Speaker: Prof. Fred Lazin, Professor of Local Government at Ben Gurion University of the Negev and the Visiting Professor of Israel Studies at American University

Location: B'nai Israel Congregation; Rockville, MD

President Harry Truman famously became the first head of state to recognize the new State of Israel in 1948, but the attitude of subsequent administrations to Israel was far from clear cut. This session examined the causes of changes in the relationship over time, up to and including the elections of President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu. It also explored the impact of groups like AIPAC, both from the American and Israeli perspectives.

Also co-sponsored by American Associates Ben-Gurion University of the Negev


Speaker: Prof. Fred Lazin, Professor of Local Government at Ben Gurion University of the Negev and the Visiting Professor of Israel Studies at American University

Location: B'nai Israel Congregation; Rockville, MD

This session explored the major conflicts that ignite passions in the Middle East, only one of which is the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Others include the interests of the great powers for influence and hegemony, conflicts both within and between the major religions, and issues of national identity and pride.

Also co-sponsored by American Associates Ben-Gurion University of the Negev


Speaker: Dr. Samuel Heilman, Harold Proshansky Chair in Jewish Studies at the Graduate Center and is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Queens College of the City University of New York

Location: Ohev Sholom - The National Synagogue; Washington, DC

This lecture discussed a worldwide movement of Jewish Outreach and the Rebbe who sent them on their mission. It is a story of personal change and an effort to make sense out of history, a story of transformation and how a sect of Hasidim could make themselves and their leader into a force that could make claims about their ability to control history and Jewish destiny.

Also cosponsored by the Georgetown University Program for Jewish Civilization

Direct download: 2011_03_15_Lubavitchers_What_They_Want.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 6:30 PM

Speaker: Prof. Calvin Goldscheider, Ungerleider Professor Emeritus of Judaic Studies and Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

Location: Sixth & I Historic Synagogue; Washington, DC

The Mishnah is a third century set of Jewish texts consisting of 63 volumes organized around an imagined and constructed community. It is sub-divided into several themes that form the basis of understanding Rabbinic Judaism. Assuming that we have only the Mishnaic text as our source of evidence, we ask, what emerges inductively from the text that informs us about the Mishnaic notion of community? It is a social science question asked not of contemporary societies but of canonized texts in the Judaic tradition for a world that is past. By studying the Mishnah, we are able to clarify how society is conceptualized in the Mishnah and in the process gain some new insights into the Mishnah itself.

In this lecture Professor Goldscheider illustrated this approach by highlighting several critical social themes portrayed in the Mishnah: (1) Inequality and exclusion--Does the Mishnah have a utopian ideal of a classless Jewish society? How does the Mishnah characterize the relationship to Non-Jews? (2) Family and gender--What types of family relationships emerge in the Mishnah and how are family transitions described? How are the roles of men and women, boys and girls, differentiated in the Mishnah? (3) Holidays and rituals--How do holidays and religious rituals convey the meanings of Judaism in the Mishnah?

Also cosponsored by the Georgetown University Program for Jewish Civilization




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