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Symposium celebrating ‘Jews in the Midwest’ coming Nov. 12

Monday, October 23, 2017

LAWRENCE — The Midwest’s Jewish roots will be celebrated when scholars with international reputations gather at the University of Kansas next month for a symposium.

"Jews in the Midwest" will take place Nov. 12 at the Oread Hotel, 1200 Oread Ave., adjacent to the University of Kansas campus. The symposium is open to the public and includes bus transportation to and from the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City.
The symposium will celebrate both the 19th and early 20th century Jewish settlers in the U.S. Heartland and the encyclopedia project of the same name.  Scholars will speak about the three major Jewish waves of immigration, the contributions of Jews in the Midwest and their history. 
  • David Katzman, KU professor emeritus of American history, who will speak about the “Jews in the Midwest” encyclopedia project. Katzman has specialized in the American working classes with books like “People and a Nation: A History of the United States” and “Plain Folk: The Life Stories of Undistinguished Americans.” 
  • Tobias Brinkmann, the Malvin and Lea Bank Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and History at Pennsylvania State University. Brinkman focuses on Jewish migration to the U.S. and has written several studies on the subject, including “Points of Passage: Jewish Transmigrants from Eastern Europe in Scandinavia, Germany, and Britain 1880-1914.”
  • Hasia Diner, the Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University. Diner has written several books on early Jewish-Americans, most recently “From Arrival to Incorporation: Migrants to the U.S. in a Global Age” with Elliott Barkan and Alan Kraut.
  • Ava Kahn, who has documented Jewish-Americans on the West Coast in a series of videos and documentaries and has published several books, most recently “Jews of the Pacific Coast: Reinventing Community on America’s Edge.”
  • Lee Shai Weissbach, professor emeritus of history at the University of Louisville and the author of “Jewish Life in Small Town America.”
The full schedule and additional information can be found at jewishstudies.ku.edu/2017-symposium.
“The Jewish Studies Program has already hosted important symposia and conferences on Jewish communities here in the Heartland and plans others that will focus on various Jewish topics, especially those with regional interest,” said John Younger, director of the KU Jewish Studies Program.

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