About the Forum

Launched in the Spring of 2023, the Jewish Public History Forum sponsors major public symposia on historical topics of contemporary relevance. The Forum seeks to be a big tent that brings scholars from different social, political, and cultural backgrounds into conversation about the past’s relationship to the present. The Forum is committed to sustaining the Center for Jewish History’s reputation for academic excellence and integrity while bringing scholarly insights to the broader public. The Forum brings the Center’s five partners – the American Jewish Historical Society, the American Sephardi Federation, the Leo Baeck Institute, the Yeshiva University Museum, and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research – together in conceptualizing, developing, and coordinating projects of collective interest.  By fostering intra-organizational work, the Forum helps the Center for Jewish History realize its original vision to be a collaborative institution for Jewish historical research and education.

Previous Symposia

Democracy and Its Alternatives: The Origins of Israel’s Current Crises (2024)  is a multi-pronged initiative on the history of Israeli Democracy that is co-sponsored by CJH and Brandeis University’s Schusterman Center for Israel Studies.

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“Reconsidering Jewish Migration to the United States: A Century of Controversy” (April 7, 2024), marks the 100th anniversary of the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act of 1924 by chronicling a century of Jewish engagement with immigration at the national and international level.

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This symposium is generously supported by the Selz Foundation and the David Berg Foundation.

“Addressing Antisemitism: Contemporary Challenges” (January 28, 2024) marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day in partnership with Indiana University’s renowned Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism.

View the program and session recordings | View the photo gallery

This symposium is presented in partnership with Indiana University’s Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism (ISCA) and has received generous support from the Achelis & Bodman Foundation, the David Berg Foundation, the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), the American Jewish Committee’s Edward M. Chase Educational Fund, Robert S. Rifkind, the Moise Y Safra Foundation, and the Office of the President, Fairfield University.

“A Medium for the Masses: The Yiddish Press and the Shaping of American Jewish Culture” (January 14, 2024) took a look back on more than 150 years of the Yiddish press in the United States, examining its role as a vehicle of acculturation, a forum for political and ideological debates, and a seedbed for the growth of a mass culture among Jews worldwide. The day’s events culminated in an evening program celebrating the launch of Ayelet Brinn’s new book, A Revolution in Type: Gender and the Making of the American Yiddish Press (NYU Press, 2023), which offered a fascinating glimpse into the complex and often unexpected ways that women and ideas about women shaped widely read Yiddish newspapers.

This symposium is co-sponsored by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

Fighting Fascism: Jewish Responses from the Interwar Period to the Present” (October 15, 2023 in partnership with the American Jewish Historical Society) marks the 90th anniversary of the Nazi seizure of power in Germany by exploring how Jews in Europe and the United States responded to fascism from the 1920s to the present.

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This symposium was generously supported by Leonard Milberg and the Achelis & Bodman Foundation.

Zionism and American Jews: Bringing Us Together and Pulling Us Apart” (April 30, 2023) marked the State of Israel’s 75th birthday by gathering twenty internationally recognized scholars at the Center for Jewish History to discuss the long relationship between the American Jewish community and the Zionist movement.

View the program and session recordings

This symposium was generously supported by the David Berg Foundation.

The Jewish Public History Forum is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. These programs is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.