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Siegal Lifelong Learning

Jewish Studies

Jewish Studies

Case Western Reserve University’s Laura and Alvin Siegal Lifelong Learning Program continues the legacy of Jewish adult education courses offered for nearly nine decades through the Laura and Alvin Siegal College of Judaic Studies and its predecessor institutions. Offerings include courses in basic to advanced Hebrew language instruction, Bible study, Jewish thought, history, culture, and literature. The Distinguished Lecture Series brings world-renowned experts in Jewish studies to engage our community. Film screenings and cultural programs explore contemporary Jewish life in America and abroad.

Jewish Studies Events + Lectures

Wednesday, March 15 | 7-8:30 p.m.


Brian AmkrautExecutive Director, Siegal Lifelong Learning


This session examines the early Hellenistic era in the Land of Israel, with particular attention to the internal conflict generated by the rise of Hellenism within the Jewish community at the time. What specific geopolitical and cultural factors led to the strife and how did various segments of the community respond? This topic is also explored in The People vs. the Maccabees, a mock trial presented by Kol HaLev, Cleveland’s Reconstructionist Jewish Community.


Landmark Centre | Lifelong Learning or Kol HaLev Members: free; Nonmembers: $5 |

Advanced registration recommended | REGISTER > 

Co-sponsored by Kol HaLev, Cleveland's Reconstructionist Jewish Community

Wednesday, March 22 | 7 p.m.


Michael Berkowitz, Professor of Modern Jewish History, Department of History & Jewish Studies, Faculty of Arts & Humanities, University College, London


Jews in photography and film played a significant role in how Americans perceived and understood the Axis powers and their opponents in the 1930s: How the war was being waged; the rationale for the United States entering and pursuing the war, the welcome of the Soviet Union as an ally; the liberation of the and the commitment to a quasi-unified Europe in the postwar world. Based on research at Yad Vashem, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the National Archives, this presentation will highlight the influence of David Scherman (photography), Anatole Litvak (directing), Leonard Spigelglass (screenwriting), and Leo Rosten (of Joys of Yiddish fame).


Landmark Centre | Members: free (advanced registration recommended); Nonmembers: $5 | REGISTER >


Monday, April 24 | 7 p.m.

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Professor of Performance Studies at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts

Facing the “Monument to the Ghetto Heroes” on the site of the Warsaw ghetto and prewar Jewish neighborhood, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews completes a memorial complex. The monument honors those who died by remembering how they died. And the museum honors them – and those who came before and after – by remembering how they lived. This illustrated lecture explores the creation of POLIN Museum’s multimedia narrative exhibition, a journey of a thousand years, and its role as an agent of transformation that can move an entire society forward.

Landmark Centre | Free (advanced registration recommended) | REGISTER >

Made possible by a generous grant from the Salo W. and Jeanette M. Baron Foundation and with support from the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage

Tuesday, May 9 | 7 p.m.


Ayelet Tsabari, Author


Ayelet Tsabari, author of award winning The Best Place on Earth will speak about growing up as an ethnic minority (Mizrahi) in Israel, and about reclaiming her Yemeni identity through writing. She will share the unique challenges she has faced as an immigrant author in North America, writing about Israel in English, her second language.

Landmark Centre | Members: free (advanced registration recommended); Nonmembers: $5 | REGISTER >

Wednesday, May 10 | 10 a.m.


Ayelet Tsabari, Author


Israeli literature has long been dominated by Ashkenazi authors. Likewise, Israeli school curriculums often dismiss the work of Mizrahi authors (those of non-European descent) from the canon. But today, a new generation of Mizrahi writers are determined to carve out their own space, and perhaps even change the landscape of Israel’s literary scene. Reflecting on her own work and those like her, Ayelet Tsabari will shed light on the changing face of Israeli literature, and introduce some of the new Mizrahi voices who are making their mark.

Landmark Centre | Members: free (advanced registration recommended); Nonmembers: $5 | REGISTER >

Wednesday, May 10 | 4-6 p.m.


Ayelet Tsabari, Author


An informal discussion for Cleveland's Hebrew speakers. Join author Ayelet Tsabari who will speak about her work and life growing up Mizrahi in Israel and as an Israeli writer in North America. Registration Required by May 3. Tea and pastries will be served.

Landmark Centre | Members and Nonmembers: $5 | REGISTER >

Thursday, May 11 | 10 a.m

Ayelet Tsabari, Author


How do writers turn lived experience into literary art? What makes for a great true life narrative? Do you have to live an extraordinary life to write nonfiction? Learn to locate the stories in your lives, apply fiction techniques to enhance your work, and experiment with form, structure, tense and voice. Discussion and writing exercises will focus on finding your theme, identifying the conflict, confronting your fears, and falling in love with revision. In this workshop, Ayelet Tsabari offers ten practical tips to help you refine your prose, deepen your understanding of the genre, and create stronger and more compelling non-fiction. Space is Limited


Landmark Centre | Members: $10; Nonmembers: $15 | REGISTER >



Wednesday, May 24 | 7 p.m.


Benny Morris, Aaron and Cecile Goldman Visiting Israeli Professor, Department of Government, Georgetown University


Nothing is as bad as a great defeat - except a great victory. The 1967 War established Israel as a regional power and led to the firming up of its alliance with the USA. But it also challenged the neighboring Arab states to regain their lost territories, leading to subsequent wars. Ultimately, Israel withdrew from the Sinai and peace with Egypt was attained. But the war also left Israel in possession of the West Bank and Gaza Strip - and it has been unable to disgorge these territories ever since, auguring the emergence of a binational Jewish-Arab state, an anathema to most Zionists.


Landmark Centre | Members: free (advanced registration recommended); Nonmembers: $5 | REGISTER >


Monday, June 12 | 7 p.m.


Menachem Z. Rosensaft, General Counsel of the World Jewish Congress


Menachem Rosensaft, a friend, student, disciple and colleague of Elie Wiesel for over 55 years, will discuss the significance of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate's writings and teachings to our generation and those to come.


Landmark Centre | Members: free (advanced registration recommended); Nonmembers: $5 | REGISTER >

Tuesday, June 13 | noon-1:30 p.m.


Menachem Z. Rosensaft, General Counsel of the World Jewish Congress


Drawing on the experiences and reactions of a wide range of children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors – including theologians, scholars, authors, artists, media personalities and community leaders – Menachem Rosensaft will speak about the ways that Holocaust memory is transmitted to future generations. And reflecting on his own experiences as the son of two survivors of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, he explores how these memories can and must be perpetuated.

Landmark Centre | Members: $20; Nonmembers: $25 (includes lunch) | REGISTER >

Monday, June 19 | 7 p.m.


David Schlitt, Director of the Rauh Jewish History Program and Archives at the Heinz History Center


What can we learn about Elie Wiesel from his letters sent and received in his ‘mother tongue’? How do language and medium shape the way we perceive, understand and remember him? In this lecture, David Schlitt, Director of the Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives at the Sen. John Heinz History Center, discusses his experience as the Yiddish-language archivist for Boston University’s Elie Wiesel Archives, and the lessons he learned from the ‘kleyne pitshevkes’ – the seeming minutiae of the collection.

Landmark Centre | Members: free (advanced registration recommended); Nonmembers: $5 | REGISTER >

Monday, June 26 | 7 p.m

Nehemia Polen, Professor of Jewish Thought, Hebrew College


Most widely known for his Holocaust writings, Elie Wiesel’s engagement with Biblical, Rabbinic, and Hasidic texts were also central to his life’s work. Through study, teaching and writing, he dedicated himself to lifting up the classical Jewish tradition that was shattered in the wake of the Holocaust. Wiesel captured the central messages of these texts, repositioned them, and made them widely accessible. Join Nehemia Polen, student of Elie Wiesel, who explores Wiesel’s influences and his impact.


Landmark Centre | Members: free (advanced registration recommended); Nonmembers: $5 | REGISTER >