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?."

2024-2025 Lecture

Understanding Jews and Judaism Through Ages

“You stand this day…your tribal heads, your elders, and your officials, every householder in Israel, your children, your wives, even the stranger within your camp, from woodchopper to water drawer” (Deuteronomy 29:9-10).  Although Jewish community consists of a variety of people of various ages and generations, defining Jewishness, Judaism, and Jewish identity tends to be limited by default to Jews in the prime of their adult lives.  The Jewishness and Judaism of children, high school-aged and college-aged students as well as the elderly is rarely understood or appreciated in their own right.   To be sure, there have been studies about Jews during specific ages such Ivan Marcus’s Classic Rituals of Childhood: Jewish Acculturation in Medieval Europe and more recently Mira Balberg and Haim Weiss, When Near Becomes Far: Old Age in Rabbinic Literature. Such works, however, focus on  childhood and old age as ways that middle-aged adult Jews talk about their own Jewish experience.  Transcending the normative view that all Jewish ages lead to and from the central adult years, the 2024-2025 Jacob and Jennie L. Lichter Lecture series explores how to conceptualize Judaism during different stages of life.  The series begins with a lecture by Laura Yares on the Jewish Sunday School movement and continues with presentation on college students by Shira Kohn based on her work on Jewish sororities.   The series concludes with a lecture by Elisha Russ-Fishbane who works on old age in medieval Jewish culture.

All Lichter events are free and open to the public. Refreshments are served after the event; dietary rules are observed.

We encourage reservations: Please contact Nicole Kaffenberger at (513) 556-2297 or via email at

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 Nicole Kaffenberger 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.

The Lichter Lecture Series in Judaic Studies is made possible by the Jacob and Jennie Lichter Fund of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati with additional support granted by the Taft Research Center.

Lichter schedule
Date Speaker Title Location Time Directions
Tuesday, October 29, 2024

Laura Yares

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Michigan State University

Through the Eyes of a Child: What the Jewish Sunday School Movement Can Teach Us About American Jewish History Taft Center, 1 Edwards, UC Uptown Campus
7:00 p.m. Taft Research Center
Monday, November 11, 2024

Shira Kohn

The Dalton School, NYC

Fashioning Collegiate Identity: Jewish Sororities and Self-Presentation in 20th Century America

Cincinnati Hillel

2615 Clifton Ave

4:00 p.m.

Cincinnati Hillel

Thursday, January 30, 2025

Elisha Russ-Fishbane

Associate Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies,  New York University

Old Age as a Paradigm and Ideal in Medieval Jewish Culture

Taft Center, 1 Edwards, UC Uptown Campus

7:00 p.m. Taft Research Center