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Jews and Diversity: How to Ask about Jewish American Heritage Today?
March 24, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
This lecture is a first in the series of Gordon Gross Memorial Lectures
What did Jews and Jewish tradition contribute to America? Answers to this question vary from Andrew Heinze’s historical and seemigly neutral claim that “the american soul” (whcih is also the title of his 2004 book) in the last century was shaped by Jewish psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and philosophers, who emigrated from Europe during the war and post-war times, to a defensive (to say the least) ‘Jews will not replace us” during the events in Charlottesville in 2017.
Questions of heritage are difficult ones.
Is heritage a blessing to embrace or a burden to try to get rid off? Can heritage even be tought of as contrubution of the previous generations to our lives today? Is heritage something on which I can decide either to celebrate it or to leave behind? In either case, is this a matter of the past, and not of the present day?
Questions of Jewish heritage in America are even harder: Is this about what Jews contribute to America? Or is it what America inherited from the Jews in the very core of how America came to be, what is it now, and where it heads? To add to the mix: what Jewish America is in political-geographical terms: USA? North America? The pan american America? American Jews in Israel?
These questions complicate even further the already complex discussion on inclusion and exclusion of Jewish Americans from the current spectrum of diversity and minory.
To examine the close connection between heritage, diversity and minority, this lecture will launch a conversation between classical Rabbinic literature and contemporary Jewish, Catholic and Secular thinkers, to map the question of Jewish American Heritage as the question of American Jewish Heritage today.
Watch on Zoom here: https://buffalo.zoom.us/j/91829946045?pwd=MHdwSS9Gb3FXdHFFTm83SFkzZHIyUT09