Scholar-in-Residence Makovsky will speak Jan. 26-27
By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP
As the United States has named Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and the world looks again to the center of our Jewish lives — traditionally, spiritually, and politically — Congregation Anshai Torah welcomes David Makovsky, the 2018 Arnie Sweet Scholar-in-Residence, Friday through Saturday, Jan. 26 and 27.
“The Arnie Sweet SIR weekend always gives us pause, reminding us of the spirit that defined Arnie,” said Rabbi Stefan Weinberg. “His constant attention to community, alongside his thirst for knowledge and deep interest in the people of Israel, compel us to follow in his footsteps. … Welcoming an individual of David Makovsky’s stature serves as an ideal opportunity to honor Arnie’s memory by pursuing some of the most important ideals that inspired him for a lifetime of dedication to the Jewish people and humanity at-large.”
The Scholar-in-Residence weekend, presented by Janice and Dr. Art Weinberg, Cindy and Dr. Mitch Moskowitz, Cathy and Dr. Joel Brook, and Etz Chaim sponsors Debbie and Manuel Rajunov, will feature a Lunch & Learn at noon Friday at Congregation Anshai Torah focused on “U.S.-Israel Relations in the Age of Trump — Knowns and Unknowns.”
Friday night, Makovsky will speak on “After More Than 125 College Visits, a Journey about Israel, BDS and Young American Jews” during Kabbalat Shabbat services beginning at 6:15 p.m. and at a keynote and dinner where he’ll address “The Potential and Limitations of Strategic Convergence in the Middle East.” Saturday morning, Makovsky will speak of “Succession in the Israel and Palestinian Arenas: What is Real?” with a discussion following lunch. Saturday evening’s sponsor and synagogue leadership reception is at a private home.
“David Makovsky’s voice, one that’s been at peace talk tables and at the center with decision makers, is one we’re lucky to hear. How incredible to have him here during this historical time for Israel and for all Jews,” Janice Weinberg said. “Arnie loved our Shabbat table discussions, and the conversations that will come from Anshai Torah’s family Shabbat table would make him proud.”
Makovsky, a native of St. Louis, is the Ziegler distinguished fellow at The Washington Institute and director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process. He’s an adjunct professor in Middle East studies at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and is a former senior adviser to the special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in the office of the U.S. Secretary of State.
Makovsky, an award-winning journalist who covered the peace process from 1989 to 2000, is a former executive editor of the Jerusalem Post, diplomatic correspondent for Haaretz and a former contributing editor to U.S. News and World Report — for 11 years as its special Jerusalem correspondent. Makovsky was the first journalist for an Israeli publication to visit Damascus, one of five trips to Syria including when he accompanied then–U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. In 1995, with assistance from U.S. officials, Makovsky was given unprecedented permission to file reports from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for an Israeli publication.
“We need to be humble and we need to take steps forward. There have been many noble efforts through the years and I hope we’ll come to an overlap, but we’re not there yet,” said Makovsky. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University and a master’s in Middle East studies from Harvard University, having testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, and on multiple occasions before the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Middle East Subcommittee.
Author of Washington Institute monographs and essays on issues related to the Middle East peace process and the Arab-Israeli conflict, he co-wrote, with Dennis Ross, Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East. His maps on alternative territorial solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were reprinted by The New York Times in the paper’s first interactive treatment of an op-ed. He’s a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.
“I talk to students and I’m speaking to tomorrow’s future. I want millennials to not give up, to know about the good times and the handshakes, to learn of the reservoir I have in my mind as I can give hope,” said Makovsky, former chairman of the World Union of Jewish Students. He has made more than 130 visits to college campuses and a TEDx talk discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“I was 7 during the Six-Day War and 13 at the Yom Kippur War. I look back, a ‘minute’ ago to watching Anwar Sadat in Jerusalem and I was recently at a dinner honoring that occasion’s 40th anniversary,” Makovsky said. “From when I spent a gap year in Israel I wanted to be a part of ‘peace,’ I wanted to be ‘on the ground,’ and that’s where I’ve lived my life and career. It’s important moments that make our lives, that make a difference.”
Program chair Warren Harmel said, “David Makovsky, considered the leading expert in U.S.-Israeli relations — in academic, political and personal realms — is certain to bring our weekend to a most in-depth level.” He added, “When the critical conversations and decisions have happened, he’s been there and we’re honored to bring his astounding practical and theoretical experience to Anshai Torah.”
For information or to RSVP (child care provided Friday night and Saturday morning) call 972-473-7718 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Friday night dinner tickets are $30/CAT members, $38/nonmembers, $8/children. There is no charge for Friday lunch or evening services or Saturday’s events, but RSVPs are required. For sponsorship information, email email@example.com.