The Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center, in collaboration with Rice University, has created an annual lecture series presented by faculty associated with the Jewish Studies Program. The lectures are held at the ERJCC.
2019 11th Annual Rice Lecture Series: Migration and Identity in the Jewish Hispanic World
Better Under Edom Than Ishmael: Jewish Migrations from Islamic to Christian Spain in the Middle Ages
Dr. Maya Soifer Irish | Wednesday, September 11, 2019 • 7:30 PM • ERJCC
The period from c. 900-c. 1200 in Islamic Spain is known as the "Golden Age" of the Jews. In contrast, Jewish life in medieval Christian Europe was punctuated by persecutions, including the First Crusade massacres of 1096 and the final expulsion of 1492. This talk will explore the Jews' search for stability and prosperity in medieval Spain.
The 'Return' That Wasn't: Spain's 2015 Sephardic Citizenship Law
Dr. Charles McDonald | Wednesday, September 18, 2019 • 7:30 PM • ERJCC
In 2015, the Spanish parliament unanimously approved a "Law of Return" offering citizenship to the descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled in 1492. But as the law is set to expire later this year, it is widely viewed as a failure due to the startlingly few applications it has attracted, and the even smaller number that have been approved. Come and learn about the law in all its complexities.
Shaping Jewish Identity in Argentina from the Late 19th Century to the Present
Dr. Gisela Heffes | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 • 7:30 PM • ERJCC
Jewish Argentine writings can be found from the very beginning of the foundation of the nation state and the arrival of the first immigrants from Eastern Europe. However, their writings were not connected exclusively to a cohesive Jewish identity. This lecture will address how three particular Jewish writers inserted themselves in a national landscape shaping both their own identity as well as that of Argentines.
2018 Preserving Our Past: Stories from the Houston Jewish History Archive
You Mean There Really Are Jews in Texas?
Rabbi Dr. Jimmy Kessler | Sunday, October 2, 2018 • 4:00 PM • ERJCC
Some things bother you, like being told in 7th grade at Pershing Junior High that Jews had nothing to do with Texas history. Or, being told in rabbinical school that nothing of importance was done by Jews west of the Mississippi River or south of the Ohio River. So how does one respond to that, particularly if you're a Texan? Come find out.
Hidden Stars: The Beth Jacob Banner and Houston Jews in WWII
Dr. Joshua Furman | Tuesday, October 23, 2018 • 7:30 PM • ERJCC
Hear the remarkable story of a flag made to honor Houston's Jewish men and women serving in the armed forces in World War II that was abandoned, recovered, and is now being restored. See some of the artifacts from veterans named on the banner that have been donated to Rice's Houston Jewish History Archive. Learn how Houston's Jewish community organized during the war years to assist German Jewish refugees who came to Texas fleeing Nazi persecution.
Rice Institute and the Jews, 1896 to 1946
Dr. Melissa Kean | Sunday, October 28, 2018 • 4:00 PM • ERJCC
When it opened its doors in 1912, Rice Institute was that rarest of things - a private university in the American South that openly held itself out as secular. That decision, made by William Marsh Rice in 1896, meant that the school had a significant number of Jewish students (and even some faculty) from its very beginnings. Several scrapbooks and collections of correspondence in Rice's Woodson Research Center shed remarkable light on the experiences of these early pioneers and their complex relationship with the rest of the university. Come see the photographs and hear their stories.
2017 The American Zionist Evolution:
Reinterpreting Prevailing Ideas About Israel
President Truman and the Birth of Israel
Dr. Allen Matusow | Sunday, October 15, 2017 • 4:00 PM • ERJCC
From his first days as president in 1945 until the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, Harry Truman found himself torn between his national security advisers, who opposed Zionism, and his political advisers, who urged him to back a Jewish state. This lecture will tell the story of the struggle over Zionism within the US government, Truman's vacillations, and his historic decision only minutes after its birth to grant the new state recognition.
The Rise of Diaspora: The Negation of the Negation of Exile
Dr. Melissa Weininger | Wednesday, October 18, 2017 • 7:30 PM • ERJCC
The state of Israel was built on the idea of homeland, a permanent center that would end thousands of years of exile. Zionism posited a simple equation: Israel good for the Jews, diaspora bad. But in recent years both American and Israeli writers and scholars have begun to re-evaluate diaspora and its value. We will look at recent literature that explores the changing meaning of diaspora and homeland in Israeli culture and Zionist thought.
Exodus and Beyond: Israeli Culture in American Jewish Life Before 1967
Dr. Joshua Furman | Sunday, October 22, 2017 • 4:00 PM • ERJCC
Using film clips, images, and sound, this lecture explores the central place of Israel and Israeli culture in American Jewish life from the founding of the state to the Six-Day-War. This talk challenges two widely-held assumptions: first, that Israel failed to capture the attention of American Jews until its dramatic triumph in the 1967 war; and second, that the American Jewish cultural output of the 1940s and 1950s was trite and inconsequential. In these decades, American Jews turned to Israeli culture and causes to infuse their Jewish lives with purpose and vitality. We will also give attention to events and developments here in Houston.
2016 Jewish Houston: Architecture, Politics, Suburbia
Constructing Jewish Houston
Dr. Stephen Fox | Sunday, September 18, 2016 • 4:00 PM
Jews in American Politics
Dr. Robert Stein | Wednesday, September 21, 2016 • 7:30 PM
Suburban Pioneers: The Jewish Family Moves to Meyerland
Dr. Joshua Furman | Sunday, September 25, 2016 • 4:00 PM
2015 After War: Dynamics of Jewish Christian Relations
Brotherhood Week, Chanukah, and Christmas:
Identity Politics and Interfaith Celebrations in Post-WWII America
Dr. Joshua Furman | Sunday, October 18, 2015 • 4:00 PM
Philosemitism in Europe and the United States After World War Two: A Moral Revolution?
Dr. Daniel Cohen | Wednesday, October 21, 2015 • 7:30 PM
The Man from Kutno: the Sad Case of Sholem Asch
Dr. Melissa Weininger | Sunday, October 25, 2015 • 4:00 PM
2014 Authentic Judaism?
Questions of Culture, Language, and History
Who is a Jew? Insider/Outsider Approaches to the Age-Old Question
Dr. Brian Ogren | Tuesday, October 7, 2014 • 7:30 PM
The Politics of Authenticity: Questioning Jewish Palestinian Nativity
in the Jewish Community of Palestine, 1918-1948
Dr. Yehuda Sharim | Tuesday, October 14, 2014 • 7:30 PM
Vos macht a yid? Language, Politics and Modern Jewish Culture
Dr. Melissa Weininger | Sunday, October 19, 2014 • 4:00 PM
2013 The Jewish Art of War: A Historical Survey
The Covenant with the Gibeonites in Joshua 9:
What to do with Biblical Violence
Dr. Matthias Henze | Sunday, October 6, 2013 • 7:00 PM
Dual Loyalty or Treachery?
Jews on Both Sides of the Great Revolt Against Rome
Dr. Shira Lander | Sunday, October 13, 2013 • 7:00 PM
Jews & War: From the French Revolution to the State of Israel
Dr. Daniel Cohen | Sunday, October 20, 2013 • 7:00 PM
The Views of Philip Roth: Portnoy's Complaint, The Ghost Writer, and The Plot Against America
Dr. Terrence Doody | Wednesday, October 3, 2012 • 8:00 PM
Neither Here Nor There: Gender in Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literature
Dr. Melissa Weininger | Wednesday October 17, 2012 • 8:00 PM
Biographies of Moses in German Exile Literature
Dr. Klaus Weissenberger | Wednesday October 24, 2012 • 8:00 PM
The Ladino Speakers: Language and Identity
Luisa Kluger | Monday, September 12, 2011 • 8:00 PM
Images of Judaic Culture in Medieval and Early Modern Spanish Literature
Carl Atlee | Monday, September 19 • 8:00 PM
Convivencia between Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Medieval Spain
Maya Soifer Irish | Monday, September 26 • 8:00 PM
The Earthly Jerusalem:
Judean, Roman, and Byzantine Remains of the Holy City
Dr. Shira Lander | Thursday, Oct 14 • 8:00 PM
Heavenly Jerusalem in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature
Dr. Matthias Henze | Thursday, Oct 21 • 8:00 PM
Imagining Jerusalem in Late Medieval and Renaissance Art
Dr. Diane Wolfthal | Thursday, Oct 28 • 8:00 PM
Man of Action: Maimonides as Jewish Community Leader
Dr. Paula Sanders | Wednesday, Oct 14
Between Athens and Jerusalem: Maimonides as Jewish Philosopher
Dr. Gregory Kaplan | Wednesday, Oct 21
From Cordoba to Cairo:
Maimonides as Jewish Traveler of the Islamic West
Dr. David Cook | Wednesday, Oct 28