Past Events

Former events are available as downloadable podcasts from our  iTunes channel.

April 10, 2019

New perspectives on photography and the holocaust: cameras in Jewish hands

Professor Michael Berkowitz, University of London

March 18, 2018

Prof. Nina Caputo, “Graphic Differences: Adapting a Jewish-Christian Disputation to Comic Form”

Time: 5:30- 7:00 p.m.

Location: Daniels Hall 434

About Debating Truth:

In the summer of 1263, Nahmanides (Rabbi Moses ben Nahman, c. 1195-1270) traveled from his home in Girona to Barcelona at the behest of King James I of Aragon (1213-1276) to debate with a Dominican Friar named Paul about specific claims concerning the Messiah in Judaism and Christianity. The two disputants, each thoroughly convinced of the indisputable truth of his own religious faith and theological interpretations, argued their positions before a panel of judges headed by James I himself. By combining the visual power of graphics with primary sources, contextualizing essays, historiography, and study questions, Debating Truth explores issues of the nature of truth, interfaith relations, and the complicated dynamics between Christians and Jews in the medieval Mediterranean.

Prof. Caputo is professor at the University of Florida

March 1, 2018

William Adler, “Jesus' Priesthood and the 'Secret Codex' in Tiberias”

Time: Thursday, 4:30 p.m.

Location: Withers Hall, Room 344

The topic of the lecture is a friendly exchange between a Jewish leader (named Theodosius) and a Christian artisan (named Philip). It is supposed to have taken place during the reign of the emperor Justinian I (527 to 565). In the course of the discussion, Theodosius reveals the existence of a secret codex stored in Tiberias, and said to prove conclusively Jesus’ divine sonship. This lecture deals with the origins and reception of the story, and its importance for the study of early Christianity and Jewish-Christian relations in Byzantium. The lecture is co-sponsored with the Religious Studies Colloquium Series (

William Adler is Distinguished University Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at North Carolina State University. Prof. Adler is author, coauthor, and editor of numerous books, including The Cambridge History of Religions in the Ancient World, ed. vol. 2. (2013) and The Embroidered Bible: Studies in Biblical Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha in Honour of Michael E. Stone (2017). He began teaching at the University in 1984.

November 6, 2017

Paula Fredriksen, “God was not Odd/To Choose the Jews: Augustine on the Election of Israel”

Video of lecture:

Time: Withers Hall 140
Place: 4:45-6:15

Paula Fredriksen is currently the William Goodwin Aurelio Chair Emerita of the Appreciation of Scripture at Boston University. She is alsoDistinguished Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. She is the author of numerous highly-acclaimed books on the New Testament and early Christianity. Her book, From Jesus to Christ (Yale University Press, 1988), received its publisher’s Governors’ Award for Best Book, 1988; 2000. Her book, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews: A Jewish Life and the Emergence of Christianity (Knopf, 1999), was winner of the 1999 National Jewish Book Award. In 2010, Yale University Press published a new edition of her book Augustine and the Jews. In 2012, Princeton University published her book, SIN: The Early History of an Idea. 

In 1979, Prof. Fredriksen received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in the History of Religions: Ancient Christianity; Graeco-Roman Religions. A graduate of Wellesley College, she also received a Diploma in Theology from Oxford University. She served as consultant for the BBC productionThe Lives of Jesus (1996), and for U.S. News and World Report's  “The Life and Times of Jesus.” She was also the featured speaker in the Frontlinedocumentary, "From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians" (1998).  In 2013, Prof. Fredriksen was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

October 3, 2017

Film showing and Discussion with Professor Beth Holmgren, “Raise the Roof.”

Movie screening of“Raise the Roof”a feature documentary by Yari & Cary Wolinsky 2015, USA, 85min

Please join us afterwards for a discussion of the film and the presentation of other volunteer projects of restoration of cemeteries and synagogues in Poland and Ukraine.

With Prof. Beth Holmgren (Institute for Slavic & Eurasian Studies, Duke University)

Rivaling the greatest wooden architecture in history, the synagogues of 18th-century Poland inspired artists Rick and Laura Brown of Handshouse Studio to embark on a 10-year pursuit—to reconstruct the elaborate roof and painted ceiling of the Gwoździec synagogue. Leading over 300 students and professionals from 16 countries, the Browns grapple not just with the echoes of World War II when these buildings were destroyed by the Nazis, but also with warped timbers, tricky paints, and period hand tools. By the end of the project, they have done more than reconstruct a lost synagogue: they have recovered a lost world. The Gwoździec roof was unveiled in 2014 as the centerpiece of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.

Time:  5:30-7:30 pm
Place: Park Shops 200

April 3, 2017

Adam Lowenstein, “The Jewish Cronenberg: A Cinema of Therapeutic Disintegration”

Adam Lowenstein is Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, and currently visiting professor of film and media studies at Columbia University. 

Co-Sponsored by Duke Jewish Studies, NCSU Interdisciplinary Studies, NCSU Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media, and NCSU Philosophy and Religious Studies.

Time:  5:00 pm
Place: Tompkins 123

March 22, 2017
Armin Langer, "Let Us Not Be Divided: Coalition-Building Between Minorities in Europe"

Join us for a presentation by Armin Langer. Armin, a German Jew, was born in Munich in 1990 to a family of Hungarian immigrants. Between 2013 and 2016, he was rabbinical student at the Abraham Geiger College in Berlin. Since 2013, he has coordinated the Jewish-Muslim initiative “Salaam-Shalom” in Berlin to improve relations between immigrants and across religious divides. He is on a US campus tour to discuss his work on interreligious understanding.

Time:  4:30 pm
Place: Riddick Hall, 325

February 7, 2017
David Nirenberg, "Anti-Judaism Past and Present"

David Nirenberg is the author of Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition and Communities of Violence

Co-sponsored with Triangle Medieval Studies Seminar & Duke University

Time:  5:30 pm
Place: Withers 232A

November 7, 2016
Berel Lang, Professor of Philosophy and Letters at Wesleyan University

"Unsung Hero: Raphael Lemkin and the Idea of Genocide"

Time:  5:30 pm
Place: Withers 232A

March 14, 2016
Yoav Peled, Professor of Political Science, Tel Aviv University "The Way Forward in the Middle East"

The two indivisible words, Palestine/Israel or Israel/Palestine, construct national identities and frame the meaning of life for those who dwell in that landscape. With the extinction of the so-called reconciliatory beam of light, traces of darkness are being imprinted in the shade.  However, the thriving economy in the last two-and-a half decades propels a path for the inevitable integration in the Jewish state between the hegemonic Israeli Jews and the citizen Palestinians. The bewildering paradoxical phenomena – an example: the spoken Arabic of an Israeli Palestinian citizen includes a significant element of Hebrew – entrench both ethnic groups into religiosity. How could that be otherwise? Still, the good of the land, the principles proclaimed in Israel’s Declaration of Independence of 1948, and the amiable routine of everyday practices chart a new discourse. Can that discourse point the way to the solution of the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Time:  6:00 pm
Place: Withers 140

Co-sponsored by Middle East Studies at NC State and the Council for European Studies at Duke

February 23, 2016
Devi Mays, University of Michigan

"Forget Your Passport:  The Curious Case of Mauricio Fresco, from Ottoman Jew to Mexican Diplomat"

Dr. Mays works on transnational Jewish networks in the Mediterranean and global contexts, with a focus on Sephardic Jews.  Her dissertation, “Transplanting Cosmopolitans: The Migrations of Sephardic Jews to Mexico, 1900-1934,” deals with Sephardic migrants between the Ottoman Empire, its successor states, and Mexico, studying the transnational identities, networks, and citizenships which they cultivated to circumvent restrictions imposed by the Ottoman, Mexican, and Turkish states.  Her publications include, among others, “‘I Killed Her Because I Loved Her Too Much’: Gender and Violence in the 20th-Century Sephardi Diaspora” (Mashriq & Mahjar: Journal of Middle East Migration Studies, 2014), and numerous translations from Ladino, Spanish, and French in Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History, 1700-1950 (Stanford University Press, 2014). She is currently a Fellow at the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies and will join the cluster and the Frankel Center as an assistant professor in January 2015.

Time: 4:00 - 5:30 pm
Place: Withers 331

Co-sponsored with the Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies

January 27, 2016:  International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Kaja Finkler:  Lives Lived and Lost:  A Glimpse of the World Lost Through the Lives of Those Who Lived During and After the Destruction of East European Jewry in World War II

Professor of anthropology Kaja Finkler speaks on her and her mother's recently published memoir Lives, Lived, and Lost.  The memoir recounts their lives as women in a Hasidic community in Poland before WWII, their experiences surviving the war, and their struggles settling in the US after the war.  The memoir is based on Golda Finkler's oral history recorded on audio tapes in Yiddish, translated and edited by her daughter, to which were added Kaja Finkler's own memoir of the same years from the perspective of a child and youth. The memoir has been described as "an incredible tale of separation, loss, and fortitude . . through one of history’s darkest moments."   This event was co-sponsored by the NC State History Department, NC State Caldwell Fellows, and NC State Park Scholars.  

August 31, 2015
David Sorkin:  Jewish Identity in the Twentieth Century

Prof. David Sorkin (Lucy G. Moses Professor of Modern Jewish History at Yale University) delivered a public lecture on the way Jewish Identity has changed over the course of the long twentieth century.  Audio and video recordings of the lecture are available on our iTunes channel.   This event was co-sponsored by the NC State History Department, NC State Caldwell Fellows, NC State Park Scholars, Jewish Studies at Duke University, and Jewish Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill. 

April 15, 2015:  Holocaust Remembrance Day
Morris Glass

Morris Glass, author of Chosen for Destruction, spoke to an NCSU audience at the invitation of the Jewish student organization Hillel in commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day. Mr. Glass recounted his experiences during and after the Holocaust.  He was eleven years old when the Nazis invaded Poland. He spent four and a half years in ghettos, two months in Auschwitz-Birkenau, and eight months in labor camps that were part of the Dachau system. At the end of the war, he was liberated by the American army. During those years, he lost his youth, his home, and his father, mother, and two sisters.  He currently lives in NC with a large and extended family.

February 9, 2015
Edward Fram:  When does Jewish Law Change?:  Some Historical Examples and Parameters