Some in the community have raised questions about our invitation to Professor Hasia Diner to speak at our Labor Day "Day of Learning." In response to those questions, the Foundation's Board of Directors has put forth the following statement.
FOUNDATION FOR JEWISH STUDIES BOARD STATEMENT RE: HASIA DINER PROGRAM ON SEPT. 3
The Foundation for Jewish Studies is an independent organization whose mission is "to provide adults with high quality, in-depth encounters with Jewish thought, history, and culture." For over 35 years, we have partnered with many congregations and organizations to fulfill that mission for the greater Washington community.
Professor Hasia Diner is scheduled to speak on the history of Jewish American immigration from 1820 to 1920. She is a star scholar in this field and is the Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History, a professor of Hebrew, and Interim Director of Glucksman Ireland House, at New York University. Her recent book,
We Remember with Reverence and Love
, won both the National Jewish Book Award and the Saul Viener Prize from the American Jewish Historical Society.
This scheduled program is a scholarly lecture on a topic of high interest in our community today offered by an acclaimed scholar in this field. Dr. Diner will not be speaking about Israel topics; she is speaking only about immigration in this country. This program is not a platform for her, nor anyone else’s, views about Israel.
In its history, the Foundation has never offered programs on current-day Israeli problems or politics. While we strongly support Israel, our programs focus only on what our mission designates, and what we have offered has been regarded as at the highest intellectual level. Other organizations throughout the greater Washington area offer excellent and intelligent lectures and programs on modern day Israeli politics.
The Foundation does not support Professor Diner's personal political statements, but we support free speech and civil discourse. We abhor the vitriol which has been directed at us and at our partner organizations as we carry out our mission in a responsible way, just as we disdain those organizations that deny Israeli scholars an academic platform solely because they are Israelis. We do not present any political forums, only high quality educational programs.
Wishing you all a good new year of peace, learning from one another, and fellowship,
The Foundation for Jewish Studies Board of Directors