Author: Joscha Jelitzki

JHER Five Week Mini Course with Professor Samuel Kassow

Discover the Legacy of Jewish Life in Eastern Europe during and after the Holocaust with Professor Sam Kassow!

The legacy of Jewish civilization in Eastern Europe is tremendous: from Hasidism to the Jewish Enlightenment, to Yiddish Literature, Modern Hebrew Literature, Zionism, and more.


Vilna - The Jerusalem of Lithuania, Warsaw - The Jewish Metropolis and Lodz - The Jewish Chicago. In this new online course, we will explore the diversity, vitality, and contributions of three cities that were significant centers of pre-WWII Jewish culture and history. We will also examine Jewish responses to Nazi persecution in these cities during World War II

Meets 7:30pm-9:00pm on the following Mondays in 2021:

  • January 25,
  • February 1,
  • February 8,
  • February 22,
  • and March 1.

Course fee: $50/person (non-refundable)

Dr. Samuel Kassow is the Charles H. Northam Professor of History at Trinity College and holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University. Currently, Dr. Kassow is a consultant to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. Dr. Kassow is the author of numerous publications including Who Will Write Our History – Rediscovering a Hidden Archive from the Warsaw Ghetto.

Limited class size; register early!

Questions? Contact

Jewish Hartford: European Roots programming is a project of UConn Global Affairs, made possible by the generous support of the Konover Coppa Family Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford, in honor of the extraordinary life of Simon Konover.

Blog Post: From Generation to Generation by Rachel Torres

Torres JHER blog piece

Rachel Torres is a resident of Newtown, CT and High School History Teacher at Newtown High School. In 2019 she participated in the European Roots to Poland and Lithuania with Dr. Sam Kassow. This is how it started:

"In October 2018, a student of mine who is Jewish became a target of an antisemitic remark by one of his peers, during a lesson in which I was being observed by my Department Chair and Assistant Principal. Quickly I found myself becoming an advocate for this student and asking the question, 'Why is this happening and what can I do to prevent this from reoccurring?' As a Puerto Rican woman in a predominantly white town and school district, I couldn’t not take action."

Are you curious to know how Rachel Torres' journey unfolded? Then read her whole piece on the [blog of the Museum of Jewish Heritage NY]!

[Video] Derek Penslar Presented his Herzl Biography

Did you miss the September 10 event with Harvard historian Dr. Derek Penslar hosted by the UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life and the UHart Greenberg Center? [Here] you can find the video recap on Youtube, or click on the image below!

The life of Theodor Herzl (1860–1904) was as puzzling as it was brief. How did this cosmopolitan and assimilated European Jew become the leader of the Zionist movement? How could he be both an artist and a statesman, a rationalist and an aesthete, a stern moralist yet possessed of deep, and at times dark, passions? And why did scores of thousands of Jews, many of them from traditional, observant backgrounds, embrace Herzl as their leader?
Drawing on a vast body of Herzl’s personal, literary, and political writings, historian Derek Penslar shows that Herzl’s path to Zionism had as much to do with personal crises as it did with antisemitism. Once Herzl devoted himself to Zionism, Penslar shows, he distinguished himself as a consummate leader—possessed of indefatigable energy, organizational ability, and electrifying charisma. Herzl became a screen onto which Jews of his era could project their deepest needs and longings.
Cosponsored by the UConn Center for Judaic Studies and the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford.

Penslar Herzl vid pic

“How Yiddish Changed America and America Changed Yiddish” with Ilan Stavans and Josh Lambert | March 18, 2020

Lambert Stavans Bookcover

Join us for a book presentation with Josh Lambert and Ilan Stavans, co-editors of the recently published book How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish. Profs. Stavans and Lambert were recent guests on NPR’s 1A podcast to discuss their book and the popularity of Yiddish in American culture. Listen to the podcast here


Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 7:00 pm
Place: Mandell JCC, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford

About the Event

Prof. Josh Lambert (UMass Amherst) and Prof. Ilan Stavans (Amherst College) will discuss their new book, How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish—a diverse anthology of the influences and inspirations of Yiddish voices in America—radical, dangerous, and seductive, but also sweet, generous, and full of life. The book will be published at Restless Books in January 2020- read more about the book here.
The event is sponsored by Aleph: Institute for Jewish Ideas, the UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, and the Jewish Hartford European Roots Project.

Jeffrey Yoskowitz Cookbook Lecture | 12/15 from 7-9 pm at Temple Beth Hillel

Chef Jeffrey Yoskowitz will present “Back to the Old Country: The Jewish Food Renaissance” at Temple Beth Hillel. Earlier in the day, he can be joined for pickle making at the Mandell JCC!

Sunday, December 15, from 7-9 pm
Temple Beth Hillel
20 Baker Lane in South Windsor

Advance price: $7, at door: $10.
Please register here,  or call: 860-727-6170.

About the Conversation:
Chef and entrepreneur Yoskowitz of The Gefilteria revitalizes old-world Ashkenazi Jewish foods with unique and delicious new approaches. He will share extensive knowledge of origins of traditional Jewish Foods and the history of Eastern European cuisine, blending them with his culinary explorations in Poland, Lithuania, Germany, and Hungary.

This program is presented by The Sisterhood of Temple Beth Hillel of South Windsor, and sponsored by the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford and The Jewish Hartford European Roots Project.

Flyer Yoskowitz Talk


Pickle Making with Jeffrey Yoskowitz | 12/15 at Mandell JCC

Join us for a cooking event with the leader of the Jewish Food Renaissance Jeffrey Yoskowitz!

Sunday, December 15
Session 1:  1-2 pm
Session 2:  2:45-3:45 pm

The event will take place at Mandell JCC and charges $5 per person, $10 per family respectively. Please register by Wednesday, December 11, here.

About the event:
All are welcome to have a hands on opportunity to make their very own pickles with the "pickle master" and author Jeffrey Yoskowitz. Jeffrey is a leader of the Jewish food Renaissance as an entrepreneur, writer, pickler and cookbook author. He curates and cooks dining events in kitchens around the world, teaches about Jewish cooking and food heritage and writes about food and culture for publications like The Atlantic, The New York Times, Slate, and Gastronomica, among others. Jeffrey co-authored The Gefilte Manifesto: New Recipes for Old World Jewish Foods along with Liz Alpern and was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list.

Flyer Pickle