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Must We Be Scared?
30.10.2019, by Yehuda Kurtzer
The great paradox of antisemitism is that it may ultimately be a hatred which so defies easy explanation that it can never be fully defeated, and that it is such that we are not allowed to succumb to it shaping who we are read more>
“The Establishment” Has No Clothes: The New Jewish ‘Influence Economy’
27.06.2019, by Yehuda Kurtzer
The persistence of an outdated narrative of Jewish communal life – and its use to litigate political battles – is inaccurate and ineffective. American Jewish communal life has changed faster than our categories, and in more exciting and entropic ways than our rhetoric understands. We absolutely should be interrogating how power, authority, and influence work in our community, and creating accountability. But to do so, we need a better map. read more>
Auschwitz or Sinai: Metaphor and the Meaning of Modern Israel
29.04.2019, by Yehuda Kurtzer
David Hartman wrote in 1982 of two metaphors for how we are to relate to Israel: Auschwitz demands vigilance against external threats, prioritizing the value of Jewish survival; Sinai sees Jewish sovereignty guided by the aspiration to achieve the covenant with God. Three decades later, this tension remains in our communal conversation. Which metaphor is more accurate in understanding the state of Israel, and what does it mean to hold onto such metaphors in our relationship to it? read more>
Nationalism, Marginalization, and Jewish Peoplehood
07.03.2019, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Video conversation between Yehuda Kurtzer and Micah Goodman at the 2019 Hartman Conference for a Jewish-Democratic Israel read more>
Zionism’s Race from the Bottom
04.02.2019, by Yehuda Kurtzer
The depravity of using a convicted killer in an election campaign must spur articulation of a morally better Zionism read more>
Anti-Semitism, and the Inconvenience of Collective Identity
08.11.2018, by Yehuda Kurtzer
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The Deep Sources of a Great Divide
12.09.2018, by Yehuda Kurtzer
The contemporary moment offers unparalleled possibilities for a rich Jewish future offered by two thriving Jewish civilizations read more>
Praying with Sinners, Religious Pluralism Revisited (High Holidays)
30.08.2018, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Yehuda Kurtzer, Praying with Sinners, Religious Pluralism Revisited, High Holidays 5779, Rabbinic Holiday Webinar, August 27, 2018, New York read more>
At Home In That Other Promised Land: Does Zionism Ask Too Much of the American Jewish Community?
03.06.2018, by Yehuda Kurtzer
My dream for Israel as it marks 70 is the same for American Jews marking the parallel milestones of our at-homeness, and they are the gifts of the household: to feel comfortable, to feel proud and to feel responsible read more>
On Friends and Farrakhan: A Plea to Progressives
12.03.2018, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Sometimes the work of coalition-building will be complicated, and I will support you in resisting the narrow narratives of loyalties and litmus tests your critics demand of you. This moment is not so complicated read more>
The Biggest Threat To The Jews? The Partisan Divide
23.01.2018, by Yehuda Kurtzer
No one now really questions whether American Jews can be at home. Now we are left to ask: Who indeed, collectively speaking, are American Jews? read more>
Why You Should Sneak-Read In Shul on Yom Kippur
01.10.2017, by Yehuda Kurtzer
There is nothing better than showing up at shul having forgotten your book at home, only to discover a rich body of reading material left behind. But don’t start discussion groups in the pews of the reading material. Remember, this is all in service of your and the community’s spiritual experience, and not a competing performance read more>
Messianic Politics
17.09.2017, by Yehuda Kurtzer
This year, there is a lot I want to see change in the world. I am mindful of what I want to see change quickly here in America, in Israel, in Jewish communal life, and in my own soul. I am tempted to find the reset button or a genie with infinite wishes. But in the meantime, I am taking on this challenge differently by saying to myself: Think big! And also, plant seeds read more>
Minding the Gap: A Primer for Jewish Professionals and Philanthropy
The recent crises afflicting the already-teetering relationship between Diaspora and Israeli Jewry could offer a moment for Jewish communal opportunism read more>
Unsettled: On 6-Day War Anniversary, Pondering the Myth-making Stories that Define Judaism
05.06.2017, by Yehuda Kurtzer
‘I wouldn’t trade the Zionism that comes with winning the war for the nostalgia of the older and better Jewish story, but I worry that this new story which has replaced the old mythology of journey is deeply lacking’ read more>
Plenary Session: 2017 Jewish Funders Network International Conference
03.04.2017, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Yehuda Kurtzer leads a discussion touching on the transformative state of the Jewish community over the past 30 years and what the response should be today read more>
Linda Sarsour and American Jewish Politics
05.02.2017, by Yehuda Kurtzer
We find more effective common cause than is possible in the inherently constricting litmus test approach, which not only closes off a wider network of allies that we all desperately need, but which also creates a culture of suspicion even toward those with whom we are close. The litmus test approach is a negative structure toward cultivating loyalty; “two-thirds and 51 percent” tilts toward creating cultures of broad assent read more>
Jewish Identity, Belonging, and Community
22.12.2016, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Jewish Identity, Belonging, and Community, B’nai Jeshurun Congregation, New York City, Dec. 14, 2016. Opening lecture in 2016-2017 lecture and study series on intermarriage created by Shalom Hartman Institute of North America and B`nai Jeshurun read more>
Visions for a Shared Society
12.12.2016, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Opening lecture, 2016-2017 Los Angeles Synagogue Collaborative Series read more>
An Urgent Need for Ambivalence
30.11.2016, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Let’s support even those stumbling out of the gate, and help them formulate the voices we will need for the work ahead. In challenging moments, we need great leadership: cannibalizing our camp right now will be an unendurable loss read more>
What Does It Mean to Be an American Jew Today?
09.11.2016, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Lecture given the day after the 2016 US presidential election, in which Yehuda Kurtzer discusses the vote’s impact on the lives of American Jews read more>
3 Types of Shimon Peres Haters - and Why They’re Wrong
15.09.2016, by Yehuda Kurtzer
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Why the Witch Hunts?
07.09.2016, by Yehuda Kurtzer
There is no serious way to produce communal “consensus” on Israel, nor is it necessarily desirable. But neither is it the case that these political differences should translate into the vitriol that inevitably accompanies them, much less the frequent and toxic personalization of political difference that is making leadership a miserable activity for Jewish professionals read more>
To my Muslim Brethren: I See You
23.08.2016, by Yehuda Kurtzer
I see you, and will strive to see you in the ways that you want to be seen. We owe you the civility of not judging your politics based your clothing, only your self-expression of choosing to live within the parameters of your faith. I hear stories from friends and colleagues about the urgency of taking off the hijab in America read more>
What is an American Jew? (Video)
05.07.2016, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Yehuda Kurtzer: What is an American Jew? Lecture to Rabbinic Torah Study Seminar (RTS), What is a Jew: Dilemmas of Identity in the 21st Century, July 5, 2016, Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem, Israel read more>
Challenges Facing American Jewish Identity
05.07.2016, by Yehuda Kurtzer
During the 2016 Hartman Summer programs for community leaders and rabbis, we held four sets of evening programs, two each for the two groups. Each group saw several Hartman and affiliated scholars and speakers discuss Challenges of American Jewish Identity, and then Challenges of Israeli Identity. (2016 HART Talk) read more>
Video: What is an American Jew?
28.06.2016, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Opening lecture, #HartmanSummer 2016. June 28, 2016. read more>
American Jewish Engagement with Israel
16.06.2016, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, President of Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, gave the 2016 Robert Kogod Lecture on Monday, June 6, 2016, during the Hartman Institute’s annual Philosophy Conference read more>
Publish the Dissent
13.03.2016, by Yehuda Kurtzer
A Proposal for Strengthening Jewish Communal Decision-Making read more>
What if Trump Was One of Us?
08.03.2016, by Yehuda Kurtzer
The presidential candidacy of Donald Trump – initially implausible, now increasingly inexorable – presents at least three challenges for Jews in America read more>
Jews and Muslims in America: Debate and Dialogue in an Age of Fear
14.02.2016, by Imam Abdullah Antepli and Yehuda Kurtzer
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Coping with Troubling Texts
08.02.2016, by Yehuda Kurtzer Haroon Moghul
Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, President of Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, Dr. Haroon Moghul, Fellow of the Institute`s Muslim Leadership Initiative, ‘I Have a Dream: Jews and Arabs in Israel’ - Sixth Annual David Hartman Memorial Conference for a Jewish-Democratic Israel, February 3, 2016 read more>
Muslims, Jews, and the Dangers of‘Meta-narratives’
13.12.2015, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Donald Trump’s bellicose anti-Muslim rhetoric is frightening read more>
On Terrorism and Nationalism, Reflections on Hanukkah in Light of the 20th Anniversary of the Rabin Assassination
19.11.2015, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Part of the 5776 Rabbinic Holiday Webinar Series from the Shalom Hartman Institute read more>
The Unacknowledged Revolution in Jewish Life
16.11.2015, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Speech to Jewish Federations of North America, General Assembly in Washington, DC, November 9, 2015 read more>
Jewish Continuity, Between Crisis and Content
11.10.2015, by Yehuda Kurtzer
To thrive in America the Jewish people will need to see in their leaders the capability and commitment to provide answers read more>
Haroon Moghul, Yehuda on American Muslims, Israel, Palestine, Iran
03.09.2015, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Haroon Moghul talks to Yehuda Kurtzer, President of Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, about American Muslims and American Jews, Israel and Palestine, the Iran Deal, foreign policy and our domestic futures read more>
Misunderstanding Diaspora Jewry
24.08.2015, by Yehuda Kurtzer
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On Iran, From Hebron
19.07.2015, by Yehuda Kurtzer
The only way I see forward is to negotiate, to agitate, to activate, to legislate, to investigate — perhaps once in a while, to pause and meditate — to do the kinds of actions in the world that make hope, “Hatikvah,” something which is neither banal nor messianic read more>
The Politics of Loyalty
31.05.2015, by Yehuda Kurtzer
The new/old Zionist conversation will be and must be even messier than it already is, and our community must foster more comfort than the politics of loyalty generally allow with the anxieties this messiness engenders read more>
Conflict Among Jews
26.05.2015, by Yehuda Kurtzer
An introduction to the Berman Jewish Policy Archive`s Reader`s Guide read more>
Fire in a Crowded Alley
18.05.2015, by Yehuda Kurtzer
The decision by the Israeli Supreme Court to permit the Jerusalem Day march through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City – where it has notoriously bred nationalist violence against the property of its residents, and spread terror and fear in its wake – is deeply disappointing read more>
The Ethics of Public Leadership: Who Speaks for the Jews?
29.04.2015, by Yehuda Kurtzer and Jeremy Burton
A public conversation on the question of "Who Speaks for the Jews?" read more>
Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, Idiosyncratic Titan of Israeli Modern Orthodoxy
21.04.2015, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Even when religious Zionism was deservedly vulnerable, Rav Aharon offered no apologetics read more>
The Ancestral Homeland is Moving to Our House
01.04.2015, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Yehuda Kurtzer`s musings on taking over Passover from his mom in a piece from The Forward`s "Who Sets The Table?" project read more>
Hearing is not Believing
29.03.2015, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Next time a politician makes an impromptu gaffe, ask yourself hard questions before you yell gotcha read more>
Loyalty, Moral Clarity, and the Making of Community
21.01.2015, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Addressing some of the communal challenges presented by this summer`s war in Gaza and the recent rise of tensions in Jerusalem read more>
Talking About Israel: Jews and Christians
07.01.2015, by Yehuda Kurtzer and Judy Yates Siker
A conversation at the San Francisco JCC about the challenges of talking about Israel across faith communties read more>
Fighting for Israel – Not Against It
29.12.2014, by Yehuda Kurtzer
When did we all agree to substitute coercion for persuasion? What is happening to the increasingly lost art of firmly, passionately arguing our positions – to say with respect and conviction to another person, “This is why you are wrong”? read more>
Peoplehood Across The Divide: What Do Jews in Israel and America Owe One Another?
18.12.2014, by Yehuda Kurtzer
The second lecture of ‘Inside, Outside, In Between,’ the Los Angeles Westside Synagogue Collaborative lecture series read more>
Abraham’s Lesson: Quality Over Quantity in Push for Jewish Continuity
16.12.2014, by Yehuda Kurtzer
We need to stop stressing about 2.1 children read more>
Terror in Jerusalem: Once Again, the Banality of Evil
26.11.2014, by Yehuda Kurtzer
recognizing the very banality of this evil may be the most powerful and ethical way to salvage what we can in interpreting and working hard against the forces that keep this terrorism going read more>
Is the Diaspora Good for the Jews?
19.11.2014, by Yehuda Kurtzer
An audio recording of a Brookings Institution panel discussion with Yehuda Kurtzer, William Galston, and Alan Wolfe read more>
Teshuva and Heshbon Hanefesh in a Time of Darkness
24.09.2014, by Yehuda Kurtzer
In an age of divine absence, how can we cultivate a meaningful process of teshuvah that doesn`t force easy answers, and at the same time a culture of heshbon ha-nefesh that isn`t blocked by our impulses to defensiveness? read more>
For Israel Engagement on Campus: Coaches, not Cheerleaders
15.09.2014, by Yehuda Kurtzer
There is a mounting, murmuring anxiety for what awaits Jewish students on college campus this year in the wake of the summer’s war read more>
Time for a (Social) Ceasefire
03.08.2014, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Yehuda thinks that social media does not improve the public discourse in times of crisis. read more>
Do You Still Think Reform Jews are Idolators?
15.06.2014, by Yehuda Kurtzer
It is essential today that you not only retract those words about Reform Judaism but also work to heal the rift between the Jewish people and Israel that it creates, and to alleviate the skepticism that many liberal Jews in America are already experiencing about your ability to lead the Jewish State read more>
Presidents, Relevance, and Naming Some Elephants
01.05.2014, by Yehuda Kurtzer
The surprisingly one-sided vote by the Conference of Presidents to reject J Street’s membership provides a moment to learn something significant about our community read more>
Zionism: The Question of Sovereignty
29.04.2014, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Audio recording of lecture on Jewish peoplehood read more>
Challenges Facing the Jewish Community (JCCA Tallk)
08.04.2014, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Yehuda Kurtzer delivered one of the inaugural J-Talks at the JCC Association Convention in San Diego, Calif., highlighting paradigm shifts and challenges that will face the Jewish community in the next five to ten years. read more>
Making Memory: Pesach and Radical Imagination
27.03.2014, by Yehuda Kurtzer
A look at the interplay between memory and creativity in Jewish ritual through the lens of Passover read more>
Let Us Help You Help Us
09.03.2014, by Yehuda Kurtzer
A true sense of Jewish peoplehood would seek to understand what is different and still in common in expressions of Jewish identity as it manifests in different places, and would ask: how do we cultivate that sensibility for the betterment of our relationship, even if it requires that certain characteristics of the other community may never change? read more>
Yehuda Kurtzer on Shalom TV's L'Chayim
20.01.2014, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Rabbi Marc Golub chats with SHI-NA President Kurzter on a range of contemporary Jewish issues read more>
It Was Never About Rabbi Avi Weiss
19.01.2014, by Yehuda Kurtzer
What the recent controversy over one rabbi’s legitimacy really represents read more>
Putting Aside That Old Jewish Pessimism
07.01.2014, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Potpourri of Predictions for 2014 read more>
When Metaphor Fails: Iran-Holocaust Connection Misguided
31.12.2013, by Yehuda Kurtzer
We are a people of memory, and so it seems right and reasonable that we use our past as the means to interpret our present. But drawing historical metaphors is tricky work, and done incorrectly, the memory-maker risks both violence to our history and our identities that hinge so directly on how we think about the lessons of our past. read more>
Jewish Leaders Must Listen as Well as Lead
11.10.2013, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Listening provides an important check on leaders who may lose sight of where the people are read more>
Counting Our Numbers, Counting Our Blessings
10.10.2013, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Tracing Jewish "demographic anxiety" all the way back to parashat Lech Lecha read more>
President Obama and the Anxiety of Ambivalence
22.09.2013, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Ambivalence in our hearts can reflect a genuine embrace of multiple truths and a reckoning with difficult choices. As anxious as this ambivalence may make us when it is on public display, are we truly prepared to be led into actions with grave consequences without it? read more>
Leadership and Change: Continuing the Conversation
18.07.2013, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Good leaders can be innovative at any age; we should be much more concerned with overlong tenures that suppress the meaningful advancement of subordinates, or of systems that fail to develop new talent and then wonder why there is no pipeline read more>
Leadership and Change in the Land of The Lost
13.06.2013, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Taking on the ‘leadership crisis’ of the legacy institutions of the North American Jewish community read more>
Do American Jews Need Hebrew?
10.05.2013, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Learning session in LA on ‘Language and Identity,’ May 7, 2013 read more>
How To Remember and How Not To Forget
12.04.2013, by Yehuda Kurtzer
This talk is about why and how the past can continue to hold great appeal to Jews who do not want to live in it read more>
Two States for Two Peoples is a Jewish Value
25.12.2012, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Basic standards of morality entitles us to a state of our own; the same should make us advocates for nation-states for others read more>
Faith & Politics
01.07.2012, by Yehuda Kurtzer
July 1, 2012 lecture to Community Leadership Program Summer Retreat read more>
When Is Idealism Idolatry?
16.05.2012, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Torah portions Behar and Behukotai remind us to recognize that God’s role in the work of justice demands humility read more>
Leviticus 25:1-27:34: When Is Idealism Idolatry?
15.05.2012, by Yehuda Kurtzer
When justice is part of our founding narrative, we must embrace both the part of the story about our liberation from tyranny and the responsibility to use that memory to establish just societies read more>
A.B. Yehoshua Should Pipe Down
09.04.2012, by Yehuda Kurtzer
The Israeli novelist regularly disparages Diaspora Jews. Why do Americans still give him a platform? read more>
Israel Fatigue
03.04.2012, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Judaism’s story is one of commitment to journey independent of the rewards of arrival read more>
Revaluing Our Values
08.02.2012, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is running for Congress, but Torah shouldn’t be used as a political weapon read more>
The Once And Future Past
01.02.2012, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Judaism and its messianisms read more>
The ‘Evolving’ Ultra-Orthodox and Israel’s Public Square
29.01.2012, by Yehuda Kurtzer
A compelling democratic and pluralistic vision of Israeli Judaism is needed to counter the ultra-Orthodox read more>
A Little More Conversation: Talking About Iran
20.01.2012, by Yehuda Kurtzer
In a conversation with Israeli colleagues we stumbled upon a significant and painful chasm read more>
Don’t Abandon Old in Pursuit of ‘Next’
03.11.2011, by Yehuda Kurtzer
We will be best equipped to envision the present if we are well rooted in our past read more>
One Judaism, Under Siege
06.10.2011, by Yehuda Kurtzer
It is easier to make Yom Kippur about personal atonement rather than collective responsibility read more>
On Kinship in Politics and Suffering
12.09.2011, by Yehuda Kurtzer
There are two deep ways in which the American Jewish experience is shaped and informed uniquely by the events of 10 years ago read more>
The Kids are All Right
27.07.2011, by Yehuda Kurtzer
There is an extraordinary wealth of talent flowing into the Jewish world via mainstream institutions and the innovation/start-up sector read more>
President’s Conference, Feminist’s Nightmare
23.06.2011, by Yehuda Kurtzer
The high-profile event is suffering from the woeful – sinful! – lack of representation of women read more>
Can a Jew Legally Cancel his Jewishness?
29.05.2011, by Yehuda Kurtzer
An Israeli author’s court request to be categorized as ‘without religion’ questions existential definitions of what it means to be Jewish read more>
Canon Fodder
10.03.2011, by Yehuda Kurtzer
With newly discovered documents and innovative approaches, how do we decide which Jewish texts and values remain at the core? read more>
Translation Without Representation
02.01.2011, by Yehuda Kurtzer
The act of translation involves mediation, a standing-in-between. Its impact lies not just in what happens to the text. read more>
Translation without Representation
13.12.2010, by Yehuda Kurtzer
The act of translation involves mediation, a standing-in-between. Its impact lies not just in what happens to the text, but just as powerfully in how those who receive the translation, those on the other side of the mediator, interact and relate to the text in its new form read more>
Navigating a Hopeful Judaism of Ideas
18.10.2010, by Yehuda Kurtzer
True Jewish learning should empower the particular in service of the universal, and should combine all aspects of the Jewish polity towards a stronger sense of peoplehood, community and self read more>
Experience of the Particular is the Lens to Understand the Universal
05.09.2010, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Until we start with ourselves and radiate outwards to our communities, we are forestalled by the magnitude of the task. Perhaps the same metaphor for how we bridge local to global responsibility applies to the prayers we make for the world around us. If we cannot identify with the particular, will we be able to pray for the universal? read more>

Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer is President of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America and a Fellow of the iEngage Project.

Yehuda is the author of Shuva, The Future of the Jewish Past (2012).

Read Yehuda's full biography.

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