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The University of Southampton
The Parkes Institute

'Agony in the Pulpit: British Rabbis Responding to Nazi Persecution and Mass Murder' Seminar

2 February 2016
Building 65 Lecture Theatre C Avenue Campus University of Southampton SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Parkes Institute at .

Event details

Part of the Parkes Research Seminar Series 2015/2016

Despite the massive amount of research on all aspects of Nazi persecution of Jews culminating in the Holocaust, there has not been a systematic analysis of how Jewish religious leaders processed the information that was available to them, how they communicated this information to their congregants---especially at the most significant times of religious calendar (High Holy Days, Pesach) and days of national protest or mourning—when the synagogue attendance was highest. Important themes include how the preachers related the unfolding disastrous events to biblical themes (Cain, Pharaoh, Amalek, Haman) and how they reconciled the current realities with belief in a God who was ultimately in control of all that happened to the Jews. I will focus primarily on passages from sermons, presented chronologically, delivered by Chief Rabbi Joseph Hertz, Rev. Dr. Abraham Cohen (Orthodox, Birmingham), Rabbi Israel Mattuck (Liberal, London), and two refugees from Germany: Rabbi Ignaz Maybaum (Reform, London), and Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits (Orthodox, Leeds).

Professor Marc Saperstein
Professor Marc Saperstein

Speaker information

Professor Marc Saperstein , Leo Baeck College. After teaching at American universities (Harvard, Washington University in St. Louis, George Washington University in DC) for 29 years, Marc Saperstein relocated to UK in 2006 a five-year term as Principal of Leo Baeck College. Since 2011 he has been teaching part-time at LBC and King’s College London. His latest of books are Jewish Preaching in Times of War, 1800-2001 and Leadership and Conflict: Tensions in Medieval and Early Modern Jewish History and Culture, both published by the Littman Library.

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