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Amram Scholar Series

This dynamic program of free public lectures brings world-renowned authors, scholars, political leaders, policy experts, and theologians to WHC to share their perspectives on timely issues or their research into Jewish culture and history.

We are pleased to present prominent writers of the nation's newest works on topics of Jewish interest, often in cooperation with the Jewish Book Council.

Dov Waxman


At a time of shifting United States policy regarding Israel and its settlements, the Amram Scholar Series presents Professor Dov Waxman to discuss his latest study, Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict Over Israel, at Temple at 10:30 am on Sunday, February 26.

A scholar of political science, international affairs, and Israel studies at Northeastern University and co-director of its Middle East Center, Professor Waxman says, “Israel is fast becoming a source of disunity for American Jewry, and that a new era of American Jewish conflict over Israel is replacing the old era of solidarity.”

Drawing on a wealth of in-depth interviews with American Jewish leaders and activists, he finds that “more than ever before, American Jews are arguing about Israeli policies, and many, especially younger ones, are becoming uncomfortable with Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.” Less willing to offer uncritical support, growing numbers of American Jews are publicly willing to criticize the Israeli government.

Since the election of Donald Trump and his naming David Friedman to serve as U.S. ambassador to Israel — a lawyer who does not endorse a two-state solution to securing peace with the Palestinians — the level of conflict within the American Jewish community has only intensified.

Professor Waxman, who was born in London and educated at Oxford and Johns Hopkins Universities, is also the author of The Pursuit of Peace and the Crisis of Israeli Identity and the co-author of Israel’s Palestinians: The Conflict Within. In a starred review, “Kirkus” describes his newest book as a “meticulous, precise, well-organized survey that takes into account the many different views and will certainly facilitate the heated conversation.”

This Amram Scholar Series lecture follows the Congregational Conversations Keynote with David Makovsky on Wednesday, February 15 and is presented in partnership with the Jewish Book Council.

Support WHC's youth social justice projects by purchasing this book through the WHC Mitzvah Mall.

Maya Benton


The work and career of the renowned social documentary photographer Roman Vishniac, best known for iconic images of Jewish life in Eastern Europe before the Holocaust, will be explored at Temple on Sunday, March 19 at 10:30 am through an illustrated lecture in the Amram Scholar Series. The lecture will be presented by Maya Benton, curator of the International Center of Photography in New York City, founder of the Center’s Roman Vishniac Archive and editor of Roman Vishniac Rediscovered, a newly published volume of essays and photographs.

Based on nine years of research, this first Vishniac retrospective introduces hundreds of previously unpublished photographs, spanning over five decades, and offers a vastly fuller understanding of the photographer’s vision and versatility. Beyond the vanished shtetl world he was long credited with documenting, Vishniac captured haunting scenes of prewar Berlin and France, postwar displaced persons camps, and assimilated Jewish life in the United States. His long career would eventually lead him to pioneering scientific research in color photomicroscopy — taking pictures through a microscope.

Born into an affluent Jewish family in Russia in 1897, Vishniac immigrated to Berlin in 1920 and to New York in 1940. As a social documentarian, his work in Eastern Europe, on behalf of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, has been compared to the contemporaneous projects of American photographers Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, and Walker Evans.

A frequent lecturer on photography, Israeli art, and Jewish culture, Maya Benton was aided in her research by the artist’s daughter, Mara Vishniac Kohn. Ms. Benton’s talk is presented in partnership with the Edlavitch DCJCC's Washington Jewish Literary Festival and the Jewish Book Council.

This special co-sponsored event costs $15 for non-members (no charge for WHC members).

WHC Member Registration

Non-Member Registration

Support WHC's youth social justice projects by purchasing this book through the WHC Mitzvah Mall.

Lawrence Douglas and Andrew Nagorski


The determined men and women who refused to allow the crimes of Nazi perpetrators to go unpunished are the subject of an Amram Scholar Series lecture, presented jointly by journalist Andrew Nagorski and Professor Lawrence Douglas at Temple on Sunday, April 2 at 10:30 am.

Mr. Nagorski, the former bureau chief for Newsweek Magazine in six foreign capitals, will share stories he researched for his latest book, The Nazi Hunters. He tells of the young American prosecutors in the Nuremberg and Dachau trials, the case against Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss, the German judge and prosecutor who forced his country to confront its record of mass murder, and the Israeli team that captured Adolf Eichmann. He also recounts the persevering efforts of the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, which sought decades after war’s end to expel former Nazi perpetrators secretly living in the United States.

Among that group of hidden war criminals was John Demjanjuk, a Cleveland autoworker and naturalized U.S. citizen, who is the focus of Professor Douglas’s latest book, The Right Wrong Man. Having covered the former camp guard’s final trial for Harper’s Magazine from 2009–2011, Professor Douglas provides a gripping eyewitness account of that last major Holocaust prosecution. A legal battle that began in 1975, with the suspicion that Demjanjuk had been the “Ivan the Terrible” of Treblinka, ended 36 years later when a Munich court found him guilty of assisting in the murder of 28,060 Jews at a different Polish death camp, Sobibór.

This joint program about the impetus for legal closure of Nazi war crimes is presented in partnership with the Jewish Book Council.

2016-2017 Amram Scholar Series Schedule

Unless specified, all lectures are held at Temple on Sundays at 10:30 am.

Thursday, September 22 at 6:30 pm
Germans & Jews, Documentary and Reception Hosted by the German Embassy

Friday, October 28 at 6:00 pm (during Shabbat services)
Cornell William Brooks, "Moral Necessity or Nostalgia: The Jewish & Black Coalition of Conscience"

Friday, November 11 at 7:00 pm (at dinner after Shabbat services)
Adam Kirsch, author of The People and the Books: 18 Classics of Jewish Literature

Sunday, December 11
Rabbi Ben Kamin, author of I Don't Know What to Believe: Making Spiritual Peace with Your Religion

Sunday, January 22
David Kinney, author of The Devil's Diary: Alfred Rosenberg and the Stolen Secrets

Sunday, February 26
Dov Waxman, author of Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict Over Israel

Sunday, March 19
Maya Benton, author of Roman Vishniac Rediscovered

Sunday, April 2
Lawrence Douglas and Andrew Nagorski, "Bringing Nazis to Justice"

Wednesday, May 24 at 7:00 pm
Howard Blum, author of The Last Goodnight: A World War II Story of Espionage, Adventure, and Betrayal

Past Lectures

The Amram Scholar Series welcomed Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Kinney to Temple on Sunday, January 22, 2017. Co-author of The Devil's Diary: Alfred Rosenberg and the Stolen Secrets of the Third Reich, Mr. Kinney provides a fresh, eye-opening account of the Nazis’ rise to power and genesis of the Holocaust uncovered in a long-lost diary written by Alfred Rosenberg.

Upcoming Events

February 26, 2017 / Sunday
Amram Scholar Series Presents Dov Waxman
10:30 AM—12:00 PM

At a time of shifting United States policy regarding Israel and its settlements, the Amram Scholar Series presents Professor Dov Waxman to discuss…

March 19, 2017 / Sunday
Amram Scholar Series Presents Maya Benton
10:30 AM—12:00 PM
April 2, 2017 / Sunday
Amram Scholar Series Presents Lawrence Douglas and Andrew Nagorski
10:30 AM—12:00 PM
May 24, 2017 / Wednesday
Amram Scholar Series Presents Howard Blum
7:00 PM—8:30 PM

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