Associate professor David Shneer’s goal was to bring contemporary Jewish culture to the Boulder when he joined the staff at the University of Colorado in 2008.
The Jewish Studies Program has since grown into one of the largest such programs at an American university, with 720 students and 23 courses, Shneer said.
Assistant director Jamie Polliard said the CU program is in such high demand that the courses are constantly overenrolled.
For more information on the Goldberger Week of Jewish Culture at the University of Colorado on Feb. 18 through 25, visit jewishmovers.org.
“Bringing Jewish culture to Boulder has been a big success,” Polliard said.
That success has helped led to the second-annual Goldberger Week of Jewish Culture, set for Feb. 18 through 25. The event spotlights the contributions made by Jewish people.
As a precursor, the university is hosting a discussion about Jewish rebellion against Roman rule with “Bar Kochba: Inventing Jewish Radicalism” at 7 tonight in University Memorial Center Room 382.
“It’s just keeps getting more and more exciting,” Shneer said. “Over the course of the last year, the University of Colorado has put itself on the map by bringing in national speakers, various events and different courses.”
Shneer, director of the program, said it is important to bring awareness to the community by focusing on culture as opposed to religion and diversity.
“We want to make sure everyone in the Boulder community understands that Jewish culture is for everyone,” Shneer said. “Culture is a way for a diverse group of people can explore ideas through aspects such as film, literature and arts. It is culture that is what affects peoples’ lives.”
The theme for this year is radicalism, Shneer said.
The closing event on Feb. 25 features human beatboxer Yuri Lane, who traveled from Tel Aviv to Ramallah, interviewing people along the way, seeking peace.
“His piece is very radical,” Shneer said. “We’re including it in the program because he asks questions that we feel like people aren’t asking. He uses his body and his voice as his instrument — he uses beatboxing to share his journey.”
The week includes discussions from national and local speakers, film and a performance by Hip Hop Sulha, who uses a modern approach in music to look at dialogue on difficult issues in the Middle East, Polliard said.
The annual Goldberger Week of Culture is supported by the Goldberger Fund, which pays tribute to late Denver rabbi Daniel Goldberger and his wife, Ida.
Every event is open to the public.
“Everyone can learn about themselves through the lens of what we are offering here,” Shneer said. “Whether it’s by learning about 1930s communism in the United States or learning about Middle East issues through a modern approach — we think that these events speak to universal politics, identity and culture.”