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JTS Discusses the Influence of Messianic Thinking in Israeli Politics

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Screenshot of Dr. Hillel Ben Sasson being interviewed on i24News.

The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) will host “The State of Israel: Messianism Without a Messiah?” featuring speakers Dr. Hillel Ben Sasson, visiting assistant professor of Israel Studies at JTS, and Dr. Benjamin Gampel, Dina and Eli Field Family Chair in Jewish History at JTS. The program will be moderated by Dr. Barbara Mann, Simon H. Fabian Chair in Hebrew Literature at JTS. The speakers will explore what the messianic idea has meant for Jews through the ages—and in modern Israel, the role it plays in contemporary Israeli politics on both the right and left, and the dramatic and even revolutionary implications of messianic thinking in shaping the future and fate of the Jewish state.

This program—JTS’s Gerson D. Cohen Memorial Lecture—will take place on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at JTS, located at 3080 Broadway (corner 122nd Street) in New York City. General admission tickets are $10, and admission is free for all students with a valid ID. RSVP at www.jtsa.edu/messianism. Please have photo ID available at the door. This event will also be live streamed. Join us online at www.jtsa.edu/live.

Dr. Ben Sasson will discuss messianism in the State of Israel. An expert in Jewish thought, he previously taught at Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and has published articles on classical Jewish theology and on the contemporary national-religious right in Israel. He has served as director of programs at Molad: The Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy, and has recently worked for the House (Office) of the Israeli President.

Dr. Gampel will explore messianic ideologies and activism over the course of Jewish history. He specializes in the history of the Jews of the medieval and early modern world. The author of The Last Jews on Iberian Soil and the forthcoming As If the Jews Had No Lord: The Riots in Castile and Aragon and the Royal Response, 1391–1392, he has also edited Crisis and Creativity in the Sephardic World.

The annual Gerson D. Cohen Memorial Lecture at JTS was established in 1993 by the Honorable Howard M. Holtzmann (z”l), honorary chairman of the JTS Board of Trustees, as a tribute to the late Gerson D. Cohen (z”l), who served as chancellor of JTS from 1972 to 1986.

Visit JTS at www.jtsa.edu.

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