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American Jews and Native Americans: Myths, Encounters, and Perceptions

Sunday, March 7, 2021 23 Adar 5781

11:30 AM - 1:00 PMZoom

This text-study and lecture session focuses on imaginary and face-to-face encounters between Jews & Native Americans in the 18th & 19th centuries. We will discuss the long-held but erroneous claim that American Indians somehow descended from, or made contact with, the so-called Lost Tribes of Israel or other ancient Israelites. We will also consider Jewish settler life on the American frontier and the various sorts of encounters they had with Native Americans, around business, warfare, and the emerging American culture of Manifest Destiny. What have Jewish-Indigenous relations looked like, and what might we learn about identity, race, and America by examining this intersection of "tribal" peoples? There will be plenty of time for discussion. Presenter bio: David S. Koffman (PhD, NYU, 2011) is a cultural and social historian of Canadian and US Jewries. He holds the J. Richard Shiff Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewry and an associate professor in the Department of History at York University. His first book, The Jews’ Indian: Colonialism, Pluralism, and Belonging in America , won a 2020 Association for Jewish Studies’ Jordan Schnitzer Book Award. His newest book project, an edited volume entitled No Better Home?: Jews, Canada, and the Sense of Belonging, will be published by the University of Toronto Press in early 2021. He serves as the associate director of York’s Israel & Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies, and as the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Canadian Jewish Studies / Études juives canadiennes.

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Wed, March 3 2021 19 Adar 5781