CSUN Amado Lecture to Highlight Cultural Resistance in Face of Violence

Natasha Zaretsky

Natasha Zaretsky

In recent years, antisemitism has continued to rise in the U.S., with almost 2,000 incidents reported in 2018, including acts of vandalism, personal violence and terrorism.

California State University, Northridge’s seventh annual Maurice Amado Foundation Lecture in Jewish Ethics will explore what the local community can learn about resilience from the experience of Argentinian Jews, who suffered the worst antisemitic attack since World War II, thanks to a talk by cultural anthropologist Natasha Zaretsky on Saturday, Oct. 26.

Zaretsky has noted that after the 1994 bombing of the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which killed 85 people, no one was ever brought to justice. Her lecture will explore how the Argentinian Jewish community — the largest diaspora community in Argentina — has used Jewish memory and culture to create a space of survival and resistance.

“This is an important moment for all Angelenos to think about how we as a community can respond to anti-Jewish violence as well as violence against other ethnic and religious groups,” said associate professor Jennifer Thompson, CSUN’s Maurice Amado Professor of Applied Jewish Ethics and Civic Engagement. “The 1999 Jewish Community Center shooting here in the Valley is still fresh for many of us, and it demonstrated that violence against Jews is often linked with violence against other groups.

“Stepping up our security at synagogues has been one of our responses, and Dr. Zaretsky will help us think about what other kinds of community responses may be equally powerful,” she added.

The Amado Lecture, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled to take place at 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 26 at Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue, 15739 Ventura Blvd. in Encino.

Zaretsky teaches at New York University; leads the Truth in the Americas program at Rutgers Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights; and is executive director of Sound Potential, an organization that engages the power of music to build understanding and empathy for humanitarian issues around the world. She has published extensively in the fields of human rights, anthropology, Jewish Studies, and Latin American Studies, especially focusing on Jews in Argentina.

Currently, Zaretsky is completing a documentary about the aftermath of the AMIA bombing for Jews in Argentina. She is also working on new research on memory and belonging with Soviet Jews in New York, and the future of Holocaust memory at a time of rising nationalism in Europe. Her upcoming book about memory and transitional justice in Argentina will be published by Rutgers University Press in 2020.

The Amado Lectures are part of the mission of the CSUN Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Program’s endowed professorship, which was created to promote teaching and scholarship that draws on Sephardic, Ashkenazi and other Jewish traditions.

CSUN offers both a major and minor in Jewish studies. The program explores the rich heritage of the Jewish people. Using the methods of different academic disciplines, it examines the experiences of Jews in the many lands in which they have lived over the past 4,000 years, as well as contemporary Jewish life in Israel, Europe, Asia and the Americas.

To reserve a seat for or more information about the Amado Lecture, call (818) 677-4742 or email jewish.studies@csun.edu.

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