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Author Daniel Gordis to Speak at Temple Beth El

SPRINGFIELD — Author Daniel Gordis will discuss his latest book, We Stand Divided: The Rift Between American Jews and Israel, at Temple Beth El, 979 Dickinson St. in Springfield, on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Relations between the American Jewish community and Israel are at an all-time nadir. Since Israel’s founding seventy years ago, particularly as memory of the Holocaust and of Israel’s early vulnerability has receded, the divide has grown only wider. Most explanations pin the blame on Israel’s handling of its conflict with the Palestinians, Israel’s attitude toward non-Orthodox Judaism, and Israel’s dismissive attitude toward American Jews in general. In short, the cause for the rupture is not what Israel is; it’s what Israel does.

These explanations tell only half the story. We Stand Divided examines the history of the troubled relationship, showing that from the outset, the founders of what are now the world’s two largest Jewish communities were responding to different threats and opportunities, and had very different ideas of how to guarantee a Jewish future.

With an even hand, Daniel Gordis takes readers beyond the headlines and explains how Israel and America have fundamentally different ideas about issues ranging from democracy and history to religion and identity. He argues that as a first

step to healing the breach, the two communities must acknowledge and discuss their profound differences and moral commitments. Only then can they forge a path forward, together. Gordis will present his thesis and also field questions from the audience.

Dr. Daniel Gordis is Senior Vice President and the Koret Distinguished Fellow at Shalem College in Jerusalem. The author of more than 10 books, Gordis is a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion and writes regularly for the Jerusalem Post. Gordis’ history of the state of Israel, entitled Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn, received the 2016 National Jewish Book Award as “Book of the Year.”

This event is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, Hadassah, the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Western Massachusetts, Temple Beth El, Sinai Temple, Bill & Susan Firestone, Dick & Betsy Gaberman, and Gabriel A. Katz. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the program.

For more information, call (413) 733-4149.

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