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Jewish Lives in the Arena

Intimate Conversations with Jewish Leaders in the Public Square

The Tikvah Center
165 East 56th Street, New York, New York
See below for dates and details

The Tikvah Fund is dedicated to grappling with big ideas through the study of classic and contemporary texts and the enduring debates of the Jewish tradition. But just as essential is the development of prudential judgment, practical wisdom, and knowledge of how the world works.

Throughout the summer, Tikvah will host senior Jewish leaders in politics, journalism, and Jewish thought for discussions about how they originally heard the calling to pursue their careers, the challenges they have faced, and the successes they have earned along the way. We invite you to learn from these living models of excellence in leadership and letters.



Past Speakers


Thursday, June 22, 2017 — William Kristol

William Kristol is editor of the Weekly Standard, which, together with Fred Barnes and John Podhoretz, he founded in 1995. He is the chairman and co-founder of the Project for the New American Century and the co-author, with Lawrence Kaplan, of the best-selling book The War Over Iraq (2003) and the co-editor of The Neoconservative Imagination (with Christopher DeMuth, 1995), Present Dangers (with Robert Kagan, 2000), and The Future is Now: America Confronts the New Genetics (with Eric Cohen, 2002). He has published numerous articles and essays on constitutional law, political philosophy, and public policy, and is a regular contributor on ABC News. Mr. Kristol has served as chief of staff to the Vice President of the United States and to the Secretary of Education. Before coming to Washington in 1985, Kristol taught politics at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.


Thursday, June 29, 2017 — Elliott Abrams

Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C., served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser in the administration of George W. Bush.  He also served as an Assistant Secretary of State in the Reagan administration. A member of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, Mr. Abrams teaches U.S. foreign policy at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He is the author of Undue Process: A Story of How Political Differences are Turned into CrimesSecurity and Sacrifice: Isolation, Intervention, and American Foreign Policy, and Faith or Fear: How Jews Can Survive in a Christian America, and writes widely on U.S. foreign policy with special focus on the Middle East and the issues of democracy and human rights. His most recent book is Tested by Zion: The Bush Administration and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.


Thursday, July 6, 2017 — Bret Stephens

Bret Stephens is an op-ed columnist at the New York Times, where he writes about foreign policy and domestic politics. Previously, he wrote “Global View,” the Wall Street Journal’s foreign-affairs column, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2013. He was also the paper’s deputy editorial page editor and a member of its editorial board. Before that, he was editor in chief of the Jerusalem Post, a position he assumed at age 28. At the Post he oversaw the paper’s news, editorial and digital operations and its international editions, and also wrote a weekly column. Mr. Stephens was born in the U.S. and raised in Mexico City. He has an undergraduate degree, with honors, from the University of Chicago, and a Master’s from the London School of Economics. He lives in New York City with his wife Corinna, a music critic, and their three children.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017 — Jay Lefkowitz

Jay Lefkowitz is senior litigation partner in the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis and a member of the firm’s global management executive committee. He is also an adjunct professor of administrative law at Columbia Law School. Mr. Lefkowitz has had a distinguished career in public service, including the period from 2005 through 2009, when he was the United States Special Envoy on Human Rights in North Korea. He also served as Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush for Domestic Policy and as General Counsel of the Office of Management and Budget. Earlier in his career Mr. Lefkowitz served as Director of Cabinet Affairs and Deputy Executive Secretary of the Domestic Policy Council for President George H.W. Bush. His essays on law, politics, and religion have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, Public Interest, Jerusalem Post, Commentary, and elsewhere. Mr. Lefkowitz is a graduate of Columbia University and Columbia Law School.