Congregation Emanuel, located on the Lakefront, at 5959 N. Sheridan is launching its 2017-18 Speakers Series this fall. Programs are free and open to the public. This year’s series is dedicated to Emanuel’s late Rabbi Herman Schaalman, whose insatiable intellectual curiosity inspired so many over the years.
The first speaker is New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Eig, whose recently published book, Ali: A Life is being acclaimed as the most definite biography of the iconic Muhammad Ali. The author interviewed more than five hundred people who knew Ali, giving us a powerful and compelling personal account of the man known as “The Greatest.” Mr. Eig’s presentation is Sunday, September 24, at 11:15 am.
On Sunday, October 8 , Dean Jobb, the author of Empire of Deception, speaks at 10:15 am. The book is subtitled “The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation.” That master swindler, back in Chicago’s Jazz Age, was Congregation Emanuel member, Leo Koretz, whose investors included at least six prominent Emanuel members as well as congregational Rabbi Felix Levy.
Ethan Michaeli is the next featured presenter this year in Emanuel Congregation’s Sunday morning lecture series on April 30 at 10:30. Mr. Michaeli, is the author of the highly acclaimed book The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America, which was named as a Notable Book of 2016 by the New York Times. His presentation at Emanuel however will focus on the new book he is writing entitled Twelve Tribes: Promise and Peril in the New Israel. In this book he weaves together “the personal histories of Holocaust survivors, tech millionaires, Torah scholars, Ethiopian immigrants, Russian refuseniks, West Bank settlers and Palestinians into a narrative of social and political change.” The lecture is free and open to the public. Emanuel Congregation is located at 5959 N. Sheridan Road in Chicago’s Edgewater community.
As a teenager in 1961, I remember the profound impact reading the novel Mila 18 by Leon Uris had on me. The Holocaust had ended just sixteen years earlier, and as a young Jew born and raised in America, I wondered why six million European Jews seemingly went so docilely to their death. Mila 18, based on the story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and its heroic leader Mordecai Anielewicz, provided a counter narrative to the myth of the Jews not fighting back against the Nazis.
My friend, the educator Dr. Joyce Witt, has spent much of her professional life studying Jewish resistance during the Holocaust. Joyce was chosen as a United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Teacher Fellow in 1997 and was named to the Museum’s Regional Education Corps in 2005. She is presently teaching a course in Holocaust Studies at the Melton School of Adult Jewish Studies.
Joyce will be giving an interactive presentation, followed by a discussion, on Mordecai Anielewicz and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Sunday morning, March 5, at 10:30 am, at Congregation Emanuel in Chicago, 5959 North Sheridan Road. The event is free and open to the public.