Institute Conferences


Since its founding in 1983, the Institute for Judaic Studies of the Pacific Northwest has sponsored a number of Institute Conferences. These were held on Portland-area college campuses and involved leaing scholars from all over the world discussing a specific theme.


2010 Sholem Aleichem Conference [click HERE for program]
        presented by IJS, Congregation Neveh Shalom, and Reed College.
Speakers: Aliza Shevrin, Joseph Butwin, Natan Meir, Marat Grinberg, Frederike Heuer,
        and George Lederer
Sholem Aleichem (1859-1916) is regarded as the most popular and beloved of Yiddish writers. He composed stories, novels and plays that captured life in the shtetl, the traditional Jewish village in Eastern Europe. The writer, born Solomon Rabinovitz, (Sholem Aleichem was a penname) grew up in the Ukrainian town of Pereyaslavl. Although he studied Hebrew, the sacred and literary language of Jews, in school, he spoke Yiddish at home. At the outbreak of World War I, Sholem Aleichem escaped with his family to Copenhagen and then to the United States. He died in 1916. His funeral procession brought 150,000 mourners onto the streets of New York City. It took another three years for the first successful production of his work, a performance of Tevye der Milhiker (Tevye the Milkman), the story later made into Fiddler on the Roof.

2007 The Impact of the Emigres from the Former Soviet Union on the United States and Israel. Speakers: Professor Zvi Gitelman, Professor William Korey

2005 Rashi: 900th Yahrzeit. Speakers: Professor Ephraim Kanarfogel, Professor Martin Lokshin

2001 Yehuda Amichai: A Celebration of His Life, Career and Poetry. Speakers: David Biespiel, Chana Bloch, Tess Gallagher, Chana Kronfeld, Gary Miranda, Nikolai Popov

1999 The World of the Yeshiva. Speakers: Professor William Helmreich, Professor Allan Nadler, Rabbi Elijah Schochet, Professor Shaul Stampfer

1993 The Nobility of Rescue: The Scandinavian Response to the Holocaust. Speakers: Reverend Douglas Huneke, Dr. Steven Koblik, Honorable Arne Melchior, Professor Pearl Oliner, Professor Anders MacGregor Thunnel

1992 1492: From Iberia to America. Speakers: Stephen Birmingham, Professor Jane Gerber, Dr. Stanley M. Hordes, Professor Mark Meyerson

1991 East-European Jewry: Then and Now 1890-1990. Speakers: Professor Gershon Hundert, Professor Anita Norich, Dr. Samuel Norich

1990 Between Athens and Jerusalem: Reason and Faith in Conflict. Speakers: Professor David Winston, Professor Steven J. Zipperstein, Dr. Yitzchak Kerem

1989 From Powerlessness to Power: Israel and Japan 1948-1988. Speakers: Professor David Biale, Professor David Goodman, Professor Arthur Hertzberg, Professor Robert Ozaki, Professor Kenneth Pyle

1988 Islam and Judaism: 1400 Years of Shared Values. Speakers: Professor William Brinner, Imam A.M. Khattab, Professor Azim A. Nanji, Professor Norman Stillman, Professor Steven Wasserstrom

1987 Martin Buber: A Life of Dialogue. Speakers: Professor Michael Fishbane, Professor Paul Mendes-Flohr, Professor Maurice Friedman, Professor Donald Moore, Professor Virginia Shabatay

1986 Vienna of Herzl and Freud: Fin de Siecle. Speakers: Professor Steven Aschheim, Professor Alessandra Comini, Professor Rudolf Ekstein, Professor Ottomar Rudolf, Professor David Schlff

1985 The Sephardim: A Cultural Journey from Spain to the Pacific Northwest. Speakers: Rabbi Marc Angel, Professor Robert I. Burns, Rabbi Sheldon Donnell, Professor David Romey, Professor Benjamin Gampel, Lauren Pomerantz, Cantor Isaac Azose

1984 Prayer and Politics: Twin Poles of Abraham Joshua Heschel. Speakers: Rabbi Samuel Dresner, Professor Susannah Heschel, Pinchas Peli