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Amram Scholar Series

This dynamic program of 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.

Jamie Bernstein

Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein

Date: Sunday, January 5
Time: 10:30 am
Location: Washington Hebrew Congregation (3935 Macomb St. NW)
Cost: Free and open to the community 
RSVP preferred: 
 Click here to RSVP

What was it like to grow up as the daughter of Leonard Bernstein, chief conductor of the New York Philharmonic, composer of West Side Story, television star, humanitarian, and one of the 20th century’s most influential and charismatic celebrities? That is the intimate, deeply moving, often funny, and bravely honest story that his eldest daughter, Jamie Bernstein, will share with us in an Amram Scholar Series lecture on Sunday, January 5 at 10:30 am at Temple.

In this centennial year of her dynamic father’s birth, Bernstein’s newly published book, Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein, explores the emotional complexity of her childhood and gives us a glimpse into her fam­i­ly’s pri­vate world. A glittering circle that included illustrious friends like the Kennedys, John Lennon, Stephen Sondheim, Mike Nichols, and Lauren Bacall, it was a luxurious yet suffocating environment.  At the center, her sometimes troubled but always larger-than-life father taught Jamie to love the world in all its beauty but made it difficult for her to discover her own identity.

“The author grew up wriggling inside a paradox, struggling to become a self when so much of her was defined by her brilliant parent,” said The New Yorker in a review that described the book as providing a “startling inside view…encompassing family love, Jewish-American style, with all its glories and corrosions. No one lives easily on the slopes of a volcano; Jamie Bernstein has been faithful to her unease. Truth-telling, rather than dignity, is her goal.” 

Jamie Bernstein comes to Washington Hebrew through a partnership with the Jewish Book Council.


2019-2020 Amram Scholar Series Schedule

Wednesday, October 23, 7:00 pm at Temple

Deborah LipstadtAntisemitism: Here and Now 

Professor Lipstadt teaches Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University; she was portrayed by Rachel Weisz in the film Denial, based on her legal battle with Holocaust denier David Irving. 

Sunday, October 27, 10:30 am at Temple

David Harris - "Facing Challenges: American and World Jewry"

The CEO of the American Jewish Committee since 1990, Mr. Harris was described by the late Israeli President Shimon Peres as the "foreign minister of the Jewish people."

Sunday, November 3, 10:30 am at Temple - EVENT CANCELED

Jodi Kantor - "'#MeToo,' She Said: Documenting Kolot Isha (Women’s Voices)"

Ms. Kantor is a Pulitzer-prize winning New York Times investigative reporter and co-author of She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement.

Wednesday, November 6, 7:00 pm (WHC's Kristallnacht Commemoration)

Michael DobbsThe Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village Caught In Between

Mr. Dobbs, a former foreign correspondent for the Washington Post, is a scholar and writer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Presented in partnership with the Jewish Book Council.

Sunday, January 5, 10:30 am at Temple

Jamie BernsteinFamous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein

The daughter of the late composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein, Ms. Bernstein is an author and filmmaker.
Presented in partnership with the Jewish Book Council.

Sunday, February 2, 10:30 am at Temple

Robert Klitzman & Jamie Metzl - "Recreating Humanity: Moral Choices and Genetic Engineering"

Dr. Klitzman, a professor of psychiatry and bioethics at Columbia University, is the author of Designing Babies: How Technology is Changing the Ways We Create Children. Mr. Metzl -- a prominent futurist who has served in the White House, State Department, and United Nations -- is the author of Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity.
Presented in partnership with the Jewish Book Council.

Sunday, March 1, 10:30 am at Temple 

Kirsten FermaglichA Rosenberg by Any Other Name: A History of Jewish Name Changing in America

Professor Fermaglich teaches history and Jewish studies at Michigan State University.
Presented in partnership with the Jewish Book Council.

Sunday, April 19, 10:30 am at Temple

Robert MnookinThe Jewish American Paradox:  Embracing Choice in a Changing World

A leading scholar in the field of conflict resolution, Professor Mnookin teaches at the Harvard Law School and directs Harvard's Negotiation Research Project.
Presented in partnership with the Jewish Book Council.

Sunday, June 7, 5:00 pm at Temple (Closing Lecture & Reception)

Paul Mendes-Flohr - Martin Buber: A Life of Faith and Dissent

Professor Mendes-Flohr, an eminent scholar of modern Jewish thought, teaches at the University of Chicago and is an emeritus professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.




Previous Lectures

David Harris

The American Jewish community is confronting fundamental questions about the responsibilities and difficulties of being Jewish in today’s world.

On Sunday, October 27, 2019, AJC CEO David Harris shared his unique perspective on the widespread increase of antisemitism, the relationship between the American Jewish community and the pro-BDS movement taking hold in some quarters of the Democratic Party, and the way that, on both sides of the aisle, support for Israel is being used as a divisive political cudgel.

This Amram Scholar Series lecture was generously supported by the Leo and Elizabeth Goodman Public Issues Endowment Fund.

Upcoming Events

January 5, 2020 / Sunday
Amram Scholar Series Presents: Jamie Bernstein
10:30 AM—12:30 PM

What was it like to grow up as the daughter of Leonard Bernstein, chief conductor of the New York Philharmonic, composer of West Side Story, television star, humanitarian, and…

Previous Years

Re-watch and re-experience the dynamic lectures from previous years of the Amram Scholar Series.

2018-2019 Lectures  
2018-2019 Lectures
2017-2018 Lectures  
2017-2018 Lectures
2016-2017 Lectures  
2016-2017 Lectures
2015-2016 Lectures  
2015-2016 Lectures

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