CSUN to Present the First Annual Maurice Amado Foundation Lecture

Jennifer Thompson. Photo by Lee Choo.

Jennifer Thompson. Photo by Lee Choo.

Each generation must face the age-old conflict of either holding onto past beliefs and traditions or embracing new societal norms. The American- Jewish community is all too familiar with this struggle.

California State University, Northridge ‘s Jennifer Thompson, the university’s Maurice Amado Assistant Professor of Applied Jewish Ethics and Civic Engagement, will explore this dilemma at CSUN’s first annual Maurice Amado lecture at 7:30 p.m. on Wed., Feb. 27, at the Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue located on Ventura Boulevard in Encino.

“American and Jewish traditions about wealth and work agree that hard work is valuable and important, and that everyone should do their best to support themselves,” said Thompson. “But American culture frequently has a much more individualistic understanding of how wealth is accumulated, and how it is to be used, than Jewish sources would support.

“How a society understands the meanings and significance of wealth and work reveals a lot about the society’s ethics in other areas too. In other words, how do we as a society understand the meaning and goals of life as we live it individually and together,” she continued. “The Torah tells us, and later Jewish interpreters agree, that wealth comes from and belongs to God, and therefore one who has wealth is obligated to use it in ways that honor its real owner. The lecture will raise and begin to answer questions about what Jewish ideas about wealth might contribute to American society as a whole, and how individuals might adopt these ideas in their own lives.”

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 jewishstudies@csun.edu.

Thompson received a bachelor’s degree in English and American literature from Brandies University, a master’s of theological studies from Harvard’s Divinity School and a doctorate in ethics and society from Emory University’s Graduate Division of Religion.

The endowed professorship in CSUN’s Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Program was created last year 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 Amado Professor would also teach courses that explore the Jewish ethical approach to communal and political challenges.

California State University, Northridge 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.