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September 2017
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Syndication

Has support for Israel become a partisan issue in the United States? What role can a commitment to Jewish culture play in ensuring the Jewish future? And how does an observant Jew say grace?

These are just some of the questions Tikvah Executive Director Eric Cohen discusses with Jay Lefkowitz in this unique podcast. Lefkowitz is veteran of the administrations of George H.W. and George W. Bush as well as a keen analyst of American politics and the American Jewish community. In this conversation, Lefkowitz discusses some of the most memorable moments from his long career in public service and brings his wealth of experience and knowledge to bear on some of the most important issues facing the Jewish people today.

This conversation was originally recorded as part of the Tikvah Summer Fellowship Callings and Careers seminar series.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble, as well as Ich Grolle Nicht, by Ron Meixsell and Wahneta Meixsell.

Direct download: Jay_Lefkowitz_CC_FI.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 2:49pm EDT

Civil war in Syria, the rise of Islamic State, a strengthened Iran—these are a part of the Obama Administration’s Middle East legacy. Elected with a mandate to begin “nation-building at home,” President Obama was content to see Iran and Russia fill the vacuum created by American retrenchment and become leading players in the region. How can the Trump Administration avoid the mistakes of the last decade and strengthen America’s strategic posture?

In “What America Should Do Next in the Middle East,” published in Mosaic in September 2017, two of America’s leading foreign policy experts seek to chart a course for American policy. Michael Doran and Peter Rough argue that if America is to protect its vital interests, it must have a clear and coherent plan to advance its strategic goals on multiple fronts, all the while being wary of the wishful thinking that has led past administrations to failure.

In this podcast, Michael Doran joins Jonathan Silver to discuss the essay and the deeper issues it raises. In their wide-ranging conversation, Doran and Silver explore the thinking behind the Obama Administration’s Middle East policy, the errors the Trump Administration must seek to avoid, and the various motivations of the region’s key players. Though Doran makes clear that there are no easy answers, he helps us think through how American policymakers can begin the process of charting a new course the United States in the Middle East.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble, as well as Ich Grolle Nicht, by Ron Meixsell and Wahneta Meixsell.

Direct download: Doran_Podcast_FI_2.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 10:34am EDT

On September 5, 2007, just before midnight, four F-15s and four F-16s took off from Israeli Air Force (IAF) bases and flew toward Syria. An hour later, in the early hours of September 6, the IAF dropped 17 tons of explosives on a nuclear reactor in the desert of Al Kibar, neutralizing a threat that endangered the Jewish state and the stability of the entire region.

The series of events that resulted in the discovery and bombing of Syria’s secret nuclear reactor make up a remarkable story—one told in riveting detail in two articles by two of America’s leading Middle East experts. “The Silent Strike” by David Makovsky and “Bombing the Syrian Reactor: The Untold Story” by Elliott Abrams take us behind the scenes of the Israeli and American governments, describing the deliberations, disagreements, and decisions that led to Israel’s airstrike. In this podcast, Gabriel Scheinmann of the Alexander Hamilton Society joins Tikvah’s Jonathan Silver for a discussion of these pieces and of “Operation Orchard,” the mission in which, in one of the signal achievements of Zionist history, the State of Israel bucked the United States in order to take responsibility for the security of its citizens and the welfare of the Middle East. 

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble, as well as Ich Grolle Nicht, by Ron Meixsell and Wahneta Meixsell.

Direct download: Scheinmann_Podcast_FI.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 12:35pm EDT

“The proper method for the study of politics,” said the late political scientist Walter Berns, “is biography.” And while analysis and disquisition can impart wisdom about politics and much else, living examples can also provide unique insight into what is required of us as human beings, as Jews, and as responsible citizens.

In this special podcast, Tikvah Senior Director Jonathan Silver is joined by Elliott Abrams, one of the American Jewish community’s most accomplished public servants. A prolific author, Abrams is a veteran of the Reagan and George W. Bush Administrations and is currently Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. The two discuss Abrams’s outstanding career in the public arena, reflecting on his move from the Democratic to Republican Party, his contributions to conservative thinking on human rights, and his experiences working on Israel-related issues during the Bush presidency. Their entertaining and enlightening conversation helps us more clearly see what an active and patriotic Jewish community can contribute to America, Israel, and world.

This conversation was originally recorded live as part of the Tikvah Summer Fellowship Callings and Careers seminar series.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble, as well as Ich Grolle Nicht, by Ron Meixsell and Wahneta Meixsell.

Direct download: Elliott_Abrams_CC_FI.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 11:41am EDT

America is in the throes of an addiction crisis. The ravages of the opioid epidemic can be seen across the country, as it claims ever more lives. And there are other addictions—less severe, but no less real—to video games, smartphones, pornography. What can be done to assist those struggling with addiction? Are the tools of medicine and social science sufficient remedies? Or, necessary as science is, must we also tap into the spiritual resources of religion to help those on the journey down the road to recovery?

In “God, Religion, and America’s Addiction Crisis,” published in Mosaic Magazine, Jeffrey Bloom explores how Judaism’s ancient wisdom can address the underlying spiritual ills at the root of substance abuse and related pathologies. In this podcast, Bloom joins Tikvah’s Jonathan Silver to discuss his essay. They examine what medical and behavioral remedies can and cannot offer recovering addicts and explore the soul-sickness at the heart of addiction. In doing so, they help illustrate how the struggles of the addict reflect the human condition writ large.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble, as well as Ich Grolle Nicht, by Ron Meixsell and Wahneta Meixsell.

Direct download: Bloom_Podcast_FI.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 11:48am EDT

When Ellen Willis’s brother Michael decided to leave behind his secular American life and study in an Orthodox yeshiva in Jerusalem, she knew that something was amiss. How could her intelligent, reasonable brother have decided to devote himself Jewish Orthodoxy? Yet, after flying to Israel in order to witness Michael’s new lifestyle for herself, Ellen realized that Judaism’s questions about the secular word—about her world—pointed to more truths than she wanted to admit.

Ultimately, Ellen returned to her secular life in America, while her brother went on to become a Haredi rabbi. But she documented her brother’s journey and her time with him in Jerusalem in an incredible essay entitled “Next Year in Jerusalem.” Published in Rolling Stone in 1977, the piece is an extraordinarily thoughtful and honest study of the contradictions and tensions of the human condition, presented through the lens of a secular woman exploring the world of Orthodox Judaism for the first time.

In this podcast, Jonathan Silver is joined by rabbi, editor, and blogger Gil Student to explore this essay as well as Rabbi Student’s own journey into the Orthodox world. They discuss the parallel journeys of Michael and Ellen and the factors that pulled one back toward the religion of his ancestors and pushed the other away from it. Returning to stories of his own life throughout the conversation, Rabbi Student gives us a greater appreciation of the challenges and rewards of adopting an Orthodox lifestyle in our secular progressive age.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble, as well as Ich Grolle Nicht, by Ron Meixsell and Wahneta Meixsell.

Direct download: Student_Podcast.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 2:41pm EDT

The establishment of the State of Israel is one of the most remarkable achievements of the modern era. Never before had a people dispersed throughout the world, deprived of sovereignty for millennia, returned to its ancient homeland to build a thriving country. Who were the leaders and thinkers that helped craft a modern Jewish nationalism for a people so long deprived of self-determination? What moved them? What were their political teachings and key disagreements?

The Tikvah Fund invites you to join Dr. Micah Goodman, Research Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and CEO and Rosh Midrasha of Midreshet Ein Prat, for a three-part exploration of the writings, legacies, and debates of Zionism’s early thinkers. We will study the teachings of Theodor Herzl, Micha Josef Berdichevsky, Ahad Ha’am, Isaac Jacob Reines, Abraham Isaac Kook, and other representatives of modern Jewish nationalist thought. In doing so, Dr. Goodman will help us see how the founding disagreements within Secular Zionism, Religious Zionism, and Ultra-Orthodoxy can shed light on the spirit of Jewish nationalism and the internal conflicts Israel still faces today.

These lectures were originally delivered at one of the Tikvah Fund’s educational programs for undergraduates. Click here to learn more about our educational programs.

In this lecture, Dr. Goodman takes us on a journey from 18th-century Lithuania to the modern state of Israel as he explores the haredi response to Zionism and the challenges of modernity.


When Jews raise their glasses in celebration, they toast “l’chaim!” “to life!” Judaism's belief in the inherent value of our time in this world permeates Jewish law and culture, and is perhaps most clearly seen in the principle that nearly every commandment is violated in order to save a life. But how far does this commitment extend? Does Judaism support any scientific and medical progress that promises to preserve and extend life? Or are there other Jewish commitments that ought to establish limits on what we do in our battle against death and disease? Could there even be a virtue in our mortality?

These are just some of the questions Leon Kass considers in his important essay, “L’Chaim and Its Limits.” Published in First Things in 2001, the piece explores the question of man’s mortality as it presents itself in Jewish sources and names the moral dilemmas posed by scientific advancement.

In his podcast, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik joins Tikvah’s Eric Cohen for a conversation about Kass’s essay. They discuss the reasons for Judaism’s concern with the value of human life; what rabbinic tradition teaches about body, soul, and afterlife; and how the family emerges as the most powerful Jewish answer to man’s mortality.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble, as well as Ich Grolle Nicht, by Ron Meixsell and Wahneta Meixsell.

Direct download: Soloveichik_Kass_Podcast_FI.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 9:42am EDT

Soldier, statesman, Nobel Prize-winning author—Sir Winston Churchill was one of the most important figures of the 20th century. His judgment was vindicated when Hitler marched through Europe, and his determined leadership helped guide England through the world war that defeated fascism.

Churchill’s time on the world stage also intersected with the most pivotal moments in modern Jewish history—the rise of Zionism, the horror of the Holocaust, and the founding of the State of Israel. Having absorbed at a young age the philo-Semitism of his father, Churchill was no bystander to these events, and his sympathy for the plight of the Jews and the Zionist cause were evident throughout his life.

In this podcast, Tikvah’s Jonathan Silver is joined by Dr. Michael Makovsky, president and CEO of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America and author of Churchill’s Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraft. Makovsky guides us through Churchill’s career, highlighting the sources of his affinity for the Jewish people and their national cause. Though his efforts on behalf of the Jews were sometimes halting and inconsistent, Makovsky and Silver show that Churchill was guided by the conviction that—as the Book of Genesis promises—the Lord will bless those who bless the Jews.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble, as well as Ich Grolle Nicht, by Ron Meixsell and Wahneta Meixsell.

Direct download: Makovsky_Podcast_FI.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 11:05am EDT

“All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”

So mused Mark Twain in the nineteenth century. One such “secret” surely resides in the immortal language that the Jewish people kept alive—and that in many senses kept them alive—throughout their history. In his new book, The Story of Hebrew, Dartmouth College's Lewis Glinert busts the myth that Hebrew was a "dead" language in the centuries between the ancient dispersion and the birth of Zionism. On June 21, 2017, Professor Glinert visited The Tikvah Center in New York City for a wide-ranging discussion highlighting the many forms of Hebrew's survival and renewal throughout the Jewish history.

Direct download: The_Story_of_Hebrew_Tikvah_6-21-17_audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:04pm EDT

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