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Northwestern Partners on a ‘Day of Jewish Study’ Sunday

Crown Center for Jewish and Israel Studies teams up with JCC Chicago for event

  • Northwestern faculty will share their expertise in a series of lectures
  • Jewish Community Centers will host talks at two off-campus locations
  • Event named for couple who helped create Jewish Studies at Northwestern
  • Lectures on Esther in Hebrew and Christian Bibles, Arabs in Israel, anti-Nazi films

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies is pairing with the Jewish Community Centers (JCC) of Chicago on a unique event this Sunday, Feb. 14 to share the expertise of Northwestern University professors with the public.

The Allan and Norma Harris Day of Jewish Study will bring eight Northwestern faculty members to two off-campus locations in Jewish Community Centers to lecture on their research and expertise for a day of study. The event is free and open to the public.

The Day of Jewish Study will be held in two locations. The morning session will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, Feb. 14, at Bernard Weinger JCC, 300 Revere Drive, Northbrook, Ill. The afternoon session will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14, at Florence G. Heller JCC, 524 W. Melrose St., Chicago.

The program is named for a couple who were instrumental in creating Jewish Studies at Northwestern. This year’s program is being held in lieu of an annual lecture that is given in their name. It is the Crown Center’s first collaboration with the JCCs of Chicago, and the goal is to attract both the large public audience that already enjoys the center’s programs and their communities. 

Highlights of lectures in the program include: 

  • “Esther in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles,” presented by Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, professor of Jewish Studies and Jewish History, whose research focuses on early modern and modern Jewish history with an emphasis on Eastern Europe. 
  • “Arabs in a Jewish State: Between Integration and Alienation,” presented by Elie Rekhess, Crown Visiting Professor in Israel Studies, associate director for Israel Studies and professor of history, who studies the political history of the Arab minority in Israel and political Islam in Israel and Gaza.
  • “The Talmud as Icon,” presented by Barry Wimpfheimer, associate professor of religious studies and law and director of the Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies, who specializes in the Talmud and Jewish law.
  • “A Plea for Rescue: Leslie Howard’s Anti-Nazi Films,” presented by Phyllis Lassner, professor of instruction in the Writing Program, gender studies, and Jewish Studies, who specializes in Holocaust representation in literature, art and film. 
  • “Einstein Goes to Berlin,” presented by Peter Fenves, who is the Joan and Sarepta Harrison Professor of Literature and specializes in German-Jewish thought and literature from the late 18th to the early 20th century.

The Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies is part of Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern. The Crown Center hosts four annual named lectures and additional smaller programs as well, and it has embarked on this new community day of study to amplify its engagement with the community. 

The goal of the Allan and Norma Harris Day of Jewish Study is to share the resources and expertise of Northwestern faculty with the JCC community and Chicago area audiences for a day of community education and discussion.

The name was chosen to honor Norma Harris’ service to the Jewish Studies program at Northwestern. A proud Northwestern alumna, Norma Harris was involved in helping establish the Crown Center as it operates now. The upcoming event is named in honor and memory of her and her husband, Allan.

The Crown Center, home of the Jewish Studies Program at Northwestern, is a vibrant community of teachers and scholars dedicated to transmitting and expanding knowledge, both in the classroom and through numerous lectures, symposia and other events of interest to the general public as well as the campus population. 

The Crown Center-JCC event is being promoted on Facebook and through the websites of both organizations.

To register, call Andrea Maremont at 773-975-8375 or email Advance registration is not necessary, but organizers would appreciate being notified by guests who plan to attend. 

For more information, contact Nancy Gelman at 847-491-2612 or

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