The College Commons Podcast, passionate perspectives from Judaism's leading thinkers, is produced by Hebrew Union College, America's first Jewish institution of higher learning.
Keith Thomas: Horror and the Torah
HUC-JIR alumnus Keith Thomas discusses his debut feature film—Hasidic horror flick, "The Vigil."
Writer/Director Keith Thomas worked in clinical research at several western teaching hospitals before embarking on a career as a novelist and screenwriter. He has published The Clarity (2018) and Dahlia Black (2019), both with Simon & Schuster, and developed numerous book, film, and TV projects with creators like James Patterson. He lives in Colorado. The Vigil is his feature debut.
Ignacio Cano: Race & Democracy in the Americas
A deep dive into structural racism and inequality in South Africa and Brazil—with lessons for and from the United States.
Ignacio Cano got his joint Ph.D. in sociology and social psychology at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain) in 1991. From 1991 to 1993 he worked with UNHCR, focussing on refugees and war-stricken populations in El Salvador. He was also a member of the United Nations Truth Commission for El Salvador. Cano later developed post-doctoral research at the universities of Surrey (UK), Michigan, Arizona (USA) and Lancaster (UK), centered on research methodology and program evaluation. From 1996 onwards, he worked in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on topics related to violence, human rights, public security and education in an NGO called ISER.
In 2000, Cano joined the department of social sciences of the State University of Rio de Janeiro, where he is now a full professor of sociology. He is a founder of the Laboratory for the Analysis of Violence (LAV) of the same university. Over the last 20 years, he has researched different issues related to public security, violence, human rights and education and has undertaken impact evaluations of several public security interventions in Latin America. At present he is a visiting researcher at the Safety Lab, Cape Town, South Africa.
Tamara Harkavy: Creative Placemaking
Engaging community members, artists and youth to create civic beauty.
Tamara Harkavy is the founder and former CEO and Artistic Director of ArtWorks where for 25 years she oversaw its growth from a small non-profit to Cincinnati’s largest public art program, creating a model for transforming people and places through investments in creativity. Under Harkavy’s direction, ArtWorks has employed more than 3,600 youth and 3,200 creative professionals, and the organization has completed more than 12,500 public and private art projects including 190 permanent outdoor murals, contributing to the region’s global reputation as an arts destination and an urban, outdoor gallery.
Harkavy founded ArtWorks to address a lack of employment opportunities for teens and to recognize the lasting contributions that artists can make to an urban place. Through ArtWorks, youth gain professional workplace readiness skills, and professional artists benefit by opportunities to advance their careers. The organization works through innovative collaborations with community-based organizations, city agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, the private sector, and philanthropies. Among ArtWorks innovations is the 2015 program Ink Your Love, a public tattoo project led by international artists Kurt and Kremena in partnership with the Cincinnati Reds and over 50 local artists. In sum, ArtWorks invests in urban creatives, both emerging and established.
In 2017 Harkavy was tapped to be on the creative leadership team for BLINK, an interactive multi-media event spanning 20 city blocks including the newly revived Over-the-Rhine neighborhoods. Over four days, one million people attended this free event in 2017. In 2019 BLINK returned, expanding across the Ohio River to Covington where a 1.5 million people attended.
Harkavy’s numerous awards include a C-Suite Award in 2019, YWCA Career Woman of Achievement in 2013 and 2007 Cincinnati Enquirer Woman of the Year. In 2018, TEDxCincinnati honored Harkavy at the inaugural Extraordinary Women event. Recently, Cincinnati Magazine named Harkavy one of Cincinnati’s top 300 business leaders. Harkavy is a member of Leadership Cincinnati’s Class 38.
ArtWorks has won numerous awards under Harkavy’s leadership, including the City Livability Award by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, two Cincinnati Post-Corbett Awards, the Ambassador Award from the Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau and a Community Impact Award from the American Marketing Association.
Harkavy serves on the board of the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce, Mercantile Library, National Museum of Women in the Arts (Ohio Chapter) and the 3CDC program committee. She is on the leadership team planning BLINK in partnership with Brave Berlin, Agar, The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. Previously, Harkavy has served on the boards of Ohio Citizen’s for the Arts and Tender Mercies. She was a founding member of the Cincinnati Reds Community Fund.
Harkavy co-authored two books, a best seller about the Big Pig Gig and Transforming Cincinnati (with John Fox) published on the occasion of ArtWorks’ 10th anniversary of their mural program (Orange Frazier Press).
Harkavy holds an undergraduate degree from Arizona State University and a master’s in Urban Planning from the University of Cincinnati.
Israel Crisis on Campus? Maybe, Maybe Not...
Reactivity to press & social media exacerbating and distorting Jewish community conflicts on campus.
Tilly Shames is the Executive Director of University of Michigan Hillel. Tilly has worked with Hillels in Toronto and Michigan for 16 years in various positions, including Director of Israel Affairs and Associate Director, before becoming Executive Director at the University of Michigan in 2012. Tilly is passionate about youth engagement, community-building, pluralism, women’s advancement, and social justice. She holds a master's degree in International Affairs and a bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies and Political Science. She is a Wexner Field Fellow Alum and is on the Steering Committee of the Safety, Respect, Equity initiative.
Kendall Coden is a 2019 graduate of the University of Michigan. She served as the treasurer of the Michigan Hillel Governing Board in 2018 and as the Chair of the Governing Board in 2019. In her role as Chair, Kendall focused largely on building relationships with other campus communities and fostering a vibrant Jewish community. Outside of Hillel, Kendall acted as a representative of the Jewish community on a student advisory council to University Administrators. Kendall currently lives in Washington, D.C. where she is conducting research on addiction at the National Institutes of Health.
Karla Goldman is Sol Drachler Professor of Social Work and Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan, where she directs the school’s Jewish Communal Leadership Program. Her research focuses on the history of the American Jewish experience with special attention to American Jewish communities and the evolving roles of American Jewish women. She previously served as historian in residence at the Jewish Women’s Archive in Brookline, Massachusetts and taught American Jewish history at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. She is the author of Beyond the Synagogue Gallery: Finding a Place for Women in American Judaism (Harvard University Press).
What Are We Missing?
The challenge of growth, spurred by what we’re missing.
Author, Joseph A. Edelheit served as a rabbi in Reform synagogues for thirty years, earned a doctorate in Christian theology, and retired as an Emeritus Professor of Religious and Jewish Studies. He has served as a prison chaplain, on a Presidential Advisory Council for HIV/AIDS, created a multi-faith orphanage in rural India for children with HIV/AIDS, and removed five swastikas constructed into the original 1931 facade of a Catholic cathedral in rural Minnesota. He currently lives in Rio de Janeiro where he writes, volunteers as a rabbi, and enjoys teaching his grandchildren English.
Jews Refiguring Judaism
European and American Jews struggle to find their place as the 20th century matures.
Todd M. Endelman is professor emeritus of History and Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. He was educated at the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard University. He is the author of many books, most recently, Leaving the Jewish Fold: Conversion and Radical Assimilation in Modern Jewish History (2015), which was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Prize.
Zvi Gitelman is professor emeritus of Political Science and Preston R. Tisch Professor Emeritus of Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. He has written or edited eighteen books, the most recent of which is the edited volume, The New Jewish Diaspora: Russian-speaking Immigrants in the United States, Israel and Germany (Rutgers University Press, 2016).
Customer ReviewsSee All
Intellectually stimulating AND heart warming
If you enjoy in-depth interviews of interest to the Jewish community that both stimulate the mind AND warm the heart, this is the podcast for you. Love it!
Give the guest some space
The host means well but simply can’t let the show be about the guest. He dominates the conversation. I felt sorry for the guest who could hardly get a word in; or at least he should be allowed to respond in full. The best host knows about tzimtzum. Less is more.
Very interesting topics and discussion; too much cross-talk
Excellent, stimulating topics, host and guests. I think the podcast could be improved if it was talking over the guests by host - in podcast i.e. an audio format, it is difficult to hear what both people are saying at once.