Arthur Hertzberg & Professor Ernestine Schlant Bradley Speak
at Leo Baeck Center
German-born professor writes about anti-Semitism. The Orthodox
rabbi downplays its relevance to Jewish identity. They’re very
different, but they say they learn from their differences.
Rabbi Hertzberg is the author of the newly published A Jew in
America. (Harper Collins, 2002.) Ordained an Orthodox and Conservative
Rabbi, and born of Polish parents, he is known for his work as
a peace activist, policy maker, Jewish scholar, and author. He
campaigned for a separate Palestinian state after 1967 War and
fought for civil rights in the 1960s.
He met Professor Ernestine Schlant Bradley in 1978. Bradley’s
husband, Bill Bradley, a former NBA star was just starting his
political career. The rabbi shared many of Bill Bradley’s political
convictions and helped him win his Senate seat. But it
was Schlant, as she is professionally known, who shared his passion
for Jewish literature and culture, which fostered their close
decided we needed further opportunities to meet,” Schlant said.
“And we haven’t stopped ever since.”
They learn from each other’s scholarship, writings and talks,
Schlant said. “[Hertzberg] is a man who never minces words,” she
added. “He is a voice of moral conscience. He knows what he knows
and he stands up and defends it, and I find that most admirable.”
Schlant isn’t Jewish, but is widely known for her research on
anti-Semitism in postwar German and Austrian literature. In her
latest book, Schlant examines why post-war German authors have
failed to reflect on the genocide that took place during World
Hertzberg’s latest book also addresses anti-Semitism, but from
a very different perspective. He writes about the anti-Semitism
he experienced as a boy—some Jewish practices were discouraged
at his mainly Christian school. But Hertzberg is keen to move
beyond these injustices, and said others should too. Jewish identity
is much richer than just anti-anti-Semitism, Herzberg said. Jews
should remember this, Hertzberg said, move forward and embrace
their rich cultural inheritance. He underscored the great need
for us all to be kinder and gentler to each other.#
Leo Baeck Center is located at the Center for Jewish History in
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