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The American future is in question, and it is up to the present generation of civic leaders to ensure that the nation continues to thrive. The United States faces new challenges to its economic and social infrastructure, as well as the very cultural and spiritual qualities which comprise the foundations of our social compact. And how, beyond America’s borders, should the United States responsibly project its power and influence?

The American future depends on addressing five issues of key strategic importance. Get them right, and the 21st century holds promise for the United States. Get them wrong, and Americans could see their nation vulnerable to precipitous decline. What are the Big Five? How can Americans secure a free and prosperous nation for the next generation? Watch, as Walter Russell Mead, the James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College and Editor-at-Large of The American Interest, will analyze “The Big Five: America’s Make-or-Break Challenges.”

Watch the stream, at 5:30 pm EST, here.

What did the architects of American’s democracy agenda get right, and what did they get wrong? What do more recent developments teach us about hopes for democracy in the Arab world and their place in American foreign policy?

Earlier this month, Tikvah’s Jonathan Silver hosted former deputy national security advisor and Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Elliott Abrams for an in-depth reconsideration of America’s democracy agenda. 

Watch the event here.

Reviled as a fascist demagogue by his great rival David Ben-Gurion, venerated by Israel’s underclass, the first Israeli to win the Nobel Peace Prize, a proud Jew but not a conventionally religious one, Menachem Begin was both complex and controversial. Begin’s Herut party led the opposition to the Labor governments of Ben-Gurion and his successors until the surprising parliamentary victory of 1977 made him Israel’s Prime Minister.

Watch as Daniel Gordis, author of Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul, discusses Begin’s life, political vision, and his abiding legacy in Zionist thought, Israeli politics, and the Middle East today.

Watch the event here.

Orthodox Reform

March 12, 2014

The draft debate and the huge Haredi (ultra-orthodox) protest last week raises questions about the ideological and theological basis of Haredi perceptions. In this weekend’s Israeli Musaf Shabbat magazine, Tikvah 2012 Fellow Yoav Sorek writes about what he sees as a dangerous development in the popular Haredi worldview. Although Haredim see themselves as the authentic continuation of traditional Judaism, Sorek finds that some of them are moving away from the fundamental precepts of Judaism, which were basic for the previous generation and which are still shared by other parts of the orthodox world. This is a new religion, he claims, which is not interested in changing history – and therefore is not targeted by anti-Semites, which are willing to tolerate such Jews.

A translation of the first two paragraphs appears below the original Hebrew.

Read the excerpt here.

In the popular imagination, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel is remembered for his involvement in civil rights, the anti-Vietnam War movement, and the cause of Soviet Jewry. But, as Rabbi Shai Held demonstrates in his new book, Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence, Rabbi Heschel was first and foremost a theologian and philosopher of religion. What are his core ideas, and what are his main religious insights? How did he develop his views of covenant and love, his fear of the unbounded ego, and his unique interpretation of human and divine agency? How can Rabbi Heschel’s thought inspire the Jewish community and challenge religious people everywhere to recapture the wonder that opens them up to God’s call?

Watch as Rabbi Dr. Shai Held, cofounder, dean, and chair in Jewish Thought at Mechon Hadar, discusses Heschel’s legacy and situates his work within contemporary Jewish theology and the philosophy of religion. The event was recorded before a live audience on February 25, 2014 at the Tikvah Center in New York City.

Watch the event here.