ONLINEFreedoms and Challenges: America’s Earliest Jewish Communities (1650-1840)

Top Pick Next Event: March 23, 2021 $85.00
“Franks Children with Bird” by Gerardus Duyckinck I
“Franks Children with Bird” by Gerardus Duyckinck I

Join us for a multi-week online course! American Jewish history begins over 100 years before the United States was founded, and the experiences of the earliest Jews lay out the foundational themes of America itself.

In this course, we will explore the writings, architecture, ideas and daily lives of America’s earliest Jewish individuals and communities—lives that were vigorous, variegated and experimental. Issues they faced still concern us today: desires of individuals vs. communities; the relationships of different communities to one another; how experiences differ by generation, geography and gender; and the overall strategies, choices and responses we make in creating and securing our identities in a nation that does not fully define them for us.

Join us in a lively and meaningful exploration of America’s earliest Jewish communities and individuals, and see how very much alive they feel today:

  • March 2: Accidents and Opportunities
  • March 9: Promise or Peril?
  • March 16: American and Jewish Revolutions
  • March 23: Beyond the Northeast

For full agenda and topic descriptions, visit the registration link.

Ellen Smith, professor emerita of Brandeis University, retired as director of the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program at Brandeis University in September 2020, where she also taught in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and the Heller School for Social Management. Trained as a professional historian and a museum curator, she has produced over three dozen books, articles and museum exhibitions on American Jewish history, including three major exhibitions on Boston Jewish history. She is the co-author and editor, with Jonathan D. Sarna, of “The Jews of Boston,” and was the chief consultant to the Emmy award-winning WGBH television show of the same name. Ellen is a past curator of the American Jewish Historical Society and was the chief curator in the planning stage of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. She has advised Jewish preservation projects across the country, including locally at Boston’s Vilna Shul.

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Fact Sheet
Every week on Tuesday, 4:00 pm - 5:30 pmLast event on March 23, 2021
* Registration closes on March 2nd
$85.00 per person

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