In 1974, Etta Kaplan, wife of founding spiritual leader Dr. Louis Kaplan, suggested our new congregation should be called Beth Am: House of the People. As we approach our 50th anniversary, this year we’ll consider: What does it mean to be a people, and to be in relationship with other people? Or peoples? Within our diverse Reservoir Hill community, who are our people? How might our people (within and beyond our building) encounter our predominantly Black and non-Jewish neighbors?
Considering global Jewish peoplehood, how might American Jews relate to Israeli Jews? To Palestinians within and beyond the green line? What is the significance of peoplehood as a way of identifying with Jewish tradition, heritage, belief, and practice?
For our first event during the Year of Am, we welcomed Professor Noam Pianko as our Scholar in Residence this past October.
Noam Pianko is the Samuel N. Stroum Chair of Jewish Studies and Professor in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. Pianko’s research and teaching interests include modern Jewish history, Zionism, and American Judaism. His book “Zionism and the Roads Not Taken: Rawidowicz Kaplan, Kohn” (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010) uncovers the thought of three key interwar Jewish intellectuals who defined Zionism’s central mission as challenging the model of a sovereign nation-state.
Learn more about his weekend of teaching here.