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Director Joel Berkowitz

Joel Berkowitz, Director
Welcome to the Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies website. Message from the Director.

Center News

News and Events



Wednesday, October 3, 7pm

Neal Pease
, "The Good Name of Poland: The Polish 'Holocaust Speech' Law & Its Historical & Contemporary Meaning"
Curtin Hall 175, UW-Milwaukee


Wednesday, October 17, 7pm

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
, "The Role of Museums in Perilous Times: What's Happening in Poland?"
Golda Meir Library, 4th Floor Conference Center, UW-Milwaukee


Wednesday, October 18, Noon

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
, "Beyond Living Memory: The Future of Holocaust Museums"
Kohl's Garden Galleries, Milwaukee Public Museum, 800 W. Wells Street, Milwaukee


Wednesday, October 18, 6:15pm

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
, "Curating Between Hope and Despair: POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews"
Milwaukee Public Museum, Lubar Auditorium, 700 N. Art Museum Drive, Milwaukee


Wednesday, October 23, 7pm

Yechiel Bar-Chaim
, "Accompanying War: A Personal Narrative of the Conflict in Bosnia"
Golda Meir Library, 4th Floor Conference Center, UW-Milwaukee


Wednesday, October 24, 3pm

Yechiel Bar-Chaim
, "How to Shape the Future in the Czech Republic"
Bader Philanthropies, 3300 N. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Milwaukee


Wednesday, October 24, 5pm

Yechiel Bar-Chaim
, Film, "The Way Out [Cesta Ven]"
Bader Philanthropies, 3300 N. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Milwaukee


Recent faculty updates.

The most recent and past editions of The Golden Peacock: Stahl Center Newsletter.

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Welcome to the Sam & Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies

The Stahl Center serves the UWM campus and the Milwaukee community with courses and public events covering a wide variety of topics in the field of Jewish Studies. Our courses range in time from the biblical period to the present, and embrace disciplines throughout the humanities and social sciences, including history, literature, theatre, film, cultural studies, Hebrew language, and religion. UWM offers a major and minor in Jewish Studies.

The Center for Jewish Studies was initially established with generous grants from the Helen Bader Foundation, the Wisconsin Society for Jewish Learning, and the Andrew Scher Fund, which were matched by UWM. A generous gift from the Baye Foundation made possible the renovation of the Stahl Center's beautiful new facility: the historic Greene Museum on the eastern perimeter of the campus. The Greene Museum houses core Jewish Studies faculty and administrative staff, and includes a flexible-use space for meetings, workshops, student use, and public events.

Statement on the Pittsburgh Shootings

We at the Sam & Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies are horrified by the murders of Jews at Shabbat services at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. The United States has long been a safe haven for Jews, and this tragedy has shaken the American Jewish community to its core. As students of Jewish history, we know the dangers of nationalism and ethnic hatred and are alarmed by their increase in our country. This terrible week saw the mass murders of American Jews, as well as the hate killings of Maurice Stallard and Vickie Jones in Louisville.

The Jews at the Tree of Life were targeted specifically because the synagogue had supported the work of HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. HIAS rescues refugees from all over the world and from various nationalities, races, and religions; brings them to safety; and helps them build new lives. Embracing refugees is one of the most important American and Jewish values, which we reinforce by standing with organizations like HIAS.

Jewish history demonstrates too well the dangers of xenophobia, discrimination, and hatred. To resist the normalization of these forces in our society, the Stahl Center promotes education, learning, and building bridges among communities. We are heartened that there has been such an outpouring of support from a range of organizations and faiths raising funds for the victims' families, and that vigils across the country have brought together people of many faiths.

We are grateful for the expressions of condolence and care from our Chancellor, Provost, colleagues, students, and members of the larger Milwaukee community.

Together we mourn for the lives lost in Pittsburgh and stand in solidarity with victims of hate everywhere. We remember Daniel Stein, Joyce Feinberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Melvin Wax, and Irving Younger, and extend our heartfelt condolences to their families, friends, and community.


Joint Statement on the “Muslim Ban”

Jewish Studies Programs
University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

We, the undersigned Jewish Studies faculty and affiliate faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, join together to condemn the Trump Administration’s executive order banning immigration from seven countries—also known, for good reason, as the “Muslim ban.”

Our experience as Jewish Studies scholars and teachers compels us to speak out against the demonization of members of another religion—a phenomenon all too familiar in Jewish history. Some of the most powerful texts we teach instruct us to welcome the stranger and look after others, from all religious, ethnic, and racial backgrounds.

The fact that some of us are but a generation removed from our own families’ experience in the Holocaust deepens our outrage at this administration’s efforts to slam doors against innocent refugees seeking the shelter of America’s freedoms enshrined in our Constitution. The fact that the ban was issued on International Holocaust Memorial Day, an occasion to remember the extremes to which racism and xenophobia can lead, adds cruel irony to the turmoil unleashed by the decree.

Our two institutions currently host hundreds of students, faculty, and staff from the seven nations targeted by this executive order. These people enrich our campuses, they broaden our understanding, and their talents and hard work contribute to the international reputation the University of Wisconsin has earned. We are proud to call them our students, colleagues, and friends. We implore you to consider the ways that not only these immigrants contribute to our scholarship and service, but to learn from the ways immigrants have done so throughout this country’s history.

Rachel Baum, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Hebrew Studies and Jewish Studies Deputy Director, Sam & Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies

Joel Berkowitz, Professor of Foreign Languages and Literature Director, Sam & Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies

Amos Bitzan, Weinstein Assistant Professor of Modern European Jewish History

Rachel Brenner, Weinstein-Bascom Professor of Jewish Studies

Shira Brisman, Assistant Professor, Art History

Rabbi David Brusin, Senior Lecturer, Hebrew and Jewish Studies

Rachel Buff, Professor of History; Director, Comparative Ethnic Studies Program

Teryl Dobbs, Professor of Music Education

Ivan Ermakoff, Professor of Sociology

Chad Goldberg, Professor of Sociology

Jeremy Hutton, Professor of Classical Hebrew Language and Biblical Literature

Lauren Lauter, Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies Administrative Staff

Tracey Mason, Financial Specialist, Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies

Steven Nadler, William H. Hay II Professor of Philosophy, Evjue-Bascom Professor of Humanities

Tasha Oren, Associate Professor of English and Media Studies

Anna Paretskaya, Lecturer, Sociology and Jewish Studies

Jordan Rosenblum, Belzer Professor of Classical Judaism

Simone Schweber, Michael and Judy Goodman Professor of Education and Jewish Studies Director, Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies

Nadav Shelef, Harvey M. Meyerhoff Professor of Modern Israel Studies

Lisa Silverman, Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies

Judith Sone, Associate Director, Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies

Marc Tasman, Senior Lecturer, Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies Coordinator, Digital Arts and Culture Program

Sunny Yudkoff, Assistant Professor of Eastern European Jewish Studies