering WWI, included only mainline Protestants and Catholics, and until today, when it counts Jews, Mormons, Muslims, Christian Scientists, Buddhists, Seventh-day Adventists, Hindus, and evangelicals among its ranks.

Acts and Intermissions: Emma Goldman in America

A film screening in conjuction with the exhibit 1917: How One Year Changed the World

A film by Abigail Child

Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 7:00 pm

A cinematic collage featuring rare archival footage of NYC from the 1910s, Abigail Child’s new documentary Acts and Intermissions: Emma Goldman in America circles around the life of Emma Goldman and her relationship to the history of protest between then and now. Goldman’s fight for social justice encompassed issues that remain urgent today, and the film’s overlapping of past and present highlights the continuing relevance of her struggle. The film performs a time travel, intercutting moments from Emma’s life with her prescient speeches, weaving industrial era factory labor with computer data centers with Emma’s intimate diaries — to explore human vulnerabilities, compromises and choices. Fervently political, Emma was also passionate and sexual, with beauty/art/humor part of the freedoms for which she was fighting. The film creates a dialogue on individual liberties and anarchism: how we risk and how we are compromised? Questions that have become only more relevant in our current political climate.

The Yiddish Celluloid Closet and the Isle of Klezbos

Music Program in Celebration of Pride MonthIn Partnership YIVO and ASJM

Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 7:00 pm

Isle of Klezbos sextet performs in concert with a panoply of neo-traditional and original repertoire, including highlights from vintage cinema research focused on both musical reverence and unexpected research finds. Despite the taboo surrounding homosexuality, the topic was too intriguing to be left entirely out of the Yiddish picture. The Yiddish Celluloid Closet program presents Yiddish cinema as you’ve never seen it, plus Isle of Klezbos’ loving and live reinterpretations of movie music from the revelatory soundtracks. Drummer/leader Eve Sicular’s six-piece all-gal band -- touring from Vienna to Vancouver -- features multimedia retro treats in a fully 21st century approach. Screen excerpts and lush new arrangements include classics and lesser-known gems from Americaner Shadkhn, Der Vilner Shtot Khazn, and more. Enjoy klezmer, Yiddish swing and tango, in addition to genre-expanding pieces by these adventurous alumnae of Juilliard, Eastman, Berklee and Manhattan Schools of Music as well as Harvard's Russian History & Literature Department (Sicular, an erstwhile curator of YIVO's Film & Photo Archives, also worked on landmark retrospective Bridge of Light: Yiddish Film Between Two Worlds at MoMA).

Streit’s Matzo and the American Dream

Film Screening and Q&A featuring Director Neil A. Friedman
In Partnership with the Museum at Eldridge Street

Thursday, April 13, 2017, 7:00 pm

In the heart of New York’s rapidly gentrifying Lower East Side stand four tenement buildings that housed the Streit’s Matzo factory since 1925. Streit’s Matzo and the American Dream is a story of tradition, of resistance and resilience, and a celebration of a family whose commitment to their heritage and to their employees is inspiring proof that the family that bakes together, stays together.

Svetlana and the Delancey Five in Concert

Sunday, March 5, 2017, 8:00 pm

Svetlana is a vocalist, songwriter, and arranger based in NYC. With sold shows at such legendary venues, Svetlana has earned accolades from jazz musicians, audiences and press alike with her poised and charming stage presence, enchanting vocals and strong musicianship. 

Festival of Contemporary Russian Jewish American Culture

One Day Conference and
Live Music Performance

Sunday, March 5, 2017, 10:00 am

This first time, all-day Festival of Contemporary Russian Jewish American Culture to launch the special issue of the journal East European Jewish Affairs will feature opening remarks from AJHS executive director, Rachel Lithgow; Genesis Philanthropy Group executive director, Ilya Salita; as well as guest editor Anna Katsnelson (Columbia University) and David Shneer (Louis Singer Chair in Jewish History, University of Colorado and co-editor in chief of East European Jewish Affairs) and panels as follows: Anna Shternshis (University of Toronto and co-editor in chief of East European Jewish Affairs) will moderate a scholarly roundtable on current issues in the field of Russian Jewish American cultural production that will include Baruch Beckerman, Inga Veksler, Jeffrey Taylor, Karolina Krasuska, Anna Katsnelson, and Margarita Levantovskaya.  Anna Katsnelson will moderate a writers’ panel with Ellen Litman, Polina Barskova, Eugene Yelchin, Julia Loktev, and Anya Ulinich. Nick Underwood (managing editor of East European Jewish Affairs) will moderate a visual arts panel including Alina Bliumis, Yuliya Levit, Yevgeniya Baras, Artem Mirolevich, and Michael Korosty.  Following a dinner break, the festival will culminate with a musical performance by Svetlana and the Delancey Five - see details below. 

For the detailed schedule, click here.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Jewish History, the journal East European Jewish Affairs, and the Louis P. Singer Chair in Jewish History in the Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Bubby: Kosher Love Advice in Unkosher Times

**This event has been postponed to Sunday, February 12th at noon. All previously purchased tickets will be honored.**

Sunday, February 12, 2017, 12:00 pm

Bubby: Kosher Love Advice in Unkosher Times is a fashion photo series that features real bubbies imparting love and life advice. Shot by Los Angeles-based photographer Jackson Davis, the series celebrates the beauty and wisdom that these fashionable bubbies have gained throughout their Jewish life experience.  So come schmooze, get inspired and find out if old world love and romance still exists during these unkosher times. The photo series is a collaboration between fashion brand Unkosher Market and Bubby, a Jewish-inspired matchmaking app. 

Black Panther Got Loose from the Bronx Zoo: an Exhibition by Ido Michaeli

A Black History Month Program
Opening night will feature poetry performances celebrating the incorporation of the Black Panther image across global movements.

Thursday, February 2, 2017, 6:30 pm

Based on an article published in the New York Times in 1902, Ido Michaeli’s work Black Panther Got Loose from the Bronx Zoo,  a hand-woven tapestry and video piece, tell the true story of a panther, who escaped from the Bronx Zoo and, after struggling with the police, dove into the Bronx River and swam to his freedom.

Opening night will feature poetry performances in English, Hebrew, and Arabic. Poetry will comment on Michaeli’s work, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther movement in the US and/or the 45th anniversary of the Mizrahi Black Panther movement, and celebrating the circulation of Black Panther imagery across movements globally. The exhibition will be up through April 2017.

Mariam Bazeed
Michael Brown Jr.
Miri Gabriel
Shlomi Hatuka
Boni Joi
Velina Manolova
Maryam Parhizkar
Jayson P. Smith
Sami Shalom Chetrit
Candace Williams

Photo credit: Christine Fischer

What Does Jewish Look Like To You?

An MLK Program

An Evening of Monologues highlighting Jewish Racial & Ethnic Diversity and featuring Vanessa Hidary and Kaleidoscope

Thursday, January 19, 2017, 7:00 pm

Through extensively crafted, deeply personal storytelling and Spoken Word, Kaleidoscope explores the ever-popular question "What does Jewish look like?" Boldly diverse, distinctly Jewish, Kaleidoscope includes performers of Jamaican, Ethiopian, Moroccan, Yemenite, Libyan and African-American Jewish backgrounds. Directed by Vanessa Hidary. Followed by Q&A with the director and performers.

Ma Nishtana (in the photo)
Leemore Malka
Morr Mazal Barton
Kendell Pinkney
Yoshi Silverstein
Simi Toledano

There Are Jews Here

NYC Premiere Screening featuring filmmaker Brad Lichtenstein  

Thursday, January 12, 2017, 7:00 pm

There Are Jews Here tells the stories of once thriving Jewish American towns that now can barely hold a minyan, focusing on the residents lamenting the gradual disappearance of their communities, and critically examining issues of class, family, and identity. 

Photo by Joan Roth

Sigd: An Ethiopian Jewish Celebration

Live Music from Anbessa Orchestra, Display from the Collection, Special Reception featuring Ethiopian food
In partnership with the Ethiopian organization Chasida Shmella

Sunday, December 18, 2016, 5:00 pm

According to Jewish Ethiopian custom, Sigd commemorates the giving of the Torah and the ancient communal gatherings on Mount Sinai. Thousands of Jews traveled on foot every year from Gondar Province to the village of Ambober where the joyous celebration included prayer and fasting.
Each year, the Sigd celebration offers a unique experience. This year, Chassida Shmella partners with AJHS to celebrate a display of selected items from AJHS’ American Association for Ethiopian Jews collection, a ritual led by the Kessoch (Ethiopian spiritual leaders akin to rabbis.), music performance, and special reception.

The Ted Rosenthal Quintet Presents: The Great Jewish American Songbook

Music Program featuring Ted Rosenthal (piano), Randy Brecker (trumpet), Joel Frahm (saxophone), David J. Grossman (bass), and Tim Horner (drums) in partnership with ASJM and YIVO

Thursday, November 17, 2016, 7:00 pm

The Great Jewish American Songbook program will offer Jazz interpretations of famous Jewish composers including George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern. Trio will feature Grammy Award winner, trumpeter Randy Brecker. The concert will be followed by a conversation with Ted Rosenthal about the experience of Jewish immigrants Jazz musicians, their contributions to the American Jazz Repertoire of the 20th century, and their relationship to the African American Jazz musicians they were working with. 

"Exquisite interpretations of some of The Great American Songbook's most beloved compositions" -

Benghazi Bergen-Belsen

Staged Reading and Talk with La MaMa Theater, No Visa Productions, and Author Yossi Sucary
In partnership with the American Sephardi Federation

Monday, November 14, 2016, 7:00 pm

Join AJHS and ASF in celebrating the publication of the English translation of Benghazi-Bergen-Belsen: the first novel about the Holocaust of Libyan Jews. Featuring a staged reading of scenes from the upcoming theater production, adapted by Lahav Timor, that is premiering at La Mama Theater March 2017, and meet author Yossi Sucary and No Visa Production Director Michal Gamily for post-reading Q&A.

Silvana Haggiag is a brilliant and beautiful young woman in her early twenties, dismissive of the patriarchal norms that govern her Jewish community in the Libyan city of Benghazi. When Silvana’s family is violently uprooted from its home and homeland, she is taken along with other Libyan Jews through the blazing Sahara Desert and war driven Italy to freezing Germany. Benghazi-Bergen-Belzen, the first novel about the Holocaust of Libyan Jews, brilliantly depicts the transformations and tribulations this intriguing community has undergone during the Second World War.

Young Jewish American Composers

Music Program in Partnership with ASJM and YIVO 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016, 7:00 pm

A concert featuring new classical works by young and emerging Jewish American composers: Lainie Fefferman, David Hertzberg, Julie Hill, Adam Roberts, Alyssa Weinberg, and Alex Weiser. Performances by Violin and Viola duo andPlay (Maya Bennardo and Hannah Levinson), Brigid Coleridge, Julie Hill, Lee Dionne, Pat Swoboda, and Meaghan Burke will feature various combinations of piano, string quintet, and singer. The concert will also feature conversations with the composers exploring the question of how Jewish history and identity informs the creation of new works of art.

Fünf Kleine Klavierstücke – Lainie Fefferman (1982- )
Méditation boréale – David Hertzberg (1990- )
Dreaming of Love – Alex Weiser (1989- )
Meditation – Alyssa Weinberg (1988- )
Shift Differential – Adam Roberts (1980- )
Over the Waters – Julie Hill (1988- )

How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses? Women and Jewish American Identity in Contemporary Graphic Memoirs

Book Talk by Tahneer Oksman. Special guest: New Yorker contributor Liana Finck  

Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 7:00 pm

American comics reflect the distinct sensibilities and experience of the Jewish American men who played an outsized role in creating them, but what about the contributions of Jewish women? Focusing on the visionary work of seven contemporary female Jewish cartoonists, How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses? with Tahneer Oksman and Liana Finck draws a remarkable connection between innovations in modes of graphic storytelling and the unstable, contradictory, and ambiguous figurations of the Jewish self in the postmodern era. 

Sweet Noshings

Book Launch and Food Tasting with Amy Kritzer in partnership with CJH

Thursday, October 6, 2016, 6:30 pm

Between Rosh Hashana’s meals and Yom Kippur’s fasting, join AJHS and the Center for Jewish History for a book launch and food tasting in celebration of the publication of Sweet Noshings, a new cookbook by popular blogger Amy Kritzer (“What Jew Wanna Eat”). Come hear Amy talk about blogging and cooking, learn from her baking demonstration, and try out some of her delicious desserts!

“Sweet Noshings is for cooks of all religions who love to eat, try new recipes, and cook for others. It’s just the best thing ever when someone takes a bite of my rugelach or brisket and you can see the joy on their face. Pure delight. I’m overjoyed to say each one of these recipes does that!” -Amy Kritzer.   

Purchase one ticket and save 10% for shopping at Modern Tribe with a coupon code. 

Holy Trash: My Genizah

Exhibition Opening and Performance by Rachel Libeskind

Thursday, September 22, 2016, 6:30 pm

According to Solomon Schechter, Genizah is “the storeroom or depository in a synagogue a cemetery in which worn-out and heretical or disgraced Hebrew books or papers are placed. In medieval times…their sanctity and consequent claim to preservation were held to depend on their containing the "names" of God.” What’s between the Genizah and today’s Jewish archive?

Holy Trash: My Genizah is a new project by fine arts and performance artist Rachel Libeskind created especially for the AJHS exhibition space in the great hall of the Center for Jewish History. My Genizah presents a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Genizah. Crafted with texts and objects formerly belonging to the AJHS collections, My Genizah is a hardedge, personal commentary on the making of the Jewish archive from the documents of the Genizah, and on today’s archival procedures of sorting, cataloguing, and organizing history.

Libeskind will perform her own original piece on opening night.


Jews and Racial Shifts in Early America

A Lecture by Laura Leibman 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016, 7:00 pm

Today, multiracial Jews make up 12% of U.S. Jewry, with nearly 87,000 nonwhite, Hispanic, or multiracial Jewish households in the New York area alone. The history of multiracial Jews, however, has often been presented as occurring primarily after the Vietnam War. This emphasis ignores the wealth of resources available regarding early multiracial Jews in the Americas.

In the talk Jews and Racial Shifts in Early America, praised literary, race and Jewish studies scholar Laura Arnold Leibman will discuss how definitions of race have changed between the colonial era and today and how this impacts what types of sources you will find, strategies and resources for locating primary sources related to family histories of Jews of mixed African and Jewish descent in the early United States and Caribbean with attention to family history resources prior to 1840, and strategies for interpreting primary sources. Hands-on examples of sources will be included.

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

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.

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.

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.