More than 400,000 Jews reside in Latin America, comprising the fifth largest community of Jews after the United States, Israel, the former Soviet Union, and France. Their stories and experiences are a major focus of research and teaching at the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies, which encompasses the history, culture, and society of Jews in the Americas, including the United States and Canada.
Established in 2006 with a $6 million challenge grant from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the center draws upon many important resources at the university, including the General Libraries’ extensive Judaica collections, the Harry Ransom Center’s manuscript collections of such notable Jewish writers and scholars as Albert Einstein, Norman Mailer, David Mamet, Isaac Bashevis Singer and Leon Uris, as well as the Center for American History’s extensive Texas Jewish History materials.
Robert Abzug, the Oliver H. Radkey Regents Professor of History and a renowned scholar of Jewish and American Studies, directs the Schusterman Center, which is uniquely poised to lead the study of Jewish life in the Americas, in addition to traditional subjects of Jewish studies.
Since his appointment last year, Abzug has spearheaded a wide array of special events and symposia focusing on the Jewish experience in the Western Hemisphere. Special events addressed topics on Latin American Jewry, including lectures on the life of Cuban Jews, Jewish-Brazilian history, Cuba and Israel, and Jews in Argentina.
The Center sponsored the lecture series, “Medical Ethics and the Holocaust,” in partnership with the Holocaust Museum of Houston, and lectures on Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism, Israeli politics, and Holocaust remembrance. The center also co-sponsored the Austin Jewish Film Festival to raise the visibility of Jewish film on campus.
As part of the university’s capital campaign, the center has launched a giving campaign to match the initial Schusterman Foundation challenge grant.
Learn about ways to support the center, and events that celebrate Jewish history, literature and cultural traditions at the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies website.