The Synagogue Council of Massachusetts is honored to join lecture founder, Dr. Herbert Birnbaum and the Birnbaum family, in presenting the Connie Spear Birnbaum Memorial Lecture. This year's program features noted journalist and author, Yossi Klein HaLevi in conversation with Benjamin Birnbaum addressing the important and provocative topic, "Holding the Jewish Center". An award-winning journalist, Ben is also Connie and Herb's son.
Yossi Klein Halevi is a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Together with Imam Abdullah Antepli of Duke University, he co-directs the Institute's Muslim Leadership Initiative (MLI), which teaches emerging young Muslim American leaders about Judaism, Jewish identity and Israel.
Halevi’s 2013 book, Like Dreamers, won the Jewish Book Council's Everett Book of the Year Award. His latest book, Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor, is a New York Times bestseller. He writes for leading op-ed pages in the US, including the Times and the Wall Street Journal, and is a former contributing editor to the New Republic.
His 2001 book, At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew’s Search for God with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land, will be reissued in 2019 by HarperCollins.
His first book, Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist, tells the story of his teenage years as a follower of the militant rightwing rabbi Meir Kahane, and his subsequent disillusionment with Jewish radicalism. The New York Times called it “a book of burning importance.”
Born in Brooklyn, he moved to Israel in 1982, and lives in Jerusalem with wife, Sarah, who helps run a center for Jewish meditation. They have three children.