New Jewish lecture series here

New Jewish lecture series here

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has released its initial speakers schedule for its new two-year lecture series, which begins this month.
The schedule for the first year of the series, called “Conversations for Jewish Future Speaker Series,” will run from November through September 2012, and will include four expert speakers in the fields of history, theology, philosophy and social sciences. The names of speakers for the second year of the series have not yet been released.
Here are the speakers for the first year of the program:
• Jonathan Sarna, professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University and chief historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History, Monday, Nov. 14, 7 p.m., Eddy Theatre on the Chatham University campus; topic: “The Ever Dying People: Jewish Continuity and the Future of Our Community.”
• Rabbi J.J. Schacter, Yeshiva University professor of Jewish history and Jewish thought, Saturday, Dec. 17, 7:30 p.m., Jewish Community Center Robinson Building, Katz Theater, Squirrel Hill; topic: “Will there be a Jewish religion in the future of our community?”
• Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove of the Park Avenue Synagogue, Manhattan, Tuesday, May 15, 2012, 7 p.m., JCC’s Katz Theater; topic: “What About Me? Personal Meaning and My Future in Our Jewish Community.”
• Steven Cohen, research professor of Jewish social policy at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and director of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at New York University Wagner, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012, 7 p.m., JCC’s Katz Theater; topic: “Enough Talk … Now Prove It: Predicting the Future of our Community with Real Data.”
The Agency for Jewish Learning is partnering with the federation on the project.
For now, at least, the federation is not committing to an annual speakers series.
“It is going to be a two-year series,” said federation President and CEO Jeffrey Finkelstein in an e-mailed response to the Chronicle. “We’re not committing at this point to an annual series, but we have funding for two years.”
According to Finkelstein, a private donor, who prefers to remain anonymous, is financing the series through the Centennial Fund for the Jewish Future.
“This is someone who believes we need to continue to raise awareness in the community about some of the major issues affecting the Jewish people,” Finkelstein said. “The series features top-notch speakers from around the world, leading experts in their respective fields. We have not talked about these issues with speakers of this caliber in our community on a steady basis, and it’s very exciting to be able to have these discussions here.
“Our hope is that we can inspire the members of community to get more engaged in Jewish life and really make a difference in the Jewish world,” he added.
Charges vary for advance registration, payment at the door and for series packages.
(Lee Chottiner can be reached at

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