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: 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: 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

Podcast: Israel, Loose Nukes and the End of the World

With all the discussion around Israel, Iran and “the bomb,” this seems like the perfect time to share this riveting panel discussion, Israel, Loose Nukes and the End of the World, from the 2011 Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival.

Professor Avner Cohen, author of The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel’s Bargain with the Bomb, and journalist Ron Rosenbaum, author of How the End Begins: The Road to a Nuclear World War III, sat down with distinguished journalist and former network correspondent Marvin Kalb to discuss the history and risks of Israel’s nuclear ambiguity and worst-case-scenarios in an age of atomic anxiety.

Right click and “save link as” to download as an MP3
Or listen online here

Shabbat Surfing: Literary Blast-from-the-Past Edition

“Jewish literature” doesn’t mean just one thing. Or even a dozen things.

Jewish literature has been a home of mine both personally and professionally, and yet I am always startled at the diversity of what falls into that category. This year was the thirteenth annual Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival here at the DCJCC, and there are always more new and interesting books than we can fit into an eleven-day festival.

In honor of the great writers we’ve had here in the past, and in anticipation of the coming podcasts from this year’s festival, we’re revisiting some of the great discussions that we’ve captured in recent years.

We love a richly woven novel with challenging characters, and that was just one reason we loved Rebecca Goldstein and 36 Arguments for the Existence of God. (You, too? Look out for Ursula Hegi’s Children and Fire podcast.)

There are so many sides when talking about Israel and defense. Last year, Joel Chasnoff told us about life in the Israeli Army, in hilarious and touching stories. (There were fewer laughs this year at the panel on Israel, Loose Nukes and the End of the World.)

Lucette Lagnado is a DCJCC favorite, and she spoke with us about the by-gone Jewish community of Cairo, including The Man in the Sharkskin Suit in 2009. (We liked her new memoir so much, we asked her back to the festival this year for The Arrogant Years.)

We’re moved by those who have deep passionate and personal relationships to Judaism. One of the most captivating figures of our time was Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Often known as simply The Rebbe, Samuel Heilman discussed his Life and Afterlife in 2010. (This year, Jay Michaelson’s scholarship of and intense connection to the Torah came through in his remarks on God vs. Gay?.)

But don’t knock pop culture. We had a great time with Sean Wilentz, talking about Bob Dylan. (And then this year during the World Series, we got to chat about the legendary Howard Cosell.)

Connect to “the old family business,” whatever it might be – Allegra Goodman reads from The Cookbook Collector with one family’s strange connection to the books. (More personally, Alicia Oltuski took us inside the family diamond business during this festival, and brought engaging historical insights into this traditionally Jewish industry.)

The diaspora has meant that Jews have long been a global people. Still, we always want to hear about Jews in unusual places – even if “unusual” is a relative term. We’ve learned about Iraqi Jews in Jessica Jiji’s historical novel and Jewish Gauchos in Argentina from Judith Friendenberg. (If you are similarly globally-curious, watch for this year’s podcasts that bring us to a variety of Russian empire experiences – Jews in Odessa with Charles King, and the panel on Glasnost’s Children, discussing the modern Russian immigrant experience.)

In the coming weeks, we’ll post podcasts gathered in the past two weeks. They only further the argument that there really is no one definition of Jewish literature.

On Marijuana, Israel and Captain Kirk

If you’re in Israel these days, keep an eye out for Montel Williams. Then ask him to pass the bud.

Williams, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999, is in Israel learning about their welcoming attitude towards medical marijuana. He plans to use this research to bring the US to more liberal attitudes about using marijuana for treatment of pain, as he does.

For the enjoyment of our readers in one of the 16 US states plus DC that allow the use of medical marijuana, I bring you one of our favorite spacey Jews from the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, William Shatner and his (you-can’t-tell-me-he-wasn’t-high-when-he-made-this-video) “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

 

Shabbat Surfing: Shots Heard Round the World

Meet Pesach Hausfater, one of the leaders of the massive housing protests that have swept Israel this past month. The Forward has an English translation of an interview that ran on the Israeli website Calcalist.

The New Yorker has a short piece from a veteran passenger of Bus No. 392, which runs between Be’er Sheva and Eilat and was one of the targets of a coordinated terrorist attack yesterday in Israel. 8 Israelis were killed in an outburst of violence that threatens to escalate.

David Letterman’s officially a Jew! Well, not really, but Jihadists tend not to make those subtle distinctions.

The story of Ralph Branca’s Jewish heritage has provided an opportunity for one of our community’s favorite past-times: Should we really count him as a Jewish ballplayer? More importantly, does that mean Jews share Branca’s guilt for surrendering the home run to Bobby Thompson, known as the “shot heard ’round the world,” that gave the NY Giants the pennant over the Brooklyn Dodgers?

Finally, Gene Simmons wants to rock n’ roll all night and party every day with Texas Governor and Presidential candidate Rick Perry.

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