Lichter Series

The Annual Jacob and Jennie L. Lichter Lecture Series in Judaic Studies

At the beginning of each academic year, the department of Judaic Studies invites the entire community to attend the Jennie L. and Jacob Lichter Lecture Series, made possible by the Jacob and Jennie L. Lichter Fund of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. The Lichter Lecture Series, endowed in 1981, is the department's major event of the academic year. Each year the lectures focus on a different theme, and three leading scholars or intellectuals are invited to address it from different angles.

Since the 1980s, the annual Lichter Lecture Series in Judaic Studies has enabled us to bring to UC close to a hundred of the best and the brightest in the various fields of Jewish thought and learning. These lecturers include: Yehuda Amichai, Yahuda Bauer, David Biale, Norman Golb, Paula Hyman, Amos Oz, Rabbi Dr. W. Gunther Plaut, Jonathan D. Sarna, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Sasson Somekh, Norman A. Stillman, James Tabor, Rabbi Mordecai Waxman, Jack Wertheimer, A.B. Yehoshua and Ronald W. Zweig.

Some of the themes of past Lichter Lecture Series have included: 'Eco-Judaism: New Jewish Approaches to the Environment'; 'Foodaism:  Do Jews Make Food or Does Food Make Jews?'; 'The Politics of Freedom'; 'Portraits of Israel: Society and Culture'; 'Jewish Women in a changing Society'; 'Heritage of Spanish Jews'; 'Holocaust and Rebirth'; 'From Spain to America: The Legacy of Spanish Jewry, 1492-1992'; 'Voices of Hebrew Literature'; 'Antisemitism: Modern Realities and Contemporary'; 'American Judaism: Present and Future'; 'Religion in American Society'; 'Biblical Archeology'; 'The Jews of France' ; 'Dead Sea Scrolls'; 'The Menorah'; 'Jews and War in the 20th Century'; 'Maimonides Medicine and Ethics'; and 'Jews and Muslims'; 'Jewish Neighborhood, Jewish City'; 'The Eichmann Trial: Fifty Years Later'; and "Are the Dead Sea Scrolls Dead?."

2017-2018 Lectures

Thinking with Jews: Jewish-Christian Encounters from Antiquity to the Twenty-First Century

CenturyThis year’s Lichter Lecture Series, “Thinking with Jews” explores Jewish-Christian relations from a fresh vantage point. We will investigate how certain Christian groups borrow and adapt aspects of Jewish patrimony in their own cultural projects. From early Christian attendance of synagogues and observance of Jewish law to more modern Christian evangelical support of Zionism to Christian adoption of Jewish practices in sub-Saharan Africa, certain Christian cultures continue to draw on Jewish authoritative texts, institutions, and political projects to define themselves. Encounters with these different groups expand our understanding of how Judaism and Christianity are entangled and invite us to consider anew the meaning of Jewish texts and practices in wider modern cultures.

Historically, at least up until the Second World War, Jewish-Christian relations emphasized moments of conflict. In large part, the proximity of early Christians to Jews buttressed by Christian claims to traditionally “Jewish” Scriptures led to the intertwining development of Christianity and Judaism and to conflict. Less told, are moments of profound confluence and inter-mural borrowing between these two groups. This Lichter series asks what we learn by foreground-ing Christian-Jewish relations as a process of borrowing and acculturation by highlighting moments when Christians thought through their own identity by using Jewish traditions.

All lectures are free and open to the public.

Refreshments will be served after the lecture.

Dietary laws observed. Reservations are encouraged: Contact Brandi Forbes, Department of Judaic Studies at (513) 556-2297 or

Parking: The Department of Judaic Studies will offer a limited number of prepaid parking tickets for senior citizens for the on-campus lectures. In order to secure a ticket, those interested should contact Brandi Forbes at (513) 556-2297 or

Additional support for the program was granted by the Charles Phelps Taft Research Center; Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati; Jewish Federation Cincinnati; Mayerson JCC; Jewish Community Relations Council.


Date Speaker Title Location Time Directions
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Tudor Parfitt, President Isaac Navon Professor of Sephardi and Mizrahi Studies at Florida International University (FIU)
“Becoming Jewish in Sub-Saharan Africa”
Mayerson JCC, 8485 Ridge Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236 (South of Ronald Reagan Hwy)
7:00 p.m. Directions to Mayerson JCC
Monday, October 30, 2017 Paula Fredriksen, Aurelio Professor of Scripture emerita, Boston University

“Mediterranean Mixing: Jews in Pagan Places and Pagans (as well as Chrisitians) in Jewish Places”



Taft center, 1 1 Edwards Center, UC Uptown Campus



7:00 p.m.






Directions to Taft Center



Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Yaakov Ariel, Professor of Religious Studies, University of North
“Christian Zionism in the United States”
Taft Center, 1 1 Edwards Center, UC Uptown Campus
7:00 p.m. Directions to Taft Center