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Uprooted: New Perspectives on Jewish Refugees and Migrants after the Second World War
April 30, 2014

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30, 2014 | 8pm
This program has passed. There will be no video or audio available for this event.

Natalia Aleksiun, Touro College; Orit Bashkin, University of Chicago; Peter Beinart (Moderator), CUNY; Avinoam Patt, University of Hartford; Ori Yehudai, CJH

Admission: General - $10 | YIVO, ASF, CJH, LBI members, seniors and students - $7
Box Office: | 212.868.4444

The events surrounding the end of World War II and the establishment of the State of Israel prompted mass migrations of Jews. Hundreds of thousands of refugees moved across borders in Europe and in the Middle East, trying to return to homes they had been forced to leave or heading for new destinations. What was the meaning of home for Jews displaced during this period? How did the experience of displacement impact the choices these Jews made throughout their lives? Journalist Peter Beinart leads a discussion with four other panelists about this dramatic period, bringing together the experiences of Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Jewish migrants in Eastern Europe, Allied-occupied Germany and Israel.

This program is presented by YIVO, American Sephardi Federation, Center for Jewish History, and the Leo Baeck Institute.


Natalia Aleksiun is Associate Professor of Modern Jewish History at the Graduate School of Jewish Studies at Touro College and Assistant Professor at the Polish Academy of Sciences Institute of History in Warsaw. A native of Wroclaw, Poland, Professor Aleksiun is a past fellow of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, and the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe. Among other projects, she has studied the daily life of Galician Jews in hiding during World War II and the work of Eastern European historians before the Holocaust.

Orit Bashkin is Associate Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History at the University of Chicago, where she has taught since 2004. She is the author of several scholarly books on the modern Middle East, including Sculpturing Culture in Egypt: Cultural Planning, National Identity and Social Change in Egypt, 1890-1939 (Ramot Press) and The Other Iraq – Pluralism, Intellectuals and Culture in Hashemite Iraq (Stanford University Press). Professor Bashkin has received numerous recognitions for her research and teaching, including prizes from Princeton University, the University Chicago, and the National Forum on the Future of Liberal Education.

Peter Beinart (Moderator) is the author of The Crisis of Zionism (Times Books) and The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris (Harper Perennial) and edited the Daily Beast blog Open Zion from 2012-2013. A former senior editor of The New Republic, he is also Associate Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York and a Schwartz Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation.

Avinoam Patt is the Philip D. Feltman Professor of Modern Jewish History at the Maurice Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Hartford, where he is also Director of the Museum of Jewish Civilization. He is the author of Finding Home and Homeland: Jewish Youth and Zionism in the Aftermath of the Holocaust (Wayne State University Press) and co-editor of We Are Here: New Approaches to a Study of Jewish Displaced Persons (Wayne State University Press).

Ori Yehudai is a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Jewish History whose research focuses on modern Jewish and Israeli history, with particular emphasis on migration and displacement. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2013, and has been awarded fellowships by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Israel Institute in Washington, DC, and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. His doctoral dissertation, which dealt with Jewish out-migration from Palestine and Israel between 1945 and 1960, was commended for the Fraenkel Prize for outstanding work of twentieth-century history, awarded by the Wiener Library in London. He is currently writing a book based on his dissertation.

Venue: YIVO Institute at the Center for Jewish History  |  15 West 16th Street - NYC   view map

For directions and parking information, click here.

All public programs are wheelchair accessible. A limited number of assistive listening devices are available for deaf and hard of hearing individuals upon request.