New Podcast: Artistic Expression and Israel

What is the appropriate balance between presenting for an American audience, Israeli art that is critical of the society and art which celebrates it? This conversation was part of the Washington DCJCC’s Embracing Democracy series and took place on February 18, 2014.  Listen using the media player below or right-click on this link to download it.

Artistic Expression and Israel

Panelists:
Dror Moreh, Academy Award-nominated director of The Gatekeepers
Linda Gradstein, Middle East Bureau Chief for TheMediaLine.org and former NPR Jerusalem Correspondent
Leon Wieseltier, Literary Editor of The New Republic

Advertisements

New Podcast: Examining the History of 1948

The creation of the State of Israel and its subsequent victory over the assembled Arab armies arrayed against it was widely regarded as a modern miracle in 1948. Coming after the trauma of the Shoah and fulfilling an ancient longing for a return to Zion made for a heroic moment in Israeli and Jewish consciousness. In the years since, different historians have helped to uncover the more complex history of the war and its aftermath, even as that history has become an object of political debate. Our panel will discusses the developments in the historical research of 1948, the uses of that history and its impact on contemporary political discussions. This event took place on January 22, 2014 at Adas Israel Congregation as a part of Embracing Democracy. Use the player below to listen to the podcast or download it by right-clicking on this link.

Panel Picture

Left to Right: Dahlia Lithwick, Shay Hazkani, Professor Donna Robinson Divine, Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer

Moderator:
Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at Slate. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and Commentary, among other places.
Panelists Include:
Professor Donna Robinson Divine, Morningstar Family Foundation Professor of Government and Director of Middle East Studies at Smith College
Shay Hazkani, Visiting Scholar at Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law, Economy and Society
Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, President of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America

New Podcast: Ari Shavit in-conversation with Leon Wieseltier

Leon Wieseltier and Ari ShavitAri Shavit’s newest book, The New York Times bestseller My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel is a thoughtful meditation on Israel’s history, politics and crucial national questions. Drawing on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as his own family’s story, Shavit illuminates the pivotal moments of the Zionist century to tell a riveting narrative that is both personal and national. Shavit is joined in conversation with Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of the New Republic. This event was held on January 22 at Adas Israel Congregation as a part of the Washington DCJCC’s continuing series Embracing Democracy. You listen using the player below or download it by right-clicking on this link.

New Podcast: Jonathan Schanzer

State of Failure-SchanzerTo many supporters of Palestinian statehood, Israel is the main roadblock to independence. But Jonathan Schanzer, an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, argues that the Palestinian Authority’s political dysfunction and corruption are the true threat to a Palestinian state. Schanzer’s exploration of internal Palestinian politics highlights the reforms necessary to bring the Palestinians peace, prosperity and stability.

Jonathan Schanzer is the vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the author of Hamas vs. Fatah. He previously worked at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Jewish Policy Center and the Middle East Forum.

“Jonathan Schanzer’s account of the latent and then open civil war between the Palestinian Authority and the Fatah faction and Hamas is a long-overdue account of the importance of Palestinian politics on the politics of making peace.” —Jerusalem Post on Hamas vs. Fatah

Click to listen (podcast will begin automatically). To download as an MP3, right click and select “Save Link As.”

Jonathan Schanzer Podcast

New Podcast: Sayed Kashua

Israeli Arab author and screenwriter Sayed Kashua answers audience questions about his TV show Arab Labor and his satirical newspaper column.

Israeli Arab writer Sayed Kashua is the creator of the hit Israeli TV show Arab Labor. His weekly satirical column in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz addresses the problems faced by Arabs in Israel. We’ll watch an episode from the newly released Season 3 ofArab Labor and talk to Sayed Kashua about the challenges—and opportunities—of being caught between two worlds.

Sayed Kashua is the author of three novels: Dancing Arabs, Let it Be Morning, and Second Person Singular, winner of the Berstein Prize. In 2004 Kashua was awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize in Literature. He is also the subject of the documentary “Forever Scared.”

Click to listen (podcast will begin automatically). To download as an MP3, right click and select “Save Link As.”

Sayed Kashua Podcast

New Podcast: Dan Raviv

Dan Raviv

Dan Raviv

Enjoy this podcast from January of journalist Dan Raviv speaking about his new book Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel’s Secret Wars.

Against the background of growing tensions over Iran’s nuclear program and the upheavals of the Arab Spring, veteran foreign affairs journalists Dan Raviv and co-author Yossi Melman’s new book presents the first and only truly complete history of Israel’s feared intelligence agencies. A non-fiction thriller, it’s filled with new revelations, colorful characters, covert action and cutting-edge espionage.

Dan Raviv is a CBS News correspondent. He is the bestselling author of several books, including Every Spy a Prince: The Complete History of Israel’s Intelligence Community.

Click to listen (podcast will begin automatically). To download as an MP3, right click and select “Save Link As.”

Raviv Podcast

Modernity and Tradition: Our Struggle for a Modern Jewish Identity

By Tami Wolf
Director, EntryPointDC

It might seem crazy, but the daily struggle we have today over the balance between tradition and modernity and identity is not new to the Jewish people.

Torah is full of examples of Israelites trying to live in the bigger world while maintaining their ways, not always successfully. Even the story of Chanukkah, which starts on December 8 this year, is about how one group of people thought Jews should balance tradition and modernity. If it weren’t a struggle, if we didn’t have conflicting feelings about this, it wouldn’t still bother us today, and that is why it is still so important.

This afternoon, the DCJCC hosted Anat Hoffman for a lunchtime update on the current state of pluralism in Israel. Hoffman works with two organizations that are working for change, i.e. changing tradition, in Jewish life in Israel. One is the Israel Religious Action Center.

The IRAC, as it’s affectionately known, is the legal arm of the Union for Reform Judaism in Israel and addresses issues of religion and state in Israel, including social justice, equality, and religious pluralism. They are trying to find a way to balance traditional and modern values and make religion in Israel something all Jews can feel comfortable with.

Hoffman is also the head of an organization called Women of the Wall (WoW), whose mission is “to achieve the social and legal recognition of our right, as women, to wear prayer shawls, pray, and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall.”

Women of the Wall meet every rosh chodesh (new month) to pray at the kotel together. From my own experiences with them, the Women of the Wall are not looking to start a fight with local police officers or upset other worshipers; they merely want the right to pray in a way that is meaningful to them.

This afternoon, Hoffman talked about how Israelis are attempting to maintain traditions while living in a definitely modern state. She talked about the work IRAC and WoW are doing on things we think of as extremist – things we would never dream are happening in a place we see as so western and modern:

  • segregated busses, where women sit in the back and men in the front;
  • uncondemned racism from state-employed rabbis towards Arabs;
  • and, of course, the hold a small group of ultra-orthodox extremists have over all religious aspects of the country, including over the management of holy sites.

Hoffman’s struggles with the IRAC and Women of the Wall are two windows on the struggles we face between living our traditions and embracing the modern world we live in today.
Anat’s visit kicks off a slew of upcoming Israel programming at the DCJCC.

Theater J, the DCJCC’s professional theater company, will be staging two plays about life in Israel, and it is one of those that I want to talk about specifically.

Apples from the Desert, by Savyon Liebrecht, is a story of a search for balance. The protagonist is Rivka, a young Sephardic religious girl, whose life is turned upside down when she meets and falls in love with a secular kibbutznik from the south, Dooby.

Rivka has to do what all of us strive to do: find a way to maintain her religious identity in a way she feels is appropriate without dismissing the expectations of her family and community or turning away from what she really wants.
I don’t think there’s a “right” or a “wrong” solution to this problem, but I do think we can all arrive at answers we are comfortable with, at least for the moment. I have no doubt this is a daily struggle, something that as individuals we always have to come to terms with and re-evaluate as our lives move on.

Personally, I’m very much looking forward to exploring how DC’s young professionals see this issue and have made choices for themselves, on December 22 after a performance of Apples from the Desert, and especially how Israel has been a part of that process. (That means you’re invited, so come talk this out with me.)

And on that note, Happy Thanksgiving from EPDC!

%d bloggers like this: