With media reports filled with news about the government shutdown, fighting in the Middle East and a myriad problems closer to home, it can be hard to determine whether these are “good” or “bad” times.
Acclaimed author and professor Marc Gopin will sift through media-created perceptions and reality during California State University, Northridge’s second annual Maurice Amado Foundation Lecture on Sunday, Oct. 27. The lecture will take place at 6:30 p.m. at Temple Ramat Zion at 17655 Devonshire St. in Northridge and is open to the public.
“Humans have a tendency to falsely exaggerate bad news and ignore good news,” Gopin said in a preview of his lecture. “And the media machines know this and capitalize on those fears and tendencies. But the scientific reality is that violence across the globe has been plummeting in recent decades, but really consistently and slowly for a couple of hundred years. Research is providing some good foundations for the trends, and it seems clear that our values and our attitudes, our very thoughts have a substantial impact on the global future, especially because Jewish culture and major thinkers have always had such an outsized effect on Abrahamic cultures and their futures.”
Jennifer Thompson, the Maurice Amado Assistant Professor of Applied Jewish Ethics and Civic Engagement in CSUN’s Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Program, said the Amado Lecture is part of the program’s continuing effort “to engage the Jewish community here in the Valley in discussions about Jewish ethics and important contemporary issues.”
“Last year’s Amado Lecture addressed the ethics of wealth and work in Judaism,” Thompson said. “People who attended said they found the discussion stimulating and helpful as they grappled with these ethical issues in their own lives. Future Amado Lectures will examine the ethics of interpersonal relationships and other topics that pertain to daily life and basic Jewish values.”
The lecture is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. For more information or to reserve a seat, call (818) 677-4724 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marc Gopin is the Director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution and the James H. Laue Professor at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in Arlington, Va. He is also co-owner of MEJDI, a peace tourism business that embraces the multiple narratives of indigenous peoples. Gopin has pioneered projects in Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Palestine and Israel. He received his Ph.D. in Ethics from Brandeis University and rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University. He is also the author of five books, including To Make the Earth Whole: The Art of Citizen Diplomacy in an Age of Religious Militancy and Holy War, Holy Peace: How Religion Can Bring Peace to the Middle East.
The Maurice Amado Professorship of Applied Jewish Ethics and Civic Engagement 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. Funded by a $500,000 endowment from the Maurice Amado Foundation, the Amado Professor also teaches courses that explore the Jewish ethical approach to communal and political challenges and hosts the annual Amado Lecture to expand the awareness of ethical issues.
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.