Rflections on the significance of Holocaust Memory in the 21st Century HUJ HUC Connect Judaism and history

HUC Connect On Demand opens the door to ongoing opportunities for learning with our renowned faculty and guest experts. In advance of the launch of our next season, we invite you to experience 40 inspiring, eye-opening, and thought-provoking sessions from Season One of HUC Connect. Below we highlight offerings from one of our HUC Connect themes: Judaism & History.




Reflections on the Significance of Holocaust Memory in the 21st Century


Sara J. Bloomfield, Director, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The Holocaust happened in another century and on another continent. Seventy-six years later, we live in a vastly different, rapidly changing world. Sara J. Bloomfield will speak about why the history and lessons of the Holocaust are not only timeless but timely, as we honor her with HUC’s highest humanitarian award, the Roger E. Joseph Prize.

The Roger E. Joseph Prize Lecture is sponsored by the Joseph Prize Endowment and the Joseph Family in memory of Roger E. Joseph, z"l.

"What does all this mean for our times? First, that after many centuries of various forms of antisemitism, it’s not an eradicable disease. Nor are racism and other forms of hate. So can we tackle the problem of indifference? Is that too ineradicable? We are all susceptible; we are all adept at rationalizing our actions and inactions. We too live in an era of unprecedented change…That’s why a historical perspective is important. Holocaust history reminds us of the vulnerabilities of human societies in times of rapid change. And we are facing an ever accelerating rate of change."


The World of the Cairo Genizah:
The Jews of Medieval Islam

Jennifer Grayson, Ph.D., Rabbi Aaron D. Panken Assistant Professor of Jewish History, HUC/Cincinnati, and Xavier University

For centuries, Jews in medieval Cairo deposited their used writings in their genizah, a storage chamber for sacred books that are no longer useable. Egypt’s dry climate ensured that over 200,000 manuscripts did not disintegrate. During the 19th century, the Cairo Genizah came to the attention of western scholars, and its discovery has revolutionized our understanding of medieval Jewish history. Explore how this treasure trove of documents can help to shed light on the everyday lives of the Jews of the medieval Islamic world.

"The Genizah Documents also give us insight into the lives of traveling Jewish merchants… In this letter, a Jewish trader on the Malabar Coast of India writes to his business partner in Aden, Yemen about the status of future shipments of pepper, iron, and silk. Because shipwrecks were common, and also to avoid oversaturating any given market, the merchant did not send all of his goods together at once on a single ship. Instead, like any prudent businessman, he tried to mitigate risk. He sent small quantities of goods on multiple ships. In doing so, according to this letter, he worked closely with business partners, agents, and ship owners from all different backgrounds, not just Jews, but Muslims and even Hindus."


Pilgrims and Prisoners:
Jews on the High Seas

Joshua Holo, Ph.D., Dean and Associate Professor of Jewish History, HUC/Los Angeles

Braving pirates and mother nature, medieval Jews pursued their business, communal, and religious interests by crossing the known world, at great risk and, at times, even greater reward. Voyage through time on the pilgrimages, explorations, and trade routes that shaped the medieval Jewish experience.

"The message we get here is attributed to Heschel – that Judaism is a religion of deed, not creed. Whatever you believe, if it doesn’t manifest itself in actions, then it’s not fully fulfilled. What I want to talk about with you today is what it means that “All Jews are responsible for one another” in terms of action… We’re going to give it a new translation…that all Jews are guarantors for one another. Which is to say that we stand responsible to guarantee each other’s wellbeing."


A Jewish Grand Tour: Should 'Travel' Become the Jewish Practice of Our Age?

Jeremy Leigh, Coordinator, Richard J. Scheuer Israel Seminar, HUC/Jerusalem

Despite having let go of the idea of pilgrimage over two thousand years ago, should traveling to sites of Jewish significance – in Europe and Israel – enter our practice as a way embedding connections across time and space? Are there, or could there be, a 'canon of places'? And by extension, is there is a 'canon of questions' to discuss when we get there?

"I want to mention a word about migration regarding the Jewish Bakery in Rome. I’ve chosen the picture of this delicacy because it’s about products that were used by the Jewish community in Sicily who came after being expelled from Rome. It’s no more than an artifact, and it tells a story about Jewish migration and home."


Stay tuned for more information about our next season!

For more information about Season One of HUC Connect, please visit our website.
Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  with any questions or comments.
Like what you see? Consider supporting our work.