Judaism and popular culture
Symposium: Sun Feb 24 - Sun Mar 2;
various times Rosenfield Center 101
Grinnell's Jewish student organization Chalutzim will sponsor a symposium on "Judaism and Popular Culture" with speakers throughout the week of Feb. 24.
Speakers will offer perspectives on the portrayal of the Jewish faith, culture, ethnicity, and historical experience through theatre, television, film, and literature in mainstream America.
The student-organized symposium schedule includes:
- Sunday, Feb. 24, 3 p.m.
- Robert Skloot, a member of the theatre and drama faculty at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, will discuss "A Multiplicity of Annes: Theatrical Portrayals of Anne Frank." Skloot, whose research focuses on contemporary drama, the Holocaust and genocide, has served as a Fulbright professor of drama in Israel, Austria, and Chile.
- Monday, Feb. 25, 4:15 p.m.
- Henry Bial, a member of the theatre faculty at University of Kansas, will share theatrical history views in "From John Garfield to Jon Stewart: The Mainstreaming of Jewish-American Pop Culture." The author of "Acting Jewish: Negotiating Ethnicity on the American Stage and Screen," Bial is vice-president for advocacy of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education.
- Tuesday, Feb. 26, 4:15 p.m.
- Rabbi Elliot Gertel will discuss "Recent Television on Who Jews Are," the topic of his book "Over the Top Judaism," about the depiction of Judaism in film and television. Rabbi Gertel has been a spiritual leader in the Chicago area for more than 20 years.
- Wednesday, Feb. 27, 4:15 p.m.
- Playwright Steve Feffer will present "Judas the Maccabeas: Confessions of a Jewish Playwright," comparing the portrayal of Blacks and Jews in popular media. Feffer, who is an assistant professor of playwriting and contemporary drama at Western Michigan University, has won a number of national playwriting awards from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture and the Jewish Endowment for the Humanities.
- Sunday, Mar. 2, 3 p.m.
- Screenwriter Joanne Koch will conclude the program with "Outrageous Women Facing New Worlds," which will examine the lives of women who held onto their faith while pursuing unconventional paths. Koch has won awards for her screenwriting and 10 plays produced around the country. She teaches writing at National-Louis University and Northwestern University.
The "Judaism and Popular Culture" symposium is sponsored by Chalutzim, which holds religious services on the Grinnell campus and sponsors interfaith educational and cultural programming; the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs; the Office of Multicultural Affairs; and the Departments of Religious Studies, Sociology, and Theatre and Dance.
All symposium events, which are free and open to the public, will be held in the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101. For more information, contact Chalutzim or Rabbi Daveen Litwin, 641-269-4981.