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C of I to host national Jewish history exhibit

The College of Idaho for years has strived to increase awareness and interest in Jewish culture and history throughout Idaho and the West. Those efforts continue this winter as the College hosts From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America, a traveling exhibition made possible by the American Jewish Historical Society and Jewish American History Month. The exhibition will run from Jan. 9 through March 19 inside the Langroise Center for Performing and Fine Arts on the C of I campus in Caldwell. It will be open to the public, free of charge, daily between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

“The College of Idaho strives to welcome and celebrate many different cultures and beliefs,” C of I President Marv Henberg said. “We invite the entire Treasure Valley community to join our students and faculty in learning about and commemorating through this magnificent exhibition the successful integration of Jewish culture into the American fabric.”

Sid Lapidus, co-chairman of the American Jewish Historical Society, will deliver a free public lecture as part of the Jan. 23 official opening ceremony for the exhibition, co-sponsored by KeyBank and Boise State Public Radio. Opening remarks for the event begin at 3:30 p.m. in Langroise Center, followed by the lecture from 4 to 5 p.m. and a reception ending at 6 p.m. Those planning to attend the opening event are asked to RSVP to events@collegeofidaho.edu or 208-459-5071.

From Haven to Home is a newly-designed version of the original Library of Congress exhibition by the same title, exhibited at the Library’s Jefferson building in 2004 in conjunction with the commission to commemorate 350 years of American Jewish history. The exhibition consists of large, portable display panels which show art, photography, literature, news articles and other artifacts that showcase how America, from its origins as a safe haven for Jews, blossomed into a home where Jewish culture, religion, business and tradition thrive.

The College of Idaho is working to establish an endowed chair in Judaic Studies, the first of its kind in the Intermountain West. Longtime C of I history professor Dr. Howard Berger has been the driving force behind Jewish studies at the College, hosting an annual Passover Seder, leading student trips to Jerusalem, teaching courses in Jewish history and bringing Jewish dignitaries to campus as guest speakers through the Howard Berger Lecture Series. From Haven to Home is part of that series.

“Judaic studies encompass so much more than religious beliefs or actually being Jewish,” Berger said. “Jewish culture and tradition have contributed so much to the American way of life, and vice versa. I am so pleased that our students and the community will have the opportunity to view and learn from this wonderful exhibit here at the College.”

Tours or after-hours accessibility for schools and other groups may be arranged by contacting C of I student Savannah Ottmar at savannah.ottmar@yotes.collegeofidaho.edu.

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including six Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another ten Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.