Expanded academic programming comes to Jewish museum this fall

FIU is offering a full academic schedule at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU (JMOF-FIU) in Miami Beach for the fall semester.

The semester kicks off with three courses — The Holocaust, Religion: Analysis and Interpretation, and Jews of Latin America — offered onsite at the museum, where students will be surrounded with the rich history preserved within the exhibits at JMOF-FIU. In November, FIU will launch the Muslim-Jewish Relations Program Series for FIU students and the community.

With the museum’s unique focus on the Jews of Florida, it makes it the ideal classroom for Valeria Schindler‘s Jews of Latin America class.

“Miami is the ideal place to learn about Latin American Jews. It’s the gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean, and there’s naturally a large concentration of this group in South Florida,” Schindler said.  “The Latin American Jewish community is a relatively new one that emerged less than a hundred years ago. They practice their religion the same way Jews from other parts of the world do, but, culturally, they have that Latin flavor mixed into their language, food, music and celebrations.”

The class will explore the Jewish experience in Latin America, including Cuba, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. The curriculum covers the topics of immigration, assimilation, nationalism, and issues of ethnicity, gender and anti-Semitism.

Students in any of the courses offered at JMOF-FIU will have access to the museum’s historical collections, research library, exhibits, and other resources. Members of the public who wish to take any of the courses as a non-degree seeking student can audit the course by applying through the Registrar’s Office.

“Besides being able to use the museum’s photographs, documents and publications to augment what they learn in the classroom, those students taking my class will also be able to walk through some of our city’s oldest synagogues and engage with their members and staff,” Schindler said. “They’ll get more than the typical classroom lecture. South Florida and our community is a living classroom for this.”

The Muslim-Jewish Relations Program Series will feature a panel discussion Nov. 10 titled “How Islam Saved the Jews” with guest speakers from various universities across the country. Later that month, the program will host a lecture by Mehnaz Mona Afridi, director of the Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College. The series will close out in December with a Sufi musical and poetry performance.

The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU, which joined the FIU family in 2012, is dedicated to the preservation of history and cultural significance of the Jews of Florida. This marks the second year that FIU classes and academic programming have been offered onsite.

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