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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

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.


The Temple-Tifereth Israel (26000 Shaker Blvd.) | Lifelong Learning & Temple-Tifereth Israel Members: free; 

Nonmembers: $5 | Advanced registration recommended | REGISTER >


Co-Sponsored by The Temple-Tifereth Israel with support from The Debra Hartzmark Jacobs Book Talk Fund and The Isidore & Toby Helfand Torah Study Fund

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 >



Monday, July 24 | 10 a.m.


Shari Lowin, Associate Professor, Stonehill College


When Muhammad first began preaching in Arabia, he and those around him insisted that he was a prophet on par with Moses, and even exceeded Moses. For the Jews among whom the early Muslim community lived, this posed a particularly problematic claim. After all, according to Judaism, the Bible insists there will never be another prophet like Moses. In this session, we will investigate the Jewish reaction to the Muslim claim of Muhammad’s superiority over Moses. We will look at the Jewish arguments against Muhammad presented to Muhammad himself, later midrashic accounts of Moses’ life as anti-Muhammad polemics, and the writings of medieval Jewish scholars in Muslim lands, such as Maimonides and Ibn Kammuna. We will see the ways in which the Jewish perception of Muhammad shifted (or not) through the centuries. 


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

Monday, July 24 | 7 p.m.


Shari Lowin, Associate Professor, Stonehill College


Both Judaism and Islam trace their religious (and biological) origins to the same forefather, Abraham, whom both traditions credit with founding monotheism in an age of paganism. Interestingly, the Muslim and Jewish traditions on how this happened frequently resemble each other so closely that, at points one can hardly tell which tradition one is reading. Yet despite this similarity, Judaism and Islam are not clones of one another. In this session, we will investigate the ways in which the Jewish and Muslim narratives of Abraham’s discovery of God both shared and departed from one another. Importantly, we will discuss what ultimate lessons about being Muslim or Jewish arose from these different depictions.


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

Thursday, September 7 | 10 a.m.


Samuel Freedman, award-winning author, columnist, and professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism


In Jew vs. Jew (2000), award-winning author and journalist Samuel Freedman addressed American Jews’ battles with each other around questions of identity, authenticity, politics and ideology. Now, American Jews remain divided more than ever, with Israel as a particular flashpoint of contention. Join Freedman as he reflects on where we have come and where we are headed.


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

Monday, September 11 | 7 p.m.


Matt Goldish, Samuel M. and Esther Melton Chair of History, The Ohio State University


Many of us know that there was a very important circle of kabbalists in the Galilean town of Safed during the sixteenth century. Together we will learn a little more about some of the leading figures in this group, how they ended up in Safed, and what some of the ideas were which they studied and taught. We will be aided by tales in Shivhei ha-Ari, stories collected about Rabbi Isaac Luria and his colleagues.


Landmark Centre | Members & Nonmembers: Free (advanced registration recommended) | REGISTER >