Congregation Anshai Torah’s eleventh annual Arnie Sweet Scholar-in-Residence program will welcome Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, on Sunday, Feb. 6, and Monday, Feb. 7. The theme of the events, all of which will be virtual, is “A Free People in Our Land: Jewish in America, 2022.”
The schedule of events is as follows:
The keynote, 7:30 p.m. Sunday: “What is America to American Jews?”
Lunch & Learn, noon, Monday: “On Citizenship in a Democracy: What do American Jews Owe America?” (Complimentary boxed lunches will be available for pickup at Anshai Torah.)
Special discussion session, 7:30 p.m. Monday, for sponsors and leadership
“We’re thrilled to again host, and happy to be able to do so virtually, this very special learning experience and deeply honored to have Dr. Kurtzer join us,” said Warren Harmel, event chair. “These days, concerns are continuously on the rise regarding antisemitism, affiliation and the future of American Jewry. Dr. Kurtzer brings a unique understanding of the United States, Israel and where our country and community are headed. This is the perfect time, and he is the perfect expert to address these important issues.”
The Arnie Sweet Scholar-in-Residence is presented by Janice and Dr. Art Weinberg, Cindy and Dr. Mitch Moskowitz and Cathy and Dr. Joel Brook with special thanks to Debbie and Manuel Rajunov and all sponsors for their generous support.
“It is with great pride that we continue the tradition of bringing to our community the finest in Judaic leadership,” said Janice Sweet Weinberg. “We’re excited to learn from Dr. Kurtzer, a deep thinker and author, as he explores the depths of our relationship as Jewish Americans to Israel and the rest of the world.”
Anshai Torah’s Arnie Sweet Scholar-in-Residence program has previously welcomed Rabbis Bradley Artson, Sharon Brous, Ed Feinstein, Daniel Gordis, Yitz Greenberg, Donniel Hartman and Naomi Levy as well as Yossi Klein Halevi, Dr. Deborah Lipstadt and David Makovsky.
Kurtzer is an expert on what Israel means to American Jews, on Jewish history and on questions of leadership and change in American Jewish life. He is the author of “Shuva: The Future of the Jewish Past,” which offers new thinking to contemporary Jews on navigating the tensions between history and memory; co-editor of “The New Jewish Canon,” a collection of Jewish ideas and debates from 1980 to 2015; and host of Shalom Hartman Institute of North America’s weekly podcast, “Identity/Crisis.” “The New Jewish Canon” was published, and the podcast launched, in July 2020.
“I look forward to being Anshai Torah’s Scholar-in-Residence and to sharing important and constructive intellectual conversations,” said Kurtzer. “In the last almost two years, we haven’t at all sat idle. While I’ve no longer been on the road in the same way, I still managed to give more than 180 talks, we launched our podcast, a new journal and the idea business continues to grow. The pandemic has forced us to do it all differently, but we are still doing it all and then some.”
Kurtzer is married to Stephanie Ives, head of school at Beit Rabban Day School in New York, and the couple are parents of Noah, Jesse and Sally. He is a Washington, D.C., native who spent some of his childhood years in Israel as his father served in the U.S. Foreign Service in Egypt and Israel (later the senior Kurtzer served as U.S. ambassador for four years in each of those countries). Kurtzer returned to Israel between high school and college, then every summer during his university studies to work.
Of joining The Shalom Hartman Institute, in 2010, Kurtzer says he was able to bring his deep connection to his American community and tether that to his passion for Israel. “I love feeling the pull of both of these stories of my life.”
Scholar-in-residence alumni Rabbi Gordis, Rabbi Greenberg, HaLevi and Lipstadt are among those featured in Kurtzer’s “The New Jewish Canon,” which Rabbi Ed Feinstein calls “a map and guidebook to the shifting intellectual and spiritual landscape of contemporary Jewish life. It is a book to be kept close at hand as the Jewish community struggles to understand where we have come from and where we are going.”
“We are very happy to, with Dr. Kurtzer, welcome to Anshai Torah one of the outstanding leaders in our American Jewish community who is renowned for his intellect. We are proud to maintain the high quality of our Arnie Sweet Scholar-in-Residence program, which continues with Dr. Kurtzer’s passion for Jewish thought,” said Rabbi Stefan Weinberg, noting the Hartman Institute’s reputation, around the world, as a leading intellectual enterprise for rabbis and lay community members.
“Dr. Kurtzer’s focus on leadership in the Jewish community, as well as the evolving relationship between the American Jewish community and our Israeli counterparts, will bring a wealth of information and a passion for Jewish education to our shul,” he added.
For more information or to RSVP, visit anshaitorah.org/scholar/events or call 972-473-7718.
on behalf of Anshai Torah