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2018-2019 Lectures


The Life & Legacy of Elie Wiesel

Nadine Epstein, editor-in-chief of Moment Magazine and author of Elie Wiesel: An Extraordinary Life and Legacy, and Rabbi Ariel Burger, who wrote Witness: Lessons From Elie Wiesel's Classroom, come together to discuss the life and legacy of Elie Wiesel.

Wiesel, who co-founded Moment in 1975 as a place of conversation for America’s Jews, became Nadine Epstein’s mentor when she took it over in 2004. Rabbi Burger was just 15 when he first met Wiesel, and for decades both studied and taught with him. As Wiesel’s former teaching assistant, Burger gives us a front-row seat in the classroom of the late Nobel laureate, activist, and author.


Tal Keinan

Tal Keinan, a dynamic, American-born former Israeli fighter pilot who went on to build a highly successful career as a financier in New York and Tel Aviv, will speak about the survival of Judaism in his Amram Scholar Series lecture.

The author of God Is in the Crowd: Twenty-First-Century Judaism, Keinan presents a provocative blueprint for reversing the alarming decrease in worldwide Jewish population. Through the prism of his own dramatic personal story and lessons learned in his profession, Keinan investigates how the collective intelligence of the Jewish people — its “crowd wisdom” — can be harnessed to endow Judaism with new purpose and save it from extinction. A Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, Keinan is also a director of the Steinhardt Foundation. 

Steven Weisman

In The Chosen Wars: How Judaism Became an American Religion, journalist Steven R. Weisman tells the dramatic story of how Judaism redefined itself in America in the 18th and 19th centuries and of the forceful personalities that shaped its evolution. Beginning with the arrival of the first Jews in New Amsterdam, Weisman examines how Judaism enhanced America and how America inspired Judaism. Along the way, we meet colorful rabbis and activists who ultimately define American Judaism and its division into the Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox movements that continue today.

There will be a book signing after the lecture. Copies of his book can be purchased at the event.

Steven R. Weisman comes to Washington Hebrew through a partnership with the Jewish Book Council. 

James Loeffler

James Loeffler, who teaches history and Jewish studies at the University of Virginia, discussed his book Rooted Cosmopolitans: Jews and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century on Sunday, February 3, 2019. In the book, he examines the connections between Zionism and the origins of international human rights through the stories of five remarkable Jewish figures from the prewar shtetls of eastern Europe to the postwar United Nations – a journey including the Nuremberg and Eichmann trials, the founding of Amnesty International, and the 1975 UN resolution branding Zionism as racism.

James Loeffler came to Washington Hebrew through a partnership with the Jewish Book Council. His talk was sponsored by WHC's Leo & Elizabeth Goodman Public Issues Endowment Fund.

Jonathan Weisman

Jonathan Weisman, Deputy Washington Editor of The New York Times, spoke on his latest book, (((Semitism))): Being Jewish in the Age of Trump on Sunday, January 6, 2019. He addressed how America has changed under this current administration and how our society can move forward to fight anti-Semitism. That same day, The New York Times published an op-ed by Weisman where he analyzed differences in the way that American Jews and Israelis regard the Trump Administration and other issues.

Norman Eisen

Norman Eisen, former Ambassador to the Czech Republic and White House ethics czar under President Obama, discussed his acclaimed new book, The Last Palace: Europe’s Turbulent Century Through Five Lives and One Legendary House on Sunday, November 4 at Washington Hebrew Congregation. His engrossing narrative brings to life the last hundred years of European history as told through the story of an ornate mansion in Prague and the lives of those who called it home.

Madeleine Albright

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright opened the 2018-2019 Amram Scholar Series on Sunday, October 21 with a discussion of her new book, Fascism: A WarningDrawing on her experiences as a child in war-torn Europe and her distinguished career as a diplomat, Dr. Albright questions whether the world would reject another Mussolini or Hitler-type leader should one try to rise to power.