Please upgrade to a newer browser.

The Lehrhaus website works best in modern browsers like Internet Explorer 8, Firefox 4, Google Chrome 10, Safari 3 and newer. If you are not using one of these, you may encounter visual glitches or other problems.

Great Jewish Trials

This course was offered in Fall, 2017.

For centuries, individual Jews have been accused of crimes the nature of which contains stereotypes about Judaism and/or the Jewish people in general. We will examine the "blood libel" allegation that became widespread in 13th century England; the prejudiced murder conviction of Atlanta resident Leo Frank at the turn of the 20th century, and the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann conducted by Israel. Finally, we will look at how anti-Semitic tropes are used today to undermine support for Israel.

  • Session 1: Trial Tropes and the Medieval Blood Libel
    The "blood libel" allegation was used against Jews as early as Antiochus Epiphanes (168 BCE) and grew very virulent and widespread in 13th century England. We will explore how this anti-Semitic trope is employed today against Israel.

  • Session 2: Leo Frank and the Growth of Anti-Semitism in the US
    At the turn of the 20th century, Atlanta resident Leo Frank was accused of the vicious murder of 13 year-old Mary Phagan who worked in the pencil factory that he managed. The trial led to the first lynching of a Jew in the U.S.

  • Session 3: The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
    The Mossad's capture of Adolf Eichmann, one of the major architects of the Final Solution, led to his 1961 trial in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Ben-Gurion's insistence that the former Nazi leader be tried in Israel was controversial; however, it reflected the central role that he saw his country as having in regard to the Jewish people.

  • Session 4: Trials on Film
    We will conclude this mini-course with excerpts from several films that capture the continuing significance of the trials we have studied.

This course will be available to registered students at no extra charge via Adobe Connect online distance learning. Students may attend live in the classroom, live online or anytime via recording.

Please visit Under One Tent for more Contra Costa programs.


# Sessions
Date & time

Wednesdays, October 18 - November 8
7:00 - 8:30 pm

$60 for the public
$45 for members
Session Time Days Location Instructors
Oct 18 7:00 PM–8:30 PM Wed B'nai Shalom Riva Gambert
Oct 25 7:00 PM–8:30 PM Wed B'nai Shalom Riva Gambert
Nov 01 7:00 PM–8:30 PM Wed B'nai Shalom Riva Gambert
Nov 08 7:00 PM–8:30 PM Wed B'nai Shalom Riva Gambert


Congregation B'nai Shalom

74 Eckley Lane

Walnut Creek, CA 94596



Riva Gambert

Riva GambertRiva Gambert served on the staff of the Jewish Federation of the East Bay both as Director of its Israel Center and Senior Director of Community Programs. She is Director of the 2016 East Bay International Jewish Film Festival. A frequent lecturer on Israel and film-related topics, Riva lived in Rehovot, Israel for several years before moving to California.