The Tikvah Podcast (general)

According to Jewish tradition, the holiday of Rosh Hashanah—the Jewish New Year—marks the “birth” of man on the sixth day of creation. But what else was created along with him? According the sages of the Talmud, Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge on the very same day they were made, bringing the capacity for sin latent within them out into the world. Sin, in other words, is part of God’s original creation.

In this season of repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we welcome Rabbi David Bashevkin to the Tikvah Podcast. His new book, Sin-a-gogue: Sin and Failure in Jewish Thought, helps us think about the nature and origins of sin. Rabbi Bashevkin and Jonathan Silver discuss what it means to think of sin as part of the fabric of creation, the relationship between sin and free will, and how we should think about the sins and failures of the individual versus those of the community.

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 the original Broadway cast recording of Fiddler on the Roof and "Above the Ocean" by Evan MacDonald.

Direct download: Bashevkin_Podcast_FI.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:50pm EDT

Throughout our podcast series with eminent Jewish historian Jack Wertheimer, we have spoken about a Judaism of “peak moments.” This is the kind of Judaism most American Jews practice; connecting to their faith at a small number of important dates and life transitions: the High Holy Days, b’nai mitzvah, weddings, funerals. In this week’s podcast—the third and final episode in our series—our conversation focuses on the place where so many of these peak moments take place: the synagogue.

The liturgy and choreography of synagogue services—especially in the liberal denominations—are undergoing important changes. From hosting musical “rock shabbat” services to creating a more informal atmosphere in the sanctuary, shuls are working hard to engage congregants on a more regular basis. And the Orthodox are doing their part to reach out to the unengaged through a massive network of outreach organizations that draw in the non-Orthodox, even as they remain fastidiously observant of Jewish law.

Wertheimer and Tikvah's Jonathan Silver discuss where these efforts have been successful and where they have failed, the goals of Orthodox outreach, and how committed Jews can do their part to secure the Jewish future.

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 the original Broadway cast recording of Fiddler on the Roof and "Above the Ocean" by Evan MacDonald.

Direct download: Wertheimer_3_Podcast_FI.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:38pm EDT

Rabbi David Wolpe is the Max Webb Senior Rabbi of Sinai Temple, one of America’s flagship conservative synagogues. The author of eight books and countless essays and articles, he is one of America's leading rabbis.

Rabbi Wolpe recently visited one of the Tikvah Fund’s student programs, where he sat down with our Executive Director, Eric Cohen, to discuss the vulnerabilities and strengths of non-Orthodox—what he calls, “non-literalist”—Judaism in America, religious freedom, Jewish politics, the biblical figure of David, the importance of the Hebrew language, and more.

Have you ever thought about entering the rabbinate and becoming a leader of a Jewish congregation? Rabbi Wolpe reflects on the work of an American rabbi, and what that kind of communal leadership demands. Throughout this conversation, you’ll see how a theologian and communal leader assesses pockets of Jewish vitality, and strategizes about the future of his own denomination.

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 “Shining Through the Rain” by Big Score Audio.

Direct download: Wolpe_PODCAST_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:55am EDT

Recent years have seen a nationalist revival sweep across the globe. Is this a cause for celebration or a reason to worry?

In the Tikvah Fund's upcoming online course, "The Meaning of Jewish Nationalism," we invite you to join Israeli political philosopher Yoram Hazony for an exploration of the idea of nationalism from its biblical roots to its modern rebirth.

Dr. Hazony, author of the widely-acclaimed book "The Virtue of Nationalism," is one of our age's pre-eminent defenders of a world governed by independent nations. Today, Tikvah is pleased to bring you the first episode of his online course free-of-charge. The full, six-part course will be released on January 31. If you want to be notified as soon as the course is available, just click here and enter your contact information.

Direct download: YH_Lecture1_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:25pm 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.


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 episode, Dr. Micah Goodman explores the philosophies of Rabbi Isaac Jacob Reines and Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook in order to trace the key disagreements within religious Zionism from the dawn of the Zionist movement until the present day.


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 his first lecture, Dr. Micah Goodman explores the founding disagreements of secular Zionism by focusing on the relationship between Zionism and Jewish tradition in the thought of Ahad Ha’am and Micha Josef Berdichvky.

Direct download: Micah_Goodman-_First_Lecture_audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:46pm EDT

In this podcast Jonathan Silver speaks with the Hudson Institute’s Arthur Herman about his November 2016 Mosaic essay, which bucks conventional wisdom with the thesis that much of the world is warming to and developing closer ties with the Jewish State. Despite the impression one might get by observing the attitudes of Western governments toward Israel, this warming phenomenon can be observed from Asia to Africa to parts of Eastern Europe and, perhaps most surprisingly, to the Middle East. The reasons behind these developments are several, ranging from economic and national security interests to an affinity and admiration for Israel’s pluralistic and entrepreneurial society. From Israel’s developing international relations, Herman sees important lessons for the Israel- and Middle East-policy of a new American administration.

Direct download: Arthur_Herman_3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:43pm EDT

In this podcast Tikvah senior director Jonathan Silver speaks with the Hoover Institution’s Peter Berkowitz about what a proper liberal arts education consists of, its betrayal in the American academy, and its complicated relation to Jewish education and religious life. Their conversation is framed by Berkowitz’s 2006 Policy Review article, “Liberal Education: Then and Now.” Elaborating the thought of John Stuart Mill, Berkowitz explains that a liberal arts education does not teach students what to think, but rather pushes them to understand arguments from all sides. It comprises study of the sciences and humanities, roots students more deeply in their own civilizational traditions, and acquaints students with traditions outside of their own culture. But for religious Jews, does an education in intellectual freedom support or undermine the life of commandment and obligation? Should religious Jews, in America, Israel, and elsewhere seek out a liberal education? And what is the role for a liberal education in the Jewish state?

Direct download: Berkowitz_Podcast_Nov_2016_E.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:37pm EDT

On Wednesday, September 14, 2016, alumni of Tikvah’s advanced programs and friends of Mosaic came to an intimate discussion between the Israeli philosopher Yoram Hazony and the American author and historian Walter Russell Mead. The subject of their conversation was the same as the title of Yoram Hazony’s essay in Mosaic: “Nationalism and the Future of Western Freedom.”

Hazony argues that the political battle over the fate of the nation is the most consequential struggle of our time—one whose roots extend all the way back to the struggle between the ancient Israelites and the overweening imperial powers of their day. It was in the Hebrew Bible that the national idea was born, an idea whose enduring virtues would in time profoundly shape the emergence of the modern democratic West. But what is the status of the national idea today, and why do so many in the West oppose it? Can it survive if cut off from its religious origins, or can those origins be recovered in the secular West? What does today’s widespread disparagement of national independence mean for the Jewish state, the state of Israel?

In these three episodes, we hear Yoram Hazony speak about the themes from his Mosaic article, a response from distinguished writer and strategist Walter Russell Mead, and a conversation moderated by Tikvah senior director Jonathan Silver.

Direct download: Part_3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:39am EDT

On Wednesday, September 14, 2016, alumni of Tikvah’s advanced programs and friends of Mosaic came to an intimate discussion between the Israeli philosopher Yoram Hazony and the American author and historian Walter Russell Mead. The subject of their conversation was the same as the title of Yoram Hazony’s essay in Mosaic: “Nationalism and the Future of Western Freedom.”

Hazony argues that the political battle over the fate of the nation is the most consequential struggle of our time—one whose roots extend all the way back to the struggle between the ancient Israelites and the overweening imperial powers of their day. It was in the Hebrew Bible that the national idea was born, an idea whose enduring virtues would in time profoundly shape the emergence of the modern democratic West. But what is the status of the national idea today, and why do so many in the West oppose it? Can it survive if cut off from its religious origins, or can those origins be recovered in the secular West? What does today’s widespread disparagement of national independence mean for the Jewish state, the state of Israel?

In these three episodes, we hear Yoram Hazony speak about the themes from his Mosaic article, a response from distinguished writer and strategist Walter Russell Mead, and a conversation moderated by Tikvah senior director Jonathan Silver.

Direct download: Part_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:31am EDT

On Wednesday, September 14, 2016, alumni of Tikvah’s advanced programs and friends of Mosaic came to an intimate discussion between the Israeli philosopher Yoram Hazony and the American author and historian Walter Russell Mead. The subject of their conversation was the same as the title of Yoram Hazony’s essay in Mosaic: “Nationalism and the Future of Western Freedom.”

Hazony argues that the political battle over the fate of the nation is the most consequential struggle of our time—one whose roots extend all the way back to the struggle between the ancient Israelites and the overweening imperial powers of their day. It was in the Hebrew Bible that the national idea was born, an idea whose enduring virtues would in time profoundly shape the emergence of the modern democratic West. But what is the status of the national idea today, and why do so many in the West oppose it? Can it survive if cut off from its religious origins, or can those origins be recovered in the secular West? What does today’s widespread disparagement of national independence mean for the Jewish state, the state of Israel?

In these three episodes, we hear Yoram Hazony speak about the themes from his Mosaic article, a response from distinguished writer and strategist Walter Russell Mead, and a conversation moderated by Tikvah senior director Jonathan Silver.

Direct download: Part_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:07am EDT

In this podcast Eric Cohen and Rabbi Meir Soloveichik speak about two artistic geniuses whose works highlight Jews’ humanity, on the one hand, and other-worldliness, on the other. These two sides of the Jewish people—at once part of the human race and God’s chosen people—comprise Jews’ inherently dialectical nature, Soloveichik argues.

Framed by Soloveichik’s recent essay, “Rembrandt’s Great Jewish Painting” (Mosaic, June 2016), the discussion begins with an exploration of the great Dutch painter’s beautiful efforts to depict the humanity of Jews and the Jewishness of biblical scenes. Particular attention is given to Rembrandt’s great painting of Moses receiving the Luchot, which answers and corrects Michaelangelo’s Moses.

In contrast, it is the miraculous nature of the Jewish people, rather than their humanity, that J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings brings out, as Soloveichik argues in “The Secret Jews of the Hobbit” (Commentary, August 2016). Secular and American Jews are uncomfortable with this side of their identity and Soloveichik thinks they can learn something important from the Catholic author’s presentation of the Jewish people as a miraculous people—a trait that remains true today.

The discussion culminates in an exploration of the unique role art can play in understanding and presenting the divine.

Direct download: Meir_Soloveichik_Podcast_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:21pm EDT

Jewish education is an important source of Jewish continuity in America. This is has been true in all times and places throughout the Jewish diaspora, but it is all the more so in the United States, a nation dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal. In America, with its individual freedoms, the most potent threat to the Jewish community is not anti-Semitic persecution of old, but assimilation. The threat of assimilation in modern America makes an education in Jewish particularism and Jewish peoplehood especially important, and yet the cost of Jewish education is a growing burden on Jewish families—entailing not only a financial burden, but a moral burden as well.

In this podcast, Eric Cohen speaks with Cato Institute policy analyst Jason Bedrick to delve into this issue and the larger question of what possible role the government might play in alleviating the financial burden to families of parochial school. Their conversation centers around Milton Friedman’s 1955 essay “The Role of Government in Education,” which argues that school vouchers promise both efficiency and freedom for families in the education arena. Bedrick and Cohen discuss the history of parochial schools in America, school choice options like vouchers and tax credits, and what these options mean for the Jewish community. What has the establishment of ostensibly “public” schools meant for the religious freedom of families and communities of faith, and what role might government assume in ensuring the blessings of liberty for all its citizens?


As part of the Tikvah Fund and Hertog Foundation’s Advanced Institute, “Is Israel Alone?,”Roger Hertog sat down with syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer to revisit Dr. Krauthammer’s legendary article for the fiftieth anniversary of Israeli independence. Published in The Weekly Standard“At Last, Zion,” described the achievement of Israel’s founders within the full scope of Jewish history, arguing that the Jews had traded the vulnerabilities of Diaspora life—assimilation and discrimination—for new vulnerabilities, namely that the security threats arrayed against the new nation state risked a new kind of extermination. Though much has changed in the nearly two decades since Dr. Krauthammer’s essay, Israel still faces extraordinary security risks. Its demise would constitute the greatest tragedy yet in Jewish history.

In this conversation, Dr. Krauthammer surveys Israel’s many threats, from Iran’s nuclear program to the European embrace of BDS. With his characteristic wit, Dr. Krauthammer analyzes the strategic choices for the United States, Israel, and the American Jewish community. In particular, Dr. Krauthammer devotes much of the discussion to the unique forces in the politics of American Judaism: Jewish leftism, pro-Israel evangelicals, charges of dual loyalty, intermarriage, and the like. The discussion ends on a theological note, as Dr. Krauthammer reflects on the moral obligations of Zionism and on his own theology of trembling doubt.

The conversation was recorded before a small group of Americans and Israelis on December 18, 2015.

Direct download: Charles_Krauthammer_-_At_Last_Zion.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:22pm EDT

The election of 2016 has few if any precedents in American history. After the transformational presidency of Barack Obama, much is at stake. Hillary Clinton could solidify and build upon his achievements. A Republican candidate could chart a new course. But each party is witnessing a populist insurgency that threatens to reshape American politics. In Jerusalem, Weekly Standardeditor William Kristol surveyed the scene. What is beneath all this turmoil? What does it mean for American democracy? What will it mean for Israel?

The event was recorded on January 14, 2016.

Direct download: William_Kristol_-_American_Democracy_Today.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:08pm EDT

During last month’s Advanced Institute in Jerusalem, “God, Politics, and the Future of Europe,” Tikvah hosted a conversation on “Modernity, Religion, and Morality” to discuss the decline of Western Civilization and to probe some of the reasons behind it. What happens when faith in the God of the Bible deteriorates? How does that affect faith in reason and are the values of liberalism enough to sustain a society?

The panel featured prominent intellectuals, George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow and William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and Yoram Hazony, President of the Herzl Institute. The evening’s discussion was moderated by Daniel Johnson, founder and editor of Standpoint Magazine.

Direct download: George_Weigel_and_Yoram_Hazony_-_-Modernity_Religion_and_Morality-.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:12pm EDT

Joshua Mitchell is a professor of political theory in the Department of Government at Georgetown University. After the terrorist attacks of 2001, he left the U.S. capital to teach the great books of Western political thought to university students in Qatar and Iraq. The students there, he found, differed in dramatic ways from those in the U.S. They were beset with anguish over the value of individualism, and they felt their allegiance to traditional roles in family and society strained in ways that made them question the promises of modernity. Professor Mitchell realized that the social forces at play in the contemporary Middle East were much the same as those Alexis de Tocqueville observed in 19th-century America.

As part of 2015 Tikvah Advanced Institute “Tradition and Freedom,” Professor Mitchell shares how those in the Arab Gulf seek to navigate the challenges that come with more isolation within their communities and increased connectedness with the rest of the world. Paradoxically, it is the great analyst of democracy in America that sheds the most light on the social and psychological experience of the contemporary Middle East.

Joshua Mitchell speaks with Tikvah Fund Director of Academic Programs Jonathan Silver, and answers questions from the audience.  This event took place on June 16, 2015  at the Tikvah Center in New York City. More of Professor Mitchell’s reflections on these subjects can be found in his 2013 book Tocqueville in Arabia: Dilemmas in a Democratic Age.

Direct download: Joshua_Mitchell_on_Tocqueville_in_Arabia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:28pm EDT

Through his leadership of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization, Rabbi David Stav has been at the forefront of debates over the relationship between religion and state in Israel, pushing for reforms in the State's handling of marriage, conversion, and kashrut. Why is Tzohar focused on these issues? And how does he think about government's role in religious life?

Rabbi Stav discussed his vision for Tzohar and the relationship between religion and the public square with the Tikvah Fund’s Rabbi Mark Gottlieb during the 2015 Tikvah Summer Fellowship. In this wide-ranging conversation, Rabbi Stav explains how pivotal events in his life and in Israel's history, from the euphoria of victory after the Six-Day War to the horror of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, have shaped his mission of trying to bridge the secular-religious divide.

The event was recorded on July 6, 2015 at the Tikvah Center in New York City.

Direct download: Rabbi_Stav_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:34pm EDT

The Tikvah Fund once again had the privilege of learning from prize-winning novelist Dara Horn at our recent week-long seminar Jewish Thought, Jewish Literature, Jewish Politics. After leading university students in a stimulating study of love, sexuality, and family guided by readings from the Book of Genesis, S.Y. Agnon, and Sholem Aleichem, Horn opened up about her own life and literary career. Over the course of the lively conversation, moderated by the Tikvah Fund’s Senior Director Mark Gottlieb, she described being raised in a household that resembled “a creative collective,” how mentor Ruth Wisse inspired her to think deeply about the moral force of Yiddish literature, and how historical and theological themes intertwine in her fiction. The always-entertaining Horn also shared with the group a memorable account of her family’s singularly elaborate Passover Seder.

The event took place August 6th, 2015 at the Tikvah Center in New York City. 

 

Direct download: 08062015_Dara_Horn_cut.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:05pm EDT

As part of its ongoing series on “Jewish Ideals & Current Dilemmas in Contemporary Zionism,” the Tikvah Overseas Seminars hosted two of Israel’s leading rabbinic activists to discuss recent legislation regarding marriage and conversion in Israel. Rabbi David Stav, chairman of theTzohar Rabbinic Organization, and Rabbi Dr. Seth Farber, founding director of ITIM, have worked together to promote bills that will allow greater numbers of municipal rabbis to register couples for marriage and perform conversions under the auspices of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate. While heralded by some as an opportunity to prevent intermarriage by increasing the number of Israelis recognized as Jews, these initiatives have been criticized by others as further entrenchment of the Chief Rabbinate’s monopoly over marriage and conversion.

What problems might this legislation solve and what tensions will remain? Can broader solutions be provided by the rabbinic establishment—inside or outside of the Chief Rabbinate—or does the problem more fundamentally stem from the incompatibility of Orthodox Jewish law with the modern ethos? While Rabbis Stav and Farber worked together on these particular bills, their conversation highlights disagreements regarding civil marriage in Israel, conversion standards, and the ability of Jewish law to evolve. More broadly, their positions reflect different approaches toward reducing the tensions between the Jewish and democratic characters of the State of Israel.  

The program was moderated by Rabbi Shlomo M. Brody, director of the Tikvah Overseas Seminars, who introduced the program with a brief history of Israeli legislation on these topics.

The event was recorded in Jerusalem on Feb 6, 2015. 


Dara Horn has won acclaim for her imaginative novels and for the richness of their Jewish foundations. As part of the 2014 Summer Fellowship, Horn sat down to discuss Yiddish literature, American Judaism, her writing process, reactions to her work (from Jews and non-Jews alike), and her life as the mother of four children. In one of the most fascinating parts of the interview, Horn describes the relationship between the Jewish tradition and her own work at length. She tries "to write in English as if English were a Jewish language." By this she means that the language of her stories is drawn from Judaism's sources. By using Yiddish stories, Biblical parables, Hebrew idioms, and much else, she helps to furnish an authentic American Jewish culture. 

The event was recorded on August 6, 2014.

Direct download: 20140806-dara_horn-life_and_work.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:48am EDT

Elliott Abrams has served two presidents, working on issues in Latin America, the Middle East, and human rights. In the service of his country, he has always been unabashedly Jewish. Was there ever a tension? How did his Jewish upbringing and Jewish pride shape him for a life in American politics and diplomacy? Abrams talks about the Soviet Jewry movement and Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, the bombing of Iraq’s Osirak reactor and Ronald Reagan, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations under George W. Bush, and much else. Questions from the audience spark reflections on President Barack Obama’s strategy in the Middle East.

The event was recorded on December 9th, 2014.

Direct download: Elliott20Abrams20The20Life20and20Career.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:18pm EDT

As part of Tikvah’s advanced institute “The Case for Nationalism,” the participants heard from the great Jewish dissident, thinker, and statesman, Natan Sharansky. Sharansky discussed the ideas of his book, Defending Identity: Its Indispensable Role in Protecting Democracy; the problem of a world with “nothing to die for,” to quote John Lennon; and the complementarity of the democratic desire to be free and the particularist desire to belong. Audience questions prompted Sharansky to analyze the source of the threats facing the Jews of Europe, the decline of Jewish identity in America, the so-called “Jewish state” bill then under discussion in Israel, and much else.

The event was recorded in Jerusalem on December 9, 2014.

Direct download: sharansky.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:03pm EDT

Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove wrote a provocative article in 2007 titled “Where Have All the Theologians Gone?” This is the question Shearith Israel rabbi Meir Soloveichik and Mechon Hadar rabbi Shai Held begin with: Why is there so much less public argument about Jewish theology than there was in the middle of the last century? What does this say about contemporary Jewish life? About our synagogues? About our universities? About our interfaith relations? The conversation moves from the sociology of theology to Jewish theology itself. Soloveichik and Held each reflect upon a theologian whose ideas have been a fixture of their own work: Michael Wyschogrod for Soloveichik and Abraham Joshua Heschel for Held. Audience questions then move the discussion through topics metaphysical and political.

The event was recorded on July 30, 2014.

Direct download: SoloveichikHeld.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:57pm EDT

Weekly Standard editor William Kristol spoke with Israeli alumni of Tikvah Fund programs in Jerusalem last month about his life in the arena of American politics. The first half of the conversation was largely autobiographical. He talks about his upbringing—including his Jewish upbringing—as the child of Irving Kristol, “the godfather of neoconservatism,” and the legendary historian Gertrude Himmelfarb. How did he go from being a professor of political philosophy to the vice president’s chief of staff? What did he learn from his time in government? The second half of the event gave Kristol a chance to assess the astounding crises and contentious debates in America and the world. What will happen with the new Republican Congress? What can be done about the economic stress facing the American middle class? What kind of problem is immigration? How will the Obama administration’s foreign policy be remembered? And what does this all mean for Israel? 

The event was recorded on December 15, 2014 and was moderated by Ran Baratz.

Direct download: Kristol_in_Israel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:34am EDT

In 1993, the late Samuel Huntington described Islam as having “bloody borders.” But what does this observation have to do with Islam as a religion or set of ideas? How much of the violence in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Gaza or the uncertainty in Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, the Gulf states, Indonesia, or Turkey has to do with Islamic ideas? Is the Islamic State a new geopolitical challenge or an ancient one? What would a better understanding of Islam tell us about these state and non-state actors’ strategic priorities? And how much can we really extricate religion from politics? During our two-week advanced institute, “Jews and Power,” we thought it valuable to glance at the two poles that are of most concern to Jewish power in our world: the United States and the Islamic nations. To take a look at political Islam—both as politics and as Islam—we invited two scholars of Near Eastern politics, Michael Doran and Hillel Fradkin, both of the Hudson Institute, to take up these questions and more.

This event was recorded on December 11, 2014.

Direct download: doranfradkin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:06am EDT

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