Presented by Holy Blossom Israel Engagement Committee. Co-Sponsored by The Reform Jewish Community of Canada (RJCC), ARZA Canada, ARZA, and the Canadian Zionist Federation (CZF).
Fridays, October 8 – November 26, 12:00 pm
“The Israel Dialogues” provides an opportunity to engage fundamental issues facing the country, its people, and the Jewish diaspora. Join experts from various backgrounds, together with their invited guests, to discuss a range of topics. The initial eight sessions presented this fall focus on domestic Israel, the Palestinian community, and the Jewish community. The second set of eight sessions, to be offered in the winter, will focus on the regional and international contexts and principal factors which affect Israel’s place in global affairs.
With grateful thanks to Joni Stossel for sponsoring this program.
Dates: (Fridays from 12 pm-1 pm)
- October 8: Refugees
- With Guest Speaker Adi Schwartz
- October 15: The Two-State Solution: Dead or Alive?
- With Guest Speaker Professor Asher Susser
- October 22: Gaza and the West Bank
- With Guest Speaker Dr. Tami Jacoby
- October 29: Jerusalem and Evictions
- With Guest Speaker MP Ya’ara Sacks
- Thursday, November 4: Religious Pluralism (NOTE THIS SESSION IS ON THURSDAY)
- With Guest Speaker Rabbi Uri Regev
- November 12: Israel and Diaspora Jewry, Past & Present
- With Guest Speaker Professor Dov Waxman
- November 19: Contemporary Diaspora & Jewish Institutions
- Rabbi Josh Weinberg
- November 26: Anti-Semitism & Anti-Zionism
- With guest speakers Professor Anna Shternshis & Professor Kalman Weiser
The majority of sessions will be recorded and available for viewing at your convenience unless otherwise mentioned. Please note, some of these sessions will not be recorded.
Professor Derek Penslar is the William Lee Frost Professor of Jewish History at Harvard University. His research specialties are modern Jewish history in Europe, Israel, and North America. Between 1998 and 2016, Derek held the Samuel Zacks Chair in Jewish History at U of T, and between 2012 and 2016, he was the inaugural holder of the Stanley Lewis Chair in Modern Israel Studies at Oxford. Derek has written a number of books, including Shylock’s Children: Economics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe, Israel in History: The Jewish State in Comparative Perspective; Jews and the Military: A History; and, most recently, Theodor Herzl: The Charismatic Leader (2020). Derek is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and president of the American Academy for Jewish Research.
Mark S. Anshan is a lawyer and a former Canadian diplomat, serving on several non-profit boards. He provides legal, business, strategic and organisational advice to not-for-profits and charities. Prior to becoming a lawyer, he served in the Canadian Foreign Service at the United Nations and the Canadian Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. Mark is a past President of Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, and past President of ARZA Canada and past Chair of ARZENU. He currently serves as a Director of Project Rozana Canada.
Professor David Dewitt joined York University in 1983, following studies at UBC, University of Chicago, and Stanford University and appointments at UBC and U of Alberta. He is now University Professor Emeritus & Senior Scholar, International Relations. Author and editor of 11 books on international affairs and foreign policy, he served from 1988-2006 as Director, York Centre for International & Security Studies (YCISS), two terms as York’s Associate Vice-President Research & Innovation, followed by a four-year leave of absence as Vice President Research & Programs at the independent think tank, Centre for International Governance & Innovation (CIGI). He is currently an advisor to the recently established Canadian think tank, International Peace & Diplomacy (IPD).
Jon Allen was Canada’s Ambassador to Israel from 2006-2010. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto and at Glendon College, York University and a Distinguished Fellow of the Canada International Council. He is the President of Project Rozana, a not for profit whose objective is to build bridges between Palestinians and Israelis via the health sector, and a Member of the Board of Transparency International Canada.
Professor Howard Adelman retired as Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at York University in 2003. He was the founder and director of York’s Centre for Refugee Studies and editor of Refuge for ten years. Best known for his work in applied philosophy, he co-authored a major study entitled Early Warning and Conflict Management: Joint Evaluation of Emergency Assistance to Rwanda (1996) as part of the 5-volume study International Response to Conflict and Genocide: Lessons from the Rwanda Experience. In December 2016, Adelman was named a Member of the Order of Canada.
Dylan Hanley is currently Director, Public Affairs with The U15, advocating on behalf of Canada’s leading research universities to the federal government. Prior to his role with The U15, Dylan spent almost a decade with CIJA, Canada’s leading Jewish advocacy organization, where he was responsible for government relations and university outreach. His work there included dealing with federal and provincial governments, senior university administrations, and working to build bridges between Canada and Israel around issues of innovation and R&D. Since leaving CIJA, Dylan continues strong involvement in the Canadian Jewish community, notably in building Canada-Israel partnerships in science and innovation, including as Canadian co-chair of the bilateral working group on research partnerships with Global Affairs Canada.
Guest Speaker Bios:
Mr. Adi Schwartz is a researcher, academic and author, focusing on issues relating to the Arab-Israeli conflict. He is currently writing his Ph.D. dissertation in the Department of Political Science at Bar-Ilan University. Mr. Schwartz is a published author in both English and Hebrew. A former staff writer and senior editor for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, he has published articles in the Israeli press, as well as in The Wall Street Journal, The Forward, The Tablet and The Jewish Chronicle.
Anna Shternshis is the Al and Malka Green Professor of Yiddish studies and director of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. She received her doctoral degree (DPhil) from Oxford University in 2001. Shternshis is the author of Soviet and Kosher: Jewish Popular Culture in the Soviet Union, 1923 – 1939(Indiana UP, 2006) and When Sonia Met Boris:An Oral History of Jewish Life under Stalin(Oxford UP, 2017). Together with artist Psoy Korolenko, Shternshis created and directed the Grammy-nominated Yiddish Glory project, an initiative that brought back to life forgotten Yiddish music written during the Holocaust in the Soviet Union. A recipient of a 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship, she is currently working on a book tentatively entitled LastYiddish Heroes: A Lost and Found Archive of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union about Yiddish music created in Nazi-occupied Ukraine.
Dov Waxman is the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Chair of Israel Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a Professor of Political Science. He is also the director of the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. Before joining UCLA, he was the Stotsky Professor of Jewish Historical and Cultural Studies at Northeastern University. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from Johns Hopkins University, and his B.A. from Oxford University. His research focuses on the conflict over Israel-Palestine, Israeli politics and foreign policy, U.S.-Israel relations, American Jewry’s relationship with Israel, Jewish politics, and contemporary antisemitism. He is the author of four books: The Pursuit of Peace and The Crisis of Israeli Identity: Defending / Defining the Nation (Palgrave, 2006), Israel’s Palestinians: The Conflict Within (Cambridge University Press, 2011), Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel (Princeton University Press, 2016), and most recently, The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2019).
Asher Susser is Professor Emeritus of Middle Eastern History at Tel Aviv University (TAU). He was the Director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies at TAU for twelve years and taught for over thirty-five years in TAU’s Department of Middle Eastern History. He has been a Fulbright Fellow; a visiting professor at Cornell University, the University of Chicago, Brandeis University, and the Stein Family Professor of Modern Israel Studies at the University of Arizona. He is the author of Israel, Jordan and Palestine; The Two-State Imperative. His online course on The Emergence of the Modern Middle East has been taken by some 120,000 students in over 160 countries.
Tami Amanda Jacoby is Professor of Political Science at the University of Manitoba where she has taught for 24 years. Her areas of expertise are: Middle East Politics, the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Middle East diasporas, gender and identity politics. She has an MA from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a Ph.D. from York University, having completed a doctoral thesis on women’s protest movements in Israel. Her publications include Redefining Security in the Middle East and Women in Zones of Conflict: Power and Resistance in Israel. She is an Israeli citizen, having lived and worked in Jerusalem for roughly 7 years, with frequent visits since, to family and for fieldwork, much of which was done in the Palestinian Territories. She has also travelled extensively to conflict zones and presented her research throughout the world.
Rabbi Josh Weinberg serves as the Vice President of the URJ for Israel and Reform Zionism and is the Executive Director of ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America. He was ordained from the HUC-JIR Israeli Rabbinic Program in Jerusalem and is currently living in New York. Josh previously served as the Director of the Israel program for the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and as a faculty member of NFTY-EIE High School in Israel teaching Jewish History. Josh is a reserve officer in the IDF spokesperson’s unit, has hiked the Israel trail, and came on Aliyah to Israel in 2003. Originally from Chicago, he has a B.A. from University of Wisconsin in Hebrew Literature, Political Science and International Relations, and an M.A. at the Hebrew University in Jewish Education. Josh has taught and lectured widely throughout Israel and has led numerous tours and trained tour educators for the Reform movement’s Israel experiences. Josh is passionate about anything connected to Israel and hopes to strengthen the connection between the Reform movement and the Jewish State.
Rabbi Uri Regev, Esq. is an internationally renowned leader and advocate of religious liberty and Jewish pluralism in Israel and around the world. Rabbi Regev serves as the President and CEO of an educational and advocacy Israel-Diaspora partnership, “Hiddush – Freedom Of Religion for Israel” and of its Israeli counterpart, “Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality”, which he founded in 2009. He served as president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, a global umbrella organization of the Progressive, Reform, Liberal and Reconstructionist movements. As head of the World Union, Rabbi Regev worked to strengthen modern, pluralistic Jewish life and democracy in the Jewish state and throughout the world. Prior to assuming leadership of the World Union, Rabbi Regev served as founding chair, and later as executive director and legal counsel, of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), the public and advocacy arm of the Reform movement in Israel. Rabbi Regev has also served on the boards of many other major Jewish organizations, including the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency, Rabbis for Human Rights, and the Overseers of the Jerusalem School of the Hebrew Union College.
MP Ya’ara Saks was first elected as MP for York Centre in 2020. As a long-time community advocate and Bathurst Manor resident, she is committed to making life better for families in York Centre. Ya’ara brings a Canadian and global perspective to the work it takes to create community engagement and achieve real progress. She believes deeply in the values of equality and diversity, and has devoted her career to addressing societal inequalities. She has experience in advisory roles for policy, communications, and project management, having worked in the Office of the Mayor of Jerusalem and in advancing people to people programs as part of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In Parliament, Ya’ara serves as a member of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, and the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. She is an executive member of the Canada-Israel Interparliamentary Group, a member of the Canada-Italy Interparliamentary Group, and Co-Chair of the all party Mental Health caucus. She earned an undergraduate degree from McGill University in Political Science and Middle East Studies, a master’s degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in International Relations and Diplomacy, and is the mother of two teenage daughters.
Kalman Weiser is the Silber Family Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at York University and the interim director of York University’s Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies. He is the author of several studies about Jewish nationalism and about Yiddish linguistics and culture. His book Jewish People, Yiddish Nation: Noah Prylucki and the Folkists In Poland won the 2012 Canadian Jewish Book Award for scholarship. Volumes for which he has served as a co-editor and contributor include Czernowitz at 100: the First Yiddish Conference in Historical Perspective (2010), the revised and expanded edition of Solomon Birnbaum’s Yiddish: a Survey and a Grammar (2016) and, most recently, Key Concepts in the Study of Antisemitism (2021). He is presently completing a book about the relationship between Jewish scholars of Yiddish and German colleagues who served the Third Reich.