The City Without Jews (New Date)

Date: Feb 28, 2024

Time: 7:00 pm - 9:15 pm

Sponsor: Public Lectures and Events

Location: JTS

The City Without Jews

With live, original music composed and performed by world-renowned klezmer violinist Alicia Svigals and celebrated silent-film pianist Donald Sosin.

The Henry N. and Selma S. Rapaport Memorial Lecture 

Wednesday, February 28, 2024, 7:00–9:15 p.m. (New Date!)
In Person at JTS 
3080 Broadway (at 122nd Street) 
New York City  

The City Without Jews (Die Stadt ohne Juden), H. K. Breslauer’s 1924 silent film masterpiece, is the tragicomic story of the fictional Austrian city of Utopia, which becomes a dystopia when it expels its diverse and thriving Jewish population. Featuring ominous and eerily realistic sequences, such as shots of freight trains transporting Jews out of the city, its stinging critique of Nazism is part of why it was not screened in public after 1933. The film has been newly restored with an original score by master silent film pianist Donald Sosin and violinist Alicia Svigals, the world’s foremost exponent of the klezmer fiddle. They will perform their score live to accompany the film.  

Following the screening and performance, the artists will participate in a talkback with Dr. David Fishman, professor of Jewish history at JTS.  

Join us for a soul-stirring and thought-provoking evening exploring themes of antisemitism from a century ago that are sadly resonant for us today. 

This event is supported by the Sunrise Foundation for Education and the Arts. 

Admission is free, but reservations are required.

This event will be held in person at The Jewish Theological Seminary, 3080 Broadway (at West 122nd Street) in New York City. It will not be live-streamed or recorded. 

About the Program 

Credit Thierra Arsenault

Violinist/composer Alicia Svigals is the world’s leading klezmer fiddler and a founder of the Grammy-winning Klezmatics. She has performed with and written for violinist Itzhak Perlman and has worked with the the Kronos Quartet, playwrights Tony Kushner and Eve Ensler, poet Allen Ginsberg, and Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. Her newest CD is Beregovski Suite: Klezmer Reimagined, with jazz pianist Uli Geissendoerfer, an original take on long-lost Jewish music from Ukraine. In 2023, she received an honorary doctorate from JTS.  

Credit Mark Tomas

Pianist/composer Donald Sosin received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Denver Silent Film Festival and the Best Original Film Score award by the 2022 Mystic Film Festival. He has performed his scores for silent films, often with his wife, singer/percussionist Joanna Seaton, at Lincoln Center, MoMA, and at major film festivals in New York, Shanghai, and Vienna. He has played for Mikhael Baryshnikov, Mary Travers, and Howie Mandel. He has had commissions from Deutsche Kinemathek, the Chicago Symphony Chorus, and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.

David Fishman is a professor of Jewish history at JTS, teaching courses in modern Jewish history. He also serves as director of Project Judaica, JTS’s program in Ukraine. Author of numerous books and articles on the history and culture of East European Jewry, his most recent book, The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets, and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis, won the National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category. Previous monographs include Russia’s First Modern Jews and The Rise of Modern Yiddish Culture.  

About the Rapaport Memorial Lecture 

The annual Henry N. and Selma S. Rapaport Memorial Lecture was established in 1982 by Selma S. Rapaport (1916–2010), who served as president of the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism and as a longtime JTS board member, in memory of her late husband. A distinguished attorney and committed Jew, Henry N. Rapaport (1905–1980) served as president of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, New York, and as president of United Synagogue. He was an active member of the JTS board and a generous benefactor of JTS’s scholarly programs. 

General Information 

  • Please arrive 15–20 minutes prior to the program for check-in. 
  • JTS is wheelchair accessible. So that we can best accommodate you, please notify us at least three business days in advance at about guests who will be in a wheelchair or have any other special needs. 
  • ASL interpretation is available upon request. Please notify us at at least 10 business days prior to the program and indicate “ASL Request” in the subject line so that we can arrange for an interpreter.