Is There Such a Thing as the Jewish People? Lecture Series

The Center for Jewish Studies presents a four-part lecture series entitled: “Is There Such a Thing as the Jewish People?: Rethinking Jewish Membership for a Global Age.” The series will be given by Noam Pianko. Osher Marin JCC Visiting Scholar Noam Pianko, Jewish Studies scholar, professor and author of “Zionism and the Roads Not Taken: Rawidowicz, Kaplan, Kohn” will explore probing questions about peoplehood, past, present, and future, to reassess the possibilities and limitations of Jewish collectivity today. Vegetarian lunch will be provided. All four lectures will be held in Gibbs Hall, Church Divinity School of the Pacific (2451 Ridge Road, Berkeley).

For more information, contact, 510/649-2482.


The Problem with “The Jewish People”
Friday, February 8, 12pm

The perceived dissolution of “Jewish Peoplehood” has emerged over the last decade in both the United States and Israel as one of the crucial issues facing Jewish life.  Is the problem that Jews today have rejected their obligation to other Jews? Perhaps. But there is another possibility: existing models of Jewish membership make assumptions based on identity outdated paradigms with little practical or moral relevance in an increasingly globalized world.


Jewish Collectivity from Ancient Israel to Medieval Europe
Friday, March 8, 12pm

How did pre-modern Jews think about what connected Jews to one another? A brief tour through the diverse expressions of the Jewish people before the social and political transformations of the modern period. 


Israeli Nation or Jewish People? Zionism and the Transformation of Jewish Identity
Friday, April 5, 12pm

Many of the assumptions about what it means to be a Jew today have been shaped by modern theories of nationalism and Zionism. This lecture explores how modern political thought transformed popular and scholar conceptions of the Jewish people. 


Is Peoplehood Possible (or desirable) in a Global Era?
Friday, May 3, 12pm

Can (and should) the idea of a shared set of criteria linking all Jewish people around the globe be preserved? The final lecture explores the possibilities and limitations of making collective claims about Jewish unity and identity today.