Joel Berkowitz, Director
New Message from the Director
Much has been new at the Stahl Center in recent months: a new newsletter and website, a new series of public programs, and a new—well, center. We have settled nicely into our beautifully renovated surroundings, which we formally inaugurated at a ceremony on November 13th led by UWM Chancellor Michael Lovell. We were joined there by descendants of Sam and Helen Stahl, as well as by many representatives of the UWM community and the local community. Later in the day, I enjoyed sharing my work on Yiddish theatre with a large and lively crowd.
A couple of weeks after the inaugural celebration, we had the opportunity to share our space with the UWM community at a festive “First Thursday” event sponsored by the colleges of Engineering and Letters & Science. The image of the Greene Museum as a construction site increasingly fades into memory now that the building has come so fully to life as a hub of intellectual and cultural activity.
We have also run the first three installments of our “Roots & Restlessness” series, funded by a generous grant from the Association for Jewish Studies. Less than halfway through this year’s series, the Legacy Heritage Jewish Studies Project has already begun bearing fruit. The grant has enabled us to carry out a vigorous marketing campaign that has greatly enhanced our visibility on and off campus. Those publicity materials, along with a rich network of co-sponsors for these events, have drawn large audiences to the programs. And the grant has enabled us to explore with those audiences significant chapters of Jewish history and culture: Henry Sapoznik’s learned commentary on American Yiddish popular culture, Lisa Silverman’s fresh scholarship on Austrian Jewry, and Tim Crain’s lively survey of FDR’s storied relationship with American Jews. We look forward to next semester’s events, running from February 1 to late May.
As always, our enthusiastic and generous community members have continued to support the program. Part of that is by showing up; in addition to playing to packed houses for public programs, we offer many courses that are heavily subscribed by community members. It has also involved many acts of philanthropy. The Baye Foundation, represented by members of the Sam and Helen Stahl / Nathan and Pearl Berkowitz family, led the way with a gift of $50,000 beyond the $2 million gift that made the renovations of our building possible. This new donation will support public programs that foster cross-cultural understanding—a goal that goes to the very heart of what we do
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Director, Sam & Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies
January 30, 2012