The Jewish-Ukraine Encounter: A Series for FJC Members

Please note that this series is for members only. Non-members are encouraged to engage by reading the books and articles we will discuss.

A Conversation and Q & A with Charles King, Georgetown University Professor and Best-Selling Author of
Odessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams

N.B. from Pamela: This is a brilliant book - accessible, beautifully written with style and verve, and filled with rich history and compelling storytelling. My recommendation: don't miss this event. Advance reading of the book is not required.

Odessa - The story of one of Europe’s great cosmopolitan cities — home to many nationalities and religions — and its descent into the heart of darkness during the Holocaust.


[Odessa] begins as an evocative celebration of the port on the Black Sea, but it unfolds as an elegy, a moving and lyrical epitaph to what was and what is… Rich and riveting, complex and compelling, powerful and poetic.

Peter M. Gianotti, Newsday

Scholarly and fascinating … King relates all these horrors with calm and sorrowful restraint.

Jan Morris, Literary Review

Engaging and highly enjoyable … King brings a travel writer’s gift for clear prose and keen observation to history.

Matthew Kaminsky, Daily Beast

[A] finely written and evocative portrait of the city… It is [the] detail, coupled with a fine feel for the sweep of history, that make this book a worthy tribute to one of Europe’s greatest and least-known cities.

Learn more about the author and book at:

The Economist

Charles King is the author of the New York Times-bestselling Gods of the Upper Air, which received the Francis Parkman Prize and the Anisfield-Wolf Award, and was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times History Prize, and the British Academy’s Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding. His other books include Odessa, winner of a National Jewish Book Award, and Midnight at the Pera Palace.

Translations have appeared in French, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and other languages. He lectures widely on international affairs and has worked with major broadcast media such as CNN, National Public Radio, the BBC, the History Channel, and MTV. King’s articles and commentary have been published in magazines and newspapers such as The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe New RepublicForeign Affairs, and The Times Literary Supplement, as well as in leading academic journals.

He is professor of international affairs and government at Georgetown University, where he has served as chair of both the Department of Government and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, the world’s premier school of global affairs.

Guest Speaker Barbara Gaffin Discusses the Dnipro Kehillah Project, the Sister-City Relationship Between the Jewish Communities of Boston and Dnipro, Ukraine

For our second session exploring  Ukraine we are honored to welcome Barbara Gaffin, who, for over 25 years, served as the director of the Dnipro Kehillah Project, a sister-city relationship between the Jewish community of Boston and Dnipro, Ukraine. With support from JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Council) and CJP (Combined Jewish Philanthropies), she helped establish medical programs, special needs initiatives, and other cutting edge partnerships. Barbara will provide a personal account of Jewish life in Ukraine and discuss how it has radically changed during our lifetime.

Get a preview of the extensive and impressive work of the Dnipro Kehillah Project by reading Barbara's article that appeared on JewishBoston:

 For further insight, read Larry Tye's evocative and informative chapter of Home Lands:  "Dnepropetrovsk:
Lifting the Iron Curtain," pp. 59 - 98.

Larry brings his characteristic sharp insight and vivid storytelling to his book on the "new Jewish disapora," which includes this chapter on Dnepropetrovsk. Reading this chapter will not take long, but it will captivate you and prepare you for Barbara's Gaffin's talk about her 25 years working in that developing community.