The Magnes educational and public programs include tours, lectures, artist talks and scholarly symposia, as well collaborations with local cultural and performing arts institutions.

Click on "Upcoming Programs" to find information about events taking place at The Magnes in the near future.


India, Israel, and Berkeley

Wed, Aug 05, 2020 5:30pm

Join Magnes Curator, Francesco Spagnolo and panel guests as they discuss ties between Israel, India, and Berkeley by examining Indian-Jewish artifacts from the Magnes Collection.

Deputy Consul General Zamir will talk about his experiences stationed in Mumbai. The history of Jewish culture in India and the present-day Indian-Jewish culture in Israel will also be discussed.

Francesco Spagnolo on Threads of Jewish Life

Fri, May 22, 2020 12:30pm to 1:15pm

Take a lunch break & join Francesco Spagnolo, Curator of the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, University of California, Berkeley, for a presentation on a current exhibition of The Magnes, presented at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco: Threads of Jewish Life: Ritual and Other Textiles from the San Francisco Bay Area

In this virtual program, Spagnolo will explore early Jewish life in San Francisco through the textiles and objects on view in the exhibition, including the mysterious origins of the exhibition's extraordinary Torah ark.

Scent & Sensibility: Researching and Collecting around a Ritual Spice Box

Wed, May 13, 2020 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Francesco Spagnolo (Curator, The Magnes) and Molly Robinson (Graduate Student, Folklore) discuss their research about a ritual spice box recently displayed by The Magnes, how exhibitions can serve as “archives,” and the meanings of ritual (including the ritual of “collecting”) in a time of social distancing. 

"Zooming In": Teaching Online with the Magnes Exhibition "In Real Times"

Wed, Apr 15, 2020 5:00pm to 6:30pm
When, at the beginning of the semester, Prof. Francesco Spagnolo, Curator of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, worked with Prof. Isabel Richter, DAAD Professor of History to plan a class visit to The Magnes for her course on Politics and Culture in 20th-Century Germany: Fascism and Propaganda, social distancing requirements were not a consideration. However, due to the global Covid-19 pandemic and governmental shelter-in-place orders, an in-class visit was no longer possible. 

Tapestry of Tongues: The Multilingual Matrix of Modern Hebrew Literature

Sun, Feb 23, 2020 5:00pm to 7:30pm

Tapestry of Tongues: The Multilingual Matrix of Modern Hebrew Literature

Screening of “Amos Oz:” selected scenes from a work-in-progress for “Ha’Ivrim” created by Israeli filmmaker Yair Qedar followed by

Conversation with Professors Robert Alter & Chana Kronfeld.

Sunday, February 23, 5:00 pm, at the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, Berkeley

Free and open to the public.


Cold Case in Constantine: Anti-Jewish Violence and the Colonial Situation in French Algeria

Tue, Feb 11, 2020 5:15pm to 7:00pm

Cole’s prize-winning book solves the mystery of the Constantine riots of August 1934, an episode of violence between Muslims and Jews in French Algeria that resulted in the deaths of 25 Jews and 3 Muslims. The murders in Constantine were the most lethal episode of anti-Jewish violence in peacetime in modern French history. Cole argues that we have long misunderstood the violence in Constantine. Contrary to widespread perceptions, it was neither the culmination of ever-growing Muslim-Jewish enmity, nor the rupture that in time led to the end for the two groups’ cohabitation in Algeria.

David Kertzer | In the Name of the Cross: Christianity and Anti-Semitic Propaganda in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany

Wed, Feb 05, 2020 4:00pm to 6:00pm

Heated debate surrounds the question of the role Christianity and Christian churches played in the Nazi and Italian Fascist demonization of the Jews. This talk brings to light similarities and differences in the Nazi and Italian Fascist uses of Christianity in their efforts to turn their populations against the Jews through examination of two of their most influential popular anti-Semitic propaganda vehicles: La difesa della razza in Italy and Der Stürmer in Germany.

In Global Transit: Forced Migration of Jews and other Refugees (1940s-1960s)

Mon, May 20, 2019 4:00pm to 8:00pm

Additional program dates:

  • Tue, May 21, 2019 9am-3pm
  • Wed, May 22, 2019 9am-5pm

In Global Transit Forced Migration of Jews and Other Refugees (1940s – 1960s)
May 20 – 22, 2019
German Historical Institute | Pacific Regional Office at the University of California, Berkeley
Second Conference in the Series “In Global Transit” organized by the German Historical Institutes in Washington and London
In cooperation with the Max Weber Stiftung Branch Offices in Delhi and Beijing, and The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, University of California, Berkeley

Conveners: Wolf Gruner, USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, Los Angeles; Simone Lässig, German Historical Institute Washington; Francesco Spagnolo, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, UC Berkeley; Swen Steinberg Queen's University, Kingston

The Sixteenth Annual Judith Lee Stronach Memorial Lecture on the Teaching of Poetry

Sun, May 19, 2019 3:00pm to 6:00pm

Almog Behar is a poet, novelist, and critic. Born in 1978, Behar now lives in Jerusalem. He has published three books of poetry: Zim'on Be'erot (Well's Thirst, 2008), Chut Moshekh Min Ha-Lashon (A Thread Drawing from the Tongue, 2009) and Shirim Le-Asirei Batei-Ha-Sohar (Poems for the Prisoners, 2016); a collection of short stories, Ana Min Al-Yahoud (I am on one of the Jews, 2009); and one novel, Chahla ve-Hezkel (Rachel and Ezekiel, 2010) that was translated into Arabic and published in Cairo in 2016.