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Scholar Series - Temple Concord Syracuse

The Temple Concord Scholar Series is a huge hit and we are thrilled to bring its seventh year of presenting Syracuse University professors and other experts from the community on a variety of political, cultural, health, and educational topics.  Admission is free, although we do welcome donations.  Become a series sponsor with your $100 gift to the Temple Concord Learning Fund and we will proudly list your name in each event’s program.   Programs are Sundays at 11:00 am.                    

SEPTEMBER 18, 2016

Andrew Cohen: Contraband: Smuggling and American Anti-Semitism, 1776-1917 

Congregant Andrew Cohen, history professor at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, has a PhD from the University of Chicago.  He is the author of the book, Contraband:Smuggling and the Birth of the American Century (WW Norton, 2015), a review of which says it’s “a gripping narrative filled with colorful characters whose exploits will cause readers to rethink their understanding of the American past. Deeply researched, powerfully argued, and beautifully written, Contraband is at once a page-turner and an important reframing of the nation’s history.”   He is also the author of The Racketeer’s Progress: Chicago and the Struggle for the Modern American Economy, 1900-1940 (Cambridge University Press, 2004).  

NOVEMBER 13, 2016

Joel Dimsdale: Anatomy of Malice 

Joel Dimsdale is the Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Research Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California-San Diego. He received his education at Carleton College, Stanford University, and Harvard.  The author of over 500 publications, he has been a consultant to the President’s Commission on Mental Health, the Institute of Medicine, the National Academies of Science, NASA, and NIH.  His most recent book, Anatomy of Malice: The Enigma of Nazi War Criminals (Yale University Press, 2016) asks us if there are parallels between 1945 and today’s mass killers.

JANUARY 8, 2017

Archie Rand : The 613 - Transforming the Jewish Commandments into Paintings

In the year 2000, Brooklyn-born painter Archie Rand embarked on the most ambitious project of his career: He would transform each of the 613 Jewish mitzvahs — from the first (“To know there is a God”) to the last (“Not to retain her for servitude after having relations with her”) — into its own vibrant painting.  Rendered in a Fauvist color palette, and with influences as varied as Marvel Comics, Carl Jung, Art Spiegelman, and John Coltrane, the series resembles no biblically-inspired art you’ve ever seen. With these 613 paintings, which took five years to complete, Rand “is like a biblical sage for the postmodern world, embracing the viewer and all of history,” as filmmaker Ang Lee described it.

March 26, 2017

Douglas Stark : The SPHAS : The Life and Times of Basketball's Greatest Jewish Team

Currently the museum director of the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, RI, Douglas Stark has also worked at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (Springfield, MA) and the US Golf Association Museum (Far Hills, NJ).  He also has time to write books, the most recent of which are The SPHAS: The Life and Times of Basketball’s Greatest Jewish Team (Temple Univ Press, 2011) and Wartime Basketball: The Emergence of a National Sport during World War II (Univ of Nebraska Press, 2016).  He is a graduate of Brandeis University with a BA in American History with a minor in the History of Art.  He also has an MA in American History (dual certification in Museum Studies, Archival Management, Historical Society Administration and Historical Editing) and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

April 2, 2017

Rabbi Phyllis Sommer : Superman Sammy

As Director of Congregational Learning at Congregation Am Shalom in Glencoe, IL, Rabbi Phyllis  is passionate about Jewish life and learning, and baking, and technology,  and reading, and quilting, and posting regular updates on Facebook, and pretty much everything!   She spends part of every summer on faculty at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, where she also leads a well-attended spring quilting retreat for adults.  She has blogged the Exodus at, and the ins-and-outs of balancing her life as Rabbi, wife, and mother of four as Ima On and Off the Bima: Real-Life Jewish Parenting and Living (   Rabbi Phyllis and her husband, Rabbi Michael Sommer, are the proud and loving (if sometimes harried) parents of four amazing children - David, Samuel Asher z"l, sister Yael, and baby Solly.
Sun, September 24 2017 4 Tishrei 5778