Sunday March 10th.  10:00 AM CST

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 828 9634 8104

Derek Penslar is a distinguished scholar with whom we studied when he was a young professor at Indiana University. Now he heads undergraduate Jewish studies at Harvard after also teaching at the University of Toronto, Oxford, Columbia and the University of Munich. He has written books on Zionism and Technocracy, economics and Jewish identity in modern Europe, Jews and the military, and Theodor Herzl as a charismatic leader. His most recent book is entitled Zionism: An Emotional State which looks to understand the significance of Zionism from a psychological perspective. It explores why Zionists are Zionists and why Zionism evokes such strong reactions.


When he was named as the co-chair of the Harvard Task Force on anti-Semitism, those who see criticism of Israeli policies as inhearently anti-semitic went ballistic. The head of the ADL tweeted that “naming a professor who libels the Jewish state and claims that ‘veins of hatred run through Jewish civilization’ to the task force is absolutely inexcusable.”

The American Academy for Jewish Research wrote to the president of Harvard, “Professor Penslar is a prolific scholar with a stellar international reputation, whose numerous books address the historical development of many of the topics raising rancor at our university today: antisemitism, Zionism, Jews and the military and the history of Israel. It is precisely this kind of expertise that is needed in the current moment.”

Just the other day, the head of the ADL wrote, “Admittedly, I had been critical of his selection to head the Harvard task force based on some of his previous writings. For that reason, it was helpful to speak directly with him and to hear first hand from Prof. Penslar about his views. He strikes me as a person of compassion and integrity, an accomplished scholar with a keen understanding of contemporary antisemitism and a profound commitment to Israel and Zionism.”


We are truly privileged that Derek Penslar will be our guest for this Zoom session. He has so much to offer on so many issues: anti-semitism on university campus, the interplay between democracy in Israel and the occupation. Also consider hatred and aggression as part of the Jewish story. Remember the rape of Dinah, Purim, and the Maccabees just to name a few examples?


Please plan to participate and please invite friends and family.