The Tikvah Podcast

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 EST

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 EST

“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:Event -- posted at: 6:04pm EST

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 EST

On September 13, 1993, at a historic ceremony on the White House lawn, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), shook hands as they signed the Oslo Accords and kicked off a peace process that would last the better part of a decade. The story of that day and of the subsequent events that ultimately led to the peace process’s failure, are well known. But the remarkable series of events that led to the historic agreement remains obscure to many.

In 2016, the story behind the Accords was dramatized on stage in the award-winning play Oslo. The following year, Yeshiva University’s Neil Rogachevsky reviewed the play in Mosaic Magazine, highlighting the many ways it distorts history in the interest of reinforcing the conventional wisdom of Western elites. In this podcast, Dr. Rogachevsky joins Jonathan Silver in order to analyze the unlikely story behind the Oslo Accords. Using Yigal Carmon’s 1994 Commentary essay, “The Story Behind the Handshake” as a roadmap, Rogachevsky and Silver analyze how secret negotiations organized by low-level government officials led to one of the most consequential, and disastrous, shifts in Israeli diplomatic history.

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: Rogachevsky_Podcast_FI.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 11:02am EST

As he looked out at the Western world of the 1960s and ‘70s, Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits saw a society whose value system had collapsed. Relativism, boredom, and permissiveness were all around him. But this void could be filled, argued Rabbi Berkovits, by a sophisticated Judaism that sought to rear the next generation in the best of the Jewish ethical tradition. “Jewish Education in a World Adrift” is a clarion call for a morally confident Judaism that can speak to the human soul in a nihilistic age.

In this podcast, Jonathan Silver is joined by veteran educator and Tikvah Fund Senior Director Rabbi Mark Gottlieb to think through this powerful essay. They discuss Berkovits’s bold halachic philosophy, the circumstances that moved him to tackle this issue, and the future of Jewish education. At a time of promise and peril for Jewish pedagogy, their conversation is as timely as ever.

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.

Rabbi Gottlieb teaches in and directs Tikvah’s programs for high school students and the yeshiva community. Learn more about these programs here and here.

Direct download: Gottlieb_Podcast_FI.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 3:27pm EST

The Israeli government’s recent decision to shelve a plan for a state-recognized egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall has widened the already deepening rift between Israeli and American Jews. And the debate that has arisen in its aftermath has raised vital questions about the relationship between the world’s two largest Jewish communities.

In this podcast, which originally aired on May 16, 2016, Elliott Abrams joins Eric Cohen to discuss his Mosaic essay, “If American Jews and Israel Are Drifting Apart, What’s the Reason?” Abrams and Cohen confront some uncomfortable facts about the changing nature of American Jewry—facts that are as relevant today as they were when the essay was published.

Courtesy of Pro Musica Hebraica, 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.


Religious liberty is on trial in America, both in legislative debates at the state and federal level and in court cases now working their way through the judicial system. As the environment for religious traditionalists becomes more hostile, observant Jews will increasingly confront some difficult questions: Will American society continue to respect the religious freedom of traditional communities? Will the moral teachings and ritual practices of Orthodox schools and synagogues get restricted, and will leaders of these institutions be kept out of the public square? What can Jewish leaders and activists do to help protect and preserve religious freedom in America—not only for Jews, but for all Americans?

In order to help us think through these issues, Tikvah invited two of the nation’s foremost experts on religious liberty to the Tikvah Center in New York City as part of our lecture series on “Torah Jews and America.” The Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson helped provide a general overview of the religious freedom issue in America today, and Professor Daniel Mark of Villanova University, and the Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom explored the unique challenges that increasingly face by the Orthodox Jewish community.

This event took place on June 12, 2017.

Direct download: Religious_Freedom_in_America_audio.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 12:15pm EST

Why don’t Jews like the Christians who like them? That’s the question James Q. Wilson, one of the America’s most influential political scientists, posed in the pages of City Journal in 2008. Evangelical Christians are, by and large, enthusiastic supporters of Israel, and their goodwill extends beyond sympathy for the Jewish state. American Evangelicals even harbor affection for the Jewish people themselves. Yet, these positive attitudes go largely unreciprocated by the American Jewish community, which continues to view conservative Christians with suspicion.

In this podcast, Jonathan Silver sits down with Rabbi Mitchell Rocklin, a chaplain with the New Jersey Army National Guard and a Resident Fellow at the Tikvah Fund to discuss Wilson’s essay. Silver and Rocklin explore the theological and sociological reasons behind Evangelical support for Israel as well as the nature of the historical memory that keeps many Jews wary of this Christian support. The two also touch on the hostility of mainline Christian churches toward Israel, American Jews’ habit of viewing enemies as allies, and the future of American Jewish politics.

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: Rocklin_Podcast.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 10:25am EST

How do poetry and song convey Jewish meaning? Does Jewish poetry have to be liturgical? At the turn of the century, Ahad Ha’am challenged the early Zionist movement to conceive of the Jewish nation as a home for the Jewish national spirit. Even in the diaspora, the Jewish imagination needs tending. Who were the most prominent Jewish poets of the North American diaspora in the latter half of the twentieth century?

The late singer Leonard Cohen might not come first to mind, but in this podcast, Tablet Magazine’s Liel Leibovitz explores the reasons he should. Perhaps no artist better answered the call of Jewish cultural renewal than Leonard Cohen. Born in Montreal to an Orthodox family, Cohen became one of the most important North American musicians of the 20th century. Throughout his long career, he consistently drew on Jewish themes in his music, seamlessly interweaving biblical stories and kabbalistic ideas into songs that spoke of love, loss, and longing.

Drawing on his biography of Cohen, A Broken Hallelujah, Leibovitz and Tikvah Senior Director Jonathan Silver read and discuss some of Cohen’s best songs, including  “Story of Isaac,” “You Want It Darker,” and of course, “Hallelujah.” As they do so, it becomes clear that Cohen was, at heart, a poet who took Judaism seriously.

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: Leibovitz_Podcast_FI.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 10:58am EST

Through its countless runs on the Broadway stage and in an award-winning film, Fiddler on the Roof made Tevye the dairyman the most iconic Old World Jew in the American imagination. But before he burst into song on stage and screen, Tevye was the Sholem Aleichem’s comedic protagonist whose triumphs and tragedies showed readers how the rural Jewish fathers of Eastern Europe could deal with poverty, inequality, religious doubt, and, most of all, daughters.

In this podcast, former Harvard Professor and Tikvah Distinguished Senior Fellow Ruth Wisse joins Eric Cohen to discuss Sholem Aleichem’s most famous character. Focusing their discussion on the second installment of the Tevye stories, “Tevye Blows a Small Fortune,” Wisse and Cohen explore the comedy and tragedy of Sholem Aleichem’s writing, the character and values of Tevye, and what this country Jew can teach us about rootedness, tradition, and faith.

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.

If you enjoy this podcast and want to study more of Sholem Aleichem’s Tevye stories, we invite you to audit Tikvah’s upcoming summer course. For just $299, you can join Professor Wisse in person at the Tikvah Center in New York City for an eight-part study of Tevye’s triumphs and trials and what they can teach us about tradition and freedom. Click here to learn more about the course and enroll!

Direct download: Wisse_Tevye_Podcast_FI.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 4:31pm EST

It was Thomas Jefferson, in a now-famous letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, who first wrote of a “wall of separation between Church & State.” And it has long been America’s Jews who have stood at the forefront of public arguments to keep that wall as high as possible. Why are Jews so devoted to the separation of religion and government? Is it because of a prudent assessment of Jewish interests? Or it the result of outdated beliefs that have calcified into secular dogma?

In one of his most important essays, “Church and State: How High a Wall?,” Milton Himmelfarb tackles these very questions. Published in Commentary in 1966, the piece argues that the American Jewish dedication to strict separationism is misguided and isolates the Jewish community from a democratic consensus in America without any obvious benefit.

In this podcast, Tikvah’s Jonathan Silver is joined by Professor Samuel Goldman of the George Washington University’s Loeb Institute for Religious Freedom to discuss this classic essay. They discuss the complex history and logic of American Jews’ changing attitudes toward church-state separation as well as the most powerful arguments against the separationist consensus. In so doing, they begin to paint a picture of what an authentically American idea of religious freedom ought to look like in a truly pluralistic America.

Direct download: Goldman_podcast_FI.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 1:50pm EST

This episode originally aired on July 13, 2016. We bring it to you today in commemoration of Yom Yerushalayim and the 50th anniversary of Israel’s remarkable victory in the Six-Day War.

In this podcast, Tikvah Executive Director Eric Cohen speaks with Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Bret Stephens about political life in Israel and America and the challenges of the Middle East and the Modern West. They discuss the legacy on the 1967 war, the work of Peter Beinart, and the dilemmas of Israeli decision-makers.

Courtesy of Pro Musica Hebraica, 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.

 

Direct download: Bret_Stephens_Podcast_Reedited_Music.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 1:16pm EST

The revelation at Sinai was central to the transformation of the people of Israel into a nation. Fresh from their Exodus from Egypt, at the foot of that mountain, a nation of slaves heard the Lord Himself pronounce His law—His “Ten Commandments”—prescribing proper conduct toward God and man. It would be hard to overstate the influence of the Decalogue in the history of West. Even in our increasingly post-Christian age, the Ten Commandments remain a potent cultural symbol. Yet, for all this familiarity, their true significance remains elusive.

In 2013, Leon Kass—one of America’s deepest thinkers—sought to shed light on how the Ten Commandments ought to be understood. Published as Mosaic’s inaugural essay, “The Ten Commandments: Why the Decalogue Matters” analyzes the meaning of each Divine command, placing it in the context of the Bible as a whole as well as the  permanent conditions of human nature.

In this Tikvah Podcast, Professor Kass joins Jonathan Silver for a reconsideration of this important piece of commentary. In a conversation that looks back toward creation and forward to the civic character of the modern Jewish State, Kass and Silver take a deep dive into the first five commandments and their meaning. Their wide-ranging discussion touches on the nature of God’s covenant with Israel, man’s relationship with nature, and the indispensable role of the family in the life of the people of Israel.

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: Kass_Podcast_FI.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 12:36pm EST

This episode originally aired on June 29, 2016. We bring it to you this week in honor of the re-publication of Norman Podhoretz’s memoir, Making It, as well as the upcoming celebration of the liberation of Jerusalem.

In this podcast, Eric Cohen is joined by Norman Podhoretz, the legendary former editor of Commentary. They discuss Podhoretz’s essay, “Jerusalem: The Scandal of Particularity.” Cohen talks to Podhoretz about the circumstances that inspired this piece, the feelings that being in Jerusalem stirs in him, and why modern men and women find Jewish particularity such a scandal.

Courtesy of Pro Musica Hebraica, 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.

 


Using the essay "Innovation and Redemption: What Literature Means,” Ruth Wisse joins Eric Cohen to discuss the insights of famed literary critic, Cynthia Ozick. They ask if literature has a moral purpose, and observe how different approaches to the past inform creativity and the writing of fiction. Not only do Wisse and Cohen explore innovation and redemption, but they contrast innovation with experimentation. The distinction turns on an author’s view of cultural heritage, and whether inherited ideas can sustain and refresh the future, or the solipsistic notion that each generation creates artistic expression from nothing at all.

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.

Direct download: Wisse_Ozick_podcast_128k-2.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 6:10pm EST

How should Israelis think about the security and defense of the Jewish State when confronted with Palestinian claims to national sovereignty? What effect will Israel’s material prosperity have on the prospects for peace?  What role does honor and dignity, hadar, play in the statecraft of the Middle East?

Orator, statesman, writer, and political leader, Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky is one of the principal figures in the Zionist founding. In this podcast, journalist and author Yossi Klein Halevi joins Tikvah’s Jonathan Silver to discuss a pair of Jabotinsky essays from the 1920s. “The Iron Wall,” and “Ethics of the Iron Wall” develop a security doctrine for the future Jewish State that is grounded in a realistic assessment of the human condition, and a sober analysis of national aspirations. Halevi and Silver discuss Zionist thought and history, as well as the echoes of Jabotinsky that can be heard in Israeli politics today.

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: Yossi_Klein_Halevi.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 1:22pm EST

Until recently, Tu B’Shvat—the Jewish “new year” for trees—was a minor observance on the Jewish calendar. It isn’t mentioned in the Bible, and the Talmud has little to say about how to observe the day. So why is it that, across the modern denominations, Tu B’Shvat has grown into a festival of larger significance? How did what Rabbi Irving Greenberg once called a “minor semi-festival” become an environmentalist blockbuster?

In this podcast, policy expert and presidential historian Tevi Troy joins Tikvah’s Jonathan Silver to discuss the history of Tu B’Shvat and its growing association with left-wing environmentalism. Using Troy’s 2015 Commentary essay, “I Think That I Shall Never See a Jew as Lovely as a Tree,” to guide their conversation, Troy and Silver discuss the history of the day and its politicization, opening up onto a larger discussion of the dangers of preaching politics from the pulpit and the proper Jewish attitude toward the conservation of nature.

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: Tevi_Troy_Podcast.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 2:14pm EST

American Jews have long been one of the Democratic Party’s most loyal voting blocs. Since 1928, the Democratic share of the Jewish vote has only once dipped below 50 percent in a presidential election. How did this rock-solid partisan loyalty develop? Is it likely to continue into the future? And what should we make of the Orthodox Jewish community, whose voting patterns increasingly diverge from those of their coreligionists? 

In this podcast, Eric Cohen is joined by former Bush Administration official Jay Lefkowitz and Tikvah Resident Research Fellow Rabbi Mitchell Rocklin to answer these questions and more. Using important analyses by Lefkowitz and Rocklin, they trace the past, present, and future of the Jewish vote in America. Their discussion touches on the history and nature of Jewish voting behavior, the movement of the Orthodox community into the Republican column, and what the latest trends portend for the future of the Jewish community, the conservative movement, and the United States.

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: Lefkowitz__Rocklin_Podcast.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 5:01pm EST

As Jews, as Americans, as thoughtful citizens and friends of the decent order of the West, we face great challenges to our security. Those challenges are posed by authoritarian and expansionist powers like China and Russia, by dangerous states like Iran and North Korea, by radical Islamist movements like ISIS, and by new dangers like cyberwarfare and the weaponization of space. To help us think a little more clearly about the strategy of American security and the political order it helps to underwrite, Tikvah Fund Executive Director Eric Cohen hosted Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Professor Eliot Cohen at the Tikvah Center in New York City.

Drawing on his new book, The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force, Professor Cohen argued that America’s global military presence is essential for American foreign policy. Their conversation touches upon the American conception of war, the state of American forces, American force projection, the operations and scope of the American government, and the tactics and aims of America’s rivals. Professor Cohen also assesses Israel’s current strategic position, and offers his thoughts on Israel’s national security imperatives.

This conversation took place on March 6, 2017.

Direct download: Eliot_Cohen_audio.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 10:32am EST

Lamenting the ideological polarization in American public life has become a feature of modern politics. But perhaps what ails America is less what divides the Left and Right than the errors they share. In “Taking the Long Way,” published in First Things in 2014, political thinker Yuval Levin argues that liberals and conservatives are both inspired by an overly individualistic understanding of the human person and a weak vision of political freedom. For all the apparent differences between our parties, Levin believes we must attend to the tacit assumptions that serve as the philosophical foundation for both of them. Levin turns to the Book of Exodus in order to help him explain a more enduring liberation consistent with a truer understanding of the human condition. This more enduring freedom does not spring fully formed into the hearts and minds of spontaneously ordered libertarians or exquisitely managed progressives. Political freedom is an achievement that lies at the end of a long road, best traveled in the company of friends, neighbors, and family.

In this podcast, Levin joins Tikvah Senior Director Jonathan Silver to discuss this important essay. They begin by discussing what both the Left and Right get wrong about freedom. Then, using Exodus to guide their conversation, Levin and Silver discuss the stations on the long road to liberty, the potential pitfalls along this path, and what traditional Jews can teach their fellow citizens about creating the cultural preconditions that sustain the free society.

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: Yuval_Podcast_Round_2.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 2:54pm EST

It may be the world’s oldest hatred, but anti-Semitism remains alive and well in the 21st century. The forces of anti-Zionism and mass immigration continually threaten the safety of Europe’s Jews. Anti-Semitism remains the norm in most of the Arab world. And even in the United States, hate crimes against Jewish Americans continue to occur at an alarming rate. The intractability of this bigotry invites asking fundamental questions: Who is the anti-Semite? What is the nature of his hatred? Will he always be with us?

In Anti-Semite and Jew, the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sarte offers his reflections on these very questions. Written shortly after the liberation of Paris from German occupation, the essay sketches Sartre’s portraits of the anti-Semite, the democrat, and the Jew. In this podcast, former Harvard Professor and Tikvah Distinguished Senior Fellow Ruth Wisse joins Eric Cohen to discuss this fascinating work. Wisse lays out the key characteristics of Sartre’s archetypes, critiques the essay’s flaws, and highlights the insights that remain valuable to us even today. Anti-Semitism, sadly, is not going away, and getting a clearer picture of this particular prejudice is as important as ever.

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: Ruth_Wisse_Anti-Semitism_Podcast_FI.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 3:57pm EST

When New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art opened Jerusalem 1000-1400: Every People Under Heaven, the exhibit was greeted with tremendous fanfare. It dazzled the eyes and summoned a seductive image of medieval Jerusalem as an exciting hub of diverse cultures and religions. But is this picture of the Holy City true to history? Or was the Met trafficking in myths that anchor multicultural hopes for Jerusalem’s future in a fictitious past? Did the Met help its visitors see Jerusalem as it was, or as the exhibit’s architects wish it to be?

In “Jerusalem Syndrome at the Met,” published in Mosaic soon after the close of the exhibit, Wall Street Journal Critic at Large Edward Rothstein debunks Jerusalem 1000-1400’s fictions. He shows that the exhibit’s sumptuous beauty was actually founded on historically tendentious apologetics.

In this podcast, Rothstein joins Tikvah Executive Director Eric Cohen to discuss his piece. Rothstein discusses how the exhibit distorts Jerusalem’s complex history, whitewashes the violence and intolerance of the city’s Muslim conquerors, and downplays the Jewish connection to Judaism’s holiest city. In doing so, he illustrates how the Met exemplifies the some of the most troubling trends afflicting museums in the West.

Courtesy of Pro Musica Hebraica, 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.

Direct download: Rothstein_Podcast_v.2.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 11:42am EST

Irving Kristol was truly one-of-a-kind. He had a capacious mind and a winsome personality, and his journey from young Trotskyist to “godfather” of neoconservatism has long captivated those who have written about his remarkable career. Yet, for all the ink spilled on Irving Kristol the man, Irving Kristol the political thinker has often been neglected.

Matthew Continetti, editor of the Washington Free Beacon, believes it is long past time to devote more attention to Irving Kristol’s political thought. In his 2014 essay in National Affairs, “The Theological Politics of Irving Kristol,” Continetti subjects more than 50 years of Kristol’s writings to close reading. In doing so, Continetti draws out the theological foundations that underpinned so much of Kristol’s thinking on politics and society.

In this podcast, Continetti and Tikvah’s Jonathan Silver discuss Irving Kristol’s “neo-orthodox” theology, his distinction between the rabbinic and prophetic tendencies, and the Jewish foundations of his political disposition. In doing so, they draw out the deeper meaning of Kristol’s thought and sketch out the ways his wisdom can shed light on our current political moment.

Courtesy of Pro Musica Hebraica, 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.

Direct download: Continetti_Keiper_Snyder.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 5:05pm EST

Israel is an exceptional nation, and this is certainly true when it comes to the Israeli military. Tested by war, heroic in its self-defense, Israel is leading the way in developing the most advanced weapons technologies and re-imagining the new realities of the modern battlefield in an ever-changing Middle East. In an important new book—The Weapon Wizards: How Israel Became a High-Tech Military Superpower— Jerusalem Post Editor Yaakov Katz tells this story from the front lines of Israeli military innovation and with the analytical eye of a master journalist. He brings us into the fascinating world of Israeli weapons development—from drones to satellites, missile defense systems to cyber warfare—and he looks beyond the technology to consider what Israel’s edge means for its larger geopolitical strategy.

On February 6, 2017, Mr. Katz joined an exclusive audience at the Tikvah Fund for a fascinating exploration of how Israel became a military superpower, and what this means for the future of the Jewish state. He also discussed some of the major developments in current Israeli politics and world affairs, offering his insight as one of Israel’s veteran journalists and keenest analysts.

Direct download: Yaakov_Katz_audio.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 5:09pm EST

In 2010, the theologian Michael Wyschograd published “A King in Israel,” a provocative essay in which he argues for defining the Jewish State as a democratic, constitutional monarchy. Wyschograd proposes that, without changing anything about the functioning of the Israeli government, the president of the state be given the title, “Regent of the Throne of David”—reconstituting the third Jewish commonwealth as a Davidic monarchy without a reigning king.

This idea may seem fantastical, and it was given very little attention at the time. But in this podcast, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik joins Tikvah Executive Director Eric Cohen to explore the theology behind Wyschograd’s argument, precedents from modern constitutional history, and the political ramifications of monarchy. Using Soloveichik’s essay on “King David” as a starting point, Cohen and Soloveichik explore Judaism’s complex approach to kingship, the meaning of the Davidic dynasty, and the spiritual power that resides in a properly constituted Jewish polity.

Courtesy of Pro Musica Hebraica, 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.

Direct download: Soloveichik_King_David_Podcast_FI.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 2:56pm EST

Sometimes, it takes an outsider to teach a community about its own deepest truths and most powerful teachings. In “Faith in the Flesh,” one of America’s most insightful Catholic thinkers does just that for faithful Jews. In this breathtaking piece, published in Commentary a decade ago, R.R. Reno offers a profound meditation on the meaning of Jewish ritual, education, and distinctiveness. Framed by a scene of his daughter chanting the Ten Commandments on the day of her bat mitzvah, the essay tells the story of Reno’s Jewish family and the impact it had on his own Christian faith.

In this podcast, Reno speaks with Tikvah Fund Senior Director Jonathan Silver about his essay. Reno recounts how he came to raise his children as Jews while remaining committed to, and even deepening, his Christian faith. He and Silver go on to cover the contrasting ways Judaism and Christianity seek to inspire moral behavior as well as the tradeoffs of each approach. They touch on the political and social implications of each faith’s teachings and conclude by discussing the lessons both Jews and Christians ought to take away from Reno’s experience with the blows of intermarriage.

Courtesy of Pro Musica Hebraica, 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

Direct download: RR_Reno_Podcast_FI_2.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 11:29am EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

Britain’s June 23 referendum on independence was the most important vote in a democratic nation in a generation, Yoram Hazony argues in “Nationalism and the Future of Western Freedom,” his September 2016 Mosaic essay. Its outcome, in favor of an exit from the EU, provoked fear, outrage, and despair in elite opinion in both Europe and the United States. At the same time, however, the re-emergence of an independent Britain has rallied profound admiration and enthusiasm among millions of others who still hold fast to the old understanding that the independence and self-determination of one’s nation hold the key to a life of honor and freedom.

In this podcast, Hazony speaks with Eric Cohen about his essay. Their discussion touches on the biblical roots of the nation-state, which combines national self-determination with a moral minimum; liberalism as the great rival of nationalism; and three reactions against the new liberal condition—neo-nationalism, neo-Catholicism, and classical nationalism. It is this latter alternative that Hazony finds most promising, inspired by the Hebrew Bible and informing the nationalism of Great Britain and the United States.


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?


In this podcast, Eric Cohen talks with Judaic Studies and History professor Allan Arkush, an expert in modern Jewish history, about Ahad Ha’am and his classic essay, “The Jewish State and Jewish Problem” (1897). In this essay, Ahad Ha’am—pen name of Asher Ginsberg—expounds on the material and moral crises facing the Jewish people. Modern Jews need an identity authentically derived from Jewish ideas and culture—not one simply formed by outside gentile influences. European nationalism is not sufficient to guide the founding of the Jewish state. Rather, Ha’am hopes that political freedom will enable the creation of a unique and genuine Jewish civilization. In this podcast, Arkush discusses the life and ideas of Ahad Ha’am and his relation to his contemporary Jewish and Zionist thinkers.


In this podcast, Eric Cohen speaks with Bret Stephens, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the Wall Street Journal, about three of his essays that assess political life in Israel, America, and that analyze the challenges of the Middle East and the the modern West alike. “Born on the Fourth of June,” a Commentary essay from 2012, concerns the lessons and legacy of the 1967 war and what it means for current political challenges. In “Peter Beinart’s False Prophecy,” published in Tablet in 2012, Stephens reviews Peter Beinart’s The Crisis of Zionism, identifying its misleading presentation of the Israeli condition. The final essay was “Israel Alone,” a 2015 Wall Street Journal column in which Stephens examines the dilemmas that Israeli decision-makers now face, given America’s changing role in the Middle East.

Direct download: 160714_Eric_Cohen_and_Bret_Stephens.mp3
Category:Great Jewish Essays and Ideas -- posted at: 2:19pm EST

In this podcast, Eric Cohen talks with Jay Lefkowitz about his provocative 2014 essay, "The Rise of Social Orthodoxy: A Personal Account”. The essay caused a stir by describing a subset of American Modern Orthodox Judaism whose participation in Jewish ritual is primarily motivated by social and civilizational attachments to the Jewish people, not out of faith in the God of the Hebrew Bible or reverence for His commandments.

Lefkowitz and Cohen begin by surveying the denominations of American Judaism and their relative vitality. Focusing on the Orthodox, they consider which approaches to Jewish life—Haredi, classically Modern Orthodox, Socially Orthodox—are likely to endure and, should they endure, which approaches are likely to elevate the moral lives of their adherents. Which is a firmer ground for Jewish continuity—belonging or belief?  What is gained and what is lost when membership is the overarching value of Jewish life?


In this podcast, Eric Cohen sits down with the legendary editor of Commentary, Norman Podhoretz, to discuss his 2007 essay, “Jerusalem: The Scandal of Particularity.” The ancient capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem, has been the essential center of Jewish political and religious life for generations. But, despite promises of its inviolability, the temptations to divide Jerusalem in exchange for peace arise again and again. “In wondering about this singling-out of one city from among all the cities in the Land of Israel,” Podhoretz writes, “I find myself ineluctably led to its larger and even more mysterious context, which is the singling-out of one people from among all the nations of the world.” Eric Cohen talks to Podhoretz about the circumstances that inspired this essay, the feelings that being in Jerusalem stirs in him, the moral and political significance of Jerusalem, what it means to be the chosen people, and why modern men and women find Jewish particularity such a scandal.


As recently as the Cold War, the center-right and the center-left overcame their differences on other issues to oppose the enemies of the open society. In a lecture to alumni and guests of the Tikvah Fund, Standpoint editor Daniel Johnson argues that the center is failing to hold and that illiberalism's many forms are on the rise. Both right and left have been submerged under populist spasms. The right lured in by the coarse, idea-free spectacle of Donald Trump; the left embracing the Western self-loathing typified by Jeremy Corbyn. Radical Islam, the European migrant crisis, and the rise of Putin's Russia all threaten the West. Are conservatives up to the task? And what is the role of the Jews in all this? Johnson argues that Israel is uniquely central to the fate of the West, both as the frontier of its fights and as a symbol of what the West still stands for—or what, to its shame, it may yet abandon.

William Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard offers some thoughts on Johnson's lecture at its conclusion. Then the two take questions. The discussion was filmed in Jerusalem on June 2, 2016.

Direct download: The20Left2C20the20Right2C20and20the20Future20of20the20West.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 5:37pm EST

In this podcast, Michael Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and prominent scholar and commentator on Middle Eastern affairs and world politics, talks with Tikvah's Eric Cohen about a classic essay excoriating Western elites for misunderstanding the passions that drive the Middle East. Elie Kedourie's 1970 manifesto, "The Chatham House Version," examined the confusions of Arnold Toynbee and other British mandarins: confusions over pan-Arabism, over the links between the Israeli-Arab conflict and other situations of unrest, over the role of the West in Arab discontent, and much else. The political, religious, and ideological fault lines of the Middle East often go back at least a century, so it is a mistake for Westerners to explain the Middle East in the categories of Western social arrangements. Kedourie is not as widely read as he should be, but his influence on leading scholars like Michael Doran is profound. One modest hope of this podcast is that the discussion might awaken listeners to his immense body of work.


In this podcast, the Tikvah Fund’s Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ruth Wisse, joins Eric Cohen to discuss her 2015 Mosaic essay, “Anti-Semitism Goes to School.” Drawing on her experiences at Harvard University and elsewhere, Wisse argues that there has been a resurgence of anti-Semitism on campus, often centered on attempts to delegitimize the Jewish state and assail what Israel represents. Despite ideological pressure on campus to stifle bigotry, Jews are the “one licensed exception … the only campus minority against whom hostility is condoned.” Wisse and Cohen examine what the new campus anti-Semitism means for American Jews, the future of the America-Israel relationship, and the choices that face pro-Israel young people attending American colleges.


Realist foreign policy is premised on the idea that states always act in their own interest, as defined by the rational calculation of external threats from rival states. To scholars and practitioners of the realist school, America’s support for Israel is irrational, for in the support of the Jewish State realists see no benefit to American interest. Some have concluded that a small and influential political lobby is to blame for America’s support for Israel. In this recording, Walter Russell Mead revisits his 2008 essay “The New Israel and the Old,” which argued that America is pro-Israel because Americans—particularly non-Jewish Americans in the heartland—are pro-Israel.

As a part of Tikvah’s advanced institute, “Is Israel Alone?: The Past, Present, and Future of the U.S.-Israel Relationship” Walter Russell Mead and Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Michael Doran examine the false assumptions of so-called realists and explore the popular convictions that are the true foundation of America’s historic support for Israel.

Direct download: Walter_Russell_Mead_-_The_New_Israel_and_the_Old.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 12:30pm EST

The subject of this podcast is Joseph B. Soloveitchik's classic 1964 essay, "Confrontation," one of those rare, enduring masterpieces that is both a profound theological reflection on human nature, and an important work of Jewish communal policy. This essay—and the commentaries, conversations, and commitments that have followed in its wake—has long shaped how many traditional Jews engage in the public life of modern society, and how Orthodox Jews see their relationship to modern Christians (and other communities of faith). Rabbi Meir Soloveichik joins Eric Cohen to discuss "Confrontation," its depiction of human nature and its argument for religious freedom in modern America.


In this podcast, Yuval Levin and Eric Cohen discuss Mr. Levin’s recent essay in First Things, “The Perils of Religious Liberty.” The flourishing of religious communities and the freedom of religious conscience have been central to American life since the founding of the United States. Yet we are living in an age that is not especially conducive to traditionally religious habits or beliefs, and the regulations and laws that structure the American social order have made some traditional Jews and Christians feel unwelcome in their own country.

In this essay and in his recent book, The Fractured Republic: Renewing America’s Social Contract in the Age of Individualism, Mr. Levin warns that religious exercise must be defended, but a defensive posture is insufficient. In addition to the legal battles they must wage, religious men and women should proudly affirm the manifest virtues of religious communal life, for themselves and for their neighbors. In this conversation, Mr. Cohen and Mr. Levin argue this contention and explore the American tradition of religious freedom, the new challenges facing religious communities in a more fragmented society, and the question of how Jews in particular should think about these great moral and political questions.


In this podcast, Tikvah’s executive director, Eric Cohen, is joined by Elliott Abrams for a discussion of Abrams’s important new essay "If American Jews and Israel Are Drifting Apart, What's the Reason?" Published in the April 2016 issue of Mosaic, examines the conventional wisdom that American Jews are becoming less attached to, less interested in, and even more antagonistic toward the Jewish State. If so, he and Cohen ask, do we understand why, and are we willing to confront the real reasons? What are the new fault lines within American Jewry itself, and what does this mean for the America-Israel relationship more broadly? What does all this mean for Israel, given the tremendous threats it faces in a radicalizing Middle East, and in a political world in which new forms of anti-Judaism and anti-Zionism seem to be on the rise?

Mr. Abrams is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations; the former Deputy National Security advisor to the president; and the author of important books on the state of American Jewry and the Israel-Palestine question.


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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter has forged a long and dedicated career both as a pulpit rabbi and as a leading academic scholar of Jewish history. How does he negotiate situations in which love of Torah and tradition appear to be in tension with modern sensibilities or historical truth? What motivates his own spiritual practice?

In a moving conversation with students in the Tikvah Summer Fellowship for College Students and moderated by the Tikvah Fund’s Senior Director Mark Gottlieb, Rabbi Schacter works through these questions, and also shares how his own Jewish upbringing formed who he is today.

This event was recorded July 21, 2015 at the Tikvah Center in New York City.

Direct download: Rabbi_Jacob_J._Schacter_on_Family_and_Freedom_podcast.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 9:52am EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

As part of Tikvah's Summer Fellowship, participants were treated to a discussion on how to read and how to think about rabbinic literature. The two interlocutors approach rabbinic literature from different points of view and from different intellectual traditions. Christine Hayes of Yale University is one of the very few and perhaps the most accomplished academic expert in Talmudic literature who was neither born nor raised as a Jew and who, as you will see below, consciously decided not to convert to Judaism.  Professor Hayes's fellow discussant was Rabbi Yehoshua Pfeffer, a haredi rabbinic judge and a former clerk on the Israeli Supreme Court. Each of these great teachers begins by talking about their "love affair" with rabbinic literature and shedding light on the core questions of reading rabbinic texts: What can we learn from the Talmud about how to live? About the truth of the universe? What kind of questions are therefore worth asking of the Talmud? After the autobiographical statements, each gave a shiur on a topic of their choice and responded to the other's. In so doing, they demonstrated the differences and similarities between the spirit of the academy and the spirit of the yeshiva.

 

Recording took place on August 3, 2014.

Direct download: Christine_Hayes_and_Yehoshua_Pfeffer__What_is_Rabbinic_Literature.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

What is the condition of modern Judaism? It is simultaneously rationalist and non-rationalist, Israeli and Diasporic, nationalist and individualist, powerful and fearful of rising anti-Semitism, particularist and universalist. To sort out modern Judaism's camps and contradictions and to offer some thoughts on Judaism's theological, sociological, and political future, Tikvah hosted a conversation between two very different thinkers who taught in Tikvah's summer fellowship and advanced institutes. Leora Batnitzky is an American scholar of modern Jewish philosophy, a professor at Princeton University, and the author, most recently, of How Judaism Become a Religion. Micah Goodman is an Israeli educator and the Founding CEO of Ein Prat Academy, a Beit Midrash instructing secular and religious young leaders in Israel in both religious and philosophic texts. Goodman is also the author of two Israeli bestsellers: The Dream of the Kuzari and The Secrets of the Guide for the Perplexed.

Recording took place on July 28, 2014.

 

Direct download: Leora_Batnitzky_and_Micah_Goodman_-_Modern_Judaism.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

What is the proper relationship between Jews and political power? To what extent should Jews eschew worldly power for the sake of piety? How Machiavellian can Jews allow themselves to be? Two of the Jewish world's most esteemed intellectuals, Ruth Wisse and Moshe Halbertal, examined these questions for participants in the Tikvah Fund's Summer Fellowship and Advanced Institutes. Wisse, an American expert on Yiddish literature generally associated with the right, and Halbertal, an Israeli expert in Jewish philosophy and ethics generally associated with the left, engaged in a discussion marked by passion, wit, nerve, and collegiality. About halfway through the panel, the moderator, Allan Arkush, opened the floor to audience questions on everything from the possibility of anti-Semitism in America to the Israeli Defense Forces' Code of Ethics. 

 

Recording took place on July 28, 2014.

Direct download: Ruth_Wisse_and_Moshe_Halbertal_-_Jews_and_Power.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Participants in Tikvah's advanced institute on "War and Human Nature" were treated to a conversation on the method and meaning of statesmanship with Frederick W. Kagan. Beginning in theory and ending in practice, Kagan, a man of reflection and action, a military historian and strategic advisor, detailed his approach to serious problems in global affairs. Together with Tikvah Fund executive director Eric Cohen, Kagan discussed the great books of history and statesmanship, the culture of West Point, what happened in the Iraq Surge he is so often given credit for, what to do with the rise of ISIS and the collapse of Iraqi politics, Putin's ambitions, Obama's vision (or lack-thereof), and his own strategic advice for the current moment.

The event was recorded on June 20, 2014 when ISIS had taken Mosul and the United States had not yet intervened. Dr. Kagan’s analysis and recommendations remain astute and relevant three months later and provide an alternate path forward for American forces.

 

Direct download: Frederick_Kagan_-_War_and_Statesmanship.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Tikvah was privileged to have several wise and experienced foreign-policy professionals as instructors for the advanced institute, "War and Human Nature." Two of them, Frederick W. Kagan and Eric Edelman, sat down during the institute to discuss the subject of statesmanship in wartime, with Kagan mostly interviewing Edelman. Edelman was the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy from 2005 to 2009 after a long career in the foreign service and White House foreign policy team. Kagan is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a historian and strategist best known for his role in crafting the Iraq Surge. They covered the psychology of leadership, the "human element" in Pentagon decision-making, how to negotiate the bureaucracy, what crises do to leaders, the styles of Defense Secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates, and the strategic thinking behind the Iraq Surge. Together, Edelman and Kagan offer an insider’s look.

The event was recorded on June 19, 2014.

Direct download: Eric_Edelman_-_War_and_Statesmanship.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

At the advanced institute "War and Human Nature," Tikvah hosted Yale University diplomat in residence and career foreign minister Charles Hill for a lecture on "War and Human Consciousness."  Mr. Hill's session began from the insight that the distinctively human quality – the essence of human nature – is the capacity for reasoned speech.  In light of this recognition, Mr. Hill focused on the rhetoric of war and peace that has typified past cultures and our own, analyzing different strategies that have been employed to govern and focus man's inescapable penchant toward war, and inviting us to wonder how we, who have developed a rhetoric of war's eradication, can understand the continued threats of bloodshed and battle.

The seminar was recorded on June 12, 2014.

Direct download: Charles_Hill_-_War_and_Human_Consciousness.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

As part of the advanced institute on "Liberalism, Conservatism, and the Jews," Tikvah hosted the legendary editor of Commentary, Norman Podhoretz. Podhoretz has been a partisan of the left, the right, and, most of all, the Jews. In an interview with Tikvah's executive director Eric Cohen, Podhoretz discussed his life's work and his ideological transformation. He reflects on his early education and the conflict between his low-brow immigrant Judaism and his high-brow training under Lionel Trilling. He discusses the early days of Commentary, when it was ambivalent about Zionism and part of the anti-communist left. He explains what turned Commentary away from the left, and what kind of foreign policy vision it offered the nascent neoconservative movement. And what about Podhoretz himself? Famously frank and wide-ranging, Podhoretz spends the last half of the event commenting on theology, the American Jewish scene, Radical Islam, classical music, and Shakespeare.

Filming took place on May 19, 2014.

 

Direct download: Norman_Podhoretz_-_Reflections_of_a_Jewish_Neoconservative.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

During the advanced institute "The Israeli Economy: A Strategy for the Future," Tikvah was honored to have Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer join us. A close adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu for many years, Amb. Dermer detailed the Prime Minister's role in enacting free market reforms and other policies that have promoted exceptional growth. He also discussed both the moral case for capitalism and the relationship of the free market to Jewish values.

Recording took place on April 28, 2014.

Direct download: Ambassador_Ron_Dermer_-_Israels_Capitalist_Revolution.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Since 1945, American power has been the principal guarantor of world order. Nearly 70 years on, what is America’s place in today’s global order, and do we stand at the dawn of a new and more chaotic age?  How do the arrangements and understandings through which war is generally avoided, commerce generally protected, and the cause of civilization generally advanced, cease to function? Do natural and political events that seem unconnected actually relate, and together, portend a coming global disorder?

Watch as Bret Stephens, winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, deputy editorial page editor at the Wall Street Journal and author of its "Global View" column, analyzes the key threats to the global order today in conversation with Tikvah Executive Director Eric Cohen.

 

Mr. Stephens was recorded on March 20, 2014.

Direct download: Bret_Stephens_-_The_Coming_Global_Disorder.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

The American future is in question, and it is up to the present generation of civic leaders to ensure that the nation continues to thrive. The United States faces new challenges to its economic and social infrastructure, as well as the very cultural and spiritual qualities which comprise the foundations of our social compact. And how, beyond America's borders, should the United States responsibly project its power and influence?

The American future depends on addressing five issues of key strategic importance.  Get them right, and the 21st century holds promise for the United States. Get them wrong, and Americans could see their nation vulnerable to precipitous decline. What are the Big Five? How can Americans secure a free and prosperous nation for the next generation? Listen, as Walter Russell Mead, the James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College and Editor-at-Large of The American Interest, will analyze "The Big Five: America's Make-or-Break Challenges."

 

The event was recorded on March 18, 2014.

 

Direct download: Walter_Russell_Mead_-_The_Big_Five_Americas_Make-or-Break_Challenges.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Lord Acton famously proposed that "power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."  In Jews and Power, Ruth Wisse provides an analysis of Jewish history that suggests the exact opposite.  With neither sovereignty, nor centralized government, nor even mechanisms of self-defense, the Jewish people reconceived the meaning of their nation in manifestly moral terms. They fell prey to the danger of being corrupted by powerlessness. Generations of exilic Jews sought to live as "a light unto the nations," seeking toleration and protection from their host rulers.  But their political dependency left diaspora Jews vulnerable to being scapegoated –a tendency that has persisted despite the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in Israel.  Ranging from the Hebrew Bible to contemporary politics, how does Professor Wisse’s analysis of Jewish history affect our understanding of the State of Israel, the United States, and all those nations who–admirably–insist on the moral dimension of political life?

 

Listen and reconsider Jews and Power with its author, Professor Ruth Wisse, Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University

Recording took place on March 10, 2014.

Direct download: Ruth_Wisse_-_Jews_and_Power.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

What did the architects of American's democracy agenda get right, and what did they get wrong? What do more recent developments teach us about hopes for democracy in the Arab world and their place in American foreign policy?

Tikvah's Jonathan Silver hosted former deputy national security advisor and Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Elliott Abrams for an in-depth reconsideration of America's democracy agenda. The event was recorded before a live audience on March 6, 2014 at the Tikvah Center in New York City.

 

Direct download: Elliott_Abrams_-_Reconsidering_Americas_Democracy_Agenda.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Reviled as a fascist demagogue by his great rival David Ben-Gurion, venerated by Israel's underclass, the first Israeli to win the Nobel Peace Prize, a proud Jew but not a conventionally religious one, Menachem Begin was both complex and controversial. Begin's Herut party led the opposition to the Labor governments of Ben-Gurion and his successors until the surprising parliamentary victory of 1977 made him Israel's Prime Minister.

 

Listen as Daniel Gordis, author of Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel's Soul, discusses Begin's life, political vision, and his abiding legacy in Zionist thought, Israeli politics, and the Middle East today. The event was recorded before a live audience on March 4, 2014 at the Tikvah Center in New York City.

Direct download: Daniel_Gordis_on_Menachem_Begin__Israels_Jewish_Prime_Minister.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

In the popular imagination, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel is remembered for his involvement in civil rights, the anti-Vietnam War movement, and the cause of Soviet Jewry. But, as Rabbi Shai Held demonstrates in his new book, Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence, Rabbi Heschel was first and foremost a theologian and philosopher of religion. What are his core ideas, and what are his main religious insights? How did he develop his views of covenant and love, his fear of the unbounded ego, and his unique interpretation of human and divine agency? How can Rabbi Heschel's thought inspire the Jewish community and challenge religious people everywhere to recapture the wonder that opens them up to God's call?

Listen as Rabbi Dr. Shai Held, cofounder, dean, and chair in Jewish Thought at Mechon Hadar, discusses Heschel's legacy and situates his work within contemporary Jewish theology and the philosophy of religion. The event was recorded before a live audience on February 25, 2014 at the Tikvah Center in New York City. 

 

Direct download: Shai_Held_-_Abraham_Joshua_Heschel_and_the_Call_of_Transcendence.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Nineteenth century political emancipation brought citizenship rights to European Jews.  In How Judaism Became a Religion, Leora Batnitzky explores how this new political reality affected Jewish philosophy and the Jewish people.  The prospect of secular citizenship challenged Judaism's premodern integrity, and drove Jewish writers, intellectuals, and rabbis to grapple with how to recast Judaism as a "religion," emphasizing its private faith over its national call to public practice.  The transformation of Judaism as a religion – and reactions to it – is the driving question of modern Jewish thought to this day.  What does Judaism gain and lose as a religion?  What effects, positive and negative, has this modern transformation yielded?  How does conceiving of Judaism as a religion relate to Zionism and the refounding of a Jewish State for the Jewish People?

 

Listen as Leora Batnitzky, Ronald O. Perelman Professor of Jewish Studies, Professor of Religion, and Chair of the Department of Religion at Princeton University, discusses the intellectuals who recast Judaism as a modern religion, those that opposed the change, and the legacy of modern Jewish thought today. The event was recorded before a live audience on February 20, 2014 at the Tikvah Center in New York City.

Direct download: Leora_Batnitzky__Is_Judaism_a_Religion.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

The United States has been a strong supporter of Israel. Is that likely to continue? How do changes over the last few years in the Middle East affect the US-Israel relationship? To what extent are different parts of the American public, the American Jewish community, and the American foreign policy establishment still inspired to stand with Israel? Indeed, what does it mean to "stand with Israel?"

 

Listen to William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, in conversation with Tikvah's Director of Academic Programs Jonathan Silver, analyze Israel and the future of American foreign policy. The event was recorded before a live audience on January 27, 2014 at The Tikvah Center in New York City.

Direct download: William_Kristol_-_American_Foreign_Policy_and_the_State_of_Israel.mp3
Category:Event -- posted at: 12:00pm EST