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1.

Jewish Nationalism

In the sixth part of an eight part lecture series on “Daniel Deronda,” Professor Ruth Wisse discusses George Eliot’s inspiration for writing a novel in support of Jewish nationalism decades before Theodor Herzl wrote The Jewish State. An expert on Yiddish and Jewish literature and winner of the National Humanities Medal, Wisse draws parallels between Eliot’s relationship to her mentor, Emmanuel Deutsch, and Daniel’s relationship to Mordecai Ezra. She analyzes arguments against Mordecai’s vision from within the Jewish community, and examines Mordecai’s “embryonic Zionist” speech in Chapter 42 that also speaks to 19th century English society.
Online
2017
2.

From the Talmud to Thomas Paine: Political Hebraism and the American Revolution

In this video lecture, Meir Soleveichik explores the rapid change of opinions, the ideas of Thomas Paine, and the concept of political Hebraism, discussing their effects on the American Revolution.
Online
2018; 2017
3.

Master Purveyors

Narrowly avoiding death in a concentration camp, butcher Sam Solasz created a meat business that does close to $100 million in business a year.
Online
2017
4.

The Character and Education of Gwendolen Harleth

In the second of an eight part lecture series on “Daniel Deronda,” Professor Ruth Wisse examines George Eliot’s modern heroine Gwendolen Harleth. An expert on Yiddish and Jewish literature and winner of the National Humanities Medal, Wisse analyzes how Gwendolen’s upbringing contributes to her character flaws. We learn about her inappropriate education, absent father, overindulgent mother, and lack of a home base or religious guidance. Her attraction to Daniel stems from a desire for moral guidance, and she struggles with her conscience when deciding to marry Grandcourt. However, rather using Gwendolen as a precautionary tale, Eliot elicits reader sympathy and links her plight to the complex challenges facing 19th century British society.
Online
2017
5.

Jonas Phillips: The First Truly American Jew – Revolutionary War Veteran and Religious Rights Activist

Looking at the life of Jonas Phillips, a religious Jew in colonial America, this video lecture by noted scholar and Rabbi Meir Soleveichik highlights the challenges faced by Jews of the time and considers Phillips fight for acceptance and freedom and equality of religious practice. It considers his interactions with colonial leaders and the legacy he left for the entire nation.
Online
2018; 2017
6.

How Fiction Differs From Philosophy

In the seventh part of an eight part lecture series on “Daniel Deronda,” Professor Ruth Wisse examines George Eliot’s decision to present social and political ideas in fictional form. An expert on Yiddish and Jewish literature and winner of the National Humanities Medal, Wisse focuses on the Princess Leonora Halm-Eberstein, whose lively character contrasts her rejection of Judaism and of her son Daniel. She and Gwendolen Harleth desire freedom from family constraints; Eliot uses their actions as a warning of the women’s liberation movement's potentially detrimental impacts on society—ironically, Eliot was a modern woman herself. An antithesis of Jewish motherhood, Leonora complicates the novel’s otherwise strong support of Jewish nationalism.
Online
2017
7.

Radio One

Cathy Hughes overcame teen motherhood, Jim Crow laws, and massive amounts of debt to turn Radio One into the largest black-owned media corporation.
Online
2017
8.

The Political Vision of Daniel Deronda: Separateness With Communication

In the final part of an eight part lecture series on “Daniel Deronda,” Professor Ruth Wisse summarizes George Eliot’s great novel of nationalism. An expert on Yiddish and Jewish literature and winner of the National Humanities Medal, Wisse discusses the concept of the Jewish community remaining separate, yet communicating with other people and nations. With Mordecai’s support, Daniel embraces his calling to lead the pursuit of nationhood in Israel. However, he also maintains his English identity. In writing the novel, Eliot intended to facilitate communication to bring about Jewish sovereignty, as well as cautioning against British intolerance through assimilation, which she considered a threat to liberal democracy.
Online
2017
9.

Tastefully Simple

Losing her husband and two brothers, Jill Strahan turned Tastefully Simple into a $100+ million dollar company.
Online
2017
10.

Continue to Water Them With the Dews of Heaven: Jewish Life Under President Washington

Examining the state of the American Jewish community during George Washington's administration, this video lecture with Meir Soleveichik looks at the lives of Levi Sheftall and the Jews of Georgia; Moses Seixas and the Jews of Rhode Island; and the Jewish communities of Philadelphia, New York, Charleston, and Richmond. It considers President Washington's interactions and correspondence with these communities.
Online
2018; 2017
11.

The Founding Fathers and the Chuppah – the Influence of Jewish Marriage Contracts on the Structure of the American Republic

In this video lecture, Meir Soleveichik discusses the Jewish concept of a marriage contract and how that influenced the structure of the American republic.
Online
2018; 2017
12.

America’s Passover: Franklin, Jefferson, and the Seal of the United States – How the Story of the Exodus Influenced America’s Founders

This video lecture by Meir Soleveichik examines how the story of the exodus from Egypt influenced the thinking of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. It considers their moral convictions of freedom and the idea of freedom as a journey and how these beliefs influenced the design for the Seal of the United States.
Online
2018; 2017
13.

Desert Daughter Cosmetics

Rejecting an arranged marriage, Mariam Aborkeek became the first ever female Bedouin business owner.
Online
2017
14.

Washington, Seixas, and Giving Thanks

This video lecture by Meir Soleveichik looks at the interactions between George Washington and Moses Seixas, warden of Newport's Touro Synagogue. It considers the concept that the United States was founded on the principle of religious liberty and how Seixas endeavored to ensure that it would apply to American Jews.
Online
2018; 2017
15.

The Koby Mandell Foundation

Losing their son in an act of terrorism, Sherri and Seth Mandell created a non-profit helping victims of terror.
Online
2017
16.

Adams, Jefferson, and the Jews

This video lecture by Meir Soleveichik discusses how John Adams's and Thomas Jefferson's views on Judaism illuminated their beliefs and commitments. It considers why the Jewish community liked Jefferson but not Adams. It also looks at the life and influence of Mordecia Manuel Noah.
Online
2018; 2017
17.

Halfaker and Associates

Losing an arm in Iraq, veteran Dawn Halfaker continued to serve by creating a professional services company with over 170 employees.
Online
2017
18.

The Character and Education of Daniel Deronda

In the fifth part of an eight part lecture series on “Daniel Deronda,” Professor Ruth Wisse looks at the title character’s gradual evolution as he searches for his identity and forms a career path. An expert on Yiddish and Jewish literature and winner of the National Humanities Medal, Wisse discusses how Daniel is brought up as an English gentleman with the paths of scholarship and government open before him. His qualities of morality, empathy and judgment are a powerful influence on those around him, including Gwendolen Harleth, who considers him her savior. By the end of the novel, Daniel chooses to embrace Judaism and to dedicate himself to Jewish national renewal.
Online
2017
19.

The Home We Build Together: Jewish Participation in American Society

Discussing majesty and the democratization of royalty, this video lecture by Meir Soleveichik examines Jewish identity in the American public square. It looks at the life of Uriah Phillips Levy and how he brought some of the Jewish ideas from the American founders to the nation as a whole.
Online
2018; 2017
20.

“Alien Invaders”: Jewish Figures in Deronda’s Britain

In the third part of an eight part lecture series on “Daniel Deronda,” Professor Ruth Wisse analyzes Julian Klesmer and Mirah Lapidoth in terms of their contributions to Jewish emancipation. An expert on Yiddish and Jewish literature and winner of the National Humanities Medal, Wisse discusses how Jewish people were seen as a threat in Victorian England, from both poor immigrants and from influential families. Part of a new caste system placing artists above aristocrats, Klesmer exposes and foils anti-Jewish prejudice in British society. His willingness to assimilate by marrying a Gentile contrasts Mirah’s strong familial, ethnic, and religious identity. Mirah’s character raises the challenge of Jewish national autonomy and highlights the issue of maintaining separateness.
Online
2017