Amado Foundation Lecture To Explore Homelessness and Responsibility

Leah Kalmanson

Leah Kalmanson

Minimal basic human needs are universally known to be food, clothing, and shelter. How should those with prosperity address the issue of homelessness and the reality that many of our fellow humans lack these essentials?

This question will be explored at California State University, Northridge’s second annual Maurice Amado Foundation Lecture in Jewish Ethics on Tuesday, Feb. 10. The lecture will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Valley Beth Shalom located at 15739 Ventura Blvd. in Encino.

“The purpose of the Amado lecture is to help people think about issues that affect their daily lives using the resources of Jewish ethics,” said Jennifer Thompson, CSUN’s Maurice Amado Assistant Professor of Applied Jewish Ethics and Civic Engagement.

Leah Kalmanson, assistant professor of philosophy and religion at Drake University, will discuss the unique perspective of one of the 20th-century’s most influential philosophers, Emmanuel Levinas. His commentary on homelessness derives from and challenges Jewish perspectives on charitable giving.

“Sometimes his ideas can sound far removed from daily life and it’s particularly important to me always to find ways to make his philosophy relevant to everyday situations,” said Kalmanson. “I hope people will enjoy discussing those teachings that sound very familiar and commonsensical, as well as those teachings in the Jewish tradition that are less familiar and that might challenge our expectations.”

Kalmanson received her doctorate in philosophy from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa in 2010. Her work has appeared in academic journals of philosophy and Jewish studies, and she has co-edited three books on religious thought. Her current research focuses on connections between postcolonial theory and comparative philosophy.

The Amado lectures are part of the mission of CSUN’s Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Program endowed professorship which was created with the understanding that whoever holds the position would teach and engage in scholarship drawn from the heritage of Sephardic, Ashkenazic and other Jewish traditions. The lectures “extend the work that I do in Jewish ethics by bringing other experts in as well,” said Thompson.

CSUN offers both a major and minor in Jewish studies. The program explores the rich heritage of the Jewish people. Using the methodology of different academic disciplines, it examines the experiences of Jews in the many lands in which they have lived over the past 4,000 years, as well as contemporary Jewish life in Israel, Europe, Asia and the Americas.

The lecture is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. For more information or to RSVP call (818) 677-4724 or email