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JDC Archives Virtual Programs: Winter-Spring 2023

Please join us at our upcoming virtual programs!

The JDC Archives is offering an array of online public programs in the coming months. These events are listed below; please register for each one individually by clicking on its RSVP link. Recordings of past programs are available via our Public Programs Recordings page.

WEBINAR:

Fourth program in the JDC Archives Series Young Lives in Turmoil and Transformation: JDC’s Work with Children in the Twentieth Century
Aiding Their “Unfortunate Brethren”: The JDC’s Activities on Behalf of Eastern European Jewish Children, 1919-1929
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
12:00pm–1:30pm (Eastern)

The JDC offered crucial aid to Jewish children in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and the Soviet Union after World War I. JDC country directors, doctors, and social workers, concerned about the fate of Eastern European Jews, established programs on behalf of children whom they believed were the future of world Jewry. Drawing on JDC archival records, this presentation will consider such questions as: What was the JDC’s view of the needs and abilities of this population? How did they seek to address them? What dynamics and intellectual currents affected the way these JDC workers perceived local Jews and their attempts to aid them? How did the JDC understand and express their role as the “protectors” and “benefactors” of Eastern European Jewry?

Ethell Gershengorin is a Ph.D. candidate in Imperial Russian and Soviet History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Specifically, she works in the fields of gender and women’s history, material culture, and Jewish studies. This year, she is conducting research as a Rifkind Fellow at the Center for Jewish History in New York. Ethell is the recipient of the 2022 Max and Cecil (Steuer) Chesin / JDC Archives Fellowship. Her research in the JDC Archives deals with medical aid directed toward Jewish women and children in interwar Eastern Europe.

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WEBINAR:

From the Nile to the Tietê: Egyptian Jewish Immigration to Brazil, 1956-61
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
12:00pm-1:30pm (Eastern)

Following the 1956 Suez War between Egypt and Israel, the Egyptian government unleashed a wave of state antisemitism against the Egyptian Jewish community, including mass arrests, confiscations of businesses and property, loss of employment and citizenship, and expulsions. Due to this persecution, 36,000 Egyptian Jews emigrated during the next five years, approximately four-fifths of Egypt’s total Jewish population. Scholarship on this emigration has mainly focused on Israel, where nearly half of these emigrants resettled, as well as France and the United States, but has largely overlooked Brazil, the main destination of Egyptian Jews after Israel. This presentation will examine Egyptian Jewish immigration to Brazil from 1956 to 1961, exploring the reasons that prompted so many Egyptian Jews to immigrate to this country. Drawing on previously unexamined records in the JDC Archives, it will answer two questions. First, why did Brazil break with nearly two decades of antisemitic immigration restrictions, beginning with a secret ban on Jewish immigration first implemented in 1937, to welcome Egyptian Jews en masse? Second, why did so many Egyptian Jews choose to immigrate to Brazil, where they shared neither a common language nor religion, and which had not previously been a site of Egyptian Jewish immigration? In answering these questions, this presentation will contribute to the study of Middle Eastern Jewish immigration to Latin America during the second half of the twentieth century.

Dr. Michael Rom is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. In 2019, he completed a PhD in Latin American History at Yale University. He has also held research fellowships at the Center for Jewish History, the University of Cape Town, and the University of São Paulo. His scholarship has appeared in AJS Perspectives, Jewish Social Studies, and the Jewish Quarterly Review. He is a recipient of the 2022 Nathan and Sarah Chesin / JDC Archives Fellowship. His research in the JDC Archives examines the immigration of Egyptian Jews to São Paulo, Brazil.

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WEBINAR:

Hold the date for our April 27th webinar “Yiddishkeit and JDC’s support for Jewish Education in Communist Poland,” featuring Dr. Anna Sommer Schneider. This will be the fifth program in our series Young Lives in Turmoil and Transformation: JDC’s Work with Children in the Twentieth Century. Details to follow.