Message from the Director

Dear Friend of Jewish Studies:

Happy New Year! The second half of 2010 was an eventful one for the Sam & Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies, and we have much to look forward to in 2011. To begin with, the more I learn about UW-Milwaukee and the remarkable community that surrounds it, the more honored I feel to serve as the director of this jewel of a Jewish Studies center. Much of my time last semester was devoted simply to getting to know people, on and off campus, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. To all of you who have welcomed my family and me to Milwaukee so warmly, I cannot thank you enough!

The Sam & Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies is already attracting national attention, with our successful application for a prestigious Legacy Heritage Jewish Studies Project grant from the Association for Jewish Studies. The grant will provide funding for public programs in the 2011/12 and 2012/13 academic years, and in a few months, you will learn details of our year of exciting programs on the theme of Jewish Roots and Restlessness that will begin next fall. UWM was one of only four institutions nationwide to be awarded this grant, along with the fine programs at Michigan State, the University of Colorado, and the University of Washington.

Back on the UWM campus, we launched a new faculty colloquium in November with a lecture by our own Tom Hubka, from UWM's School of Architecture and Urban Planning, on folk art in Eastern European synagogues. Tom is a world-renowned authority on the subject of Polish and Ukrainian synagogues, so it was a treat for other faculty and graduate students to hear him explore this facet of his research. I plan to have the colloquium convene two or three times each semester, featuring presentations by UWM faculty as well as distinguished visitors.

In the coming months, we look forward to the opening of our beautiful new building on Downer Avenue, an accompanying new virtual presence in the form of a revamped website and new forays into social media, the first issue of a planned biannual newsletter, and an exciting line-up of public programs. Program highlights include Israeli film director Yoram Honig on February 2nd, distinguished translator Peter Filkins in March, and for our "Woman of Valor" lecture, the noted historian of American Jewry, Deborah Dash Moore. Additional events may be scheduled on short notice, so the best way to stay up to date is to sign up for our email mailing list by contacting the program administrator, Carolyn Rosa-Hayes, at

Thank you again for your enthusiastic support. I look forward to seeing many of you at one or more of this semester's events.

With best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2011,

Joel Berkowitz
Director, Sam & Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies