Community Events

The following foundations,
individuals, and agencies
have given generously:

Eli Reinhard

Paul & Sheri Robbins

Eda & Joseph Pell

Sherri Sager

Temple Emanu-El
of San José, California

Jewish Federation
of Silicon Valley

The SJSU Middle East Studies Consortium

San José
State University

Jewish Studies

Dr. Jonathan P. Roth

Community Events


For more information on these talks, contact Dr. Jonathan Roth,, 408 924-5505.


From the Bund to Bernie Sanders in One Day
Following a year in which thirteen-million Americans voted in primaries for a Jewish democratic socialist candidate named Bernie Sanders, a forum on the history and legacy of Yiddish socialism will be held Saturday, February 25, at Berkeley City College.
Sponsored by the Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring of Northern California, the local branch of a progressive, secular Jewish organization founded in 1900, and co-sponsored by Lehrhaus Judaica, the forum “From the Bund to the Bern: Yiddish Socialism for the 21st Century” will take place entirely in English.  It will look at some Jewish and Yiddish-speaking socialist m
ovements of the past century, their struggles and achievements, and their relation to the recent Sanders campaign, income inequality, labor unions, and other contemporary issues.  
Open to everyone for a small registration fee, the day-long series of presentations will feature a keynote address by Tony Michels, author of the award-winning book, A Fire in Their Hearts: Yiddish Socialists in New York.  Michels will speak on the Russian Revolution's impact on American Jewish Politics.   Other topics include the Jewish Labor Bund in Interwar Poland, Zionism and the Early Socialist Left in Europe, Splits in the Yiddish-Speaking Socialist Movement, Language and Jewish Cultural Autonomy, and Bernie Sanders's socialism, presented by speakers Marvin Zuckerman, Barbara Epstein, Hershl Hartman, and Diana Scott, with panels moderated by Prof. Elaine Leeder. 
Yiddish labor/socialist songs will be performed in Yiddish by the band Mama Loshn, with some sing-along lyrics projected.  Sanders movement representatives have been invited to participate.
Interest in socialism has increased in recent years, as polls have indicated many younger generation activists supported the Sanders campaign and say that the term "socialism" does not deter them from taking an interest in the movement's history and future.  The Jewish Labor Bund was particularly important to Yiddish-speaking leftists in Europe during the first half of the twentieth-century, and it actively opposed the rise of fascism before World War II.
Participants can pre-register for the forum through the Lehrhaus catalog,under “History/modern history” ($10),, or register at the door 9AM, February 25 ($12); events begin 9:30 AM.  Advance registration is recommended. 
Berkeley City College islocated at 2050 Center Street, a block from the downtown Berkeley BART station.  For more information or to order a box lunch, contact:

Recent Events


  • Dr. Mark Raider, Professor of Modern Jewish History at University of Cincinnati, delivered the Robert Levinson Memorial Lecture on the topic of Stephen S. Wise and Golda Meir: Zionism, Israel, and American Power in the 20th Century.

Past Events

Over the years we have learned from a wide range of speakers on Jewish and Israeli history, politics, literature, film, even food.


On Monday April 4th, 2016, 5:00 pm at the Hillel House, 44 South 11th Street (between San Fernando and Santa Clara) near the SJSU campus, Mr. Aryeh Green will speak on Three Myths About the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Mr. Green is Director of MediaCentral, a Jerusalem-based project providing support services to foreign journalists.  Mr. Green is a regional democracy activist, and a former advisor to Natan Sharansky.  He offers an insider's view of current developments in Israel and the region and will discuss misperceptions about Israel and the Middle East in media, academia, political circles and public discourse. 

On Wednesday, April 6th, 2016 in Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, room 255, Marty Brounstein will speak on Holocaust and Heroes.  Mr. Brounstein, author of Two Among the Righteous Few: A Story of Courage in the Holocaust. He brings a true interfaith story of courage and  compassion about  a Christian  couple in the Netherlands     who,        despite        much  risk      and danger, saved the lives of over two-dozen  Jews  during  the  Holocaust and World War II.  Marty has a meaningful personal connetion to this story and its heroes.


  • In January 2013, Jonathan Sarna (Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University and Chief Historian of the new National Museum of American Jewish History) delivered the annual Robert Levinson Memorial Lecture on the topic of “The Origins of American Jewish Politics: General Grant and the Jews in 1868." You may listen to the lecture here.

  • Donny Inbar, Director of Arts and Culture at the Israel Center of the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Federation gave a Shabbat talk at Hillel exploring the topic,  “How Did the Accordion and the Electric Guitar Make Peace? - The History of Cultural Feuds in Israel, from Hora to Rock ‘n’ Roll.”


  • In October 2012, we dedicated a Jewish Studies Program Collection within the Cultural Heritage Collections of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. Read more about the Jewish Studies Library Dedication.

  • Jews, Food and Sustainability: In collaboration with faculty from the Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging Dept., Hillel of Silicon Valley, and Chai House, and in consultation with the Silicon Valley JCRC and the Addison Penzak JCC Center for Life and Learning, we offered the university and the general community a series of programs focusing on sustenance and food sustainability. (2011–2012)

  • Stephen Kinsey, chair of the Commission for the Preservation of Pioneer Jewish Cemeteries, discussed the Gold-Rush era's Jewish landmarks in California.

  • Rabbi Mary Zamore, member of Hazon's Jewish Food Educator Network, offered a historic Jewish approach to eating, discussing the Jewish values that shape our food ethics.


  • Yaakov Katz, military correspondent and defense analyst for the Jerusalem Post, discussed “Israel's Security Needs in a Changing Middle East.”

  • Efraim Inbar, Professor in Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University and the Director of its Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies, presented a talk on “Israel, Turkey, and Beyond.”


  • Chief Political Correspondent and Analyst for the Jerusalem Post, Gil Hoffman, discussed “Politics & Plutonium: An Israeli Insider 's Look at the Quest to Prevent a Nuclear Iran.”

  • Award winning Israeli political scientist Guy Ben Porat, addressing “Globalization, Peace and Discontent: Farewell to the New Middle East?”

  • Avi Melamed, Senior Advisor on Jerusalemite Arab Affairs to then Mayors Teddy Kollek and Ehud Olmert and founder of IDAN, a non-profit grassroots initiative encouraging and empowering educators in Israeli society, offered a geostrategic analysis of the Middle East.

  • Ron Leshem, award-winning novelist, journalist, Israeli TV station director, and Academy Award Nominee, discussed his Oscar-nominated film Beaufort, prior to its screening at Cinequest.

  • Amos Guiora, Director of the Institute for Global Security Law and Policy, addressed “A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Counterterrorism.”

University/Community Events

  • In collaboration with the American Library Association, NextBook, and the Los Altos, Sunnyvale, and San José public libraries, Victoria Harrison and SJSU English professor David Mesher, and several other guest speakers led the popular Jewish literature series “Let's Talk About It,” exploring a wide range of topics, including, most recently, Jewish graphic novels. (2006–09)

  • Working closely with Hillel of Silicon Valley, SJSU devoted two weeks to the study of global terrorism. Featured were Diane Covert's photo exhibition, “Inside Terrorism: An X-ray Project” and a talk by Judea Pearl, father of slain journalist Daniel Pearl, speaking on “Fighting the Ideology of Terrorism.” (2007)

  • Collaborating with Hillel of Silicon Valley, we offered the campus community a week of programming on the Holocaust and other Genocides. The program received a $25,000 gift from the Jewish Family and Children's Services' Zisovich Award for Holocaust Education, which enabled us to learn from Lani Silver, Jonathan Roth, and many others. (2007)