The Jewish Political Condition:

Seven Key Conversations for 2020

Register now for the entire series and join us for any or all of the seven sessions!

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Question? Please contact Rachel Atwood at

Yeshivas, Universities, and the Cultural Crisis of the West

with Rabbi Aaron Kotler, Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood
Prof. Robert George, Princeton University
Tuesday, September 29, 2020 | 7:00 PM IDT | 12:00 PM EDT
Recording available here.

Western societies are deeply divided today on big moral and cultural questions: gender and family, religion and media, national identity and the meaning of justice. How do our institutions of higher learning—from the most secular universities to faith-based colleges and yeshivas—shape who we are and what we value? What kind of education do they offer young men and women as human beings and citizens? In this opening session, Rabbi Aaron Kotler, longtime president of Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, New Jersey, and Princeton University’s Prof. Robert George, described by the New York Times as America’s “most influential conservative Christian thinker,” will explore the current clash between religious morality and postmodern values. Should religious believers enter the cultural fray of university life in defense of their worldview, or should they create separate, more isolated institutions that preserve and embody their deepest moral and spiritual commitments? Every Jew—and Christian—now faces this challenge.


Start-Up Nation and the Coronavirus: What is the Future of the Israeli Economy?

with Dan Senor, Author of Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle
Wednesday, September 30, 2020 | 7:00 PM IDT | 12:00 PM EDT
Recording available here.

Beyond its terrifying death tolls, the coronavirus has undermined years of economic growth and sent hundreds of thousands of Israelis onto the unemployment rolls. How can Israel’s economy recover from this great disruption? Will the nation demand greater regulation and a larger welfare state, or will Israel unleash the creative entrepreneurship that builds wealth and opportunity? For over a decade, the world best-seller Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle has been a key source for understanding how Israel became an economic powerhouse. Dan Senor, co-author of this most influential book, will join us to explain how the coronavirus crisis has affected the Israeli economy, and what Israeli leaders—in business and government—should do to promote the renewal of Israeli economic life.


Religion and the Future of the Supreme Court: What is at Stake?

with Dr. Ryan T. Anderson, The Heritage Foundation
Thursday, October 1, 2020 | 7:00 PM IDT | 12:00 PM EDT
Recording available here.

America is now in the middle of a major debate about the future of the Supreme Court. What is at stake? On many of the key social policy issues of our time, the court plays a defining role: Can states allocate vouchers or tax credits to families who wish to send their children to religious schools, or pay directly for secular subjects like math and science? Do novel ideas and state-level mandates about “gender identity” infringe on the liberty of religious institutions to adhere to their core beliefs? Can faith-based adoption agencies turn away unwed prospective parents? Ryan T. Anderson, a leading scholar and television commentator on legal issues and co-author of Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination, will be joined by the Tikvah Fund’s Rabbi Mark Gottlieb to explain the high stakes our nation faces with regard to the Supreme Court. How do committed Jews, Christians, and other believers promote and protect religious liberty in the years ahead?


Israel and the Arab States: A New Era in the Middle East?

with David M. WeinbergJerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security
Aylana Meisel, The Tikvah Fund
Sunday, October 4, 2020 | 7:30 PM IDT

Recording available here.

The recent Abraham Accords between the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Israel has spawned great hopes for expanded ties between Israel and its Arab neighbors. How did this happen? Is the Israeli-Arab conflict coming to an end? What has changed? And what are potential benefits and risks of this new Israeli strategy? David M. Weinberg, a columnist for the Jerusalem Post and Yisrael Hayom newspapers and Vice President of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, will discuss his insights with Tikvah’s deputy director and legal expert Aylana Meisel. After years of studying Israeli diplomacy, Mr. Weinberg is an invaluable voice to spell out the key takeaways from these momentous accords, including a question of great importance to religious Zionists: Will Israel’s diplomatic effort to stabilize the Middle East necessitate relinquishing hopes to annex parts of Judea and Samaria?


Ideas Matter: 5 Books Every Jew Should Read in 2020 (or over a Lifetime!)

with Prof. Ruth Wisse, Harvard University and The Tikvah Fund
Monday, October 5, 2020 | 7:00 PM IDT | 12:00 PM EDT
Recording available here.

Novels, essays, stories, great works of theology and philosophy: they shape society, influence cultures, and form human souls in search of the truth about how to live. Jews, long called the “People of the Book,” understand the significance of great books in a profound way. What are the important books—old and new, literature and analysis—that can sharpen the mind and elevate the human spirit in 2020? Professor Ruth Wisse, long-time Harvard University professor and wide-ranging Jewish intellectual, will suggest five great books that every Jew should read this year—especially young Jews interested understanding the great moral, political, and cultural challenges of our complex times.


Zionism & Jewish Statesmanship: A Theological View

with Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, Yeshiva University and Congregation Shearith Israel
Tuesday, October 6, 2020 | 7:00 PM IDT | 12:00 PM EDT
Recording available here.

As a political movement, Zionism challenged many theological assumptions and cultural conventions built over nearly 2000 years of exile, including models of Jewish leadership. And yet the Hebrew Bible and the Jewish canon are filled with models of great political leadership and reservoirs of learning about the true nature of political life. As the Zionist project came to life, modern Jewish statesmen needed to become very different from the shtadlanim of Europe. They needed—and still need—to steer the course of Israel’s future as a modern nation-state while renewing their connection to Jewish history and Jewish purpose. Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, a leading international voice on Jewish ideas, will explore the spirit of covenantal Zionism through the life and thought of one of Israel’s greatest prime ministers: Menachem Begin.


Race & The American Elections: Myths and Realities

with Jason Riley, Columnist, Wall Street Journal and Fox News Contributor
Wednesday, October 7, 2020 | 7:00 PM IDT | 12:00 PM EDT
Recording available here.

Race remains a complicated and divisive issue in American politics, and over the past few months we have seen protests and riots attacking many American institutions in the name of “racial justice.” What is going on? Why does race remain such a defining question in American cultural and political life? And how do we think clearly about racial issues that are often so emotional? Jason Riley, an award-winning columnist for the Wall Street Journal and commentator for Fox News, is one America’s wisest voices about politics, economics, education, immigration, and race. In this Tikvah conversation, Riley will draw on his research, life experience, and recent book, False Black Power? (2017), to dissect the heated political rhetoric, street battles, and real debates that will shape American identity in years ahead.

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Series Hosted By:

Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Brody is the co-dean of the Tikvah Online Academy and founding director of the Tikvah Overseas Students Institute. A columnist for The Jerusalem Post since 2007, Brody previously served for a decade as a rebbe at Yeshivat Hakotel and as a junior research fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute.  His work has appeared in MosaicFirst ThingsThe FederalistTabletTzoharThe ForwardHakirah, and other popular publications, and has been cited in Israeli Supreme Court decisions. His first book, A Guide to the Complex: Contemporary Halakhic Debates (Maggid), received a 2014 National Jewish Book Award.