Fairfield University’s Bennett Center for Judaic Studies launches its fall season of events with free lecture on pivotal moments in American Jewish history through the lens of sports


Media Contact: Teddy DeRosa, tderosa@fairfield.edu, 203-254-4000 ext. 2118

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (September 21, 2015) – Fairfield University’s Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies launches its fall season of events Thursday, October 1 at 7:30 p.m. with a free lecture on pivotal moments in American Jewish history through the lens of sports. The talk will include a discussion of baseball legend Sandy Koufax almost 50 years to the day he refused to pitch in the World Series on Yom Kippur.

Open to the public, the event is the 2015 Judaic Studies Scholar-in-Residence Lecture, which will be delivered by author Jeffrey S. Gurock, Ph.D., the Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University. His talk is entitled, “American Jewry’s Historical and Contemporary Scoreboard,” and it will take place in the Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J. Center Presentation Room, on the Fairfield University campus.

In October 1965, Hall of Famer Koufax decided not to pitch in the World Series on Yom Kippur and was applauded by Jews and gentiles alike for his choice. Dr. Gurock will discuss how American Jewish participation and acceptance in the athletic world is a useful medium for understanding this group’s changing status in America and the challenges a free society have posed for the maintenance of Jewish identity.

Also discussed will be 2012 Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, who danced her floor exercise program to the tune of “Hava Nagila” and dedicated her program to the 11 Israeli Olympians murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.

Dr. Gurock will elaborate on other Jewish athletes: Boxer Dimitri Salia, 33, from Brooklyn, N.Y., who currently competes in the welterweight division and is a world title challenger; New York City native Nat Holman, also known as “Mr. Basketball” and “Kid Holman,” one of basketball’s early superstars who helped propel the game; and Hank Greenberg whose accomplishments rivaled those of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig during the golden age of baseball. He was also a beacon of hope to American Jews who faced bigotry during the Depression and World War II.

Professor Gurock is the author or editor of seventeen books. His new book, “The Holocaust Averted: An Alternate History of American Jewry, 1938-1967,” was published earlier this year by Rutgers University Press.

There is limited seating to this event. Reservations requested. Please email bennettcenter@fairfield.edu or call 203-254-4000, ext. 2066.

During Dr. Gurock’s two-day visit to campus, he will also facilitate a discussion with faculty and staff; engage in text study with clergy and educators at Congregation B'nai Israel in Bridgeport, Connecticut; and speak to Dr. Ellen M. Umansky's "Introduction to Judaism" class and Honors Seminar on “Faith After The Holocaust.” The Scholar-in-Residence Program is made possible through the generosity of David H. and Edith Chaifetz of Fairfield, Connecticut.

For directions to the Kelley Center, see http://www.fairfield.edu/directions.

For more information about Bennett Center events, visit www.Fairfield.edu/bennett.

Fairfield University's Bennett Center for Judaic Studies is directed by Ellen M. Umansky, Ph.D., who has served as both the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Professor of Judaic Studies at Fairfield and the director of the Bennett Center since its inception in 1994.

 

Thursday, October 1, 7:30 p.m.        

2015 Judaic Studies Scholar-in-Residence

“American Jewry’s Historical and Contemporary Scoreboard”

Jeffrey S. Gurock, Ph.D., Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History, Yeshiva University

From baseball legend Sandy Koufax to Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, a fascinating look at pivotal moments in American Jewish history through the lens of sports.

Complimentary admission.

Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J. Center Presentation Room


#Vol. 48, No. 14

Fairfield University is a Jesuit University, rooted in one of the world’s oldest intellectual and spiritual traditions. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 36 states, 47 foreign countries, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are enrolled in the University’s five schools.  In the spirit of rigorous and sympathetic inquiry into all dimensions of human experience, Fairfield welcomes students from diverse backgrounds to share ideas and engage in open conversations. The University is located in the heart of a region where the future takes shape, on a stunning campus on the Connecticut coast just an hour from New York City.

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Posted on September 21, 2015

Vol. 48, No. 14

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