Distinguished Speaker Series

Lawrence Family JCC

Professor Jacob Goldberg

Dr. Goldberg has a Ph.D. from Harvard University in Middle East politics, and is a former Senior Adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. He is the author of The Foreign Policy of Saudi Arabia, and has also published numerous articles in newspapers in Israel and the U.S., including The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Monday, March 13, 2017 • 7:00 p.m.

"Arab Winter" Chaos in Full Swing: Six Years and Counting


• The Arab Human Development Report: from Development to Disaster
• Beginning a Soul-Searching Process
• Division of Arab Countries – Fragile/Crisis/Failed/Collapsed States
• The Syrian Catastrophe – Six Years, Six Wars
• Iraq after Mosul – Civil War or Unified State? 
• New Turkey: Blend of Islamism/Ottomanism 
• Emboldened Iran’s Continued Expansionism
• Sunni-Shi’ite Schism as Middle East Fault Line
• Kurdish Self-Rule Expands
• ISIS in Decline, Jihadist Terrorism on the Rise


Tuesday, March 14, 2017 • 7:00 p.m.


• Mending Fences: the US and the Moslem World
• Beyond the Nuclear Treaty: Iran as Determinant of US Middle East Policy
• Syria: Four Failures Leading to a Fiasco
• Is there "Radical Islamic Terrorism" or just "Violent Extremism"?
• Shift in Priorities: Which is a Bigger Threat to US National Security - Iran or ISIS?
• Trump’s Agenda I: Relations with Russia as Determinant of US Middle East Policy
• Trump’s Agenda II: Checking Tehran's Regional Ambitions and Putting US Relations with the Sunni World Back on Track? 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 • 7:00 p.m.


  • Israel: Between a New Regional Landscape and Putin-Trump Ambiguities
  • Multi-Faceted Threats : Russia-Iran-Syria-Hizballa, and Hamas
  • Ending Palestinian-Israeli Deadlock: "One-State, Two-States, I Don't Care"
  • US-Israel Relations: Assessment of Obama, Guesstimate of Trump
  • The Israeli Paradox — a High-Tech, “Start-Up” Nation Vs. Polarized Electorate, Paralyzed Government, and Pulverized Center/Left
  • Shimon Peres—Last of the Founding Fathers

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*Topics are Subject to Change  

David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre

General Admission
Ticket Price Per Lecture: $18.50; JCC Member $15.00
Goldberg 3-pack: Price $50.00; JCC Member Price $40.00

Jacob Goldberg Lectures Underwriters

Beth & Danny Dabby • Phyllis & Morris Gold • Lucy Goldman • Sandra & Arthur Levinson • Viterbi Family

In Formation as of February 1, 2017

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Previous 2015-2016 Lectures

Sandy Lakoff

Assessing the Impact

Lecturer: Professor Sandy Lakoff

November 9, 2016 • 7:00 P.M.

Lawrence Family JCC, 4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037

As the electoral dust settles, the main priorities of the next administration should be clearer, including what priorities will be set, what initiatives will be pursued, and what means -- diplomatic, economic, and military -- will be deployed to advance them. We will have a better idea, in short, of what will be America's role in the world, given the challenges that will need to be addressed in the most problematic areas, notably the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and the Far East. Join us to hear Professor Lakoff’s analysis the day after our country chooses our next president.

Professor Lakoff is founding chair of the Department and a distinguished scholar in political philosophy and science and public policy. He is the author of Equality in Political Philosophy, Democracy: History, Theory and Practice, and Max Lerner: Pilgrim in the Promised Land (1998, University of Chicago Press) and Strategic Defense in the Nuclear Age and Ten Political Ideas that have Shaped the Modern World (September 2011); co-author of Science and the Nation: Policy and Politics, Energy and American Values, and A Shield in Space?: Technology, Politics, and the Strategic Defense Initiative. He has also edited a half dozen volumes, including Knowledge and Power: Essays on Science and Government. He has contributed over fifty essays to edited volumes, journals, and encyclopedias..

Sandy Lakoff

What's at Stake?

Lecturer: Professor Sandy Lakoff

October 26, 2016 • 7:00 P.M.

Lawrence Family JCC, 4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037

Although American elections usually turn on domestic issues, this one raises important questions for foreign policy, which is mainly the preserve of the executive branch. Another Democratic administration would most likely continue the globalist policies of the Obama administration in trade, human rights, and climate change, but with a stronger emphasis on reforming immigration policy and combating terrorism and regional instability. A Trump presidency may move us away from the status quo, including our relationships with America's allies in Europe and Asia, treaty-based trade relations, and immigration. Come hear Professor Lakoff’s analysis just weeks before the election.

Economics of Terrorism: Lessons for Confronting ISIS
Lecturer: Professor Eli Berman

Chair, Department of Economics, UCSD

September 28, 2016 • 7:00 P.M.
Lawrence Family JCC, 4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037

Eli Bermanf

With ISIS in the headlines following numerous attacks nationally and abroad, the world is on heightened guard concerning the terror group.
As such, we turn to our renowned global conflict expert Professor Eli Berman, who holds a dual appointment with the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS) and Chair of the Department of Economics, to make sense of ISIS’s logic and how great a threat it is in the U.S