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Israel [clear filter]
Friday, February 13
 

2:30pm EST

Ben-Gurion and the Pragmatic Tradition in Israeli Politics
While we often think of Israel as a country driven and divided by rigorous devotion to ideology, there is another tradition in which ideologies have been transformed by confronting new and especially undesirable realities. This phenomenon will be examined through reviewing Ben-Gurion’s changing relationships to borders, Diaspora Jewry, and the organization of Zionist society.

Presenters
IT

Ilan Troen

Born in Boston, Ilan Troen was educated at Brandeis, Hebrew University and Chicago. On making aliyah he joined Ben-Gurion University, became Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences and Director of the BGU Research Institute, and pioneered programs in Israel Studies. He returned to... Read More →


Friday February 13, 2015 2:30pm - 3:45pm EST
Grove

8:45pm EST

Ethics of War: The Status of Enemy Civilians
What guidance can a largely diasporic Jewish corpus offer today's Israeli military? This session mines Jewish tradition for responses to the relatively new reality of asymmetric/guerrilla warfare in the Middle East, while placing these responses in context of contemporary Israeli debate.

Presenters
ES

Elana Stein Hain

Elana Stein Hain is the Director of Leadership Education at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. She has a PhD in Religion with a focus on rabbinic legal loopholes in the Talmud from Columbia University, and served as a clergy member at Lincoln Square Synagogue and the Jewish... Read More →


Friday February 13, 2015 8:45pm - 10:00pm EST
Aspen
 
Saturday, February 14
 

11:30am EST

Beyond Bibi: The Israeli Elections—A Guide for the Perplexed
A former Israeli presidential candidate shines light on the contentious Israeli elections, with an insider's view of how they work, identifying the key players and leading scenarios, and what this all means for American Jews and the future of the Jewish state.  

Made possible by funds from The Covenant Foundation. 

Presenters
YA

Yosef Abramowitz

One of CNN's top six Green Pioneers worldwide, Yosef Abramowitz is a co-founder of the solar industries in Israel and East Africa. A candidate for Israel’s presidency, he was named by the Jerusalem Post the 21st most influential Jew in the world and is a Covenant Award winner. He... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 11:30am - 12:45pm EST
Grove

1:45pm EST

The Rabbinic Narrative of Pacifism and Its Modern Critics
This session will offer a political theory for rabbinic Judaism—namely, that the rabbis used narrative, law, interpretation, and their own myth of origin to not only opt out of history but also to make a strong statement against sovereignty and its trappings of military force and the use of power. We will then reckon with the consequences of being the inheritors of this literature, as well as its implications for modern Zionism.

Presenters
YK

Yehuda Kurtzer

Yehuda Kurtzer is the president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, overseeing its educational initiatives for Jewish communal leaders. He taught at Brandeis as the inaugural Chair of Jewish Communal Innovation. His book Shuva: The Future of the Jewish Past offers new... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 1:45pm - 3:00pm EST
Grove

3:45pm EST

Heavenly Jerusalem, Earthly Jerusalem
Jerusalem has always been a place of deep emotions, tensions, and often violence. Today, these dynamics have a major impact on the possibilities for peace. We will examine some classic texts about Jerusalem in light of the contemporary political reality.

Presenters
JJ

Jill Jacobs

Jill Jacobs is the Executive Director of T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, which brings a rabbinic moral voice to human rights in North America, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories. She is the author of two books about Judaism and social justice: Where Justice... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 3:45pm - 5:00pm EST
Waterside

5:15pm EST

The Significance of Being First: Competing Jewish and Arab Discourses
Claims to the Holy Land are at the root of the Arab/Israeli conflict, and are now perhaps the most significant and contentious element. These claims are mixed with the religious traditions of Jews, Christians and Muslims, and even secular Jews and Arabs, and they reference continuities with the ancient past as a means of claiming priority. The presentation will examine ways in which these claims are made in an attempt to clarify this extraordinarily complex situation.

Presenters
IT

Ilan Troen

Born in Boston, Ilan Troen was educated at Brandeis, Hebrew University and Chicago. On making aliyah he joined Ben-Gurion University, became Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences and Director of the BGU Research Institute, and pioneered programs in Israel Studies. He returned to... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 5:15pm - 6:15pm EST
Elm
 
Sunday, February 15
 

8:30am EST

The Letter that Changed Everything: Ben Gurion's Status Quo Letter
Shortly before the 1947 UN vote on recognition of a Jewish state in Palestine, Ben Gurion sent a letter to the leaders of Orthodox religious parties in Israel that shaped the character of the Jewish state forever. He promised to give the Orthodox community full authority over four issues: shabbat; kashrut; marital law; and education. Why was it crucial to send this letter? Was it a good call? Why is this letter unchangeable? Do we want to change it?


Presenters
TB

Tova Birnbaum

Tova Birnbaum is founder and director of the Voices Fellowship. She was also a founder of the Secular Yeshiva at the BINA Center in Tel Aviv, and served as North American director for the World Zionist Organization. Tova teaches Talmud and Judaic Studies, and facilitates theater midrash... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 8:30am - 9:45am EST
Belltown

10:00am EST

An Israeli Vision to Reverse Climate Change
Israel, a world flashpoint of innovation, can be a microcosm that shows us how to save the planet through advanced technologies and visionary implementation.

Made possible by funds from The Covenant Foundation. 

Presenters
YA

Yosef Abramowitz

One of CNN's top six Green Pioneers worldwide, Yosef Abramowitz is a co-founder of the solar industries in Israel and East Africa. A candidate for Israel’s presidency, he was named by the Jerusalem Post the 21st most influential Jew in the world and is a Covenant Award winner. He... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 10:00am - 11:15am EST
Springdale

12:00pm EST

Dramatic American Religious Demographic Shifts and Their Implications for Israel Support
How will the changing face of religion in the US affect America’s historic support for Israel? With a decrease in the percentage of Americans who identify as Christian and reports suggesting weak spots in US Christian support for Israel (e.g., Presbyterian Church), one might think that the sky is falling. But the reality is far more nuanced and positive. We will look beneath the headlines and see what is really happening within US religious perspectives on Israel.

Presenters
NM

Noam Marans

Noam Marans is the national director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations at AJC (the American Jewish Committee). Previously he served as the rabbi of Temple Israel in Ridgewood, NJ. He has participated in multiple private audiences with Pope Francis and leads AJC's battle against... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 12:00pm - 1:15pm EST
Waterside

3:00pm EST

Israel of the Heart/Israel of the Mind
How do we speak with children (and ourselves!) about our complex relationship with Israel while still passing along our love affair with the Jewish state to the next generation? Through deep discussion and a text study of Israel's Declaration of Independence, we will delve into this important topic.

Presenters
AH

Ami Hersh

Ami Hersh is the assistant director of the Ramah Day Camp in Nyack. He also serves as the Family Life Coordinator at the Orangetown Jewish Center. He was ordained as a rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2012 with an MA in Jewish non-profit management and a second MA in Experiential... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 3:00pm - 4:15pm EST
Westover

9:45pm EST

Researching a Travel Guide to Israel During the Gaza War of 2014
Robinson's research for the upcoming 8th edition of Lonely Planet’s travel guidebook Israel and the Palestinian Territories took place during the summer of 2014, while missiles were flying and foreign tourists were a rare sight. Based on scores of interviews with Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Israelis, this session will look at Israel’s hugely important tourism industry and the way it copes with crises. It will also feature some lesser-known but fascinating places to visit.

Presenters
DR

Daniel Robinson

After twenty-five years in Israel, Daniel came back to the US when his wife began Conservative rabbinical studies in Los Angeles. She is now the rabbi of Congregation Beth El in New London, CT. Daniel has been writing travel guidebooks for Lonely Planet for 25 years, including guides... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 9:45pm - 11:00pm EST
Elm
 
Monday, February 16
 

8:30am EST

The 'Jewish' State: The Politics of Religion in Israel
The session will focus on creating a connection between American Jews and Israel while providing a better understanding of the complexities of Israeli society, religion, and state in Israel vs. the US. A key takeaway is that religious rights are human rights. Emphasis will be placed on gender inequality, the percentage of Israelis that get married outside of Israel, and the lack of separation between religion and state.

Presenters
LL

Laura Lewis

Born in London, UK where Conservative/Masorti options weren’t so readily available at the time, Laura appreciates the openness of American Jewish life particularly the importance of integrating traditional Judaism with contemporary values of egalitarianism and inclusion. She now... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 8:30am - 9:45am EST
High Ridge

10:00am EST

Understanding Israel’s Declaration of Independence
Israel’s Declaration of Independence is the most revolutionary document in Jewish history in two millennia. In addition to a close examination of the background of its formulation and of its contents, we shall examine it in comparative context with the American Declaration of Independence, the Palestinian National Covenant, and the Hamas Charter. The commonalities between them and their vast differences are the subject of this session.

Presenters
IT

Ilan Troen

Born in Boston, Ilan Troen was educated at Brandeis, Hebrew University and Chicago. On making aliyah he joined Ben-Gurion University, became Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences and Director of the BGU Research Institute, and pioneered programs in Israel Studies. He returned to... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 10:00am - 11:15am EST
Grove

11:30am EST

Three Summers of Zionist Crisis: 1937, 1947, 1948

1937: a crisis over whether to divide the Land of Israel. 1947: a crisis over the role of Judaism in the State of Israel. 1948: a crisis over who can legitimately fight for the State of Israel. Three summers, three crises, three issues that are as relevant today as back then. We'll roleplay Israel's past to try to understand Israel's present.



Presenters
RM

Robin Moss

Robin Moss is head of Israel Engagement at UJIA, the central agency connecting the British Jewish community to Israel. He works to improve the quality and nuance of Israel-related educational conversations among Jewish youth, primarily within youth movements, day schools, non-Jewish schools... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 11:30am - 12:45pm EST
Long Ridge

1:00pm EST

The Israel We Imagine
Much of the political debate about Israel masks an underlying, under-investigated conflict of imagination and narrative. If we operate with different standards of the behavior we expect of Israel, it is no surprise that we struggle to reach consensus on its success or failure. In this session we will try to probe the different imaginary narratives that enter into different approaches to Israel, and will try to explore if – and how – a new form of consensus can be reached.

Presenters
YK

Yehuda Kurtzer

Yehuda Kurtzer is the president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, overseeing its educational initiatives for Jewish communal leaders. He taught at Brandeis as the inaugural Chair of Jewish Communal Innovation. His book Shuva: The Future of the Jewish Past offers new... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 1:00pm - 2:15pm EST
Aspen