Bennett Center Events Move Online this Fall

Bennett Center Events Move Online this Fall

This year's Jacoby-Lunin Humanitarian Lecture will be presented by Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, public health advocate.

Since its inception in 1994, Fairfield’s Bennett Center for Judaic Studies has been a dynamic, vibrant institute hosting programs touching on Jewish history, ethics, religious observance, and culture.

Center Director Ellen Umansky, PhD, is determined to keep it that way, vowing that no pandemic is going to undermine the Center’s robust program offerings this fall. Though she admits to be slightly daunted by the prospect of moving all events online, Dr. Umansky acknowledges the obvious benefits. “I’m hoping that we’ll get a broader audience because people can log in regardless of their location,” she says. “Plus, all events will be recorded, so anyone who misses one can catch it later.” 

The Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Scholar-in-Residence Lecture will be held on Tuesday, September 29 at 7:30 p.m. The lecture is entitled “People of the (Printed/Digital) Book: Printing and the Birth of the Jewish Bookshelf,” presented by Joseph A. Skloot, PhD, the Rabbi Aaron D. Panken Assistant Professor of Modern Jewish Intellectual History, HUC-JIR. Rabbi Skloot will focus on the ways in which printing changed pre-modern Jewish texts and readers' experiences of them, and will explore the social world of the printing house.

On Wednesday, October 14 at 7:30 p.m., the Speaking in a Political Voice: Jews and the Fight for Women’s Suffrage” lecture will be delivered by Judith Rosenbaum, PhD, historian and CEO of Jewish Women’s Archive. She will speak on the Jewish role in passing the 19th Amendment a century ago, and how that fight influenced gender equality within the Jewish community.

Rabbi David Sandmel, PhD, director of Interfaith Affairs, Anti-Defamation League will give a lecture entitled “Loving the Jews: Philosemitism and Judaizing in Contemporary Christianity,” on Thursday, October 22 at 7:30 pm. Philosemitism is multifaceted and manifests itself in different ways, from attitudes to practice and rituals. This talk will explore some recent expressions of philosemitism and the questions it raises about Jewish-Christian relations. This lecture is co-sponsored with Center for Catholic Studies.

The annual Daniel Pearl World Music Days Concert will take place on Wednesday, October 28 at 7:30 p.m. This year's concert is “Cantor Azi Schwartz in Concert: From Bimah to Broadway.” An evening with music to remember from Azi Schwartz, is a well-known vocalist and recording artist from the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York. Join us for a timeless concert that promises to bring new life to some old favorites, while we take the opportunity to honor Center sponsor Carl Bennett on his 100th birthday.

On Tuesday, November 10 at 8 p.m., Jonathan Petropoulos, PhD, John V. Croul Professor of European History, Claremont-McKenna College will present his lecture “Göring’s Man in Paris: The Story of a Nazi Art Plunderer and his World." Dr. Petropoulos has spent years investigating the activities of Nazi art agents, both during the war and into the postwar period when networks of old Nazi dealers (and plunderers) persisted. A ticket is required for this event, which is presented by Open VISIONS/Espresso, in affiliation with the Bennett Center and the Judaic Studies Program. Purchase tickets at 

This year's Jacoby-Lunin Humanitarian Lecture will be presented by Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, public health advocate. The lecture, “Flint’s Fight for America’s Children,” will take place on Wednesday, November 18 at 8 p.m. Dr. Hanna-Attisha is the pediatrician who first raised the alarm that the children of Flint, Michigan were being exposed to lead through the contaminated water supply. The policies that caused the problem, her public outcry, and the backlash created are detailed in her book, What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance and Hope in an American City. A ticket is required for this event and can be purchased at The Jacoby-Lunin Humanitarian Lecture is co-sponsored with the Open VISIONS Forum.

On Thursday, December 3 at 7:30 p.m., Michael R. Cohen, PhD, Stuart & Suzanne Grant Chair in the American Jewish Experience, Tulane University will deliver the lecture “Cotton Capitalists: American Jewish Entrepreneurship in the Reconstruction Era.” Dr. Cohen will speak on the vital role Jewish Americans played in providing desperately needed capital to the South during Reconstruction, a success fostered by ethnic bonds of trust. This lecture is funded with the generosity of the Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation.

Online registration is required for each event, and most lectures are complimentary. Register for events by visiting The November 10 and 18 events require a ticket that can be purchased through


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