2015 MJSA Conference

The Jewish Studies Program at The University of Kansas will host the 27th annual conference of the Midwest Jewish Studies Association on October 18 and 19, 2015.  This annual conference brings together aspiring and established scholars of Jewish Studies.  Detailed information can be found below.

ProgramPlease click here to view the program of events.

Registration: Registration is required.  On-site registration is a flat fee of $50 (cash only) for faculty and community members. Students will have their on-site registration fees paid for by the KU Jewish Studies Program.

Keynote Speaker: On Sunday, October 18 in the Crystal Ballroom, there will be a banquet dinner (kosher available) followed by remarks at 7:15pm and keynote speaker, Professor Gabriel Finder at 7:30pm.  The keynote talk is free and open to the public.

Professor Finder is the Ida and Nathan Kolodiz Director of Jewish Studies and Associate Professor in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literature at the University of Virginia. He will present:  "Jewish Honor Courts: Revenge, Retribution, and Reconciliation in Europe and Israel after the Holocaust"

In the immediate aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust Jewish communities in both Western and Eastern Europe tried fellow Jews suspected of collaboration with the Nazis in tribunals of their Jewish peers, which were called honor courts. In a similar fashion, under Israel's 1950 Nazi and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law, alleged Jewish collaborators who immigrated to Israel after the Holocaust could be tried in Israeli state courts. This lecture will describe the origins and development of Jewish honor courts in Europe and of the so-called "Kapo trials" in Israel. It will highlight a few trials and will explain both why survivors initiated trials of Jewish collaborators and why the trials came to an end only a few years after the establishment of the honor courts in Europe and passage of the 1950 law in Israel, respectively. 

Location: The conference will take place at The Eldridge hotel in historic downtown Lawrence.  Panel sessions will be held in the Bliss and Valentine rooms in the Eldridge Extended.  Because the conference is taking place over a home football weekend, the cost of hotel rooms can be high and we will be making special arrangements to bring down the costs of hotel rooms for our guests. 

Transportation:  For those flying into the Kansas City International Airport (code: MCI) we recommend renting a car or taking a shuttle or taxi service to get to Lawrence.  A list of taxi and shuttle providers can be found on the KU Visitor's Website (GTS shuttle is highly recommended).  Although Amtrak and Greyhound run between Lawrence and Kansas City, it can be very inconvenient to get to the stations from the airport.  For those driving, I-70 is the most convenient and direct route to Lawrence from MCI and the toll is under $2.00.   

Parking: Valet parking is available at the Eldridge Hotel for $10/day.  For those who do not wish to use valet service, parking on the street and in parking lots is monitored from 9:30am-6:00pm Monday-Saturday.  There are 2 hour free lots and 10 hour metered lots near the hotel and around (literally) town.  More information on parking downtown can be found on the website for the City of Lawrence.

For more information on the conference (including the program for the 2014 conference), please visit the MJSA website:

Local community resources and friends of the KU Jewish Studies Program:

KU Chabad

KU Hillel

Lawrence Jewish Community Congregation

Midwest Center for Holocaust Education

Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City

Kansas City Jewish Chronicle

Jewish Studies Program statement in solidarity with protests against police brutality

Beloved community,

As an academic program in the University of Kansas, we stand in solidarity with Black Americans -- including Black Jewish people -- and everyone hurting after the senseless, brutal murder of George Floyd and all people targeted by systemic racism and injustice in our country. We continue to be committed to our core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This morning, the Association for Jewish Studies sent out an email reminding us that as scholars of Jewish Studies, we are keenly aware of the devastating impact of discrimination and violence against minority groups. Dr. Cécile Accilien, the Chair of the KU Department of African and African-American studies, shared with us the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

The Jewish Studies academic community is rich and diverse – it includes scholars and students who are Jewish and non-Jewish, scholars and students of all ethnic and racial backgrounds and from multiple denominations and creeds, people who are immigrants (like myself) and those who are American-born. The Bible commands: צֶ֥דֶק צֶ֖דֶק תִּרְדֹּ֑ף tzedek tzedek tirdof, which translates into English as “Only justice shall you pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20). In this well-cited verse, the Hebrew word tzedek, or justice, repeats twice. There can be many explanations of the repetition – textual interpretation in all its many forms is a beloved pursuit for many of us. Today, I am going to give you my own interpretation -- though I am sure that it already exists somewhere in the treasury of Jewish exegesis. One tzedek, or justice, you must pursue for yourself and for people like you; that is, perhaps, the justice that is easiest to understand, because we keenly feel injustices committed against ourselves and people like us. The other tzedek is the justice you must pursue for the sake of people who are not like you. It is often a harder lesson, but a necessary one. The justice, or tzedek, which we pursue thus also becomes a gift of chesed, of lovingkindness that enriches all of us.


In solidarity,

Dr. Renee Perelmutter,

Director of the Jewish Studies Program

Subscribe to our Newsletter!


* indicates required
Upcoming Program Events
KU Today
Home to 50+ departments, centers, and programs, the School of the Arts, and the School of Public Affairs and Administration
KU offers courses in 40 languages
No. 1 ranking in city management and urban policy —U.S. News and World Report
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
Nondiscrimination Policy

In the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at The University of Kansas, we understand that an equitable and safe multiracial, multiethnic, and multicultural environment produces innovative thinking, research, and learning. Click here for the University's nondiscrimination policy.