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?."

2018-2019 Lectures

ENVISIONING JEWISH MAN: Past, Present and Future

Traditional gender categorizations are deeply embedded in Jew - ish culture from the story of Adam and Eve and laws of purity and impurity to modern-day expressions of the masculine ideal in American Jewish life. Jewish conceptions of masculinity have also made a profound impact on wider culture. Consider the image of Superman conceived and created by Jews in Cleveland, Ohio in the first half of the twentieth century. Yet masculinity is a particularly under-explored topic. How do the ancient rabbis understand gender and how is it used? What does Judaism have to say about responsibilities of men in a #MeToo moment? How does a highly structured Jewish religion that centers so much on gendered responsibilities address issues of transgendered identity? As individuals and as a community, Jews face these pressing questions as do many Americans. Recent scholarship and popular culture analyzes these questions and deepens our understanding of Jewish identities, gender relations, social and family life, and religious texts. This year’s Lichter Lecture series, “Envisioning Jewish Man: Past, Present and Future” examines Jewish masculinity from antiquity to modernity. Join our speak - ers as they explore topics including perspectives on gender and shame, ideals of masculinity in American culture, and the spiritual journeys of the Pfefferman family in the Emmy-award winning television series Transparent.

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 : A limited number of prepaid parking tickets for senior citizens is available for the on-campus lectures. In order to secure a ticket, those interested should contact Brandi Forbes at (513)556-2297 or

The Lichter Lecture Series in Judaic Studies is made possible by the Jacob and Jennie L. Lichter Fund of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.

Additional support was granted by the Mayerson Jewish Community Center, UC Department of History, UC Department of Sociology, and UC Department Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. 

View the event brochure here.

Lichter schedule
Date Speaker Title Location Time Directions
Thursday, October 4, 2018
Sarah Imhoff Associate Professor, Religious Studies, Borns Jewish Studies Program, Indiana University
“Are Jewish Men Manly? A Story of American Masculinity”
Taft Center, 1 Edwards, UC Uptown Campus
7:00 p.m. Directions to Taft Center  
Thursday, October 25, 2018
Michael L. Satlow Professor of Religious Studies and Judaic Studies Brown University

“Men, Women, and Shame among Jews in Antiquity”

Taft Center, 1 Edwards, UC Uptown Campus

7:00 p.m.

Directions to Taft Center  

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Rabbi Susan Goldberg Rabbinic Consultant for the T.V. series “Transparent;” Rabbi, Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles
“In the Wilderness (Midbar): the Spiritual Journey of Transparent”
Mayerson JCC, 8485 Ridge Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236
7:00 p.m. Directions to Mayerson JCC