Politics seems to be invading our lives at every turn. Media and social media polarize us, framing debates as “us vs them,” “right vs left,” and even “good vs evil.” And while it’s comforting (and increasingly easy) to talk to only like-minded individuals, making room for differing opinions – ones that are based on careful and informed consideration – is essential to an open, healthy society. This is true among American Jews no less than among any other Americans, as conversations about the need for “diversity” increasingly seem to ignore the reality of political diversity.
Join Natan Fund, Jewish Book Council, and Shalom Hartman Institute of North America for what promises to be a fascinating dive into this thorny issue. Dr. Nancy Sinkoff, winner of the Fall 2020 Natan Notable Book Award for her book From Left to Right: Lucy S. Dawidowicz, the New York Intellectuals, and the Politics of Jewish History, which explores the political evolution of 20th-century historian Lucy S. Dawidowicz, who moved from identification with communism to neo-conservatism, will be in conversation with Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, President of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, a leading thinker, teacher, and commentator on a multitude of issues facing Jews today.
Nancy Sinkoff is Professor of Jewish Studies and History and the Academic Director of the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life at Rutgers University. She is author, most recently, of From Left to Right: Lucy S. Dawidowicz, the New York Intellectuals, and the Politics of Jewish History (2020), the winner of the fall 2020 Natan Notable Book award, and the co-edited volume (with Rebecca Cypess), Sara Levy’s World: Gender, Judaism, and the Bach Tradition in Enlightenment Berlin (2018), winner of the outstanding book prize from the Jewish Studies and Music Study Group of the American Musicological Society. Her first book, Out of the Shtetl: Making Jews Modern in the Polish Borderlands, has recently been reissued digitally with a new preface (Brown Judaic Studies, 2020). Its protagonist, Mendel Lefin of Satanów, is part of the core exhibit, “Encounters with Modernity,” in Polin: Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, on which Professor Sinkoff consulted.
Professor Sinkoff is a recipient of numerous fellowships, including those from the Mellon Foundation, the IIE Fulbright Association, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University’s Beinecke Library, the Frankel Center at the University of Michigan, the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati, and the USC Shoah Foundation. In 2016 – 2017, she was the Elizabeth J. Dilworth Fellow in Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ.
Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer is the President of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. Yehuda is a leading thinker and author on the meaning of Israel to American Jews, on Jewish history and Jewish memory, and on questions of leadership and change in American Jewish life. He is the author of Shuva: The Future of the Jewish Past, which offers new thinking to contemporary Jews on navigating the tensions between history and memory; and the co-editor of The New Jewish Canon, a collection of the most significant Jewish ideas and debates of the past two generations. He is also the host of Hartman’s Identity/Crisis podcast which can be found at identitycrisispod.com.