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Hoover Institution scholar Peter Berkowitz and Tikvah’s executive director Eric Cohen explore Leo Strauss’s idea of the crisis of modernity. It is a crisis with two faces: technological progress has given human beings great power, exemplified by the atom bomb; the moral revolution of modern political philosophy has lowered our sights and led to the […]

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To understand Irving Kristol’s defense and critique of capitalism, National Affairs editor Yuval Levin breaks down Kristol’s 1970 essay “‘When virtue loses all her loveliness’—some reflections on capitalism and ‘the free society’”. Kristol celebrated how capitalism offers prosperity and freedom, but reserved applause for capitalism as a stand-alone moral system. Famously, Kristol gave capitalism only two cheers, not three. […]

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During Tikvah’s advanced institute on “Liberalism, Conservatism, and the Jews”, Hoover Institution scholar Peter Berkowitz discussed Michael Walzer’s account of the Talmudic parable of the oven of Akhnai. Is the oven pure? The rabbis say it is, but Rabbi Eliezer dissents, first appealing to logic but then appealing to miracles. “If the law is as […]

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Both liberals and conservatives have good arguments for the idea of federalism, but they typically defend different things. As Tikvah’s executive director Eric Cohen and Weekly Standard editor William Kristol discuss, liberals praise moral freedom and cultural pluralism, while conservatives praise local particularities and the limits on centralized power that come with local self-government. Where does federalism […]

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Rabbi Meir Soloveichik argues that the Passover Haggadah should be viewed as the key—and perhaps only—work of Jewish political thought for the hundreds of years between the Tanakh and Maimonides. No other text focuses as much on what it means for the Jews to be a nation. As Soloveichik explains, the Haggadah has something to […]

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As part of the advanced institute on “Liberalism, Conservatism, and the Jews,” Tikvah hosted the legendary editor of Commentary, Norman Podhoretz. Podhoretz has been a partisan of the left, the right, and, most of all, the Jews. In an interview with Tikvah’s executive director Eric Cohen, Podhoretz discussed his life’s work and his ideological transformation.

Watch here.

Burkean Zionism?

July 14, 2014

In a discussion of Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, Tikvah executive director Eric Cohen wonders how modern Zionism relates to the principles of Burkean conservatism. In a time of severe insecurity—like many Jews found themselves at the end of the 19th century—what would Burke have counseled? According to Cohen, the answer is neither pious […]

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During our Advanced Institute, The Future of the Israeli Economy, we were honored to have Ambassador Ron Demer join us. Dermer, a close adviser for many years to Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the Prime Minister’s role in enacting free market reforms and other policies that have promoted exceptional growth. He also discussed both the moral case for capitalism and the relationship of the free market to Jewish values. Watch Ambassador Dermer’s speech to the institute participants here.

Watch the video here.

Lord Acton famously proposed that “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” In Jews and Power, Ruth Wisse provides an analysis of Jewish history that suggests the exact opposite.

Join us at 5:30PM to reconsider Jews and Power with its author, Professor Ruth Wisse, Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University.

Watch the event stream here.

Nineteenth century political emancipation brought citizenship rights to European Jews. In How Judaism Became a Religion, Leora Batnitzky explores how this new political reality affected Jewish philosophy and the Jewish people. The prospect of secular citizenship challenged Judaism’s premodern integrity, and drove Jewish writers, intellectuals, and rabbis to grapple with how to recast Judaism as a “religion,” emphasizing its private faith over its national call to public practice. The transformation of Judaism as a religion – and reactions to it – is the driving question of modern Jewish thought to this day. What does Judaism gain and lose as a religion? What effects, positive and negative, has this modern transformation yielded? How does conceiving of Judaism as a religion relate to Zionism and the refounding of a Jewish State for the Jewish People?

Watch as Leora Batnitzky, Ronald O. Perelman Professor of Jewish Studies, Professor of Religion, and Chair of the Department of Religion at Princeton University, discusses the intellectuals who recast Judaism as a modern religion, those that opposed the change, and the legacy of modern Jewish thought today. The event was recorded before a live audience on February 20, 2014 at the Tikvah Center in New York City. For information on other upcoming Tikvah events, please check our Events page.

Watch the event here.