The Phyllis Hoffman Hartford Jewish Film Festival

Song Searcher
followed by a concert by
Anna Shternshis and Psoy Korolenko of
Yiddish Glory
March 25, 2023

Jewish Hartford: European Roots along with UConn Global and the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life are co-sponsoring a film screening and concert as part of the Hartford Jewish Film Festival on March 25, 2023.

To learn more about the film festival, click here.

To view the advertisement, click here.

The Jews of the Forest: A Story of Holocaust Resistance and Survival


Thurs., Sept. 29, 4–5:30 p.m. Wilde Auditorium
Harry Jack Gray Building
University of Hartford
Free | Talk and Book Signing
To register:

Join Rebecca Frankel as she tells the little-known story of the Rabinowitz family, who narrowly escaped the Nazi ghetto in their Polish town by fleeing to the forbidding BialowiezaForest. Over five years, Frankel interviewed family members—including the Rabinowitzes’ eldest daughter: Ruth Lazowskiof West Hartford—to understand how they made it through brutal winters, typhus, and merciless Nazi raids before liberation in 1944 by the Red Army. Learn about the bravery and resilience of partisan fighters and the Jewish families who overcame the elements of the woods. Be inspired by one family’s search for new happiness in a post-Holocaust world.

 REBECCA FRANKEL is the author of the New York Timesbest-selling War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love, and Into the Forest: A Holocaust Story of Survival, Triumph, and Love –a 2021 National Jewish Book Award finalist and one of Smithsonian Magazine’s “Ten Best History Books of 2021.” She’s written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and been a guest on Conan, PBS NewsHour, and the Diane Rehm Show, among others.

 Supported by The Presidents’ College and the Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford, and The UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, with additional promotion by The Avon Free Public Library.

Click to view flyer.

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