Lecture Series Looks at Judaism in America, Jewish Life in South

Jonathan Sarna, a noted American Judaism scholar and Brandeis University professor, is among the speakers in the second-annual Carolina Center for Jewish Studies Lecture Series, which runs through Nov. 9 with a total of four free lectures held at the Hanes Arts Center Auditorium. Sarna also is the scholar-in-residence and chief historian of the national project, “Celebrate 350: Jewish Life in American, 1654-2004.”

In the second quarter of the 19th century, Jews, many of them young, dissatisfied with the Jewish “establishment” and fearful that Judaism would not continue unless it changed, produced a religious revolution that overthrew the synagogue-communities of the colonial era and replaced a monolithic Judaism with one that was much more democratic, free, diverse and competitive. Sarna will explore the emergence of this American Judaism in the Kaplan-Brauer Lectureship on the Contribution of Judaism to Civilization, Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

Other upcoming lectures in the series include:

  • Sept. 13 : Dale Rosengarten, curator of the Jewish Heritage Collection at the College of Charleston, will speak about “A Call for Candlesticks: What We Can Learn from Stories and Things.” This exploration of the regional and historical dimensions of Southern Jewish material culture will look at the cultural meanings of heirlooms, ritual art, kitchen utensils, clothing, cars and objects related to business and family life. The lecture is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Library and will begin at 5:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 9: Steve Oney, author of And the Dead Shall Rise: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank, will speak about “Southern Jews Before and After the Lynching of Leo Frank.” Oney will discuss how the Atlanta Jewish community was shattered by the 1913 lynching, looking at the repression and dread that gripped the city’s Jews for the next 60 years. The lecture is co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of the American South and will begin at 7:30 p.m.

All lectures are free and open to the public. For more information, visit or call (919) 843-9160.

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