JTS Chancellor–elect to Explore New Possibilities for Meaning of Zionism

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950
Email: nijacobson@jtsa.edu

October 16, 2006, New York, NY

Arnold M. Eisen, Chancellor–elect of The Jewish Theological Seminary, will discuss "Rethinking Zionism: Challenges and Opportunities at a Time of Crisis," at JTS's Jack and Lewis Rudin Lecture. The event will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 16 at JTS, 3080 Broadway (at 122nd Street) in New York City.

The annual fall and spring Jack and Lewis Rudin Lectures provide an opportunity for distinguished academic, religious, and other public figures to discuss topics of interest to the JTS community and the public–at–large. One of the world's foremost experts on American Judaism, Prof. Eisen is a passionate advocate for the need to increase the American Jewish connection with Israel.

He is currently working on a book probing new possibilities for the meaning of Zionism through a "dialogue" with major figures from the founding generation of Zionism (i.e. Herzl and Ahad Ha'am), the founding generation of the State (i.e. Ben Gurion), and today (i.e. Amos Oz and A.B. Yehoshua).

Defining Zionism as a tradition that, like Judaism, can only remain vital through continual study and reinterpretation of core texts and ideas, Prof. Eisen will discuss how American Jews need to change and strengthen their relationship to Israel in light of contemporary developments. Prof. Eisen has worked for over twenty years with synagogue and federation leadership around the country to analyze and address the issues of Jewish identity, the revitalization of Jewish tradition, and the redefinition of the American Jewish community. His book, Taking Hold of Torah: Jewish Commitment and Community in America, addresses the renewal of Jewish community and commitment in America.

Prof. Eisen received a PhD in the History of Jewish Thought from Hebrew University; a BPhil in the Sociology of Religion at Oxford University; and a BA in Religious Thought from the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, the Koshland Professor of Jewish Culture and Religion at Stanford University, he previously served as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Jewish Philosophy at Tel Aviv University, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at Columbia University.

Advance reservations are necessary and valid photo identification is required for admission. For more information and to register, please call the JTS Department of Public Events at (212) 280–6093 or email.

Editors/Reporters: To cover the Jack and Lewis Rudin Lecture please contact Sherry Kirschenbaum in the Department of Communications at (212) 678–8953; or email.

Founded in 1886 as a rabbinical school, The Jewish Theological Seminary today is the academic and spiritual center of Conservative Judaism worldwide, encompassing a world–class library and five schools. JTS trains tomorrow's religious, educational, academic and lay leaders for the Jewish community and beyond.

Visit the JTS website at www.jtsa.edu.