Anti-Semitism throughout the ages takes spotlight at seminar

Source: JWeekly, 5-12-11

For Jews living in peace and prosperity around the world, these are the best of times. But that doesn’t guarantee the worst of times might not loom in the distance.

That’s the topic at “Anti-Semitism: Historical Pers-pectives, Fresh Insights,” a daylong seminar taking place Sunday, May 15 at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center.

The event is the latest installment of Lehrhaus Judaica’s 360 series.    Modeled after the adult education center’s Bible by the Bay series, Lehrhaus 360 explores key issues related to Jewish religion, culture and history, and brings in noted experts to examine them top to bottom.

In this case, it features 13 speakers — including scholars, rabbis, historians and Jewish community professionals. Though topics vary from the pagan roots of anti-Semitism to contemporary trends in anti-Israel hatred coming out of the Muslim world, the main theme of the day is simple, according to event director and co-organizer Rachel Biale.

“We are in the midst of a new phase in the history of anti-Semitism,” Biale said. “Whereas historically anti-Semitic tropes focused on the Jew in the diaspora, today the locus of anti-Semitic rhetoric is Israel and the Jews as a separate, unique people in their own sovereign state.”

The keynote speaker of the event is social critic, journalist and New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier, who has titled his opening remarks “How to Understand (and Not to Understand) Anti-Semitism.”

Biale said Wieseltier will “frame the current discussion of anti-Semitism in new, surprising and thought-provoking ways.”

He will be followed by experts on the subject of the world’s oldest religious prejudice. They include U.C. Davis history professor William Hagen, who will discuss anti-Semitism in Poland over the centuries, and San Francisco State University Jewish history professor Laura Rosenzweig, who will shed light on Jewish infiltration of pro-Nazi groups in 1930s-era Hollywood….READ MORE

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