Magicians, mystics, mischief-makers, and messiahs take center stage in the CU Boulder Peak to Peak Lecture series, a program which brings CU Boulder humanities scholars to communites around Colorado to share innovative perspectives of historical figures, events and enduring questions. It is offered through the Program in Jewish Studies in partnership with the CU Boulder Office for Outreach and Engagement Arts and Humanities Initiative. 

Upcoming Peak to Peak Lectures


Ritual and Remembrance Among the Crypto Jews in the Americas

Saturday, May 19, 2018 | 2:00PM
Temple Aaron, 407 S Maple St, Trinidad, CO 81082

Learn more at www.templeaaron.org.

Professor Janet Jacobs will deliver a captivating talk at Temple Aaron in Trinidad, Colorado exploring the recovery and remembrance of crypto-Jewish heritage in the Americas. The crypto-Jews are the descendants of European Jews forced to convert to Christianity during the Spanish Inquisition. Based on her extensive study of individuals with crypto-Jewish ancestry, Jacobs will examine the role of family stories and rituals in the preservation of crypto-Jewish memory and practice, as well as address the importance of women as bearers of crypto-Jewish culture and history. Temple Aaron is the oldest synagogue in Colorado, and this event provides a chance for participants to celebrate this majestic building and its rich Trinidad history.

Professor Janet Jacobs headshotJanet Jacobs is Professor of Women and Gender Studies and Sociology at the University of Colorado. Her research focuses on ethnic and religious violence, gender, mass trauma, and collective memory. She is author of numerous books and journal articles, including Memorializing the Holocaust: Gender, Genocide and Collective Memory (2010) and The Holocaust Across Generations: Trauma and Its Inheritance Among Descendants of Survivors (December 2017) for which she won the outstanding book award from the ASA section on peace, war and social conflict. She is the winner of the 2004 Distinguished Book Award of the Society of the Scientific Study of Religion (Hidden Heritage: The Legacy of the Crypto-Jews) and the Hazel Barnes Prize. Her current work is on the rise of interpersonal anti-Semitism. 

This event is brought to you by Corazon de Trinidad Creative District, History Colorado Trinidad, Carnegie Public Library, and Temple Aaron of Trinidad, Colorado in partnership with the CU Boulder Program in Jewish Studies and the CU Boulder Office for Outreach and Engagement.


False Messiahs and Self-Appointed Heirs

Thursday, May 24, 2018 | 7:30 PM
Sherbino Theater, 604 Clinton Street, Ridgway, CO 81431

Professor Nan Goodman’s talk tells the story of two charismatic, messianic figures under whose spell thousands of Jews converted to Christianity. The first figure was Jacob Frank, self-appointed heir to the false Jewish messiah, Sabbatai Sevi, whose orgies and other cultic behaviors gained widespread approval among European Jews in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The other was Joseph Samuel Christian Frederick Frey, a Frankist figure in America whose belief in conversion as a path to messianic redemption was less successful but no less effusive than Frank’s. 

Professor Nan Goodman headshotDirector of the Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder and a professor in the Jewish Studies Program and English department, Nan Goodman is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards and is the author of many articles and three books, The Puritan Cosmopolis: The Law of Nations and the Early American Imagination (2018); Banished: Common Law and the Rhetoric of Social Exclusion (2012); and Shifting the Blame: Literature, Law, and the Theory of Accidents (1998). She has also co-edited three volumes: The Routledge Research Companion to Law and Humanities in Nineteenth-Century America (with Simon Stern, 2017), The Turn Around Religion in America: Literature, Culture (with Michael Kramer, (2011) and Juris-Dictions, Special Issue, English Language Notes, 48.2 (2010). Her current project revolves around the legacy of Shabbtai Sevi, the false Jewish messiah. 

Goodman’s lecture is part of the Sherb Talks Series as well as the CU Boulder Peak to Peak Lecture Series. 

This talk is brought to you by Ridgway’s Weehawken Creative Arts and the Sherbino Theater in partnership with the CU Boulder Program in Jewish Studies and the CU Boulder Office for Outreach and Engagement.


Refugees: Sanctuary, Hospitality and Solidarity

Thursday, October 4, 2018 | Carbondale Branch Library

In the last few years, Germany and the United States have faced dramatically different situations surrounding refugee migration: while the US issued a ban that interrupted refugee migration, Germany welcomed (not without great controversy) well over a million refugees. Both countries have increased deportation of long-time residents at the same time. In her talk, Professor Beverly Weber will discuss these developments and the rise of the notions of sanctuary in the US and hospitality in Germany. She will consider how the history of refugees during and immediately after the Holocaust raise important questions for ethical action and solidarity today.

Professor Beverly Weber headshotBeverly Weber is Associate Professor of German Studies and Jewish Studies, and Director of Graduate Studies (Program in Jewish Studies) at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is the author of Violence and Gender in the “New” Europe: Islam in German Culture (Palgrave, 2013) which examines the intersections of race and gender in public discussions of Islam, as well as Muslim artistic responses to those discussions. She has published widely on race, gender, immigration and refugee migration in contemporary Germany; as well as on contemporary German literature.

This event is brought to you by Carbondale Arts in partnership with the CU Boulder Program in Jewish Studies and the CU Boulder Office for Outreach and Engagement