Heilbronner Lecture: Jewish-Muslim Cooperation: The Holocaust and Beyond

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
5:00 PM
Murkland Hall Richards Auditorium (115)
Event Type

This year’s program pays critical attention to the impact of the Nazi Holocaust on Jewish communities not usually studied, particularly Sephardic Jewish communities. Our program critically engages the significant history of the Muslim engagement in anti-Nazi resistance as well as the support, protection and rescue of Jews impacted in the Holocaust. These historical Muslim-Jewish relationships remain significant today in an era of rising antisemitism and Islamophobia, Holocaust denial narratives and current international politics. This year’s Heilbronner Lecture and the UNH Holocaust Education Fund bring diverse speakers together to discuss historical and present-day innovative Muslim-Jewish initiatives. 

An accompanying exhibit at the University Museum is “The Common Ground Between Us: Jewish and Muslim Communities in Morocco, Egypt and Iraqi-Kurdistan,” a Diarna Geo-Museum photography exhibition by Joshua Shamsi. The exhibit runs October 29 to November 22, Monday through Friday, 12-4 p.m., and Wednesday 12-7 p.m. in the Dimond Library. An opening reception will take place immediately after the lecture, from 6-8:30 p.m., in Special Collections of the Dimond Library.



Jason Guberman-P., a social entrepreneur who specializes in building broad coalitions and melding intellectual and technical innovation, serves as founding executive director of Digital Heritage Mapping and is the coordinator of DHM’s flagship initiative, the Diarna Geo-Museum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life. A summa cum laude graduate of Sacred Heart University, Guberman-P. was named to Connecticut Magazine’s “40 under 40” and to the Jewish Week’s “36 under 36.” He has presented Diarna at Stanford University’s Digital Humanities Center and the USC Shoah Foundation, and at conferences of the Association of Jewish Studies, Association of Jewish Libraries and Moroccan Millennium Leaders; guest lectured classes at Harvard’s Middle East Studies Center and at Wellesley College; served on the Council of Young Jewish Presidents and represented the American Sephardi Federation (where he also serves as executive director) on the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations’ Missions to Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, United Arab Emirates and Jordan; written for AJS Perspectives, Sh’ma Journal, Wexner Foundation Newsletter, The Algemeiner and MyJewishLearning.com; as well as appeared on NPR’s “Here & Now” and in SmartHistory. Guberman-P. is an alumnus of the Tikvah Fund’s Fellowship and Core18 Leaders Laboratory.


Eddie Ashkenazie is a researcher and research coordinator for Diarna Geo-Museum and a Yeshiva University Ph.D. student focusing his studies on the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in the modern era. He graduated from Yeshiva University with both Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Jewish history. Prior to joining Diarna, Ashkenazie worked on a number of book publishing and history projects, including an edition of the Pentateuch with Rabbi Saadia Gaon’s Judeo-Arabic translation, contributed a chapter on the Hebrew and Aramaic inscriptions in Damascene Jewish houses to “Bayt Farhi and the Sephardic Palaces of Ottoman Damascus in the Late 18th and 19th Centuries” (Boston: American Schools of Oriental Research, 2018) and curated an exhibit on the history of the Syrian Jewish Community in New York for Brooklyn’s historic Magen David Congregation.

Mehdi El Bayad is program director for Jewish-Muslim Dialogue Advocacy at Association Mimouna, a Moroccan NGO that aims to promote Moroccan-Jewish heritage preservation, antisemitism education and Muslim-Jewish dialogue promotion. El Bayad has co-organized events such as a special edition of the Moroccan Jewish University (MJU) focused on hate speech and Holocaust education with social media influencers and young teachers; the Muslim-Jewish Interfaith Conference (MJIC), which gathered more than 70 young Muslims, Jews and allies from across the globe to heal the fractured relationship between the two communities; and the #MimounaSpiritDay, with ten female Instagram influencers, about the Moroccan Jewish experience though traditional costumes, gastronomy and visiting heritage sites. El Bayad is also deputy treasurer in Solidarité Féminine Association founded by Aïcha Ech-Channa, the first NGO in the MENA region to prevent out-of-wedlock child abandonment using strategies of economic empowerment for single mothers.

Featured Artist:


Joshua Shamsi is project director for Beitenu – The Atlas of Jewish Life and lead photographer/outreach director for the Diarna Geo-Museum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life. He holds an M.A. in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and a B.A. in both studio arts and brain and cognitive science from the University of Rochester. From 2005-2008, he worked as a photojournalist in Israel for Israel National News. His photography has been published in New York Times magazine and has been featured in exhibitions both nationally and abroad.

The Hans Heilbronner lecture series honors the memory of Hans Heilbronner, professor of history, who served the University of New Hampshire with distinction from 1954 until 1991. This event is sponsored by the Endowed Fund for Holocaust Education and the following at UNH: Center for the Humanities; Classics, Humanities and Italian Studies; Middle Eastern Studies; Office of Community, Equity and Diversity; Office of Multicultural Student Affairs; Political Science; Responsible Governance and Sustainable Citizenship Project; University Museum; and Women’s and Gender Studies.

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