Robert Alter, Emeritus Professor of Hebrew and ComparativeLiterature, and founding Director of the Center for Jewish Studies at UC Berkeley, has been awarded two degrees of Doctor Philsophiae Honoris Causa; one from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and one from the University of Haifa, for his work as "a leading scholar in the field of comparative literature, who combines in his work a passion for language with tireless intellectual curiosity." The Honorary Degree Ceremonies will take place in Spring 2015 in Jerusalem and Haifa. In celebration of our friend and teacher's many accomplishments, the Center for Jewish Studies and Congregation Netivot Shalom will cosponsor a public lecture by Professor Alter on May 5th at Netivot Shalom, celebrating the newest parts of his translation of the Hebrew Bible, followed by conversation with colleagues and light refreshments. All are welcome!
I had a beautiful day today. I stood with my sister, a passionate rabbi serving the U.S. Navy as a chaplain, at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. We remembered our grandfather of blessed memory, who fought for America and shared hard-earned wisdom with his children and grandchildren.
I looked to my right and saw the Washington Monument. Looked to my left at the Lincoln Memorial. I read quotes engraved on massive stones. And I felt, to my core, one sad feeling: too much war.
Too. Much. War.
The quotes and certain retellings of history would have me believe that we fought for pure purposes: we fought for religious freedom, we fought to end slavery, we fought for freedom for all humanity, we fought to end tyranny. But it's also true that we fought (and fight) for economic interests. It&…