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Western Jewish Studies Association 2021

Register for Western Jewish Studies Association 2021



Western Jewish Studies Association

Virtual 25th Annual Conference

March 14 - 16, 2021

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada

Registration closes: February 28, 2021

All sessions will be held on Zoom

Note: All Times are Pacific Standard Time (PST)

*March 14 @ 2 AM Move Clocks Forward for Daylight Savings Time*


Please check the time differential between your location and Pacific Daylight Time


Sunday, March 14

9-10:30 AM - Keynote Lecture

They Came by Station Wagon: The Jews of Southern Nevada


                        -Barbara Tabach                                                        -Michael Green

Barbara Tabach is an oral historian and project manager for the Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries.  Among the projects she has been involved with are: Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage ProjectThe Latinx Voices of Southern NevadaThe African American Experience of Las VegasRemembering 1 October, and Boyer Early Las Vegas.  Whether as an oral historian, a consultant, author, editor, or teacher of memoir writing, Barbara promotes oral history and shows others how memories are as intrinsically valuable as any material wealth. 

Michael Green is an associate professor of history at UNLV. He is the author of several books on the Civil War and on Nevada history, including Nevada: A History of the Silver State (2015), and co-author of Las Vegas: A Centennial History (2005). He has published a history of the Las Vegas Jewish community in The Peoples of Las Vegas (2005) and a biography of Hank Greenspun in The Maverick Spirit: Building the New Nevada (1998), as well as numerous articles about the community and state. He writes "Nevada Yesterdays" for KNPR and is executive director of Preserve Nevada and of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association.

WJSA Conference Program

All Times are Pacific Standard Time (10 hours earlier than Israeli time)


Gratitude for the generous donations of College of Liberal Arts and Departments of Sociology, English, History. Additional thanks to Southwest Oral History Association for the generous technology support.

Sunday, March 14

9-10:30 AM

Welcome and Keynote Address:

Zoom A

Welcome: Laurie Baron, President of the Western Jewish Studies Association

Keynote Address: They Came in Station Wagons: The Jews of Southern Nevada (Cosponsored by SOHA)

-Barbara Tabach, Oral History Research Center, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

-Michael Green, Associate Professor of History, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

*10:30-11 AM Break*

11 AM-12:30 PM
Panel 1: Infrastructure, Foreign Students, and Olim in Palestine and Israel
Zoom A

Chair: Sam Lehman - Wilzig, Bar-Ilan University

-Michael Davidson, Independent Scholar
The Development of Palestine Crop Production and Irrigation Improvement Project

-Stephanie Shosh Rotem, University of California Berkeley
Hadassah and the Creation of a Modern Medical Center in Jerusalem

-Amir Akiva Segal, Hebrew University 
Employment in the process of migration and absorption of Jewish migrants from United States to Israel

Panel 2: Modern Jewish Thought         
Zoom B

Chair: David Weinberg, Wayne State University

-Ghila Amati, Oxford University 
Freedom and Creativity in Modern Orthodox Judaism: Between Ray Kook and Henri Bergson

-Evyatar Varman, Hebrew University 
Birth and Sehnsucht: Buber's Discourse with Midrash, Plato and Kierkegaard

-Haeyeun Han, University of Chicago
Levinas on Time

-Danielle Roth-Johnson, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Intertextuality in Albert Memmi's Portrait d'un juif and Francoise d'Eaubonne's Le féminisme ou la mort

Panel 3: Holocaust in Eastern Europe     
Zoom C

Chair: Victoria Khiterer, Millersville University

-Judith Vöcker, University of Leicester
"In the Name of the German Nation" Jews, Poles and Ethnic Germans in front of the German courts during the Nazi occupation of the Warsaw district (1939-1944)

-Florian Zabransky, University of Sussex
Reproduction in the Ghetto: Jewish Men Negotiating Contraception, Abortion and Childbirth during the Holocaust

-Jeffrey Koerber, Chapman University
Young Soviet Jews Who Posed a Slavs During the Holocaust

*12:45-1:45 Zoom Lunch with Chatrooms   Zoom D*

2:00-3:30 PM
Panel 4: Current Holocaust Research on Germany, Bohemia-Moravia, and Hungary
Zoom A

Chair: Timothy Pytell, California State University, San Bernardino

-Wolf Gruner, University of Southern California
Current Holocaust Scholarship on Bohemia and Moravia

-Georg Michels, University of California, Riverside
Current Holocaust Scholarship on Hungary 

-William Katin, California State University, San Bernardino
Current German Scholarship on the Volksgemeinde

Panel 5: German Jewish Thinkers       
Zoom B

Chair: Alan Levenson, University of Oklahoma

-J.J. Kimche, Harvard University,
Celebrating 150 Years of Heinrich Graetz's "History of the Jews"

-Amy Shevitz, Loyola University Chicago
"Seien Sie Innigst Gegrüßt": The Correspondence of "Rosenzweig's Women"

-Susanne Hillman, San Diego State University 
The Will to Truth: Margarete Susman on Chaos and How to Overcome it

Panel 6: American Jewish Women    (Cosponsored by SOHA)
Zoom C

Chair: Mara W. Cohen Ioannides, Missouri State University

-Janna M. Bernstein, University of Nevada, Las Vegas,
An Invisible Minority: Experiences of Ashkenazi Jewish Women Leaders in Higher Education

-Ellen Eisenberg, Willamette University
A Women's Place? Supporting Jewish Causes and Community in Post-War Portland

-Laurie Baron, San Diego State University
The Pioneering American Jewish Women Directors

*3:30-4:00 PM Break*

4-5:30 PM
Panel 7: Contemporary Anti-Semitism    
Zoom A

Chair: Max Baumgarten, California State University, Los Angeles

-Jeffrey Blutinger, California State University, Long Beach
Kevin MacDonald's Reconceptualization of Antisemitic Conspiracy Theory

-Jeffrey Demsky, San Bernardino Valley College, 
Ahchoo! Ahchoo! Let's Blame the Jews: Disease Tropes in Covid-19 Cartoons and Memes

Panel 8: Jewish Film     
Zoom B

Chair: Marat Grinberg, Reed College

-Dror Abend-David, University of Florida
Jewish Identity, Silent Films and the Invisibility of the Translator

-Joel Rosenberg, Tufts University 
The First Jewish Film: On Georges Méliès’s L’Affaire Dreyfus (1899)

-Elyce Rae Helford, Middle Tennessee State University
Jewishness, Survivor Guilt, and Billy Wilder's Ace in the Hole

Panel 9: Yiddish and Hebrew in America     
Zoom C

Chair: Sharon Oster, University of Redlands

-Mara W. Cohen Ioannides, Missouri State University
The Singer Siblings: Different Views of Shtetl Life

-Michal Fram Cohen, Open University of Israel
The Disappearance of Hebrew Women Writers in America

-Alan Levenson, University of Oklahoma
Forgotten Yiddishist: Maurice Samuel (1895-1972)

*5:30-6:30 PM, Happy Hour (BYO and Chatrooms)     Zoom D*

Monday, March 15 

9-10:30 AM
Plenary Session  
Yitzhak Rabin's Assassination in Israeli Film and Television
Zoom B

Chair: Naomi Sokoloff, University of Washington

-Shmuel Meiri, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design
A Leader's Memory on Display:
Yitzhak Rabin's Memorial Exhibitions in Academies of Arts vs. The Yitzhak Rabin Center

-Naomi Meiri-Dann, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design
The Commemoration of Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv - Between Israeli "Battlefield"
Monuments and JFK's Memorial Sites in Dallas TX

-Miri Talmon, Tel-Aviv University
A Touch Away from Making Love, not War: 1990s Filmic and Televisual Negotiations of Rabin's Assassination

-Anat Zanger, Tel'Aviv University 
Yitzhak Rabin's Assassination and the Messianic Turn in Israeli Cinema: From Rabin: The Last Days to Our Boys

11 AM-12:30 PM
Panel 10: 19th Century Jewish History     
Zoom A

Chair: Jody Myers, California State University, Northridge

-Armin Langer, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
A Barbaric, bloody act: The anti-circumcision polemics of the Enlightenment and it's internalization among nineteenth-century German Jews

-Zack Rothbart, National Library of Israel
The Impact of the Early 19th Century Eastern Mediterranean Bubonic Plague on Jewish Settlement in Jerusalem

-Dóra Pataricza, Szeged Jewish Archives Digitalization Project 
The concept of the kiss perceived by Immánuel Löw, chief rabbi of Szeged, Hungary (1875-1944)

Panel 11: Gender in Jewish Law and Texts     
Zoom B

Chair: Roberta Sabbath, University of Nevada, Las Vegas 

-Ronit Irshai, Bar-Ilan University
Cross-Dressing in Jewish Law and the Construction of Gender Identity

-Aron Tillema, University of California-Davis,
"Efficacious Laments, Misguided Corrections? Reading Lamentations Then and Now"

-Yaron Silverstein, Hemdat Academic College
The question of the authority of a new regime during the twilight of power: A Study of the Commentary to David and Abigail's Meeting in the Yerushalmi Sanhedrin (2: 3, 20:2)

Panel 12: Israel, Jews, and Asia     
Zoom C

Chair: Seth Ward, University of Wyoming

-Sara Ahmadova Arshad, Azerbaijan National Academy
Mountain Jews of Azerbaijan

-Ilana Maymind, Chapman University 
The Jews of Japan

-Suchibrata Roy, O.P. Jindal Global University 
Israeli affinity towards Indian village people and growing Philosemitism in the Himalayas Region of India.

-Asher Lubotzky, Indiana University 
'Don't Call Us Kushim:' Racialized Experiences and Political Activism among African Students in Israel in the 1960s,"

*12:45-1:45 PM Lunch Break, Chat Rooms     Zoom D*

2:00-3:30 PM
Panel 13: Jews in the Midwest and West   (Cosponsored by SOHA)
Zoom A

Chair: Amy Shevitz, Loyola University Chicago

-Diana Clarke, University of Pittsburgh
Not the Same Old Moses: Jewish Settler-Colonialism in Oklahoma Territory

-Ethan Nosanow Levin, Harvard Divinity School
The Coloniality of Memory: A Historiography of Jewish Minnesota

-Rebecca Wartell, University of Colorado
Jew Outdoors: Post-War Jewish Recreation in the Rocky Mountains

Panel 14: Torah Interpretation and Translation     
Zoom B

Chair: Joel Gereboff, Arizona State University

-Leonard Greenspoon, Creighton University
The Septuagint as a Jewish Translation of the Bible"

-Roberta Sabbath, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Human/Divine Intersectionality of Sacred Tropes: Tanakh, New Testament and Qur'an as Literature and Culture

-Eran Viezel, Ben Gurion University
The Relationship between 'You Shall Not Let Your Cattle Mate with a Different Kind' (Lev 19:19) and 'You Shall Not Plow with an Ox and an Ass Together' (Deut 22:10): A Reexamination

Panel 15: Jews in American Popular Culture     
Zoom C

Chair: Jeff Demsky, San Bernardino Valley College

-Attillo Cantore, Università degli Studi di Milano
The exodus of an Italian Jewish composer to the West Coast

-Alexandra Sasha Zborovsky, University of Pennsylvania 
Mostly Dead Means Slightly Alive: The Jewish Comic Tradition of the 1950s

-Douglas Kiman, Wesleyan University

The Klezmer Revival and its Aftermath through the Lens of Gender

*3:30-4:15 PM Break*

4:30-6:00 PM
Panel 16: American Legacies of the Holocaust     
Zoom A

Chair: Jeffrey Blutinger, California State University, Long Beach

-Meghan Riley, Indiana University
The Unitarian Service Committee's Starvation Studies in Vichy France

-James McSpadden, University of Nevada, Reno
Ethical Debate on Looted Nazi and Holocaust-Era Books in the United States

-Gregory Brown, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
The Other New York Intellectuals: Jewish Refugee Historians and Post-War Historiography of the European Enlightenment"

Panel 17: Local American Jewish History     (Cosponsored by SOHA)
Zoom B

Chair: Ava Kahn, Independent Scholar

-Steven Green, University of California, Santa Cruz
More Than Just a Store: Jewish Food Entrepreneurship in Turn of the Century

-Jonathan L. Friedmann, Academy for Jewish Religion, California
The Secrets of Happiness and Longevity: A Jewish Response to the Metaphysical Movement in Early Twentieth-Century Los Angeles

-Joel Gereboff, Arizona State University 
Local and Regional American Jewish Historical Societies

Panel 18: The Lingering Impact of the Holocaust on Literature     
Zoom C

Chair: Victoria Aarons, Trinity University

-Megan Reynolds, University of Oregon
Monstrously Human: Seeing Evil in Emil Ferris's My Favorite Thing is Monsters

-Naomi Sokoloff, University of Washington
The Beast of Memory: Animals and the Holocaust in Nava Semel's And the Rat laughed

-Lucas Wilson, Florida Atlantic University
Pre(Occupied) Longing: Toward a Definition of Postnostalgia in Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything is Illuminated

Tuesday, March 16

9-10:30 AM
Panel 19: Rabbinic Sources     
Zoom A

Chair: Marvin Sweeney, Claremont School of Theology

-Sophia Avants, Claremont School of Theology
The Temple in Mishnah Yoma: Ideal but not Abstract

-Rachel Albeck-Gidron, Bar Ilan University
Half Light/ Half Dark, Metaphor as Stage Directions for a Thought Experiment in Ancient Hebrew Literature

-Martin Zwick, Portland State University
Polymorphism and Polysemy in the Kabbalistic Tree

Panel 20: Eastern European Jewish History     
Zoom B

Chair: Jeffrey Koerber, Chapman University

-Evlyn Gould, University of Oregon 

-Henry Ponedel, Independent Scholar
Mapping the Pale of Jewish Settlement in Sound and Space

-Motti Zalkin, Ben Gurion University
Deborah Romm: Innovative Publisher, Visionary Businesswoman, and Cultural Agent

-Victoria Khiterer, Millersville University
The Rise and Fall of Jewish Scholarly Institutions in Kiev in the 1920s-1940s

Panel 21: Holocaust and Jewish Education in Germany and Israel     
Zoom C

Chair: Armin Langer, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

-Melanie Carina Schmoll, Bar Ilan University
Holocaust Education at Jewish Schools - what Israel and Germany might learn from each other.

-Adi Binhas, Beit-Berel College
Iris Yaniv, Oranim College,"I had to invent my own Judaism:" Perceived personal and professional identity among teachers from the former USSR who teach Jewish culture in Israel

11:00 AM-12:30 PM
Panel 22: Medieval Jewish Thought     
Zoom A

Chair: Alexander Warren Marcus, Yale University

-Aaron Adler, Herzog College 
Universalism in Maimonides' Halakhic Writings

-Jonathan Jacobs, Bar Ilan University 
Rabbi Meyuhas ben Elijah: His Geographical Provenance, Works, and Chronology

-Roni Cohen, Tel-Aviv University
"And They will Rejoice, and Sing on the Day I Die": A Medieval Anti-Gambling Hebrew Poem as a "Textual Doodle"

Panel 23: Dancing the Jewish Experience     
Zoom B

Chair: Naomi Jackson, Arizona State University

-Margot Mink Colbert, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Transition Trilogy: The Trek of the European Jews to America and the Life They Made

-Yvonne Montoya, Safos Dance Theatre
Stories from Home: Siglos. Sueños. Sefarad.

-Cia Sautter, College of St. Scholastica
Job, The Garden, and Jewish Arts Activism

Panel 24: Survivor Voices in Holocaust Education      (Cosponsored by SOHA)
Zoom C

Chair: Beth B. Cohen, California State University, Northridge

-Norma Lisa Flores, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

-Esther Finder, Holocaust Survivors Group of Southern Nevada

-Susan Dubin, Sperling Kronberg Mack Holocaust Resource Center

*12:45- 1:45 PM Lunch Break with Chat Rooms     Zoom D*

2-3:30 PM
Panel 25: The Future of Jewish Studies Programs     
Zoom A

Chair: Jody Myers, California State University, Northridge

-Holli Levitsky, Loyola Marymont University

-Elyce Helford, Middle Tennessee State University

-Sophia Avants, Claremont Graduate University

Panel 26: Child Survivors     
Zoom B

Chair: Laurie Baron, San Diego State University

-Elke Heckner, University of Iowa
Playacting by Child Survivors as Working through Trauma in Unzere Kinder (1948)

-Beth B. Cohen, California State University, Northridge
Forging a Collective Identity: Child Survivors of the Holocaust and Postwar US Networks

4-5:30 PM
Plenary Session    
Holocaust Survivor Choreographic Collaboration: An Oral History, Dance, Video Production Collaboration of the UNLV College of Liberal Arts, Religious Studies Program, College of Fine Arts, and Dance Department
Zoom C       

Founded in 1981 to serve practitioners of oral history,  the Southwest Oral History Association supports and promotes oral history as a method for exploring and recording history, culture, and current experiences in the Southwestern United States through publications, meetings, workshops, and special events.