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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.

Francine Klagsbrun


Golda Meir, Israel’s fourth prime minister — the iron-willed leader, chain-smoking political operative, and tea- and cake-serving grandmother — comes to life in Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel, a vibrant new biography by Francine Klagsbrun. In honor of Israel’s Independence Day, the Amram Scholar Series has invited Ms. Klagsbrun to discuss this extraordinary woman and world figure at Temple on Sunday, April 15 at 10:30 am.

Meir was born in czarist Russia in 1898, grew up in Milwaukee as a passionate socialist and committed Zionist, and moved to Palestine in 1921. In 1969, when she became prime minister of Israel, only two other women in the world held such high political rank (in India and Ceylon), and both of them had gained authority by succeeding male family members who had died. Lacking higher education and eschewing both feminism and femininity, Meir won popularity with fiery oratory, plainspoken appeals, and shrewd deal-making. Her mentor David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, described Meir as “the only man in the (Israeli) cabinet.”

Lioness, the winner of the 2017 National Jewish Book Award/Everett Family Foundation Book of the Year, is based on deep research and access to newly declassified files. The Washington Post hailed it as “a major achievement,” and The New York Times wrote, “Lioness wrests Meir from the shadow of the Yom Kippur War and presents her life and career as a lens to examine Israel’s challenges — borders, settlements, occupation, terror, and the social and ethnic divide between Jews of European origin and those of Middle Eastern origin.”

Ms. Klagsbrun is the author of more than a dozen books, is a regular columnist for The Jewish Week, and is on the editorial board of Hadassah magazine. She comes to the Amram Scholar Series in cooperation with the Jewish Book Council.

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

Jeremy Dauber and Michael Krasny


Comic archtypes take center stage at Temple on Sunday, May 6 at 5:00 pm when the Amram Scholar Series concludes its year with an analysis of the special nature of the Jewish sense of humor through the ages and a celebratory reception.

Jeremy Dauber, Professor of Yiddish language and culture at Columbia University, and Michael Krasny, literature scholar and National Public Radio host,come together to discuss their latest books, which both explore the range of Jewish comedy — a genre fueled by persecution, suffering, and self-awareness.

From biblical times to the age of Twitter, Professor Dauber explores such popular figures as the Jewish mother, the JAP, the schlemiel (who spills the soup), and the schlimazel (on whom soup is spilled). He also revels in the genius of Jewish comics ranging from Sholem Aleichem to the Marx Brothers, Woody Allen, and Jon Stewart. Mr. Krasny, the award-winning host of Forum with Michael Krasny on KQED Radio in San Francisco, presents a brimming treasure trove of Jewish jokes from the shtetl to modern times.

Please join us at Temple for drinks, hors d'oeuvres, and some good laughs.

2017-2018 Amram Scholar Series Schedule

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

Sunday, October 29
Thomas L. Friedman, author of Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations

Wednesday, November 8 at 7:00 pm at St. Alban's Episcopal Church
Michal Schwartz, Dancing on a Powder Keg: The Ilse Weber Story in Words and Music
Interfaith Kristallnacht Remembrance

Sunday, November 19
Steven J. Ross, author of Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America

Sunday, December 3
Eddy Portnoy, author of Bad Rabbi: And Other Strange but True Stories from the Yiddish Press

Sunday, January 28
William Taubman, author of Gorbachev: His Life and Times

Sunday, March 18 (This event was rescheduled from Sunday, March 11)
Alan Zweibel, author of For This We Left Egypt? A Passover Haggadah for Jews and Those Who Love Them

Sunday, April 15
Francine Klagsbrun, author of Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel

Sunday, May 6 at 5:00 pm
Jeremy Dauber and Michael Krasny, "Jewish Humor"

Past Lectures

Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Taubman came to the Amram Scholar Series to revisit the decades when the United States and the Soviet Union — the world's two superpowers — dictated geopolitical strategy, foreign policy, and economic stability. His talk at Temple on Sunday, January 28, 2018 focused on his new biography, Gorbachev: His Life and Times, for which the former Soviet leader afforded him extensive access. The book has been named as one of five finalists for the 2017 National Book Critics Circle award for biography. Mr. Taubman came to WHC in cooperation with the Jewish Book Council.

Upcoming Events

April 15, 2018 / Sunday
Amram Scholar Series Presents: Francine Klagsbrun
10:30 AM—12:00 PM

Author Francine Klagsbrun joins us to discuss Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel, her biography of the iron-willed leader, chain-smoking…

May 6, 2018 / Sunday
Amram Scholar Series Presents: Jeremy Dauber and Michael Krasny
5:00 PM—6:30 PM

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