Summer Institute: The Spirit of Jewish Nationalism (NYC, August 7-12, 2016)

The Spirit of Jewish Nationalism

A Tikvah Summer Institute for College Students


Faculty: 
Ruth Wisse, Elliott Abrams, Micah Goodman, Eric Cohen
Dates: August 7-12, 2016
Location: New York City


This August, college students are invited to spend a week of their summer exploring the political and theological ideas that animate Jewish nationalism. This intensive institute is designed for university-level students living in America, Canada, and throughout the Diaspora who wish to uncover the moral and spiritual roots of the Israelite nation, and the intellectual and strategic challenges that confront the modern Jewish state. “The Spirit of Jewish Nationalism” will be hosted at the Tikvah Center in Midtown Manhattan. Admission will include room, board, and a stipend of $500.

Applications are due April 1, 2016.


Curriculum

When today’s undergraduates were born, the State of Israel was already half a century old, and it is not hard to see why they might take its existence for granted. But Israel’s rebirth and continued existence in the ancient Jewish homeland after long dispersion and exile should not be taken for granted. It is a remarkable historical achievement, the fulfillment of deeply rooted hopes and longings, and the result of masterful statecraft and heroic sacrifice. After the twentieth century’s terrors, the Jewish State today is guarded by a Jewish army, governed by a Jewish calendar, and its Knesset debates affairs of state in the language spoken millennia ago by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

But for all that, the threats arrayed against the State of Israel are more perilous and more potent than they have ever been. Surrounded by terrorists committed to its destruction from the north and the south, with Iran on the precipice of nuclear capacity, Syria dysfunctional, ISIS menacing, and traditional allies like Europe and the United States seeming to weaken in their support, the times call for a renewed vigilance. The achievement of Israel may have been a miracle, but it is a fragile one that requires each generation’s devotion and defense.

Gwendolen_HarlethAnd that devotion begins with study. Each day of the institute includes the close and careful reading of George Eliot’s great Zionist novel Daniel Deronda with master teacher Ruth Wisse, Tikvah’s Distinguished Senior Fellow and a recently retired Harvard University professor. Zionist philosophy and Zionist statesmanship will be core themes of our discussions, and the moral imagination of Jewish nationalism as conveyed through literature will be the centerpiece.

victory-of-joshua-over-the-amalekitesOther sessions will be spent studying the careers and intellectual legacies of the great thinkers and statesmen of Jewish nationalism, both ancient and modern. With Ein Prat Academy’s Micah Goodman and Tikvah’s Eric Cohen, we will consider the political teaching of the Hebrew Bible and the careers, writings, and legacies of Theodor Herzl, Ahad Ha’Am, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, and David Ben-Gurion.

IDF FlagStudents will also have the chance to consider the present moment. Former deputy national security advisor Elliott Abrams will help us see the continued necessity of statesmanship and strategy. They will challenge our thinking about how the political leaders of Israel – animated by the spirit of a noble Jewish Nationalism – can secure and strengthen Jewish sovereignty and security for the 21st century.

Advertisements

Conference: AJS Program Book now online (Boston, Dec 13-15, 2015)

The 47th Annual Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies will take place in Boston, December 13-15, 2015.

The full program is now available on the AJS website: http://www.ajsnet.org/conference-menu.htm

You may also download the program here: PDF

 

 

New Book: Novak, Zionism and Judaism

Novak, David. Zionism and Judaism. A New Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

 

novak

Why should anyone be a Zionist, a supporter of a Jewish state in the land of Israel? Why should there be a Jewish state in the land of Israel? This book seeks to provide a philosophical answer to these questions. Although a Zionist need not be Jewish, nonetheless this book argues that Zionism is only a coherent political stance when it is intelligently rooted in Judaism, especially in the classical Jewish doctrine of God’s election of the people of Israel and the commandment to them to settle the land of Israel. The religious Zionism advocated here is contrasted with secular versions of Zionism that take Zionism to be a replacement of Judaism. It is also contrasted with versions of religious Zionism that ascribe messianic significance to the State of Israel, or which see the main task of religious Zionism to be the establishment of an Israeli theocracy.

 

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. Why Zionism?
  • 2. Was Spinoza the first Zionist?
  • 3. Secular Zionism: political or cultural?
  • 4. Should Israel be a theocracy?
  • 5. Why the Jews and why the land of Israel?
  • 6. Can the state of Israel be both Jewish and democratic?
  • 7. What could be the status of non-Jews in a Jewish state?
  • 8. What is the connection between the Holocaust and the state of Israel?

 

DAVID NOVAK holds the J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair in Jewish Studies as Professor of Religion and Philosophy at the University of Toronto. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the American Academy for Jewish Research. He is President of the Union for Traditional Judaism, and Vice President of the Institute on Religion and Public Life. Novak also serves as a Consulting Scholar for the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, and as a Project Scholar for the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University.

 

New Article: Inbari, Messianic Religious Zionism and the Reintroduction of Sacrifice

Inbari, Motti. “Messianic Religious Zionism and the Reintroduction of Sacrifice: The Case of the Temple Institute.” In Rethinking the Messianic Idea in Judaism (ed. Michael L. Morgan and Steven Weitzman; Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014): 256-73.

 

9780253014740_med

URL: https://www.academia.edu/16376952/Messianic_Religious_Zionism_and_the_Reintroduction_of_Sacrifice_The_Case_of_the_Temple_Institute

 

Extract

The obscuring of the question of the Temple Mount by early Zionist messianists, both Religious and secular, invited challenges to the Zionist establishment. Scholem wanted the Zionist messianic myth to develop without a yearning for a Third Temple as part of the end of days. Yet Scholem’s conscious denial of the historical desire could not quash the desire. The growing trend of Jewish prayers on the Temple Mount and the vigorous activities of the Temple Institute, discussed above, suggest that the vision of the Third Temple has emerged as a widely accepted component of contemporary Israeli Jewish messianism.

 

 

Events: Jewish Review of Books, Conversations on Jewish Future (Oct 18, 2015)

Image

JRB-future

New Book: Ram; The Return of Martin Buber (in Hebrew)

רם, אורי. שובו של מרטין בובר. המחשבה הלאומית והחברתית בישראל מבובר עד הבובריאנים החדשים. תל אביב: רסלינג, 2015.

buber

Martin Buber (1878-1965) was the first chair of the first Department of Sociology at the first university in Israel – but who remembers this today? This book discusses the history of ideas of national and social thought, and of sociology in Israel, through the question of Buber’s changing status: what was his initial place in sociology? Why did he disappear from the sociological canon? And why has interest in his works resurged in recent years?

This significant book by Uri Ram presents a new look at Buber’s philosophy and offers a critical reading of it. While Buber was a prominent figure of the pre-state peace movements (“Brit Shalom” and “Ihud”), he was also a German thinker of his time, who utterly rejected modernism and fully embraced the conservative-right visions of traditional Gemeinschaft Community, the nationalist Volk culture, and the Congregation of the Faithful.

The Department of Sociology was founded in the academic year of 1947/8 and Buber was appointed as its chair. His sociology was somewhat consistent with the spirit of the pre-state Jewish community, but not the spirit of statehood that followed independence. In 1950, the leadership of Sociology shifted to Buber’s student Eisenstadt, who designed the discipline in the coming decades in the spirit of American modernization. Buber’s figure became marginal for many years. However, since the 1990s, Buber’s status has enjoyed a revival, against the backdrop of the crisis of secular nationalism, alongside the rise of postmodern and postcolonial approaches in intellectual discourse. New sociological studies was inspired by Buber is defined in this book as “neo-Buberian”, and the book raises questions as to whether this trend promotes a civil and democratic culture or rather empowers the national-religious culture in contemporary Israel.

 

New Article: Afterman and Afterman, Kahane and Contemporary Jewish Theology of Revenge

Afterman, Adam and Gedaliah Afterman. “Meir Kahane and Contemporary Jewish Theology of Revenge.” Soundings 98.2 (2015): 192-217.

 

URL: https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/soundings/v098/98.2.afterman.html

 

Abstract

The article analyzes a relatively unknown, yet influential, contemporary fundamentalist theology of revenge as put forward in the religious writings of Meir Kahane (1932–1990), the notorious militant nationalist. We seek to provide a theological context for this militancy, so as to display the motivational logic behind this troubling trend in Jewish thought and practice. While the doctrine itself has emerged only quite recently, it draws on theological ideas that reach back to the medieval period. In the article we outline the early sources and discussions (Biblical, Rabbinic, medieval, etc.) that constitute the background of Kahane’s radical theology of revenge.

New Article: Greenberg, R. Areleh Roth’s Pristine Faith

Greenberg, Gershon. “R. Areleh Roth’s Pristine Faith: Through Holocaust to Redemption.” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 14.1 (2015): 72-88.

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14725886.2015.1007601

 

Abstract

Areleh Roth responded to the Holocaust by labouring to have Jews actualize pristine faith. As the slaughter in Europe mended the sinful universe prior to the advent of the Messiah, the living were enjoined to bring to bear the faith which was experienced by Abraham and which the people of Israel inherited over the ages. This meant struggling against the forces of Amalek who clouded the perception of God’s presence amid the tragedy. Under divine aegis, Amalek brought suffering to induce repentance, he tested the people in order to activate free will, and clouded the perception of God’s presence amid catastrophe. The struggle centred on annulling one’s personality entirely, enabling God to enter the heart so completely as to totally replace the ego. This was the experience of pristine faith, and with it one related to God, through Abraham, and gained the strength to endure the tragedy. Even more, one’s soul could join the ascent of those sparks which were dispersed upon the cosmic catastrophe (described by Isaac Luria) and thereby contribute to, and participate in, the rise of Israel to the spiritual redemption of the Sabbath before Adam’s sin. Roth’s response to the catastrophe was not of theological exposition (for example, why the pious suffered) but of practical means to survive and thrive on the level of spirit.

 

New Article: Freud-Kandel, The Holocaust in the Theology of Louis Jacobs

Freud-Kandel, Miri. “Many Questions, Few Answers: The Holocaust in the Theology of Louis Jacobs.” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 14.1 (2015): 40-57.

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14725886.2015.1005879

 

Abstract

Louis Jacobs identified the Holocaust—and the creation of Israel—as the two most significant events influencing contemporary Jewish consciousness. Yet his engagement with the theological implications of the Holocaust is notably limited. Since many of his writings are focused on issues facing those he termed “the Jew in the pew,” this absence of detailed consideration of the theological questions posed by the Holocaust seems particularly perplexing. This paper will consider if there is an explanation for this lacuna.

New Article: Kaye, Eliezer Goldman and the Origins of Meta-Halacha

Kaye, Alexander. “Eliezer Goldman and the Origins of Meta-Halacha.” Modern Judaism 34.3 (2014): 309-333.

URL: http://mj.oxfordjournals.org/content/34/3/309

Excerpt

Eliezer Goldman (1918–2002) had a significant, though seldom recognized, impact on the way that contemporary religious Jews deal with the implications of modernity. Perhaps his most far-reaching contribution was his philosophy of halacha. Goldman was hardly alone among religious thinkers in proposing halachic responses to the constitutional, technological, and ethical dilemmas posed by the establishment of the State of Israel. He was, however, distinctive in two respects. First, he was one of the few Jewish thinkers in the mid-twentieth century who mapped out the basics of a halachic jurisprudence in a Western idiom. To be sure, others had described certain aspects of Jewish law in Western terms. However, Goldman was rare in that he articulated a broad philosophy of halacha in an attempt to explain the mechanisms of halachic change. To do so, he showed that halacha is made up not only of concrete rules but of abstract principles that guide its development. To describe these principles, he invented the term “meta-halacha,” that continues to enjoy great currency among contemporary Jewish thinkers.2 Second, Goldman was unusual among religious Zionists in that his thought was deeply influenced by streams in twentieth-century American thought. In particular, his theology and his halachic jurisprudence drew heavily on American philosophical pragmatism and legal realism. This gave Goldman’s writing an idiosyncratic twist and contributes to its ongoing resonance with the contemporary reader.

New Article: Englander, The Image of the Male Body in Lithuanian Ultra-Orthodox Thought in Israel and Corresponding Strategies for Forging an A-feminine Public Sphere

Englander, Yakir. “The Image of the Male Body in Lithuanian Ultra-Orthodox Thought in Israel and Corresponding Strategies for Forging an A-feminine Public Sphere.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 29.3 (2014): 457-70.

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13537903.2014.945729

 

 

Abstract

This article deals with the increasingly severe attitude in Jewish Ultra-Orthodox society in the State of Israel regarding the relationship between the sexes. I seek to trace the philosophical roots of this attitude, as a product of existential thinking within the male contingent of the Ultra-Orthodox (Lithuanian) world itself, and I propose that the growing separation between the sexes is a direct result of rabbinic efforts to re-structure this world from within. The image of the Ultra-Orthodox public sphere is considered to be an exact reflection of the male individual and the way of life that is required of him. Ultra-Orthodox thought requires men to stop the flow of life, causing a ‘disconnect’ between the reflective self and the world in which the self exists as an object without reflexivity. According to Ultra-Orthodox thought, inability and failure to live all of life as reflective are linked to the human person as an ‘embodied being’. I explain the Ultra-Orthodox solution to the ‘problem of the body’ and how it influences the structure of the yeshiva as a ‘safe haven’. This mode of dealing with the body entails the exclusion of femininity from male life in the yeshiva context and is also increasingly reflected in the public domain. In recent years, Ultra-Orthodox rabbis have designed the public sphere using the model of the yeshiva as a space that is a-feminine. This is supported by readings from new Ultra-Orthodox Musar writings, directed to men, which deal with women’s sexuality and create a new definition of modesty.

Job: U Cincinnati, Assistant Professor in Israel and Modern Jewish Thought

https://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=47483

The Department of Judaic Studies at the University of Cincinnati invites applications for an Assistant Professor in Israel and Modern Jewish Thought.   This is a full-time tenure-track position, beginning August 1, 2014.

The successful candidate will be a promising scholar with demonstrated excellence in research and teaching. Qualified candidates will be familiar with the critical, academic study of Israel and Modern Jewish Thought within a broader, global context. Also desirable would be background in theories and methods in the study of religion, competency in Modern Hebrew, and the ability to integrate digital technologies into the research and teaching of Jewish Studies.   Teaching responsibilities include the introductory courses Modern Jewish Civilization, Modern Jewish Thinkers, and Modern Israel, advanced courses on Israel and Jewish thought, and advising research projects of advanced undergraduate and graduate students.  The successful candidate will also serve on committees and generally work to further the department’s growth and prestige. We are seeking individuals whose research and teaching activities are consistent with our mission, which emphasizes a commitment to diversity and to collaborative projects nationally and internationally.

Qualifications: Ph.D. in hand by July 31, 2014, clear evidence of research and publication activity, solid evidence of teaching effectiveness, and knowledge of Modern Hebrew.

Applicants for this position must apply online to http://www.jobsatuc.com (position number 213UC6187). Cover letter should address the candidate’s effectiveness and consistency with both the position and the mission of the Department and indicate experience and success with teaching and interacting with culturally diverse populations. Include a current vita, samples of scholarly work, and evidence of teaching effectiveness. Three letters of recommendation should be sent electronically to Matthew Kraus matthew.kraus@uc.edu  (phone: 513-556-2298) or mailed to Judaic Studies Search Committee C/O Matthew Kraus Dept. of Judaic Studies, University of Cincinnati, PO Box 210169 Cincinnati, OH 45221-0169. Applications must be submitted by November 7, 2013 and will not be considered complete until all letters of recommendation have been received. For questions, please contact Professor Jana Braziel, Chair of Search Committee (513) 556-0350 [jana.braziel@uc.edu].

Application deadline:  November 7, 2013. Screening of applications will begin promptly on November 7 and will continue until the position is filled. The University of Cincinnati is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  Women, people of color, people with disability and veterans are encouraged to apply.  Preliminary interviews will be conducted at the annual meetings of AAR/SBL and AJS.