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“We Were All Born in Jerusalem”: Begin on Jewish Identity

Date: Tuesday, Aug. 17 | 7:00–8:15 PM EDT

In 1972, an association of former residents of Brisk (Brest-Litovsk) living in Israel held a commemorative event for their hometown Jews martyred in the Holocaust. The keynote address, titled “We Were All Born in Jerusalem,” was given by the then-leader of Israel’s political opposition, Menachem Begin, who would five years later become the country’s prime minister. His speech pays tribute to and commemorates not only family and friends who perished in the Holocaust, but the community as a whole. Through extensive personal recollection and poetic imagery, Begin evokes a lost world not only of Brisk (Brest-Litovsk) but of prewar East European Jewry more generally. In this seminar, we will explore this speech’s themes and consider their enduring lessons.

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