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Middle East Forum



Eizenstat Ruth and Phil Sokolof Lecture 2013

Ruth and Phil Sokolof Lecture 2013 Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstadt has served in senior leadership positions in three U.S. administrations, including as Chief Domestic Policy Adviser in the Carter Administration, and Under Secretary of State, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and as U.S. Ambassador to the European Union in the Clinton Administration. He has played a leadership role in the Jewish community, most recently as the co-chairman of the Jewish People Policy Institute in Jerusalem. He successfully negotiated major agreements totaling over $8 billion with Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France and other European countries on behalf of victims of the Holocaust and Nazi regime during World War II. His book on those events, Justice: Looted Assets, Slave Labor, and the Unfinished Business of World War II, was translated into four languages. He hasreceived seven honorary doctorate degrees and more than 100 awards from organizations and from the United States, French, German, Austrian, Belgium, and Israeli governments. His current book is The Future of the Jews: How Global Forces are Impacting the Jewish People, Israel, and Its Relationship with the United States.


barneaSchwalb Center to Host Talk by Israeli scientist Gilad Barnea

Israeli scientist Dr. Gilad Barnea is visiting Omaha.  On April 16 at 7PM, at UNO in Arts and Sciences Hall Room 306, he will give a talk titled "Academics Without Borders:  Israeli Scientists in the United States."  The talk is organized by the Schwlab Center for Israel and Jewish studies.  It is free and open to the public

Dr. Barnea is a molecular and cellular neurobiologist with a research laboratory at Brown University.  He is a graduate of Hebrew University in Jerusalem who completed his Ph.D. at New York University. As a postdoctoral scientist at Columbia University, Dr. Barnea worked with the Nobel Laureate Richard Axel.  In 2009, he received the prestigious EUREKA grant from the National Institutes of Health.  The focus of his research is how the olfactory system detects and identifies odor stimuli and how this information is translated into behavioral outputs.

The topic of Dr. Barnea's talk is Israeli scientists in the United States.  Two-thirds of all Israeli scientists live and work abroad.   There are many Israeli scientists in academic institutions throughout the United States.  This is by no means unusual, as scientists from around the world are trained and find employment in United States' research institutions.   Dr. Barnea will be speaking as an Israeli whose universities have produced groundbreaking scholars across a wide number of fields, but also as a member of an international research community where national borders are often blurred or nonexistent.  To quote Dr. Anna Dunaevsky, an Israeli neuroscientist who is an Associate Professor with the Munroe-Meyer Institute at UNMC:  "When you visit graduate scientific research centers in the United States and Nebraska specifically, it is more like visiting the United Nations.  We all work alongside fellow scientists from Asia and Europe.  In my own lab, there are post-docs and graduate students from India and South Korea."

Responding to Dr. Barnea's talk will be another Israeli scientist who lives and works in Omaha.  Dr. Steve Caplan is an Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UNMC, the author of  "Matter Over Mind" and "Welcome Home, Sir," as well as being a regular contributor the Guardian newspaper on issues of international science (   Steve and his wife Dr. Naava Naslavsky, an Assistant Professor in the same department at UNMC, both earned their doctoral degrees from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

For further information about Dr. Barnea's talk, contact Dr. Curtis Hutt, Special Program Coordinator of the Schwalb Center at, or 402-554-3175.

open houseSchwalb Center Open House April 22

The Schwalb Center is planning an Open House at its new location on the UNO campus: Arts and Sciences Hall, Suite 200. The Open House and Reception will be held on Monday, April 22, 5-7 PM. The event will be a wonderful opportunity for the community to celebrate the establishment of the new home of the Center. Guests will be able to meet the Center's staff, faculty and Board members and learn about future plans and programs.

Established in 2009, The Schwalb Center for Israel & Jewish studies' mission is to create, coordinate, and promote an interdisciplinary program focusing on teaching and scholarship in Jewish and Israeli history, politics, culture and society. Our primary goal is to expand knowledge about Judaism and Israel, both on university campus and in the broader Nebraska community, and we seek to promote and facilitate collaborative scholarship (teaching and research) with academic institutions in Israel.

"The Schwalb Center is the brainchild of Natan and Hannah Schwalb", says Dr. Moshe Gershovich, Director of the Schwalb Center since August 2012. "They envisioned a vibrant Center to create and offer classes, lectures and other activities related to Israel and Judaism at UNO. This vision has now become a reality thanks to the support of the Jewish Federation of Omaha and a number of individuals and families in our community and beyond."

With the continued support of donors, the Center has been offering a variety of lectures such as our annual Phil and Ruth Sokolof Lecture Series, which brings to Omaha internationally renown speakers. The Center has a core of ten UNO faculty members from different departments in the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Fine Arts who teach classes related to Israel and the Middle East as well as Judaic Studies.

When asked about the new location of the Center, Schwalb expressed his "appreciation to UNO, its Chancellor John Christensen, and David Boocker, Dean of the College of Arts and Science, for accommodating our Center in this spacious and most suitable environment."

The Arts and Science Hall is located on the northeastern corner of the main UNO campus, on 60th and Dodge Streets. It is accessible from Dodge Street. If you arrive from West Omaha, turn right just before the pedestrian overpass connecting Elmwood Park with Memorial Park. If you come from Downtown Omaha, turn right at the service road in front of Memorial Park. You can park at any empty spot on the covered parking structure next to Arts and Science Hall (Lots U and T). Entry to these lots costs $2 at the gate. For further information on parking, see map at For all other questions and to RSVP, call Stephanie Mueller at 402-554-3175,