The Annual Jacob and Jennie L. Lichter Lecture Series in Judaic Studies
At the beginning of each academic year, the department of Judaic Studies invites the entire community to attend the Jennie L. and Jacob Lichter Lecture Series, made possible by the Jacob and Jennie L. Lichter Fund of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. The Lichter Lecture Series, endowed in 1981, is the department's major event of the academic year. Each year the lectures focus on a different theme, and three leading scholars or intellectuals are invited to address it from different angles.
Since the 1980s, the annual Lichter Lecture Series in Judaic Studies has enabled us to bring to UC close to a hundred of the best and the brightest in the various fields of Jewish thought and learning. These lecturers include: Yehuda Amichai, Yahuda Bauer, David Biale, Norman Golb, Paula Hyman, Amos Oz, Rabbi Dr. W. Gunther Plaut, Jonathan D. Sarna, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Sasson Somekh, Norman A. Stillman, James Tabor, Rabbi Mordecai Waxman, Jack Wertheimer, A.B. Yehoshua and Ronald W. Zweig.
Some of the themes of past Lichter Lecture Series have included: 'Eco-Judaism: New Jewish Approaches to the Environment'; 'Foodaism: Do Jews Make Food or Does Food Make Jews?'; 'The Politics of Freedom'; 'Portraits of Israel: Society and Culture'; 'Jewish Women in a changing Society'; 'Heritage of Spanish Jews'; 'Holocaust and Rebirth'; 'From Spain to America: The Legacy of Spanish Jewry, 1492-1992'; 'Voices of Hebrew Literature'; 'Antisemitism: Modern Realities and Contemporary'; 'American Judaism: Present and Future'; 'Religion in American Society'; 'Biblical Archeology'; 'The Jews of France' ; 'Dead Sea Scrolls'; 'The Menorah'; 'Jews and War in the 20th Century'; 'Maimonides Medicine and Ethics'; and 'Jews and Muslims'; 'Jewish Neighborhood, Jewish City'; 'The Eichmann Trial: Fifty Years Later'; and "Are the Dead Sea Scrolls Dead?."
Jews and Democracy
“Heed the voice of the people” (I Samuel 8:7) are the instructions to the prophet Samuel when the Israelites request him to appoint a king. Paradoxically, this democratic and popular request for monarchic rule embraces a form of government that subverts the very essence of democracy, ‘rule of the people’. This tension between Judaism and democracy has punctuated the Jewish experience. The book of Deuteronomy (17:14-23) and I Samuel Chapter 8 show ambivalence about kingship and early rabbis debate whether single person rule is required or optional. Maimonides and Yosef Chayoun require a monarchy that enforces Jewish law, while Rabbenu Nissim ben Reuben of Gerona (1320–1376) disassociated Torah law from political rule and Isaac Abravanel (1437–1508) argued that democracy is the superior form of government. We continue to see these tensions today. Can Israel be a democratic and Jewish state? Can both democracy in America be ‘good for the Jews’ and Jews be good for democracy?
In existence now for over forty years, the annual Jacob and Jennie L. Lichter for 2023-2024 explores Jewish encounters with democracy in three lectures.
The series begins with a lecture by Shaul Magid entitled "Meir Kahane, Liberalism, and Radicalism in America" on Thursday, November 2, 2023. The series continues with lectures by Yael Aronoff “Israel’s Democracy in Crisis” (11/13/23) and Davi`d Myer on “American Shtetl: My Path in Studying Kiryas Joel, a Hasidic Municipality in Suburban New York” (1/25/24).
All Lichter events are free and open to the public. Refreshments are served after the event; dietary rules are observed.
We encourage reservations: Please contact Nicole Kaffenberger at (513) 556-2297 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parking: A limited number of prepaid parking tickets for senior citizens is available for the on-campus lectures. In order to secure a ticket, those interested should contact Nicole Kaffenberger at (513) 556-2297 or email@example.com
The Lichter Lecture Series in Judaic Studies is made possible by the Jacob and Jennie L. Lichter Fund of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.
The Judaic Studies department would also like to thank the Taft Research Center, School of Politics and International Affairs, and UC College of Law.
|Thursday, November 2, 2023
Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College
|Meir Kahane, Liberalism, and Radicalism in America||Taft Center, 1 Edwards, UC Uptown Campus
||7:00 p.m.||Taft Research Center|
|Monday, November 13, 2023
Professor of Political Science/International Relations at Michigan State University
Israel’s Democracy in Crisis
Taft Center, 1 Edwards, UC Uptown Campus
|Taft Research Center|
Thursday, January 25, 2024
Distinguished Professor of History and holder of the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History at UCLA
|American Shtetl: My Path in Studying Kiryas Joel, a Hasidic Municipality in Suburban New York
UC College of Law, Room 140,
UC Uptown Campus, 2925 Campus Green Dr
|7:00 p.m.||UC College of Law, Room 140|