Coronado Lectures

2015-2016 Mandelbaum Family Lecture Series

Coronado Public Library, 640 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118
More info: 858.362.1154


Previous Lectures in Coronado

Joellyn Zollman

Exodus! Leon Uris, Paul Newman, and American Zionism

Lecturer: Professor Joellyn Zollman, UCSD

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 • 10:30 A.M.
Coronado Public Library, 640 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118

American Jews are people of the book...and the film. Across the 20th century, popular culture has played an important role in American Jewish life, as cultural conversations about American Jewish identity developed on screen and in print. One of the most memorable and impactful of these conversations was brought to us by Leon Uris and Paul Newman. Exodus, the epic tale of the founding of the state of Israel, offered a vision of Zionism that resonated with American viewers. This talk examines the popularity of Exodus as a book and a film, and explores its effects on American Jewish identity and American Zionism.

Joellyn Zollman holds a Ph.D. in Jewish history from Brandeis University. She has worked with the Jewish material culture collections at the Smithsonian Institution, the Skirball Museum, and The American Jewish Historical Society. Locally, she has taught classes on Jewish history, American religion, and religious art and architecture at San Diego State University, UCSD, and the Center for Jewish Culture.

For Information: Katey Lindley (858) 362-1134

RSVP for Free Here

Alyssa Sepinwall

French Jews, Muslims and the State of Israel: New Perspectives

Lecturer: Professor Alyssa Sepinwall, CSUSM

Monday, April 20, 2016 • 7:00 P.M..
Coronado Library

Jews and Muslims in France are often discussed as groups who are eternally in conflict, especially over Mideast politics. The talk will offer an alternative view of Jewish-Muslim relations in France. First, it will offer a historical perspective on Muslim-Jewish relations in France, dating back to the nineteenth century. In addition, it will examine contemporary Franco-Jewish identity, and look at recent efforts at collaboration and exchange by French Jews and Muslims. The talk will have a special focus on recent films by French-Jewish filmmakers about Muslim-Jewish relations. Some of these films are set in France; others are set in Israel. The films share a desire to search for alternatives to conflict between Jews and Muslims, and to affirm France as a multicultural nation.

Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall received her Ph.D. in History and Jewish Studies from Stanford University. She is Professor of History at California State University – San Marcos. Her first book, The Abbé Grégoire and the French Revolution: The Making of Modern Universalism (UC Press, 2005), was a biography of a French revolutionary and priest who argued for emancipating Europe’s Jews. Dr. Sepinwall’s other writings include Haitian History: New Perspectives (Routledge, 2013), and numerous articles on French history, French-Jewish history, and Haitian history. In 2014-15, she was the winner of CSUSM’s Harry E. Brakebill Distinguished Professor Award, the university’s highest award, for the outstanding professor of the year.

For Information: Katey Lindley (858) 362-1134

risa levitt kohn

Reading the Bible in Exile: A Prophet's Take on the Exodus from Egypt

Lecturer: Professor Risa Levitt Kohn, SDSU

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 • 10:30 A.M.
Coronado Public Library, 640 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118

Ezekiel is the first biblical prophet since Moses to see visions of God outside of Israel. The prophet and his contemporaries, by virtue of their dislocation from Israel, had to rethink tradition in order to remap their newly formed communities. It is little surprise then that we see, among the exilic prophets especially, allusions to Israel’s first wandering and return with Moses and Pharaoh recast as “contemporary"" saviors and enslavers in a new context. We will explore the creative way in which the prophet casts his current audience as the exodus generation. The wandering and rebellion did not end for Ezekiel, as they do in Torah, upon entry into the land. The current exile does not simply recall the travails of the exodus from Egypt; instead, it is an extension of that initial event.

Dr. Risa Levitt Kohn is a professor of Hebrew Bible and Judaism at San Diego State University where she also serves as Chair of the Religious Studies department, the Classics & Humanities department and Director of the Jewish Studies Program. She is the 2015/16 recipient of the SDSU Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Faculty Contributions to the University, one of the highest faculty honors at San Diego State. Hers was the first Doctorate awarded from UC, San Diego in Ancient History and Hebrew Bible. Past president of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), Pacific Coast Region, she has also served as Chair of its Committee for the Status of Women in the Profession. Dr. Levitt Kohn's work includes A New Heart and a New Soul: Ezekiel, The Exile and the Torah (Sheffield Academic Press) and A Portable God, the Origin of Judaism and Christianity, co¬≠authored with Dr. Rebecca Moore (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007). She lectures extensively on subjects including the world of the Hebrew Bible, Jewish and Christian Origins, and Judaism. The SBL honored her with a national Regional Scholar Award. Levitt Kohn works closely with the Israel Antiquities Authority and has served as curator for Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibitions at the San Diego Natural History Museum (2007), The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (2008), the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada (2009) and the traveling exhibition “Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times,” which has appeared in New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Boston, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.

The Digital Battlefields: How New Media Have Transformed Conflict in the Middle East

Lecturer: Professor Ibrahim Al-Marashi, CSUSM

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 • 10:30 A.M.
Coronado Public Library, 640 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118

The world has been fascinated with how ISIS has used social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to communicate. This lecture contextualize how ISIS uses the media, within a great transformation of how new media have transformed Middle Eastern conflicts, from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to the Syrian civil war.

Ibrahim Al-Marashi is Assistant Professor of Middle East History at California State University San Marcos. His research deals with the modern history of Iraq. He is the co-author of Iraq’s Armed Forces: An Analytical History (Routledge, 2008). He obtained his D.Phil. at University of Oxford, completing a thesis on the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. He is an Iraqi-American who lived at various times in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Morocco, and Turkey, and has travelled extensively through the Middle East.

For Information: Katey Lindley (858) 362-1134

Claudia Tornsaufer

Mendelssohn, Music, and the Jews

Lecturer: Dr. Claudia Tornsaufer, SDCCD

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 • 10:30 A.M.
Coronado Public Library, 640 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118

This lecture reveals a man and a composer whose charming though complex personality and extraordinary talent gained him many friends and admirers. Dr. Claudia Tornsäufer sets the story of Mendelssohn against the background of the Jewish society in Berlin in the early nineteenth century, as revealed in Mendelssohn’s diaries, and letters, and in a great variety of his own sketches and watercolors made during his travels. Find out about his grandfather, Moses Mendelssohn, a respected philosopher in Frederick the Great’s Prussia, and about his son Abraham Mendelssohn’s decision of converting Felix to Christianity to adapt to the sociological issues of their times. The lecture will include his compositions and paintings that offer an insight to Mendelssohn’s perceptions of the world around him.

Born in Düsseldorf, Germany, Claudia Tornsäufer, Ed.D. earned two advanced degrees from the Robert-Schumann-Hochschule in Düsseldorf (Germany). In addition, she studied in Paris (France), and at the prestigious Mozarteum in Salzburg (Austria) on full scholarships. Claudia Tornsäufer received her Masters of Arts in Music in 1994 at San Diego State University. In 2013, Claudia completed a doctorate in Educational Leadership with a special focus on distance education at community colleges.

For Information: Katie Lindley (858) 362-1134

Aaron Gross

Food for Thought: Jewish Theology & Food Ethics in America

Lecturer: Professor Aaron Gross, USD

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 • 10:30 A.M.
Coronado Public Library, 640 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118

This lecture will explore how the Jewish community is and could be responding to the challenge of eating ethically in the age of the factory farm. Factory farms now raise 99% of the animals eaten by Americans, including those sold as kosher. How did this happen and how can Jewish values and Jewish thinkers help us respond? Drawing on Jewish resources you’d expect — like Tanakh, Talmudic teachings, Maimonides, and other classical Jewish thinkers — as well as contemporary Jewish thinkers you may be learning about for the first time — including novelist Jonathan Safran Foer and the eminent French philosopher, Jaques Derrida — this lecture and discussion will leave you more informed and more inspired!

Aaron S. Gross is a professor of Jewish studies at the University of San Diego and the founder and CEO of the animal protection group, Farm Forward. Gross recently received a grant that will support the creation of a new Jewish animal ethics initiative that will launch in 2016. He is the author of numerous academic publications including his brand new book, The Question of the Animal and Religion, published by Columbia University Press.

Deborah Hertz

Manya Shochat, The Mother of the Kibbuzim, and her Traveling Guns

Lecturer: Professor Deborah Hertz, UCSD

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 • 10:30 A.M.
Coronado Public Library, 640 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118

Manya Shochat was an outstanding personality of the Second Aliyah, which attracted several hundred young women to pursue agricultural labor in the communes which eventually emerged as the first kibbutzim. This lecture will bring us back to Manya's activities while still in Russia in the years 1902 and 1903, when she and her left-wing Zionist friends experimented with violent self-defense against pogromists. Then we will follow her to Palestine where she and her husband, Israel Shochat, channeled these same values and practices into the institutions of Labor Zionism.

Deborah Hertz holds the Herman Wouk Chair in Modern Jewish Studies at UCSD, where she has taught since 2004. She previously was on the faculty of the State University of New York at Binghamton and Sarah Lawrence College. She has been a visiting professor at the Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, and Harvard University. Her major books are Jewish High Society in Old Regime Berlin and How Jews Became Germans. This lecture is from her book-in-progress, Sailing to Utopia: Jewish Women Journeys from Odessa to Jaffa.


Mandelbaum Family Lectures on Jewish Studies (Coronado)
Friends, Romans, Countrymen… and Jews: Experiencing the Holocaust in Italy’s Capital

Lecturer: Gabrielle Orsi, Columbia University

April 22, 2015 • 10:30 A.M.
Coronado Public Library, 640 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118

In 1922, Europe’s original Fascists—Italy’s National Fascist Party seized power and Mussolini established a dictatorship that would last for more than 20 years. In 1938, racial laws were imposed on Italy’s Jewish population. After Mussolini’s regime collapsed in July 1943, Italy was invaded by his erstwhile Nazi allies from the north. In a bitter irony, ancient history had concentrated Italy’s Jewish communities in the northern half of the peninsula – as the Nazis conquered territory south all the way to Rome. Join Dr. Gabrielle Orsi to explore what happened next in Rome—declared an open city on August 14, 1943—as the Roman Jewish community faces this threat. She will present testimony, images, art, propaganda, and trace the life of one extraordinary Roman woman whose blockbuster novel History (La Storia) would portray the shocking events in Rome and serve as “an accusation of all the fascisms of the world” so potent that Franco would ban it in Spain.

Thomas Barton

Mandelbaum Family Lectures on Jewish Studies (Coronado)
The Battle Over Jews in Medieval Spain

Lecturer: Thomas Barton, USD

March 25, 2015 • 10:30 A.M.
Coronado Public Library, 640 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118

During the Middle Ages, the Christian-ruled kingdoms of Spain which contained significant populations of Jews and Muslims. These communities were permitted to reside as protected ethno-religious minorities with the free practice of religion and a few basic liberties in return for their commitment to serve as law-abiding members of society. Retaining these non-Christian groups was advantageous for the Christians since they possessed valuable skills and wealth. Over time, the Spanish monarchies started to lay claim for exclusive royal rights to lucrative prerogatives such as control over public order, the coinage of money, and jurisdiction over Jews.
In this talk, Tom Barton (PhD Yale University, 2006) will delve into the case of the Crown of Aragon, and explore how rival, non-royal jurisdictional entities contested this legal formulation in their effort to control, exploit, and protect the Jewish subjects living on their independent lands from encroachment by kings and their administrators and other threats.

Ibrahim al-Marahi

Mandelbaum Family Lectures on Jewish Studies (Coronado)
The Spanish Past and the Modern Middle East

Lecturer: Ibrahim al-Marashi

February 18, 2015 • 10:30 A.M.
Coronado Public Library, 640 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118

How are Convivencia and the Inquisition remembered in both modern Spain and Middle Eastern states? What happened to the Sephardic communities in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, why do terrorist groups want to reconquer Andalusia, and how does Muslims Spain figure in TV soap operas in Syria? This and more will be included in this fascinating lecture.

Joellyn Zollman

Mandelbaum Family Lectures on Jewish Studies (Coronado)
It's Deli-cious! A Historical Exploration of American Jews and Delicatessen

Lecturer: Joellyn Zollman, UCSD

January 14, 2015 • 10:30 A.M.
Coronado Public Library, 640 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118

This lecture will explore the historical relationship between American Jews and American delis. The lecture looks at how American Jews came to be associated with delis, how American Jewish delis have changed over time, and what the deli's purpose and meaning has been to American Jewish identity and American Jewish life.

Supporting the Mandelbaum Lectures on Jewish Studies will ensure the continuation of this lecture series.
For more information, please contact Katey Lindley at or 858.362.1154.

Former program of the Agency for Jewish Education,
co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of San Diego County.