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2015-2016 Lectures

Abraham Foxman

Washington Hebrew Congregation's 2015-2016 Amram Scholar Series opened with Abraham H. Foxman, National Director Emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Mr. Foxman is known throughout the world as a leader in the fight against anti-Semitism, hatred, prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination. He worked at the ADL for five decades, serving as its national director from 1987 to 2015. Mr. Foxman's talk, "Anti-Semitism: Never Again?" focused on why he thinks that hatred of Jews is worse today than it has ever been since World War II.

Peter Manseau

Smithsonian fellow Peter Manseau, author of One Nation, Under Gods, broadened our view of American history beyond what has traditionally been studied through a largely Christian lens.

Daniel Cohen

Daniel M. Cohen, author of Single Handed, shared the inspiring true story of Tibor "Teddy" Rubin, Holocaust survivor, Korean War hero, and Medal of Honor recipient, at Washington Hebrew Congregation's annual Shabbat service honoring WHC's veterans and service members.

Steven Gimbel

Steven Gimbel, Chair of the Gettysburg College Philosophy Department and author of Einstein: His Space and Times, brought Albert Einstein to life in his Amram Scholar Series lecture. Explaining Einstein’s theories in understandable terms, Gimbel demonstrated how they emerged from the realities of his times and helped create the world we live in today.

Shulem Deen

Shulem Deen was raised to believe that questions are dangerous. As a member of the Skverers, one of the most insular Hasidic sects in the U.S., he knew little about the outside world. His marriage at 18 was arranged and several children soon followed. His first transgression (turning on the radio) was small, but curiosity led him to the library, and later, the Internet. Thus, began a feverish inquiry into the tenets of his religious beliefs, until, several years later, his faith unraveled entirely.

At the request of the speaker, a video archive of this lecture is not publicly available. Washington Hebrew Congregation members may ask for a private link to the archived lecture by contacting Naomi Abelson Gohn, Director of Programs.

Sarah Wildman

Years after her grandfather's death, journalist Sarah Wildman stumbled upon a hidden box of his letters that would prove to be the path into his past and the story of the love he left behind when he escaped Nazi-occupied Vienna in 1938. Determined to learn the fate of the girl described as the "true love" of her grandfather's life, Ms. Wildman began a quest that lasted years, spanned continents, and forced her to re-examine her family history. Ms. Wildman, the author of Paper Love, recounted her journey of memory and history in this Amram Scholar Series lecture.

Bruce Hoffman

Bruce Hoffman, an expert in terrorism and insurgency and Director of the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University, explored the controversial question of the efficacy of political violence in an Amram Scholar Series Lecture.

Roberta Kaplan

Supreme Court litigator Roberta Kaplan discussed her successful challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act in the landmark case, United States v. Windsor. Arguing that the act violated constitutional rights to equal protection in 2013, Ms. Kaplan won same-sex couples the right to federal estate tax exemption for surviving spouses. This Amram Scholar Series lecture was made possible by the Leo and Elizabeth Goodman Public Issues Endowment Fund.

Alon Gratch

The Israeli national character, emerging from the depth of Jewish history and the drama of the Zionist struggle, presents a compelling if disturbing portrait, according to Alon Gratch. Dr. Gratch, an Israeli-American clinical psychologist and author, drew on a broad cultural and historical canvas in his Amram Scholar Series lecture at Washington Hebrew Congregation. Weaving in personal and professional experience, Dr. Gratch’s new book, The Israeli Mind: How the Israeli National Character Shapes Our World, analyzes the efforts of Israelis to forge an identity.

Steve Katz

Steve Katz, an acclaimed guitarist who helped found the bands Blood, Sweat and Tears and The Blues Project in the 1960s, closed the 2015 - 2016 season of the Amram Scholar Series at a cabaret-style evening of story and song. Recounting tales from his memoir — Blood, Sweat, and My Rock 'n' Roll Years: Is Steve Katz a Rock Star? —  Katz musically illustrated the evening with several of the hit songs that sold millions and earned Blood, Sweat & Tears three Grammys.

Due to the location of this event, a video archive of this program is not available.