One of the world’s leading Holocaust scholars, Berenbaum is a master of diverse fields of Jewish knowledge and culture. His teachings challenge Jews not to accept ourselves as powerless victims but as empowered and equipped to confront our adversaries. He is also a masterful teacher, whose courses are regarded as the most important in the diverse universities in which he has taught and whose public presentations are memorable.
Weekend Shabbaton – or choose one lecture out of these for a single evening presentation:
Four Modern Masters of Judaism: Buber and Rosenzweig, Heschel and Soloveitchik
Martin Buber and the Language of Spiritual Intimacy
Franz Rosenzweig: The Path of Return and the Double Covenant
Abraham Joshua Heschel and the Tension between Prophet and Priest, Philosopher and Activist, Scholar and Social Revolutionary
Joseph B. Soloveitchik: The Inner Life of a Mitnaged
Hollywood and the Holocaust: The Holocaust in Film over the Past 75 Years with Clips
Given by a Holocaust scholar who is also an Emmy Award and Cable Ace Award Winner and who has been a consultant, co-producer and Executive Producer of three Academy Award winning films and who has been featured in more than 20 films on the Holocaust.
The Holocaust and Contemporary Jewish Ethics
The Holocaust has become the “negative absolute” of contemporary ethical discourse. We may not be certain what is good but we are all too certain of what is absolutely evil for the Holocaust has become the defining evil of 20th century humanity. It implications are vast for ethical discourse and even greater for our understanding of contemporary Jewish ethics. Issues such as medical ethics, legal ethics, interreligious and intra-religious as well as the ethics of power are transformed by an understanding of the Holocaust.
The Challenge is Not Holocaust Denial, but Vulgarization, Trivialization, Minimization and Falsification by Friend and Foe Alike
When Holocaust denial first began in the early 1980, people were fearful of its consequences. Increased and improved scholarship, the self-destruction of David Irving in 2000 and the departure of Iranian President Ahmadinejad have diminished the challenge of denial. Yet important new challenges to our understanding of the Holocaust and its role in public discourse are now more pressing and potentially more dangerous.
How Do We Speak of God/How Do We Speak to God After Auschwitz
The Holocaust is a challenge to Jewish beliefs in God and in humanity. We must ask “where was God?” Equally importantly, we must ask “where was humanity? This presentation explores Jewish beliefs in God and in humanity and the language that we use to speak of God and to God after the Shoah.
Not Your Father’s Antisemitism:
Why antisemitism in the 21st century is different than Nazi Antisemitism or traditional antisemitism and why the American Jewish community is fighting the wrong battles. Those who refight the last war often lose the next one.
“Be Proud of It and Not Embarrassed by It”: why the perception of Jewish power changes everything. In the 1970s we feared that power was in control of natural resources and that the enemies of Israel would therefore become major powers. We have learned that power in the 21st century is in the ability to manage and master information and in this Jews have become empowered. Israel is now a regional military superpower and a potential economic power and American Jews are empowered as never before. This power imposes responsibilities as it creates opportunities.
Divorce is the Only Option:
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict makes sense and can be solved if we stop talking about peace and the affection and cooperation that should accompany it. We should use the language of divorce, the separation of Israelis and Palestinians, and facilitate their ability to live independently from each other. The right wing is wrong: Israel cannot indefinitely control, dominate and humiliate a hostile Palestinian population. The left wing is wrong: there can be no peace now but there is a third way — divorce — Israelis and Palestinians living apart from each other, independent of each other and secured from each other. That is the best we can do in this generation. But if we do it, peace can follow.
Why the American Jewish community has grown tired of hearing about the Holocaust, at least when it is presented as the whole world wants to destroy the Jews, all our enemies are Hitler and the world continues to betray us. And how a different memory of the Holocaust, as a tool for teaching democracy and pluralism, human dignity and decency, resilience and empowerment, is liberating and invigorating.