Dear campus community,
I invite you to celebrate and learn about the Jewish culture during May 2022. First established as Jewish American Week in 1980, and later officially named in the United States by President George W. Bush as Jewish Heritage Month in 2006, this time allows us all to learn about the valuable contributions and current issues affecting Jewish people across the globe. Findings from a 2020 Orange County Hate Crime report that there was a disturbing 114% rise in anti-Semitic hate incidents and that 11% of hate crimes were motivated by anti-Semitism further underscores our need to come together as a community to invest the time and activism to support Jewish members and to learn more about the faith, culture and people who have contributed so much to American society.
I encourage you to participate in several activities below and the ongoing offerings throughout the year to honor and learn more about Jewish American history and contributions.
- May 10 at 10 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Eastern time - When Rabbis Bless Congress: The Great American Story of Jewish Prayers on Capitol Hill - Sponsored by the National Archives, this online program examines the 160-year history of Jewish prayers delivered at Congress. RSVP required for viewing link.
- May 10 at 7 p.m. - A Holocaust Survivor Shares His Story of Survival, Resilience, and Hope - UCI Student Center Pacific Ballroom - Dr. Joseph Eisenbach - born in Lodz, Poland, was one of a few members of his large family to survive the Holocaust. Dr. Eisenbach’s story provides a rare opportunity to hear from someone who has survived one of history’s most horrific examples of state violence, to be an esteemed dentist and health practitioner, living a life of resilience and hope. Sponsored by the Rohr Chabad at UCI. RSVP required. Free for students; general admission is $10.
- May 12 at 4 p.m. - Join the Building Community to Confront Extremism Talks - In-person at UCI Student Center Pacific Ballroom D. Includes reception and brief TED-style talks from UCI faculty and staff leaders on strategies to address extremist ideologies and promote social justice and care in our communities. RSVP and additional information.
- May 18 at 4 p.m. - "Redrawing the Mediterranean: Dora Gad's yam tikhoniut" A Talk by Chelsea Haines - In-person at 1030 Humanities Gateway - Dora Gad was responsible for developing what came to be regarded as a quintessentially Israeli aesthetic in her interior designs. Through the strategic use of local materials, national art and artifacts, and international design principles, she produced a Mediterranean-Israeli aesthetic for projects at the nexus of international leisure and Israeli diplomacy, leading designs of the Hilton and HaSharon hotels in Israel, ZIM cruise ships, and El Al Airline planes with the same dedication to Mediterranean form as her work on the Knesset, Israel Museum, and Israel Embassy in Washington D.C. Sponsored by the UCI Center for Jewish Studies. RSVP
- May 26 at 12 p.m. - Virtual dialogue about the film Who We Are with executive producer Jeffery Robinson, a former national ACLU legal educator. This virtual event is sponsored by the Office of Inclusive Excellence, the Orange County Human Relations Commission and the UCI BioSci Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. View the film Who We Are from May 21-27. RSVP for the dialogue and REGISTER NOW FOR FILM LINKS to the film screening. (Film links will be emailed to those on the interest list closer to the screening date).
- View the Free Speech spotlight and other offerings from the National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. With public programming for students, faculty, staff and community members around the globe, the Center hosts online and in-person programs on a range of free speech and engagement issues. A past online program - "Is Academic Freedom Under Siege?" - features Professor Sigal Ben-Porath (Tel Aviv University), and other colleagues discussing practices that highlight issues of culture and identify.
- Visit the UCI Libraries exhibit: Snapshots of Orange County in the 1940s: Spaces, Faces, and Places - UCI Langson Library until mid-October 2022. This is a complementary exhibit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office's traveling exhibition, Americans and the Holocaust. The current exhibit explores the cultural, economic, and political landscape of Orange County from its inception through World War II. Free and viewable during regular Library hours.
- Earlier this year, UCI Libraries displayed Americans and the Holocaust, a traveling exhibition from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum that examines the motives, pressures and fears that shaped Americans’ responses to Nazism, war and genocide in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s. The exhibit comprised a series of recorded special events, including a discussion with Deborah Lipstadt of her latest book, Antisemitism: Here and Now, a captivating analysis of current political trends that bolster prejudice and hostility towards Jews in today’s world.
Thank you for your consideration and commitment to enhance learning during Jewish Heritage Month.
Douglas M. Haynes, Ph.D. (Pronouns: he/him/his)
Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Chief Diversity Officer
Director, ADVANCE Program
Professor of History