PSU’s Judaic Studies welcomes Prof. Devin Naar for annual Lorry I. Lokey Lecture
Author: Jenn Director Knudsen, Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies
Posted: April 28, 2014

Prof. Devin Naar of the University of Washington is the 2014 Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies’ Lorry I. Lokey Lecture guest. Naar, the Marsha & Jay Glazer Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Coordinator of the Sephardic Studies Initiative, will speak on “The Sephardim of America: Their Origins and Destinations.” 

Naar’s Mon., May 19 talk is at 7:30 p.m., in the Smith Memorial Student Union’s rm. 238 (also called the Browsing Lounge). The event is free and open to the public and includes a discussion period and light reception following the lecture. 

Originally from New Jersey, Naar graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis. Following a year in Greece as a Fulbright Scholar, Naar began his Ph.D. in history at Stanford University. Naar’s dissertation, “Jewish Salonica and the ‘Making of the Jerusalem of the Balkans,’ 1890-1943,” received the Elizabeth Spillman Rosenfeld Prize for best written dissertation in Stanford’s Department of History in 2011. 

The professor also spearheads the new Sephardic Studies Initiative at UW as part of the Stroum Jewish Studies Program. Naar has begun a pilot project, “Seattle Sephardic Treasures,” which seeks to uncover the rich Ladino and Sephardic heritage in Seattle and preserve source materials for future generations. 

The 2014 Lorry I. Lokey lecture kicks off a season of celebrating a century of Sephardic Jewry and culture here in PortlandThe local Sephardic synagogue, Congregation Ahavath Achim, spearheaded Vida Sefaradi, the series of spring events in honor of the community’s 100-year milestone. 

On Sun., June 1, Congregation Ahavath Achim hosts a gala dinner and opening ceremonies for Vida Sefaradi’s “A Century of Sephardic Life in Portland” at 5 p.m., in Congregation Shaarie Torah’s Social Hall, at 920 N.W. 25th Ave. It will feature Sephardic foods, music, speakers and a preview of the “Vida 

Sefaradi” DVD andcatalogue featured later in the month at the Oregon Jewish Museum (OJM). Event reservations are required. For more information, please call Renee Fererra at (503) 720-5102. 

June 11 is the debut of a multimedia exhibit highlighting a century of Sephardic life in Portland at the OJM, guest curated by Sura Rubenstein. The OJM’s exhibit runs through Oct. 19, and is located at 1953 N.W. Kearney St. Naar – along with Rubenstein and professors Laura Leibman of Reed College and Ellen Eisenberg of Willamette University-- contributed essays to the exhibit catalogue. 

A Century of Sephardic Life in Portland is a partnership between the OJM, Sephardic Congregation Ahavath Achim, and PSU’s Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies. This centenary celebration presents and preserves the history of Portland’s Sephardic community. 

For more information about the entire celebration and its related events, please click to

About the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at Portland State University 

Judaic Studies employs the critical methodologies of university scholarship to examine all aspects of the history, religion, culture, and social and political formations of the Jewish people. Judaic Studies therefore enhances our understanding of world history, and allows critical insight into a vital strand in the tapestry of world culture. It offers the opportunity for students of all backgrounds to explore a rich civilization that is both nourished by ancient traditions, and shaped through creative encounters and ongoing interactions with other cultures. At the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at Portland State University, this enterprise is conducted through a variety of academic courses and summer programming, lectures and research symposia, scholarly conferences and cultural events.