Gratz@home Webinar Series
Gratz@home is an interactive experience with our global Gratz community of adult learners and faculty. Each month, a Gratz College faculty member or distinguished scholar will present a webinar on a topic of his or her expertise. Tune in and participate LIVE. Submit your questions. Chat with other participants.
If you're unavailable on the evening of one of the webinars, watch the recorded session at your convenience. It will be available for 30 days after the lecture airs.
All that is needed to participate is an active email address, internet access, and a basic familiarity with computers and the Zoom platform.
For questions or more information, please contact Rabbi Daniel Levitt at 215-635-7300.
Tuesday, February 16, 2021, 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm US EDT
Dr. Lawrence Baron
Ever since the end of World War Two, the specter of a Nazi resurgence has haunted the cinematic imagination. Tainted by the horrific legacy of the Third Reich, neo-Nazis were traditionally portrayed as mad scientists, political extremists, and sadistic villains who could be easily thwarted by American democracy. Given the resurgence of neo-Nazism starting in the 1980s as a backlash to civil rights progress, immigration from non-European countries, and the unemployment attributed to globalization, movies have increasingly depicted neo-Nazis as characters confronting real social problems, even though the violent solutions they offer to solve them only trigger more violence.
Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm US ET
Dr. Dina Maiben
As Jewish communities spread to the four corners of the earth, they adopted and adapted the languages of their host countries. Some of the Jewish languages, like Yiddish and Ladino, are well known. Others, like Haketia, Yavanit, Juhri, Italkian, and Judeo-Malayalam are less familiar. Gratz College’s resident linguist, Dr. Dina Maiben, will discuss the fascinating phenomenon of Jewish languages, with special emphasis on Hebrew, Yiddish and Ladino.
- When Jews Were Tough Guys and Gals
- The Battle for Jewish Rights
- Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr
- Jewish Gematria
- Racial Equality and Inequality in America: A Historical Perspective
- Ronnie Breslow: Holocaust Survivor
- Can Israel Access West Bank Settlements Legally?
- The Philadelphia Jewish Community and the Yellow Fever of 1793
- Mavens: Jewish Advice-Givers
- Jewish Social Justice
- Deception, Decryption and Secret Agents
- Conversational Hebrew
- The Exodus
Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm US ET
Dr. Paul Finkelman
Gratz College President
Jews haven’t always been lawyers and doctors. Jews and their children were among the poorest immigrant groups to come to the U.S. between 1890 and 1924. Famously, Jews worked in the garment industry and as peddlers. They flourished in jobs that required urban skills and literacy, even though many lacked formal education. Like other immigrant groups, many Jews sought riches and fame in sports and crime. Jews became boxers, basketball players, gangsters and prostitutes. This was an era when Jews were tough guys and gals.
Sunday, October 25, 2020, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm US EDT
Joint Program by Gratz College and Gesher Galicia
Dr. Andrew Zalewski
Vice President of Gesher Galicia
This year’s headlines about streets in turmoil, social justice and elections would sound familiar to those living in Europe in 1848. During that year’s political upheavals, Jews of the Austrian Empire hoped for liberal reforms and long-awaited emancipation. The battle for Jewish rights played out differently across the multiethnic empire. In Galicia, with the largest Jewish population in Austria, Jews joined civic petitions, wrote pamphlets, and served in a citizen’s guard. New cultural choices and synagogue reforms also stirred conflicts in Jewish communities. Through images of exuberant crowds, political cartoons, and unique records we will discover Jewish voices from Vienna to Lemberg, speaking about their vision of a better future.
Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm EDT
In the early morning dawn of July 11, 1804 the Vice President of the United States and the former Secretary of the Treasury met on the dueling grounds of Weehawken, New Jersey. A fatal shot ended two lives; one man died and the other became a fugitive.
The hit show “Hamilton” has stirred the imagination. Most Americans know about the deadly duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. But do they know the real story of the long and bitter rivalry between the two prominent men? Their lives are the story of love, lust, ambition and treachery. This is the true behind the scenes story of this iconic event in American history.
Wednesday, August 12, 2020, 7:30pm to 8:45pm EDT
What do tzitzit, Haman and the number Pi have in common? This workshop is guaranteed to fascinate you with links between Judaism and math, as well as explore surprising prayer and holiday facts hidden in plain sight. As when one leaves after watching a magic show, people will be curious to discover more mysteries of Gematria and related topics raised during this session. You just need to count up to 613, identify Hebrew letters, have a sense of humor and an eagerness to learn. Be forewarned: this is not a heavy-duty, scholarly presentation, though it will be filled with surprising and educational information.
Thursday, July 16, 2020 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm EDT
Dr. Paul Finkelman
President of Gratz College
Join Gratz president, Dr. Paul Finkelman, as we explore the history of racial equality and inequality in America. The program will start with slavery, take us through Reconstruction and end with the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s to the 1970s. There will be some discussions of Jewish participation in Civil Rights and struggles for equality in America.
Tuesday, June 9, 2020, 7:30pm to 8:45pm US ET
Philadelphia-area Holocaust survivor, Ronnie Breslow will discuss her experiences as a witness to Kristallnacht and a passenger of the Motorschiff St. Louis. She will share personal family photos from Germany and inside the St. Louis., as well as immigration/passport documents and postcards.
Sunday, May 31, 2020, 11:30am to 12:30pm EDT
David Weinstein, J.D.
President Trump's "Deal of the Century" calls for Israel to annex about 30% of the West Bank consisting of Jewish settlements and the strategic Jordan River Valley, while negotiating for the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state in the balance. Under the coalition agreement of the new Israeli government, Israel could decide to extend its sovereignty in this fashion as early as this July. While there are many diplomatic, political, and policy arguments for and against such a move, this Gratz@home discussion will address one specific question: What does international law have to say about Israeli annexation of West Bank areas beyond the 1949-1967 Armistice lines?
Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 7:30pm to 8:30pm ET
Rabbi Lance J. Sussman, Ph.D.
Learn about this transformational event in Philadelphia history – in which 10% of the population perished including a number of Jewish Philadelphians. Special emphasis will be placed on Major David Franks, Dr. Benjamin Rush, Dr. David de Isaac Cohen Nassy, Elizabeth Sandwith Drinker (Quaker) and the black community of Philadelphia.
Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm ET
Dr. Steve Chervin
Move over rabbi! For most of Jewish history, rabbis were the primary advice-givers in the Jewish community. But since the beginning of the 20th century, Jewish advice columnists like the editor of the Yiddish Daily Forverts (The Bintel Brief), Dear Abby and Ann Landers, Dr. Ruth, and many others have advised Jews and non-Jews about relationships, family, work, religion, ethics, business, law, medicine, etc. Join us for an entertaining tour in which we'll meet a few of these experts and the advice they dispensed, along with the letter writers and the concerns they raised.
Tuesday, May 5, 2020, 7:30pm to 8:30pm ET
Dr. Ruth Sandberg
We tend to think of "social justice" as a modern concept, based on the tragic experiences of the 20th and 21th centuries and the need to repair a badly broken world. In this Zoom session, we will discover that the concept of Jewish social justice actually has very ancient roots in the Bible and in the thinking of the ancient Rabbis, and that ancient Jewish tradition insists on the alleviation of poverty, lessening the suffering of the vulnerable, establishing an equitable and fair justice system, and fostering greater human understanding. Whether you are a beginner or a more experienced Hebrew language student, this one-hour session will be a fun way to learn or refresh basic conversational skills.
Wednesday, April 22, 2020, 7:30pm to 8:30pm ET
Gratz College adjunct Hebrew instructor, Rhonda Wittlin brings her brand of energetic teaching to “A Taste of Conversational Hebrew.” Whether you are a beginner or a more experienced Hebrew language student, this one-hour session will be a fun way to learn or refresh basic conversational skills.
Monday, April 13, 2020 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm US
Rabbi Lance Sussman, Ph.D., chair of the Gratz College Board of Governors and Senior Rabbi of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel will discuss “The Exodus Story: An Historical Analysis.” The talk will explore the historical context of the Exodus, various theories of Biblical authorship, and the role of the Exodus narrative in Jewish and Christian traditions.
- Re-igniting the Spark of Conversation
- Appreciating the Sistine Chapel
- Poland - No Country for the Jews?
- Baseball and the Rule of Law
- English: Past, Present and Future Intense
- Right Bible, Left Bible: Two Approaches to the Bible in the Contemporary Jewish Community
TUESDAY, APRIL 16, 2019, 8:00 - 9:00 PM EST
Dave Malter, M.A.
Director of Camp Administration and Leadership, Gratz College
While technology has helped us in many ways as a society, its effects are increasingly prevalent on the ability of people to connect face-to-face. This learning opportunity will discuss the challenges technology faces and how we can encourage more positive "real life" connections in our workplaces and everyday lives.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 22, 2019, 8:00 - 9:00 PM EST
Ruth Sandberg, Ph.D.
Leonard and Ethel Landau Professor of Rabbinics, Director, Jewish-Christian Studies Program,
Most people assume that the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican is the epitome of Christian art, but in reality Michelangelo included many Jewish images and symbols within his work. There are many figures and events from the Hebrew Bible depicted, including dramatic representations of the Biblical prophets. But there are also hidden images and symbols that express Michelangelo’s interest in Judaism and its enduring legacy. We will uncover some of these secrets in this presentation.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2019, 8:00-9:00 PM EST
Monika Rice, Ph.D.
Director of Holocaust and Genocide Studies Programs, Gratz College
This presentation will discuss social changes in Poland under the increasingly populist regime of the Law and Justice party. It will outline the situation of Jews and foreigners in Polish society and their representation in popular media, and will address the growing antisemitic climate affecting Poland’s coming to terms with its “dark past.”
TUESDAY, AUGUST 20, 2019, 8:00 - 9:00 PM EST
Paul Finkelman, Ph.D.
President, Gratz College
This webinar connects two of America’s favorite pastimes: baseball and law. Americans watch hours of baseball and many more hours of law programs. We have ESPN and also Court TV. Paul Finkelman was the main expert witness in the lawsuit over the ownership of Barry Bonds 73rd home run ball. He has lectured throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Japan, and China, on issues surrounding baseball and US law. Learn how the world’s most litigious and legalistic culture has shaped our national sport. Even the terminology of baseball connects to law: “stealing” a base; or the “hit and run.” Similarly, American law borrows from baseball, with phrases like “three strikes and you're out,” being imported into our criminal laws. You don’t need to know anything about law to appreciate this webinar, but it helps to know a little about baseball.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2019, 8:00 - 9:00 PM EST
Dina Maiben, M.A.J.S.
Hebrew Program Director, Assistant Director, Gratz Advance,
Director, JCHS & JOLT, Gratz College
The English language has changed considerably over the past fourteen centuries—just try reading Chaucer in the original (let alone Beowulf)! In this webinar, Gratz College’s “resident linguist” will discuss some of the forces that cause languages to change and how these forces have shaped English historically. We will then look at some of the changes currently underway.
TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 2019, 8:00 - 9:00 PM EST
Joseph M. Davis, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, Gratz College
In this webinar, Joseph Davis, an expert on the Bible in Judaism, will discuss the contrasting approaches of conservative and progressive Jews today. One sometimes hears that the Orthodox Jews and political conservatives interpret the Bible literally, whereas progressive Jews approach it non-literally. This is not really true. Each side has a more complex and in the end more interesting approach to the question of the Bible and its meaning today.