Published: July 14, 2020 By

The Program in Jewish Studies announces summer Peak to Peak series line-up


Holocaust memory, social justice, food and American legal history take center stage this summer as part of a newly reimagined Peak to Peak series.

This series, organized by the Program in Jewish Studies with support from the Office for Outreach and Engagement, brings conversations and connections featuring CU Boulder faculty to communities statewide.

In a normal year, the series would go to the different communities, but in light of the pandemic this year, they thought they’d try something new: Making the whole event digital.

“We live in challenging times. Even beyond the pandemic, we live in a time when it’s difficult to always know how to engage in conversation with one another, how to think about challenging ethical issues, political issues, historical issues, religious issues,” said Elias Sacks, director of the Program in Jewish Studies and the organizer of this year’s series.

“We see this program as an opportunity to be in conversation with communities across Colorado about these kinds of questions and we think that really matters.”

We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to go into communities and think with those communities, learn with those communities, and grow with those communities by exploring these issues."

The Peak to Peak series began in 2016 as a way for faculty primarily from the Program in Jewish Studies to travel across the state, partnering with local organizations to bring dialogue and educational opportunities to these communities.

This year, though, required a bit more creativity.

“We didn’t want to lose out on the opportunity to build these connections,” commented Sacks.

And so, with support from the Office for Outreach and Engagement and organizations across Colorado, they decided to offer a series of web-based public programs covering a wide range of topics, from food to American legal history.

“We’re really grateful for the partnership with this office,” said Sacks. “They’ve just been incredible partners. Many of the connections to particular communities are thanks to the efforts of that office.”

And, for the Office for Outreach and Engagement, the feeling is mutual.

“We are excited about reaching even more rural Colorado locations through our ongoing partnership with Program in Jewish Studies as the lectures go online,” said Lisa Schwartz, the office’s community outreach program manager. 

“We are thrilled to support Elias Sacks and his staff and faculty as they work with community partners to provide space for learning and discussion for all Coloradans during the pandemic.”

The other program partners this summer include the Corazón de Trinidad Creative DistrictGarfield Public Library DistrictTrinidad Carnegie Public Library, Western Colorado University Aspen Jewish CongregationBoulder JCC and Temple Aaron in Trinidad.

“All of us went into academia because we think and hope that the work we do, the questions we ask, and the teaching that we do can make a difference in the world. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to go into communities and think with those communities, learn with those communities, and grow with those communities by exploring these issues,” said Sacks. 

“It’s just an incredible opportunity and an incredible privilege.”

The announced programs are as followed:

David Schneer

Grief: The Biography of a Holocaust Photograph

A Conversation with David Shneer, Professor of Jewish Studies and History, Louis P. Singer Endowed Chair of Jewish History

Thursday, August 20, 2020 

12:00 P.M. - 1:00 P.M. (MDT-Mountain Daylight Time)

Zoom Webinar

Nan Goodman, Professor of Jewish Studies and English

Jewish Messianic Heresy and the Right to Privacy: Louis Brandeis and Sabbatian Origins of an American Legal Doctrine

Nan Goodman, Professor of Jewish Studies and English 

Monday, September 14, 2020

7:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M. (MDT-Mountain Daylight Time)

Zoom Webinar