Magicians, mystics, mischief-makers, and messiahs take center stage in the brand new 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

This talk will explore 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 an extensive study of individuals with crypto-Jewish ancestry, the talk will examine the role of family stories and rituals in the preservation of crypto-Jewish memory and practice. The talk will address the importance particularly of women as bearers of crypto-Jewish culture and history. 

Professor Janet Jacobs headshot.Janet 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 the Trinidad Area Arts Council, 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.