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Date(s) - 22/04/2018
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm


Sha’arei Tsedek’s Israel at 70 Programme launches with a presentation and workshop with Dr Keith Kahn-Harris. This event is the first in a year of discussions and workshops, aimed at examining the contemporary relationship between British Jews and Israel in 2018, 70 years after the state was founded.

Guest Speaker
Dr Keith Kahn-Harris is a sociologist. At Leo Baeck College he is the Course Team for the MA programme and teaches courses on Understanding British Jewry and on dissertation preparation. He is the author of four books including Turbulent Times: The British Jewish Community Today (Continuum 2010), Judaism: All That Matters (Hodder Education 2012) and Uncivil War: The Israel Conflict in the Jewish Community (David Paul Books 2014).

Presentation Synopsis
Over recent years, the feelings of British Jews towards Israel have changed. We have witnessed some tough times for the State of Israel. It has been forced to make difficult decisions which have not always received unanimous support from Jews in the UK.

Unfortunately, when Israel’s actions are discussed in public forums, displays of anger and recrimination have all too often been witnessed; and within British Jewry, increasingly oppositional camps have formed. Terrorism, walls, settlements, religion, have all driven extremes of opinion which divide the left wing and right wing politics of our community and our feelings towards Israel.

For a younger generation, Israel has always confidently existed, and it represents a powerful and well financed institution. This generation feels able to hold Israel to account and question it as any other sovereign state. An older generation however remember the desperate struggles to create the nation during the 20th century, and they take a more unquestioningly supportive and often more lenient view. But what of the newest, youngest generation, those who are just beginning to understand what Israel means to them? If what they see is bitterness and conflict within the Jewish community over Israel, how will they be inspired to hold a deeper connection with the land?

And whatever our political beliefs, or age, most British Jews still would like to call themselves Zionists. Most firmly believe in the principal of the Jewish State of Israel. Yet what of the Zionist Dream of Aliyah, “going up”, to live in the Holy land? Is that still needed, or are we better off staying in Britain? Do we still go on holiday to Israel, or are we too worried about security threats? And no matter what, modern Israel is a country of some 8 million people – with a successful economy that often punches far above its weight in the world of technology, business and culture. Do they even care about British Zionists anymore?

Programme Format
Dr Kahn Harris will talk about the cause of the conflicts over Israel and the different viewpoints that exist with today’s Jewish community.

Following his presentation, there will be a workshop to share views and experiences. Discussions will be moderated and participants will be asked to place emphasis on suggesting positive ideas and constructive, informed dialogue to find common ground. The programme will aim to create a safe, a-political space where all views and positions on modern Israel will be respected and welcomed.

Suitable for all adults and guests of the community from every generation post Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

Future events

13 May – Tourism & Israel
Are British Jews worried about security on our holidays? Should we be? What will it be like to go there this summer?

17 June – Aliyah today
Do British Jews still need to make Aliyah? Is Aliyah important or are we better to support and be friends of Israel from the UK?

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