In Case You Missed It: What Makes An Army Jewish? A Dialogue.

IDF and Jewish Ethics 2Stephen Stern, the 16th Street J’s Director of Dialogues and Public Affairs sends an account of this past week’s riveting dialogue.

Thursday night, February 14, a ruach of intense dialogue pervaded the Center’s Ina and Jack Kay Community Hall, as nearly fifty participants remained riveted for a two hour plus exploration, “What Makes a Jewish Army? Ethics and Tradition: The IDF in an Age of Checkpoints, Village Sweeps and Targeted Killings”. Two passionate IDF veterans recounted their experiences and their starkly different conclusions, listened deeply and challenged each other, responded to fifteen varied and vibrant interrogations from the audience, and spoke to modern dilemmas in light of traditional Jewish questioning framed by our sublime colleague, Jewish educator Avi West of the Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning.

This is my brief introductory account and an invitation to continue this dialogue. I seek responses to this blog from our panelists, that night’s audience, and those out there who want more of this.

Yehuda Shaul, a young orthodox Israeli, is founder of Breaking the Silence, a group of veterans who give visual, oral, and written witness on the meaning of their service in the West Bank and Gaza during the second intifada. Yehuda illustrated, speaking in front of a panoramic projection of a large Palestinian neighborhood in Hebron, his group’s call for the Israeli civil society “owner of the IDF” to look deeply at and weigh the costs of military control over large civilian populations. Continue reading

This Week at the 16th Street J

A selection of program highlights from the coming week…

Monday, February 11

• Theater J’s Incubator Series presents Brownie Points by Janece Shafer – A vivid, utterly candid look at race relations between young mothers in Atlanta who take their children on a Girl Scout overnight. These high achieving, highly insecure, well-intentioned, or just plain old aggressive women, both black and white, negotiate relationships with their daughters and themselves. (also Tuesday)

Tuesday, February 12

• Nextbook presents James Kugel and How To Read The Bible – Join the winner of the 2007 National Jewish Book Award James Kugel as he explores different readings of the Bible, trying to find a place for himself as both a modern scholar and an observant Jew.

Wednesday, February 13

Young Professional Reading Between The Lines with Rabbi Tzvi Teitelbaum – A study of the Torah portion of the week followed by a talk on the challenge of Jewish ethics and values in the 21st Century with the informative and charismatic Rabbi Teitelbaum.

• Judy Gold continues in 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother (Wed-Sun)

Thursday, February 14

• Dialogues and Public Affairs presents What Makes an Army Jewish? Ethics and Tradition: the IDF in an Age of Checkpoints, Village Sweeps and Targeted Killings – A dialogue between Yehuda Shaul, a young orthodox Israeli whose experience as a soldier in Hebron led to the 2002 founding of Breaking the Silence, a group of IDF veterans who give public witness to the impact of their service in the West Bank and Gaza; and Adam Harmon, author of The Lonely Soldier, and an American-Israeli who has served with elite IDF units for over 13 years and has helped capture leading organizers of terror and prevented suicide attacks. Adam believes that ongoing IDF operations must continue as long as the Palestinian leadership remains unable to fulfill its basic security commitments under Oslo and the Road Map. Avi West will moderate.

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