Distinguished Speaker Series

Presented by the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture


2013-14 LECTURES

Between the Stones and a Hard Place: The Challenge to Gender Equity & Pluralism in Israel
Lecturer: Anat Hoffman

Monday, December 9, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
David and Dorothea Garfield Theatre, LFJCC

• Anat Hoffman is Ha'aretz's Person of the Year, 2013
• Anat Hoffman ranks #5 in the Jerusalem Post's Top 50 Most Influential Jews, 2013

Anat Hoffman is Executive Director of the Israeli Religious Action Center (IRAC), and is a founding member of Women of the Wall, a group of women from all denominations, which fights for the right of women to pray as a group at the Western Wall.

Anat Hoffman's distinguished career as a public servant began long before she became Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center in 2002. As a Jerusalem City Councilwoman for 14 years, Hoffman quickly became known as an inexhaustible warrior for justice and equality. She worked to ensure that the powerful Orthodox bloc in the City Council did not dictate lifestyle choices for Jerusalem's secular population; she fought to guarantee adequate municipal services for the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem; and even in this city divided by religious disagreement, she has struggled for recognition of religious pluralism.

In this talk, she spoke about gender segregation in the public sphere and the struggle for Jews to be able to practice a broad spectrum of Judaism in Israel.

Significant Co-Sponsors: Congregation Beth Israel and Temple Emanu-El
Co-Sponsors: Congregation Beth Am, Hadassah, Jewish Women’s Foundation, Ohr Shalom Synagogue, Temple Solel, Tifereth Israel Synagogue

Anatomy of Malice: Rorschach Records of the Nuremberg War Criminals
Lecturer: Professor Joel Dimsdale

Monday, January 13, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
Astor Judaica Library, LFJCC

The first war-crimes trials in Nuremberg prosecuted the highest members of the Nazi party. The defendants completed extensive psychological batteries including the Rorschach (ink blot) test. This presentation will examine these largely-forgotten data and will consider whether they shed light on the anatomy of malice.

Man and God: The Lives, Outlooks, and Music of Two Geniuses: Mendelssohn and Wagner
Lecturer: Nuvi Mehta, Voice of the San Diego Symphony
and Guest Artists

Monday, January 27, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
David and Dorothea Garfield Theatre, LFJCC

Learn about the men behind the music as we are guided through an exploration of Wagner and Mendelssohn. From Wagner and the development of music starting with the early romantic period, to the history of the Mendelssohn family, this program delves deep into the contradictory social and political outlooks of these the two musical geniuses.

Evening includes a special performance of Mendelssohn's work by The San Diego Symphony string quartet.

Moral Grandeur & Spiritual Audacity: Reflections on the Life and Thought of Abraham Joshua Heschel
Lecturer: Professor Susannah Heschel

Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
Temple Solel

Does genuine religious concern necessitate social action? What sorts of practical actions in the world are demanded by religiosity? Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907 - 1972) was a renowned Jewish theologian and social activist who inspired many with his religious thought, his contributions to Jewish-Christian understanding and his compassionate concern for the other.

An émigré from wartime Europe who taught at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati and later at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, Heschel was noted for his participation in the civil rights movement and his outspoken protest against the Vietnam War.

The Jacob Goldberg Lectures
Lecturer: Dr. Jacob Goldberg

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, March 17, 18, and 19 at 7:00 p.m.
David and Dorothea Garfield Theatre, LFJCC

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

March 17: The State of the "Arab Spring:" Collapse of the Old Middle East System?
Hopes for and failure of democratization; Balkanization of the Arab world; Disintegration of states and societies – triumph of tribe/sect over state; Islamists' loss of power in Egypt; Civil war in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen; Upheavals in Lebanon and Jordan; Stability of Arab monarchies; Revival of Sunni-Shi’ite conflicts.

March 18: American Challenges in the "New" Middle East: Conceptions and Misconceptions
Re-emergence of U.S.-Russian rivalries; Nuclear agreement and/or confrontation with Iran; Chemical weapons and civil war in Syria; Growing rift with Egypt; End of honey-moon with Turkey; Crisis with Saudi Arabia; US-Israeli dichotomies – peak of bilateral relations, divergence on most regional issues.

March 19: Israelis and Palestinians at the Crossroads: Can Kerry Succeed Where Others Have Failed?
Is a breakthrough possible in a chaotic Middle East? Does Abbas represent the Palestinian people? Can the gaps be bridged over? Is "Jerusalem" a real obstacle? Can the "Right of Return" be resolved? Can there be a compromise on the issue of "settlements?" Can Hamas torpedo an agreement? Will domestic Israeli politics prevent an agreement?

Beth & Danny Dabby, Don Foster, Phyllis & Mo Gold, Lucy Goldman, Leichtag Foundation,
Sandra & Arthur Levinson, Hillary & Jeffrey Liber, Dr. Andrew & Erna Viterbi
In formation as of February 24, 2014.

Annual Loraine Stern Lecture

America's Soul In the Balance: The Holocaust, FDR's State Department, and The Moral Disgrace Of An American Aristocracy
Lecturer: Gregory J. Wallance

Monday, April 7, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
Astor Judaica Library, LFJCC

At the height of World War II, four lawyers in the U.S. Treasury Department discovered that the highly educated, patrician diplomats in the State Department had covered up reports of the Nazi extermination scheme -- and then blocked the rescue of 70,000 Romanian Jews forcibly marched into the Nazi-conquered Ukraine and left to die of starvation and disease. The Treasury lawyers charged the diplomats with being ''accomplices of Hitler.''

The outrage of the Treasury lawyers -- tough-minded New Dealers from Christian, middle-class backgrounds -- at the State Department's complicity in genocide precipitated a titanic intergovernmental battle. The stakes were nothing less than the fates of countless European Jews, the historical reputation of FDR, and the soul of America itself.

Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939
Lecturer: Thomas Doherty

Monday, May 19, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
Temple Solel • 3575 Manchester Ave. • Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007

Between 1933 and 1939, representations of the Nazis and the full meaning of Nazism came slowly to Hollywood, growing more ominous and distinct only as the decade wore on. As Europe hurtled toward war, a proxy battle waged in Hollywood over how to conduct business with the Nazis, how to cover Hitler and his victims in the newsreels, and whether to address or ignore Nazism in Hollywood feature films. Should Hollywood lie low, or stand tall and sound the alarm?

In a recent book, a scholar argues that Hollywood studios, in an effort to protect the German market for their movies, not only acquiesced to Nazi censorship but also actively and enthusiastically cooperated with that regime's global propaganda effort. Thomas Doherty, however, considers these charges slanderous and ahistorical -- slanderous because they smear an industry that struggled to alert America to the menace in Germany and ahistorical because they read the past through the eyes of the present.

Thomas Doherty is a cultural historian with a special interest in Hollywood cinema. He is a professor of American Studies and the chair for the American Studies Program at Brandeis University.