There is a good deal of heated discussion today about what is and isn’t anti-Zionism. Much of it surrounds the question of whether harsh forms of criticism of the state of Israel can be deemed antisemitic. What is rarely recalled in those debates is that one of the most prominent anti-Zionists of the twentieth century was a Jew, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum (1887–1979), the founding Satmar Rebbe, who formulated a detailed theological rationale for his opposition to the state of Israel.
The city serves as the stage for much of Jewish history. For a host of historical, demographic, and economic reasons, Jews have often been city-dwellers, and even when not, the association of the Jewish with the urban has kept a hold on the imagination of Jews and gentiles alike. The city looms large as part of the horizon of Jewishness, beginning even from the urbanization of the early rabbinic movement in Roman Palestine.
In March of 2023, the Katz Center was honored to inaugurate a new series in memory of Katz Center Board of Advisors member Howard Jay Reiter.
Earlier this year we had the pleasure of hosting Menahem Ben-Sasson, a Katz Center fellow and Chancellor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in our public lecture series. He spoke about Israel’s Declaration of Independence, its relationship to the founding and current laws of the State of Israel, and efforts to create a constitution, to which Ben-Sasson himself has contributed. Audience members submitted so many excellent questions that there wasn’t enough time to answer them all on air. Prof. Ben-Sasson was kind enough to respond in writing.
Political scientist Miguel Vatter has written a compelling new book on the philosophy of Jewish political theology, and he’s done so from outside the field of Jewish studies.