SCHENECTADY – Congregation Agudat Achim’s Adult Education Committee has announced a six lecture program with Dr. Stephen Berk, professor of history at Union College and scholar-in-residence with Congregation Agudat Achim for 30 years. Berk’s newest lecture series is entitled “Going and Coming: A History of Jewish Emigration and Immigration.” 


According to Berk, Jews have always been on the move. Their migrations were always a consequence of push and pull. Something pushed the Jews out and something pulled them in. Emigration and immigration are constants in Jewish history, he asserts. 

The dates of all the lectures are: Sept: 8, 15, 22, 29; Oct: 6, and 13, and all lectures will start at 7:30 p.m. and will available both in-person or online. 

The complete series is $60 for members and $72 for non-members. Individual lectures will be sold at the door for $15 each. Registration may be obtained on the congregation’s website at or by sending a check payable to Congregation Agudat Achim before Sept. 13, to Congregation Agudat Achim c/o Jack Mintzer, 2117 Union St., Schenectady, 12309. 

The series begins Sept 8 with “From West to East: The Formation of Eastern European Jewry.” The Crusades, the expulsion from Spain and the Khazars created a community that soon became the center of gravity of Jewish life.

 “Coming To America: The Germans Arrive” is the Sept. 15 topic. Economic downturn, anti-Jewish sentiment and the lure of America led over a hundred thousand German Jews to immigrate into the United States; they revitalized the American Jewish community.

Theme of Sept. 22 lecture will be “Kuda-Where to?” Pogroms force Russian Jews to make tough decision’s America or Palestine? The overwhelming majority voted for the United States. 

The lecture of Sept.  29 will review “The In Gathering Of The Exiles: Immigration Into Israel.” 

 The Closing Of The Doors: Jewish Immigration In The Interwar Period” is set for Oct. 6.” Johnson-Reed and FDR sealed the fate of millions, but those who were able to come left an imprint on American life.

The final lecture in the series, Oct. 13, “From Auschwitz to New York and from Moscow to the Golden Land” will review how after WWII the closed doors began to open, and Gorbachev transformed the Soviet Union. Hundreds of thousands of Jews came into the U.S.