The retreats, on the theme of "Diaspora, Israel, and Jewish Identity," brought together three highly noted scholars on the United States and Israel scene: Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer
, President of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, Yossi Klein Halevi
, journalist and Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute, and Dr. Wendy Zierler, member of the Shalom Hartman Institute North American Scholars Circle
Yossi Klein Halevi, Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, and Dr. Wendy Zierler of the Shalom Hartman Institute present at retreats in Miami and Boca Raton, Florida.
Retreat attendees were treated to cross-disciplinary lectures and workshops, all addressing the notion of "home" and how where we live informs our Jewish identity.
Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer’s inspiring lecture, "Home and Away," touched upon definitions of home: Is home where we are born? Where we are living? Or where we aspire to live? These questions were relevant in the times of the Biblical patriarch Abraham and are still relevant to our current self-definitions, especially as they pertain to the relationship between North American Jews and Israelis.
Yossi Klein Halevi took audiences on a journey through Israeli rock music from the 1950s to the present, examining how notions of Israel as the Jewish homeland and the Israel/"Diaspora" relationship have evolved from the founding of the State to the present time. The lyrical journey illustrated how Israelis understood themselves as part of a larger world community in the past, and how this self-definition has evolved from the early period of the State to 2011.
Dr. Wendy Zierler captivated imaginations in her lecture, "Two Promised Lands: Imagining the Homeland," in which she led the audience in guided text study of a thoughtful collection of American and Israeli poems and literature focusing on notions of homeland and destiny as they pertain to both the U.S. and Israeli national myths. Participants delved into poetry by Emma Lazarus, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Naphtali Herz Imber, and excerpts by novelists Nicole Krauss and David Grossman.
The Shalom Hartman Institute of North America gratefully acknowledges the following individuals for their support of the 2011 Florida Retreat:
- Emmelle Bedowitz
- Judith & Stephen Beiner
- Moj Khagan & Robert Danial
- Raquel & Riccardo DiCapua
- Gigi Fried
- Paula Hertzberg
- Melanie Jacobson Katzell
- Margaret Kottler
- Barbara & Sidney Oko
- The Hon. Steven D. Robinson
- Alvin Segal
- Julie Schwartzbard & Neil Bernstein
- Dorothy Meyers Wizer
- Leatrice & John Wolf