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Robert Mnookin: The Jewish American Paradox

Friday, March 8, 2019 1 Adar II 5779

7:30 PM - 9:00 PMNewman Hall

The Jewish American Paradox: Embracing Choice in a Changing World

After Friday night Shabbat services, join us for dinner and a literary event with author Robert Mnookin. Dinner: adults, $24; students, $18; kids under 12, $12; kids under 5, free.

Who should count as Jewish in America?

The situation of American Jews today is deeply paradoxical. Jews have achieved unprecedented integration, influence, and esteem in virtually every facet of American life. But this extraordinarily diverse community now also faces four critical and often divisive challenges: rampant intermarriage, weak religious observance, diminished cohesion in the face of waning anti-Semitism, and deeply conflicting views about Israel.

Can the American Jewish community collectively sustain and pass on to the next generation a sufficient sense of Jewish identity in light of these challenges? Who should count as Jewish in America? What should be the relationship of American Jews to Israel?

In this thoughtful and perceptive book, Robert H. Mnookin argues that the answers of the past no longer serve American Jews today. The book boldly promotes a radically inclusive American-Jewish community--one where being Jewish can depend on personal choice and public self-identification, not simply birth or formal religious conversion. Instead of preventing intermarriage or ostracizing those critical of Israel, he envisions a community that embraces diversity and debate, and in so doing, preserves and strengthens the Jewish identity into the next generation and beyond.

Robert H. Mnookin is the Samuel Williston Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and for twenty-five years served as the Chair of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. He directs the Harvard Negotiation Research Project. A leading scholar in the field of conflict resolution, Professor Mnookin has applied his interdisciplinary approach to negotiation and conflict resolution to a remarkable range of problems; both public and private. A renowned teacher and lecturer, Professor Mnookin has taught numerous workshops for corporations, governmental agencies and law firms throughout the world and trained many executives and professionals in negotiation and mediation skills. On behalf of the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, he designed and has taught annual workshops for intellectual property professionals. Professor Mnookin has served as a consultant to governments, international agencies, major corporations and law firms. As a neutral arbitrator or mediator, he has resolved numerous complex commercial disputes. Professor Mnookin has written or edited ten books and numerous scholarly articles. His most recent books include Kissinger the Negotiator (with James K. Sebenius and R. Nicholas Burns); The Jewish American Paradox: Embracing Choice in a Changing World (Public Affairs November 2018) and Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight.


The Jewish American Paradox is available for purchase on
A Limited supply of books will be available for purchase at the March 8 event.


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