Conference Recordings

Jews in the Americas - A Hybrid Interdisciplinary Conference

On April 18th & 19th, 2024, the Center of Global & International Studies and the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Kansas, hosted the 2024 Jews in the Americas Conference. This interdisciplinary conference will bring together scholars from a variety of fields, including history, religion, sociology, politics, anthropology, literature, and the arts, to explore the rich and diverse experiences of Jews in the Americas. The conference includes online panels of original research on Yiddish in South America, Israel related connections, Jewish art, culture, and identity, Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews, Speculative fiction, Jewish women, Antisemitism, Jewish education and pedagogy.
The University of Kansas Jews in the Americas Conference

Welcome remarks

Panel 1

Panel chair: Dr. RB Perelmutter, University of Kansas (USA)


  • Dr. William Pimlott, University of London (UK): “Yiddish South America and the Futures of Global Yiddishland: Argopteyl and its International Reception” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. Michael Rom, Harvard University (USA): “Press Politics: Polish Jewish Cultural Activists in Postwar Brazil” (Presentation in English)
  • Mr. Ernesto Honigsberg, Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil),“Trajectory and Production of Yiddish Artists in 20th Century São Paulo” (presentation in English)

Panel 2

Panel chair: Dr. Rami Zeedan, University of Kansas (USA)


  • Dr. Gal Levy, Open University of Israel (Israel): “Are Jews White Folks? Diversity and Political Activism Among American Jewry” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. Nitai Shinan, Israeli National and University Library (Israel): “Twin Nations – The Beginning and Development of the ‘Special Relationship’ Between Israel and Costa Rica an the Contribution of the Jewish Community to its Success” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. Avi Shilon, Tel-Hai College (Israel): “Hillel Kook in America: What Can We Learn From His Story About the Status of the Jews in the U.S During the 1940s” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. Moria Ran, Brandeis University (USA): “JOFA and the Formation of a New Female Religious Identity: The Intersection Between Feminism and Modern-Orthodox Judaism in The Last Half-Century in the USA” (Presentation in English)

Keynote - Dr. Sarah Imhoff, Indiana University, Bloomington

Sarah Imhoff is the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Chair in Jewish Studies and Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and the Borns Jewish Studies Program at Indiana University, Bloomington. She writes about religion and the body with a particular interest in gender, sexuality, race, and disability. She is author of Masculinity and the Making of American Judaism (Indiana University Press, 2017) and The Lives of Jessie Sampter: Queer, Disabled, Zionist (Duke University Press, 2022) and, with Susannah Heschel, The Woman Question in Jewish Studies  (Princeton University Press, forthcoming 2025). She is the founding co-editor of the journal American Religion.

Panel 3

Panel chair: Dr. Samuel Brody, University of Kansas (USA)


  • Mr. João Gabriel Covolan Silva, Scuola Normale Superiore (Italy): “Portuguese Jews and New Christians as Commercial and Cultural Brokers Between the Americas and Italy: A Methodological Survey” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. Armin Langer, University of Florida (USA): “Navigating Exile: Spanish and Jewish Refugee Artists in Trujillo’s Dominican Republic” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. David M. K. Sheinin, Trent University (Canada): “Boxing and Modernity in Argentina and Canada” (Presentation in English)
  • Mr. Gideon Remez, Hebrew University in Jerusalem (Israel): “A Real-Life Immigrant Hero Behind American Superhero Comics” (Presentation in English)

Panel 4

Panel chair: Dr. Henry Bial, University of Kansas (USA)


  • Dr. Chana R. Kotzin, independent scholar: “Braided identities; Buffalo Jews on the Niagara Frontier” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. David Katzman and Dr. Andria Weis, independent scholars: “Beyond Delancey Street: Small-Town Jewish Midwestern Life” (Presentation in English)
  • Mr. Jonah Greene, The University of Kansas (USA): “Hair That Screams: Jew: Staging the ’Good’ Contemporary Jewish American in Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews” (Presentation in English
  • Dr. Alex Tepperman, University of Winnipeg (Canada): “White Picket Fencers: Jews and Suburban Crime in Post War North America” (Presentation in English)

Panel 5

Panel chair: Dr. Mechele Leon, University of Kansas (USA)


  • Dr. Merav Bellaiche, Bar Ilan University (Israel): “The Place and Status of Sephardic-Oriental Jewish Women Among Their Communities in New York at the Beginning of the 20th Century” (Presentation in English)
  • Ms. Adriana Bialski, Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil): “De Beirute e Sidon a São Paulo (1900 - 1930): Uma Proposta de Patrimonialização da Memória Judaica / From Beirut and Sidon to São Paulo (1900 - 1930): A Proposal for the Jewish Memory Heritagization” (presentation in Portuguese)
  • Ms. Shirley Nigri Farber, independent scholar: “Jews of Lebanon Immigration to Brazil the Tale of My Families Chattah and Nigri” (Presentation in English)

Panel 6

Panel chair: Dr. Luciano Tosta, University of Kansas (USA)


  • Valerie Estelle Frankel, Mission College and San Jose City College (USA): “A Rabbi and a Pirate Make a Magical World… Considering South American Sephardic Children’s Fantasy” (Presentation in English)
  • Akiva Hoffman, independent scholar: “The Long Conversation: Far Future Talmud in Benjamin Rosenbaum's The Unraveling” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. R.B. Lemberg Perelmutter, the University of Kansas (USA):”The Queer Speculation of Indecent and the Jewish American Utopia as an Iterative Process” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. Bogi Perelmutter, the University of Kansas (USA): ”Rediscovering William Sleator as a Jewish Author” (Presentation in English)

Panel 7

Panel chair: Rebecca A. Kobrin, Columbia University (USA)


  • Dr. Aleksandra Jakubczak, Harvard University (USA): "Fake Ksuves and Passports to America: Polish Jews Circumventing Immigration Restrictions in the 1920s" (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. Geraldine Gudefin, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel): "In the Shadow of the Law: East European Jewish Women’s Strategies Against Gender-based Abuse in the Early-20th Century United States" (Presentation in English)
  • Ms. Lelia Stadler, Columbia University (USA): "Divorce Papers: Jewish Divorce in Interwar Migration from Poland to Argentina" (Presentation in English)

Panel 8

Panel chair: Dr. Rami Zeedan, University of Kansas (USA)


  • Dr. Zohar Segev, University of Haifa (Israel): “Israel and the Jewish Diaspora After the Establishment of the State: The American Jewish Perspective” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. Gilad Halpern, University of Haifa (Israel): “Covering Israel 'en Famille': The international Edition of the 'Palestine Post'” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. Hagar Lahav, Sapir Academic College (Israel): “On NonReligious Jewish Believers” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. Elazar Ben-Lulu, Ariel University (Israel): “A Queer Promised Land: LGBTQ+ Jewish Immigration to Israel” (Presentation in English)

Panel 9

Panel chair:  Dr. Luciano Tosta, The University of Kansas (USA)


  • Dr. Lorena Ojeda-Davila, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo (Mexico): “La Cultura Judeo Mexicana a Través de la Obra Artística de Tere Metta / Mexican Jewish Culture Through the Artistic Work of Tere Metta” (Presentation in Spanish)
  • Mr. Octávio Augusto F. Soares, Federal University of Goiás (Brazil): “Beyond Borders: Clarice Lispector's Literary Consecration and the Erasure of Jewish Identity in the Americas” (Presentation in Portuguese)
  • Ms. Mira-Briana Haydu, University of Kansas (USA): “Brazilian History or Jewish History? Examining Moacyr Scliar’s The Strange Nation of Rafael Mendes Through a Historiographic Lens” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. Mauricio Dimant, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel): “Israel's Tech Turn and Its Impact on Latin American Jewish Diaspora Relations’” (Presentation in Spanish)

Panel 10

Panel chair:  Dr. Samuel Brody, The University of Kansas (USA)


  • Ms. Amalia S. Levi, Bonn University (Germany): “RecordKeeping Dependencies in the Caribbean: Locating the Enslaved in Sephardic Households in Barbados” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. KB Dennis Meade, Northwestern University (USA): “The Intimate Paradoxes of Freedom: Jewish Slaveholding in 18th and 19th century Jamaica” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. Natalia da Silva Perez, Erasmus University (Netherlands): “Strategies of Autonomy Across the Atlantic” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. Sophie Rose, University of Tubingen (Germany) : “The Intimate Economy of Slavery and Jewish Family Life in the Eighteenth-century Dutch Caribbean” (Presentation in English)

Keynote - Dr. Lyslei Nascimento, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil

Lyslei Nascimento is a Full Professor of Literature Theory & Comparative Literature at the Faculty of Letters of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), where she works in Literature Theory, Comparative & Jewish Literature. PhD in Letters: Comparative Literature from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Post-Doctorate from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), Argentina, & the University of São Paulo (USP). Publisher of Arquivo Maaravi: UFMG Digital Journal of Jewish Studies. Coordinator of the ANPOLL Foreign Literature GT. Associate Researcher at the Center for Jewish Studies at USP. Winner of the 2015-2016 Travel Award for Latin American Jewish Research at the University of Texas at Austin & University Affiliate Visiting Scholar/Visiting Researcher (2015) at the University of Texas at Austin, USA. Author of, among other titles: Borges e outros rabinos (2009), Despertar para a noite e outros ensaios sobre a Shoah (2019) & Exercício de fi&eira: Joaquina, filha do Tiradentes, de Maria José de Queiroz (2022). Co-organized: Os fazedores de Golems (2004, 2021); O olhar enigmático de Moacyr Scliar (2019); Estudos Judaicos: Literatura Israelense (2022); Estudos Judaicos: Sefarad (2022); Estudos Judaicos: Mulher (2023).

Panel 11

Panel chair: Dr. Samuel Brody, The University of Kansas (USA)


  • Dr. Steven J. Hirsch, Washington University (USA): “Jews and the Peruvian APRA Party, 1931-1948” (Presentation in English)
  • Mr. Dror Birger, Cornell University (USA):”The War Over the War Against Antisemitism - the Current Jewish Double Bind” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. Robert A. Kenedy, York University (Canada):”Jewish Students Campus Experiences of the New Antisemitism, AntiIsraelism, and “Whiteness” in the Era of BDS and Beyond” (Presentation in English)

Panel 12

Panel chair: Dr. Omri Senderowicz, University of Kansas (USA)


  • Dr. Hilit Surowitz-Israel, Rutgers University (USA): “A Tiny Island of Hope: A Consideration of Curaçao’s Jewish Communal Origins Story” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. Michael Hoberman, Fitchburg State University (USA): “Revisiting Sampson Simson’s 1800 Columbia Commencement Speech” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. Shai Zamir, Northwestern University (USA): “Violence and Lust in Tío Anton’s Tavern” (1905)” (Presentation in English)

Panel 13

Panel chair: Dr. Luciano Tosta, The University of Kansas (USA)


  • Dr. Adriana Brodsky, St. Mary’s College of Maryland (USA): “Teaching about Zionist Youth Movements from Latin America” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. Naomi Lindstrom, University of Texas at Austin (USA): “Teaching Jewish Latin American Film from a Comparative Perspective” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. Ariana Huberman, Haverford College (USA): “Teaching about the Jewish Gauchos of the Pampas” (Presentation in English)
  • Ms. Elaine Fitz Gibbon, Harvard University (USA): “Teaching about Jewish Latin American Music History” (Presentation in English)

Panel 14

Panel chair: Dr. Sam Brody, University of Kansas (USA)


  • Dr. Stephen Katz, Indiana University, Bloomington (USA): “To Be As Others: Hebrew Literature in the New World” (Presentation in English)
  • Dr. Ira Robinson, Concordia University (Canada): “The Montreal Yeshiva: an Early Experiment in Talmudic Education in North America” (Presentation in English)
  • Ms. Angelica Gimenez Ravanelli, University of Connecticut (USA): “Rabbi Marshall Meyer: Holocaust Memory and Jewish Theology in the Fight for Human Rights in Argentina” (Presentation in English)

Closing Remarks