Author: Jacob Labendz

CfP: Jewish Studies Panel on “Transportation, Movement, and Mobility” at Robert W. Reeder I Symposium (YSU)

The Center for Judaic and Holocaust Studies at Youngstown State University proudly calls your attention to this conference. We will be sponsoring a Jewish-studies panel and invite proposals.

Robert W. Reeder I Symposium: Transportation, Movement, and Mobility
October 27-28, 2022

The History Program at Youngstown State University invites proposals for the 2022 Robert W. Reeder I Symposium: Transportation, Movement, and Mobility.

This symposium seeks to bring together a variety of emerging and established scholars whose work investigates the themes of transportation, movement, and mobility in U.S. history. Proposals from all eras and fields relative to U.S. history are welcome. We will give due consideration to all proposals submitted, whether from faculty, graduate students, independent scholars, or undergraduate students. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Transportation (modes, infrastructure, engineering, fuel, power)
  • Railroads, automobiles
  • Maritime and water transportation, canals
  • Aviation and aerospace
  • Exploration and navigation
  • Trade
  • Public transportation (segregation)
  • Migrations, forced migrations, diasporas
  • Slave trade (international/domestic)
  • Trafficking
  • Pioneers, frontiers, borderlands
  • Expansion, colonialism
  • Depopulation, suburbanization, urban decay
  • Travel narratives and literature
  • Tourism and leisure
  • Communication and news
  • Covert networks
  • Military strategies and maneuvers
  • Contagion and contamination

We especially invite paper and panel proposals related to Jewish studies for a panel sponsored by the YSU Center for Judaic and Holocaust Studies. Accepted participants (a maximum of 4) will each receive a travel grant of $500.00. Funds will be awarded by mail after the conclusion of the conference.

We invite proposals for individual papers and for panels.

  • Individual papers: send a proposal as a .doc or .pdf attachment containing a title, 200 word abstract, contact information, and brief resume/CV.
  • Panels: send a proposal as a .doc or .pdf attachment containing a panel title, 200 word abstract for each paper including titles, contact information for each presenter, brief resumes/CVS, and a suggested commentator.
  • Please email your proposals with the subject line “Reeder Symposium” to by April 30, 2022.

Presentations should be no more than 15 min in length.

Through the Robert W. Reeder I and Charles Darling Memorial Endowments and the YSU Center for Judaic and Holocaust Studies, we are pleased to offer a number of travel grants in conjunction with the symposium. Find out more here. Funds will be awarded by mail after the conclusion of the conference.

Sponsored by Youngstown State University & The Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor, Youngstown, Ohio

Response to Vaccine-Mandate/Holocaust Comparisons

The Jambar, the student newspaper at YSU, ran a story on its front page which included a quote linking vaccine mandates to the Holocaust. A student participating in an anti-mandate protest commented,

“I view it as this is the same way the Holocaust started. I mean, I know that’s putting it into very blunt terms, but this is exact the same way—it didn’t all happen at once—it was slowly by slowly. He [Hitler, presumably] took things away and this is exactly what they’re trying to do to us.”

Dr. Jacob Ari Labendz, director of the Center for Judaic and Holocaust Studies, responded with a letter to the editor, which you may read here. He stressed that his intent was not to single out the student—who remained unnamed in his letter—but to address a fairly common trope among anti-vaccine (and lockdown) activists.

Stephanie Pridgeon screens “The Last Suit”

We would like to extend deepest gratitude to Dr. Stephanie Pridgeon of Bates College, who visited Youngstown this week to screen and discuss “El último traje” for the Youngstown Area Jewish Film Festival and YSU’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Dr. Pridgeon also joined Dr. Labendz’s Jewish History course on Tuesday to offer a fantastic, film-driven lecture about Jewish identity and integration in South America.

Our thanks to the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor, the Youngstown Area Jewish Community Center, Emelia Sherin, Ana Torres, Dr. Diana Palardy, Dr. Alicia Prieto Langarica, Grimilda Ocasio, and the film festival screening committee.

Film Screening and Discussion

Film screening and discussion with
Dr. Stephanie Pridgeon (Bates); part of the Youngstown Area Jewish Film Festival and YSU’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month (9/15 – 10/15).

El Último Traje / “The Last Suit”
(Argentina and Spain, 2017)

October 11, 2021 at 6:00 PM
Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor (Steel Museum)

Free to all.
The Youngstown Area Jewish Film Festival is free to all YSU students.

CJHS is a proud annual sponsor of the Youngstown Area Jewish Film Festival.

Flyer for screening of "The Last Suit" with Dr. Stephanie Pridgeon

CfP “CONTACT: Meetings and Movements of Jewish People & Artifacts across Cold-War Boundaries” (Symposium and Subsequent Edited Volume)

We are seeking participants for a three-day symposium in Youngstown, Ohio to deliver papers exploring the meetings and movements of Jewish people and artifacts across Cold-War boundaries. We intend for the proceedings to form the basis of an edited volume and are already in discussion with a university press.

Date:               Sunday, May 22 – Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Location:         Youngstown State University, Youngstown, OH

Organizers:      Rebekah Klein-Pejšová (Purdue) and Jacob Ari Labendz (YSU)

Sponsors:        The Center for Judaic and Holocaust Studies at YSU

                        The Jewish Studies Program at Purdue University

More Info:       Webpage (

Questions and Submission:  

The CJHS Sukkah is Up!!!

With help from Rabbi Paula Winnig (Rodef Sholom), graduate students Kyle Willis and Anne Vallas, and Dr. Adam L. Fuller, we set up our Sukkah on DeBartolo Plaza. We extend our deepest gratitude to Sarah Lown and Randi Partika for providing us with such lush and fragrant schach (the branches on top).

The Sukkah will remain on DeBartolo Plaza until Thursday, September 30. It’s full of informational posters which teach about the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. This year, the holiday is from Monday evening, September 20th through Wednesday night, September 29th. (The final day is also the holiday of Simchat Torah, when Jews traditionally celebrate completing the annual cycle of reading the Five Books of Moses in synagogue.)

Each fall, Jews traditionally erect a temporary dwellings called a Sukkah (literally “booth”) in preparation for the Festival of Booths, Sukkot. Families eat festive meals in the Sukkah. Some even sleep in them. The holiday and the Sukkah itself commemorate the biblical tale of how ancient Israelites wandered through the desert for forty years before entering the promise land of Canaan. It also recalls the fall harvest—when Israelites constructed temporary shelters in their fields—and then set out on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem with their offerings.