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

Does It Make Sense to Be Jewish?
Does God Care About Our Prayers?

Friday, August 17, 2018 | 6:00PM
Saturday, August 18, 2018 | 4:00PM
Har Mishpacha Spiritual Life Center - Labyrinth Room, 736 Oak Street, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487

This August, Professor Elias Sacks will return to Steamboat Springs to present two talks on August 17 and 18, 2018 at Har Mishpacha.

Does It Make Sense to Be Jewish?
Friday, August 17, 2018 | 6:00 PM

We live in a world that often celebrates progress, invention, and innovation: our task, we are told, is to make our own moral judgements, free ourselves from the prejudices of the past, and discover our own individual paths to meaning and personal fulfillment. But in such a world, does it make any sense to be Jewish? Why remain committed to a tradition that emerged millennia ago in settings that bear little resemblance to our own? Indeed, given the potential of religion to generate conflict and strife, why remain faithful to any religious tradition? Why not abandon identities such as “Jew,” “Christian,” and “Muslim” and simply call ourselves “human”? We will explore diverse answers to these questions.

Does God Care About Our Prayers?
Saturday, August 18, 2018 | 4:00 PM

Traditionally, the Jewish High Holidays are a time of introspection, repentance, and prayer. Indeed, for many individuals, holidays such as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur involve hours in worship services. But does any of this matter? Does God care about our prayers? Indeed, does God care about anything? Is God a personal being who feels emotions such as love and compassion, or is God an impersonal force that doesn’t feel—or do—very much at all?  As we enter the Jewish High Holiday season, we will explore diverse answers to these questions, encountering ancient and medieval voices that wrestle with the nature of the divine.

Professor Elias Sacks head shotElias Sacks is Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and Associate Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. He works on the Jewish tradition, religious thought, Jewish-Christian relations, and religion, ethics, and politics. After receiving his A.B. from Harvard University and studying at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he earned an M.A. in Religion from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University. He is the author of the book Moses Mendelssohn’s Living Script: Philosophy, Practice, History, Judaism (2017), as well as numerous articles on Jewish thought, texts, and practice.

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