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Han­nah Arendt and Lucy Daw­id­ow­icz: Zion­ism & Israel in the Minds of Two Great Intellectuals

Han­nah Arendt and Lucy Daw­id­ow­icz: Zion­ism & Israel in the Minds of Two Great Intellectuals
Thursday, February 25, 2021

In part­ner­ship with Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and Natan Fund

Han­nah Arendt (1906-1975), the Ger­man Jew­ish polit­i­cal philoso­pher, is an icon, revered by many intel­lec­tu­als in her day?–?and now?–?as well as by the pub­lic. Her writ­ings on anti­semitism, Zion­ism, total­i­tar­i­an­ism, and the Holo­caust are reg­u­lar­ly invoked. Less so the writ­ings of anoth­er major post­war female Jew­ish intel­lec­tu­al, Lucy S. Daw­id­ow­icz (1915-1990), whose life and work cov­ered much of the same intel­lec­tu­al ter­ri­to­ry as Arendt’s. Yet the two held adver­sar­i­al posi­tions about the most press­ing issues con­fronting Jews in the 20th cen­tu­ry, issues that are still very rel­e­vant today. Join Natan Fund, Jew­ish Book Coun­cil, and three Natan Book hon­orees, Susie Lin­field, Nan­cy Sinkoff, and James Loef­fler, in a dis­cus­sion of how these two for­mi­da­ble intel­lec­tu­als wres­tled with the mean­ing of the Holo­caust, Jew­ish polit­i­cal vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty, Zion­ism, and Israel.


Nan­cy Sinkoff is Pro­fes­sor of Jew­ish Stud­ies and His­to­ry and the Aca­d­e­m­ic Direc­tor of the Allen and Joan Bild­ner Cen­ter for the Study of Jew­ish Life at Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty. She is author, most recent­ly, of From Left to Right: Lucy S. Daw­id­ow­icz, the New York Intel­lec­tu­als, and the Pol­i­tics of Jew­ish His­to­ry (2020), the win­ner of the fall 2020 Natan Notable Book award, and the co-edit­ed vol­ume (with Rebec­ca Cypess), Sara Levy’s World: Gen­der, Judaism, and the Bach Tra­di­tion in Enlight­en­ment Berlin (2018), win­ner of the out­stand­ing book prize from the Jew­ish Stud­ies and Music Study Group of the Amer­i­can Musi­co­log­i­cal Soci­ety. Her first book, Out of the Shtetl: Mak­ing Jews Mod­ern in the Pol­ish Bor­der­lands, has recent­ly been reis­sued dig­i­tal­ly with a new pref­ace (Brown Juda­ic Stud­ies, 2020). Its pro­tag­o­nist, Mendel Lefin of Satanów, is part of the core exhib­it, ?"Encoun­ters with Moder­ni­ty," in Polin: Muse­um of the His­to­ry of Pol­ish Jews in War­saw, on which Pro­fes­sor Sinkoff consulted.

Pro­fes­sor Sinkoff is a recip­i­ent of numer­ous fel­low­ships, includ­ing those from the Mel­lon Foun­da­tion, the IIE Ful­bright Asso­ci­a­tion, the Amer­i­can Coun­cil of Learned Soci­eties, the Nation­al Foun­da­tion for Jew­ish Cul­ture, the Cen­ter for Advanced Juda­ic Stud­ies at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia, Yale University’s Bei­necke Library, the Frankel Cen­ter at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan, the Amer­i­can Jew­ish Archives in Cincin­nati, and the USC Shoah Foun­da­tion. In 2016?–?2017, she was the Eliz­a­beth J. Dil­worth Fel­low in His­tor­i­cal Stud­ies at the Insti­tute for Advanced Study, Prince­ton, NJ.

Susie Lin­field is the author of The Cru­el Radi­ance: Pho­tog­ra­phy and Polit­i­cal Vio­lence (Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go Press, 2010), which was short-list­ed for the Nation­al Book Crit­ics Cir­cle Award in Crit­i­cism, and of The Lions’ Den: Zion­ism and the Left from Han­nah Arendt to Noam Chom­sky (Yale Uni­ver­si­ty Press), which was co-win­ner of the Natan Notable Books in 2019. Her essays on cul­ture and pol­i­tics have appeared in a wide array of pub­li­ca­tions, includ­ing the New York Times, the Nation, The New Repub­lic, and the New York Review of Books Dai­ly. Lin­field is an asso­ciate pro­fes­sor at New York Uni­ver­si­ty, where she teach­es cul­tur­al journalism.

James Loef­fler is Jay Berkowitz Pro­fes­sor of Jew­ish His­to­ry at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Vir­ginia, where he also serves as the Ida and Nathan Kolodiz Direc­tor of the Jew­ish Stud­ies Pro­gram. His books include Root­ed Cos­mopoli­tans: Jews and Human Rights in the Twen­ti­eth Cen­tu­ry and The Most Musi­cal Nation: Jews and Cul­ture in the Late Russ­ian Empire. He is co-edi­tor of the Asso­ci­a­tion for Jew­ish Stud­ies Review and Kogod Senior Research Fel­low at the Shalom Hart­man Insti­tute in New York City.

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_pguSmWs7TXGaPefX3vKjjg

Thursday, February 25, 2021
More Information


From Left to Right

Lucy S. Dawidowicz, the New York Intellectuals, and the Politics of Jewish History

Nancy Sinkoff

Intellectual biography of Holocaust historian Lucy S. Dawidowicz.

Printed Paper Cased
Published: March 2020
ISBN: 9780814345108
Published: March 2020
ISBN: 9780814345115