CU on the Weekend: Post Holocaust American Judaism with Professor David Shneer, History

Post World War II America is often characterized negatively by suburbanization and the rise of a bland consumer culture obsessed with accumulation rather than reflection. But it is also the period when the United States became the fertile petri dish for new kinds of Judaism.  From Brooklyn-based Chabad Lubavitch Hasidism to 1960s Do-It-Yourself Judaism and American Zionism, this mini-course will examine American Judaism from World War II to the present. We will pay particular attention to materials now housed at the University of Colorado Libraries Archives “Post Holocaust American Judaism” collection, which contains materials documenting this movement, from Arthur Waskow’s Freedom Seders to Zalman Schachter Shalomi’s early ideas about deep ecumenicism. Participants will also be invited to an intimate gathering with the university’s annual Sondra Bender Visiting Scholar, Dr. Shaul Magid, who will be in residence one week later.

The University Libraries Archives and Special Collections Archive of Post-Holocaust American Judaism, contains materials examining Judaism as a religion, social movement, and philosophy of spiritual transformation in America from the late 1940s to the present, paying particular attention to those aspects of Judaism and Jewish life germinating in the United States. “If Europe was the fount of modern Judaism until World War II, after the war, that place became America,” adds Dr. David Shneer.

The exhibit, “Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and the Origins of Post-Holocaust American Judaism,” located on the southeast landing of the 2nd floor in the Norlin Library, is based on photographs, papers, audio recordings and artifacts found in the Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi collection. The display features a historical depiction of Schachter-Shalomi’s life and accomplishments including his role in the establishment of Jewish Renewal, the spiritual-eldering movement, and his contributions to engaged interfaith dialogue.

David Shneer has been called a “pathbreaking” scholar by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Shneer is professor of history and chair of the Jewish Studies program. His research focuses on 20th century European, Russian, and Jewish history and culture. Shneer lectures nationally and internationally and has authored numerous books and articles about contemporary Jewish identity. In his broader work, Shneer serves as consultant to numerous Jewish agencies, and he co-founded Jewish Mosaic, the first national Jewish LGBT organization, which merged with Keshet in 2010. He consults with non-profit organizations around issues of integrating post-Soviet Jews into Jewish communal life, serving as co-chair of Limmud Colorado and vice-chair of Keshet, and working with Facing History and Ourselves, a global non-profit dedicated to fostering a democratic, human-rights oriented education in high schools.

Location: Norlin Library, British Studies Room – M549
1720 Pleasant St,
Boulder, CO (map)
Parking: Parking is available on campus at parking meters and $4 all day parking lots. Lot 380 is located north of Norlin Library and east of Macky Auditorium and the Euclid Auto Park is located off Broadway on Euclid Avenue. Free parking is located in lots 436 and 494 near Colorado Ave & Regent Drive.

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