Jewish American Heritage Month

Jewish American Hertiage Month header.

The College of Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with other units across campus and the local community, celebrates Jewish American Heritage Month. Jewish American Heritage Month in May sheds a light on the contributions of the Jewish people over its almost 250-year history in America. Jewish culture, history and thought have all made vital contributions to the country. At the same time, Jewish American Heritage Month also acknowledges the history of injustice which Jews have struggled to overcome, not just in America but around the world. 

Some of the key institutions on campus are the Department of Jewish Thought and Hillel of Buffalo. 

The Department of Jewish Thought is a pioneering interdisciplinary program dedicated to the study of Judaism, from antiquity to the present. The department makes a vital contribution to the humanities and the social sciences, while also offering new perspectives on the challenges of modern society. Students in the department benefit from the individual attention of professors in a supportive environment that encourages personal, intellectual and professional growth. 

Hillel of Buffalo is an exciting, accessible, and multi-faceted hub of Jewish student life that enhances students’ success with opportunities to gain professional life skills, to learn, grow, and make a difference in ways they find meaningful- all within a culture of acceptance and inclusivity that celebrates the cultural, religious and social aspects of Judaism. 

Read more about Jewish American Heritage Month.

View additional programming on Jewish life, culture and thought from the Department of Jewish Thought , Hillel of Buffalo  and the Buffalo Jewish Federation.

Event Dates:

Thursday, March 24


Karma Ben Jojanan headshot.

Professor Karma Ben-Johanan

Humboldt University, Berlin

A talk by Professor Karma Ben-Johanan of Humboldt University, Berlin based on her new book: “Jacob’s Younger Brother Jewish Christian Relationships after Vatican II,”forthcoming with Harvard University Press.

A new chapter in Jewish–Christian relations opened in the second half of the twentieth century when the Second Vatican Council exonerated Jews from the accusation of deicide and declared that the Jewish people had never been rejected by God. In a few carefully phrased statements, two millennia of deep hostility were swept into the trash heap of history. But old animosities die hard. While Catholic and Jewish leaders publicly promoted interfaith dialogue, doubts remained behind closed doors. Catholic officials and theologians soon found that changing their attitude toward Jews could threaten the foundations of Christian tradition. For their part, many Jews perceived the new Catholic line as a Church effort to shore up support amid atheist and secular advances. Drawing on extensive research in contemporary rabbinical literature, Karma Ben-Johanan shows that Jewish leaders welcomed the Catholic condemnation of antisemitism but were less enthusiastic about the Church’s sudden urge to claim their friendship. Catholic theologians hoped Vatican II would turn the page on an embarrassing history, hence the assertion that the Church had not reformed but rather had always loved Jews, or at least should have. Orthodox rabbis, in contrast, believed they were finally free to say what they thought of Christianity.

Monday, April 11


David Makovsky headshot.

David Makovsky

7:30 p.m. 
109 O'Brian Hall

Since the latest parliamentary elections in March 2021, the world has looked upon Israel’s government wondering if the coalition would last. Almost a year later it is still standing and looks like it will remain intact until at least September 2023, when Yair Lapid is scheduled to take over as Prime Minister. Nonetheless, key issues remain that threaten the stability of the coalition. For example, recent settler violence in the West Bank, debates over the citizenship law, and balancing Israeli foreign vs. domestic policy, have all been contentious topics that have sparked inter and intra-party friction in the coalition. Furthermore, questions revolving around Netenyahu’s future in government threaten the sustainability of the coalition, as he is the paradoxical glue that is holding it together. With just a one seat majority in parliament, this coalition government cannot afford to lose one of its parties, or it will fall. Thus, these issues must be handled with extreme caution, or Israelis may head to their fifth election in two years.

Join us for a discussion with David Makovsky-- the Ziegler distinguished fellow and director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Project on the Middle East Peace Process. Makovsky has extensive experience covering events in Israel as a journalist, researcher, and advisor on peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinian, and will provide crucial insight into the state of the Israeli coalition today.

This event is free and open to the public.

Monday, May 2

Russian Jewish Food Cooking Class

5-6:30 p.m.

Hillel of Buffalo
Campus Center for Jewish Life
520 Lee Entrance

Stop by Hillel for a cooking class to teach you how to make delicious dishes enjoyed by Russian-speaking Jews who immigrated to the U.S.

Tuesday, May 3

Honoring the Jewish Experience

5:00 p.m.

115 Talbert Hall

Hillel will be partnering with UB for Israel and the Holocaust Resource Center to host a night of reflection. We will hear from both a current student who served in the Israeli Defense Forces as well as from a holocaust survivor who lives in Buffalo.

Wednesday, May 11

Understanding Antisemitism in History and on Campus with Prof Alexander Green

May Lunch and Learn for Professional Staff Senate Inclusion and Diversity

12 p.m

For this lunch and learn, we will explore the history of Jews and Judaism, and seek to understand the origins of antisemitism. We will look at examples of antisemitism today and try to suggest ways for how to best support Jewish members of the UB community.

Thursday, May 12


Celebrating Hillel 75 years of Buffalo.

6:30 p.m. 

Location: UB Center for the Arts

Hillel of Buffalo will be celebrating 75 years of Jewish community on campus. Since 1946,  alumni, faculty, staff, families and the local community have supported Jewish students during their college years.

Visit Hillel of Buffalo Celebrating 75 to learn more.

Additional events and programs will be regularly added.