College to Present Panel Discussion on New Book "Jews at Williams"

Media contact:  Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277;
email: Noelle.Lemoine@williams.edu

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., September 25, 2013—Williams College will host a panel discussion titled “A History of the Williams Jewish Experience” on Saturday, Oct. 5, at 4 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, Bernhard Music Center. The panel will center on Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft’s new book, Jews at Williams: Inclusion, Exclusion, and Class at a New England Liberal Arts College (Williams College Press, 2013). The event is free and open to the public. A reception and light refreshments will follow in the Brooks-Rogers lobby.

Panelists will include the author and Robert Scherr, Jewish chaplain; and Francis Oakley, Edward Dorr Griffin Professor of the History of Ideas, Emeritus; President, Emeritus; and Senior Oakley Fellow.

The book begins with the college’s first Jewish students in the late 19th century and continues into the current era. It draws from the college’s archives and a wealth of oral history. The book includes personal essays by Oakley, Sigmund Balka ’56, Stephen Birmingham ’50, Lloyd Constantine ’69, Eric Stone ’93, Marianna Vaidman Stone ’93, and Miriam Lawrence ’06.

Wurgaft is a historian whose work recently focuses primarily on modern European and Jewish history. He also writes on food culture. Wurgaft serves as the Andrew W. Mellon Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellow at the New School for Social Research. He received his B.A. from Swarthmore College and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2009.

This event presented by the Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences with additional support from the Committee for the 20th Anniversary of the Jewish Religious Center and the Williams College Jewish Association.

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