What Does It Mean for Israel to be a “Jewish” State? Defining Israel with Simon Rabinovitch

Simon Rabinovitch joins us to talk about Israel’s nation-state law and his volume Defining Israel: The Jewish State, Democracy and the Law—the origins, development, and ramifications of Israel’s nation-state law, how we can contextualize it, and try to understand its importance and meaning for the ongoing debates over the character of the state of Israel.

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The Kishinev Pogrom with Steven Zipperstein

Steven Zipperstein discusses the Kishinev pogrom and its afterlife in modern Jewish history and memory: the tremendous influence of Kishinev on how Jews have seen the world, the dangers of misinformation and propaganda, and how one event can shape a generation. Ultimately, the pogrom highlights how and why history matters: how the Kishinev pogrom has become so influential in modern Jewish history, and also the tension between the public memory of the pogrom and the actual historical events themselves. Today, we’re in an age when actual facts and details do matter, but the Kishinev pogrom shows the power of myth and memory too.

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Modern Jewish Thought with Samuel Moyn and Eugene Sheppard

Samuel Moyn and Eugene Sheppard join us to talk about the expansive vision of what constitutes modern Jewish thought that they are exploring through the various books in the multi-volume book series Brandeis Library of Modern Jewish Thought, published by Brandeis University Press. Listen in for our conversation about how the series came together, what they have tried to achieve with it, and what it means to push the boundaries of modern Jewish thought.

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American Jews and the Israeli Settler Movement with Sara Yael Hirschhorn

Sara Yael Hirschhorn joins us to discuss her book City on a Hilltop: American Jews and the Israeli Settler Movement, and the big questions that it raises for how we understand Israel, American Jewry, and those American Jews who have moved to Israel and participated in the settler movement beyond the Green Line in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Sinai Peninsula: Why so many Israeli Jewish settlers are of American origin, how we can understand them as real people and not caricatures, and how looking closely at this group can help unsettle assumptions or preconceived notions about the nature of the settlements in the occupied territories.

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Colonialism and the Jews with Lisa Moses Leff, Ethan Katz, and Maud Mandel

Lisa Moses Leff, Ethan Katz, and Maud Mandel discuss “Colonialism and the Jews,” an volume of essays from a 2014 conference on the subject. We talk about the place of Jews in the history of colonialism, the role of empire in the varied Jewish experiences of modernity, how examining these topics helps us to rethink modern Jewish history, and the question of Zionism and colonialism.

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Vladimir Jabotinsky and Right-Wing Zionism with Daniel Kupfert Heller

Daniel Heller joins us to discuss his book Jabotinsky’s Children: Polish Jews and the Rise of Right-Wing Zionism and the big issues it brings up: The rise of the Revisionist Zionist movement in interwar Europe and its relationship with right-wing politics and fascism; Jabotinsky and his ideological and political legacy, particularly in Israel; the importance of youth and youth movements in the history of Zionism and politics broadly speaking; the history of fascism and how it relates to the present; and the implications of studying the history of politics for understanding our own world.

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