Blood Libel Conference


November 14, 2013 - 8:30am to 6:30pm

This conference will look at the tragic history of the “Blood Libel,” in which Jews were accused across the millennia of killing Christian children to use their blood in the Passover ritual. Originating in England early in the second millennium, the libel spread eastward to Russia, and it was not unknown in the United States and Canada.

One of the most infamous of these libels was the Mendel Beilis case, which occurred in the waning days of Tsarist Russia. The 100th anniversary of the near-miraculous acquittal of Beilis is the cause for this conference. The scholarly centerpiece of discussions will focus on Hannah R. Johnson’s influential recent book Blood Libel, a complex history of the phenomenon, as well as Bernard Malamud’s The Fixer, a fictional rendering of the Beilis case.

Panelists include Beilis’ grandson and attorney Jeremy Garber; Professor Vivian Curran, University of Pittsburgh Law School; Professor David Fraser, University of Nottingham; Professor Hannah R. Johnson, University of Pittsburgh, Department of English; Professor Jeffrey Mehlman, Boston University; Professor Sanford Levinson, University of Texas Law School; and Professor Richard Weisberg, Cardozo School of Law.

For further details and to RSVP for the symposium, contact Alyssa Grzesh,

*CLE credit is available for this event.

A Thousand Years of Infamy: The History of Blood Libel

November 14, 2013

8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.


November 15, 2013

9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.


Cardozo School of Law

Jacob Burns Moot Court Room



Thursday, November 14


8:30 a.m.  Welcome


9:15 – 11 a.m.  Panel I: Introduction

Professor Vivian Curran

“At the Crossroads of Law and Society: The Trial of Mendel Beilis”

Professor Jeffrey Mehlman



11 a.m. Break


11:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.  Panel 2: “The Fixer”

Jay Beilis and Attorney Jeremy Garber

“The Malamud – Beilis Connection”

Professor Richard Weisberg as respondent


1:15 p.m.  Lunch Break


2:45 – 4:15 p.m. Panel 3: Blood Libels in North America

Professor David Fraser

"Our Judges in Quebec Will Give Us Fair Play: Jews, Law and Blood Libel in Canada, with some remarks on blood libel in the United States”

Professor Sanford Levinson as respondent


4:15 p.m.  Reception with wine, beverages, and hors d’oeuvres


Friday, November 15


9 a.m.  Welcome


9:15 – 11 a.m. Panel 4: The Blood Libel: History, Religion, Interpretation, Theory

Professor Hannah R. Johnson

“Stories People Tell: Blood Libel and the Struggle Over Terminology”

Professor Thane Rosenbaum and Professor Richard Weisberg as respondents


11 a.m.  Closing Remarks and Q & A


Cardozo School of Law Jacob Burns Moot Court Room; Cardozo School of Law Lobby; Cardozo School of Law Jacob Burns Moot Court Room; Cardozo School of Law Lobby

Event type