Liberalism’s Crises in Israel, and Elsewhere

March 14, 2024 $0.00 - $18.00


Liberalism is in crisis everywhere, and everywhere the crises bear similarities and real differences. We will look at what has been going on in Israel to understand it on its terms as a Jewish and Democratic state and about liberalism’s vicissitudes around the world.


Yehudah Mirsky is a Professor of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University and is on the faculty of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. He was in the Spring Semesters of 2022 and 2023 a Visiting Professor at Harvard University. A native New Yorker, he lives in Jerusalem with his family and is both an active scholar and committed activist.

His scholarship and teaching focus on the intersections of politics and religion, the historical and theological underpinnings of liberalism and human rights, and, in recent years, on ecological ethics. He teaches courses in Jewish Thought (medieval and modern), history of Zionism and the State of Israel, and political and ethical thought. 

He served in the US State Department’s human rights bureau during the Clinton Administration as a Public Affairs Officer and Special Advisor and has written on religion, politics, and culture for The New York Times, The Washington Post, New Republic, The Economist, Foreign Policy, New Lines and many other publications. He also was an aide to then-Senators Bob Kerrey and Al Gore and worked at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the ACLU, and other NGOs. An ordained rabbi, he was a chaplain with the Red Cross after 9-11. 

In Israel, he was in the early 2000s a Fellow at the Van Leer Institute and Jewish People Policy Institute and was among the founders of the grass-roots Yerushalmit Movement for a pluralist, livable Jerusalem. Currently, he is deeply involved in the protest movements against the current governing coalition’s attempts to undo Israeli democracy, working with both the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv wings of the movement. He is also a longtime student of Arabic and Islam.  

His Rav Kook: Mystic in a Time of Revolution (Yale, 2014) won the Jewish Book Council’s Choice Prize. It appeared in 2021 in a revised Hebrew edition as Rav Kook: Mabat Hadash (Kinneret) which was named by Ha-Aretz as one of the 50 best books of 2021. That year also saw the publication of his Towards the Mystical Experience of Modernity: The Making of Rav Kook, 1865-1904 (Academic Studies Press). 

B.A. Yeshiva College, J.D. Yale Law School, Ph.D. Harvard University

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Thursday, March 14, 2024, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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