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2012.10.08 > For Immediate Release
contact: Charley Reed - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2129 - email: cdreed@unomaha.edu

Sokolof Lecture Series to Focus on Connections Between Jews, African-Americans During Civil Rights Movement

Omaha - Author and lecturer Stephen Berk is the featured speaker for the latest entry in the Ruth and Phil Sokolof Lecture Series, which will be held at the Thompson Center at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). The presentation will focus on the connections between Jews and African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement.

Berk, the Henry and Sally Schaffer Professor of Holocaust and Jewish Studies at Union College in New York, is considered an expert in the field of Jewish Studies. He has received the Holocaust Memorial Award from the Holocaust Survivors and Friends Education Center and been named an Israel Hero by the Jewish Educational Resources of New York.

The lecture, which is sponsored in part by UNO’s Natan and Hannah Schwalb Center for Israel and Jewish Studies, will take place Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Berk’s presentation, titled “Our People Are Your People: American Jewry and the Struggle for Civil Rights 1954-1965,” attempts “to dispel the myths and misunderstandings that surround the relationship between African-Americans and Jews” in the United States, according to statement from the author.

“I am excited to hear Dr. Berk speak again,” said Gary Javitch, a Schwalb Advisory Board member. “I heard him several years ago at an Omaha event and was very impressed with his knowledge of his subject and the way he presented it. He was both articulate and eloquent. I learned quite a bit.”

In addition to his teaching work, Berk is the author of “Year of Crisis, Year of Hope: Russian Jewry and the Pogroms of 1881-1882” and has been a consultant to the Wiesenthal Holocaust Center in Los Angeles.

“I was blown away with his knowledge and analysis of world events as they affected Jewish history before and during World War II,” said Hannah Schwalb, co-founder of the Schwalb Center with her husband Natan, both of whom traveled with Berk to Eastern Europe over the summer. “Professor Berk is a most engaging and animated lecturer, always challenging your way of thinking as he blends his sense of humor into his lecture. It was a very rewarding and unforgettable learning experience.”

In addition to the UNO Schwalb Center, the UNO College of Arts and Sciences, Rich and Fran Juro, The Jewish Federation of Omaha and the University of Nebraska Foundation are sponsoring the Sokolof Lecture.

Due to limited seating, RSVP by Oct. 25 is suggested to Stephanie Mueller at slmueller@unomaha.edu.

For further information about the 2012 Sokolof Lecture, contact Moshe Gershovich, professor of history and director of the Schwalb Center, at mgershovich@unomaha.edu or by phone at 402.554.3175.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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