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"Confessions of a Hopeful Realist: The Astonishing Role of Religion and State in Israeli Politics"
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“Confessions of a Hopeful Realist: The Astonishing Role of Religion and State in Israeli Politics”

December 7 2019, 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Dr. Yizhar Hess, the Executive Director of the Masorti (Conservative) Movement in Israel, will be the guest speaker at BZBI’s December 7 Shabbat services.

His topic will be  “Confessions of a Hopeful Realist: The Astonishing Role of Religion and State in Israeli Politics.”

The State of Israel presents a complex series of contradictions between its vibrant democracy and commitment to its religious nature. As in the complex familial relationships we read about in the weekly Torah reading of parashat Va-yetze, clear solutions and compromises are not always obvious. Dr. Hess will present a historical look at how these issues have become so significant and what we, Israelis and Americans, must do now.

Dr. Hess is a 10th generation Jerusalemite. Following his military service, he earned a B.A. in Political Science and Hebrew Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A member of the Israeli Bar, his law degree is from the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. Dr. Hess holds a M.A. in Jewish Studies from the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem and a Ph.D. in Sociology and Education from Sussex University in Brighton, England.

Dr. Hess has a broad range of experience in Jewish communal service. After holding the Deputy Director position at the Shorashim Centre for Jewish Studies, he served as the Jewish Agency’s community shaliach to Tucson, Arizona. On his return to Israel, he worked for the Jewish Agency as Director of Partnerships.

He has professional experience in advertising and journalism. Dr. Hess is a regular contributor to the Israeli press on the subjects of religion and state and is the co-editor of the book Questions About God, published by Ma’ariv.

Since 2007, Dr. Hess has served as the Executive Director of the Masorti Movement in Israel – part of the worldwide Conservative/Masorti Movement dedicated to a traditional, egalitarian and pluralistic vision of Israel and Judaism. He represented the Masorti Movement in the negotiations with the Israeli government regarding egalitarian prayer at the Kotel, and he is one of the leading voices in Israel promoting Jewish pluralism.

 

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