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Contact: Thomas McLaughlin
E-mail: tmclaugh@cougar.kean.edu

Jewish Studies Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Keeping with the tradition that has made it a success, the Jewish Studies Program at Kean University will mark its 10th anniversary with a series of thought-provoking and inspirational lectures. The series addresses the theme, The Bystander in a Post-Holocaust World.

Gov. Thomas H. Kean will present an address, entitled Reflections on Injustices, Moral Apathy and Rallied Conscience, on Monday, April 7, at 8 p.m. in Downs Hall. Kean will explore the social implications of Holocaust education against the backdrop of his father’s memorable U.S. Congress speech about the Holocaust in 1943 and his own service to the nation leading the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. This investigation into the 9/11 attacks is widely considered the most important independent commission since the Warren Commission. Gov. Kean has received numerous honors and awards, including recognition by Newsweek magazine as one of the America’s most effective state leaders.

“In an era of political violence and a mysterious world silence, there are few political leaders whose dedication to social justice has been, over the years, constant, bold and inspiring,” said Dr. Dennis B. Klein, a professor in Kean’s Department of History and director of the university’s Jewish Studies Program. “Gov. Kean is surely one, and we are fortunate to provide a forum for his considerable views on the subject.”

The 10th anniversary will also feature a host of other events throughout the spring semester. An exhibition by documentary photojournalist Ryan Spencer Reed, entitled Sudan: The Cost of Silence, will be on display from March 26 through May 18 in the Center for Academic Success Gallery. An opening reception will be held on Wednesday, April 2, at 6 p.m. in the gallery, followed by a lecture at 8 p.m. in CAS, Room 106.

Reed’s unforgettable images capture social displacement and assault in Darfur, southern Sudan, Chad and Kenya. In his lecture, Reed will explore the fraught role of the media in defining and documenting social crisis in the age of genocide. Traveling on several occasions to the south of Sudan and to Darfur, Reed has documented in detail the mass exodus of refugees to eastern Chad. Since 2004 his work has been on display throughout the United States.

Other events this semester include a screening of Amen, a film directed by Constantin Costa-Gavras which explores silence and action during the Holocaust era. Amen will be shown on April 9, at 5 p.m. in the University Center Little Theatre. A free screening of the film Sweet Mud, winner of the Israeli Film Academy’s award for Best Picture, which probes the dark side of the kibbutzim movement, will be shown on May 4, at 2 p.m. in the Kean Hall Conference Center. Admission to each film screening is a $5 voluntary donation at the door. The series is cosponsored by the Jewish Faculty and Staff Association.

For the past decade, the Jewish Studies Program at Kean University has uniquely emphasized the Jewish cultural interaction with the larger world. Currently, 26 faculty members, representing 12 disciplines, offer 13 core courses and 14 electives for undergraduates and six courses for graduate students. In addition, the program organizes public events each month during the academic year. These events include lectures and performances featuring nationally and internationally recognized scholars, critics at large, and interpreters of the arts. Jewish Studies has welcomed a total of 50 speakers since its inception.

“We are proud of this longstanding service to the University and the central New Jersey community,” said Klein. For more information on the Jewish Studies Program and events, contact Dr. Dennis Klein at dklein@kean.edu.