Justifying Israel’s Wars in Jewish Law: Challenges and Solutions
November 19 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pmSuggested Donation: $18
While Israel’s wars have a been a challenge for all Jews who support Israel, they have presented unique challenges for religious Zionists who adhere to Jewish law. Jewish law developed mostly during centuries in which Jews had no state and no army, and therefore it contained little material on war prior to 1948. In consequence, when the state of Israel was created and found itself at war, religious Zionist rabbis had to construct a body of law dealing with war almost from scratch. This talk will focus on how these rabbis dealt with this challenge with remarkable creativity and ingenuity.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Robert Eisen is Professor of Religion and Judaic Studies and Chair of the Department of Religion at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The focus of his most recent research is approaches to peace and violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. His other areas of interest include comparative religion, Jewish philosophy, and Jewish biblical interpretation.
Eisen is author of four books that reflect his varied interests: Gersonides on Providence, Covenant, and the Chosen People (State University of New York Press, 1995); The Book of Job in Medieval Jewish Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2004); The Peace and Violence of Judaism: From the Bible to Modern Zionism (Oxford University Press, 2011); and Religious Zionism, Jewish Law, and the Morality of War (Oxford University Press, 2017). He also co-edited Philosophers and the Jewish Bible (University of Maryland Press, 2008) with Charles Manekin. Eisen is currently working on a book entitled, Jews—A Success Story: How a Minority Survived Centuries of Persecution and Thrived in the Modern West.
Eisen has received a number of grants and awards to support his research, including a Fulbright research grant at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1999-2000. He was also given a teaching award in 2005 from George Washington University in recognition of his contributions in the classroom.
Eisen is active in adult education initiatives. He has lectured and taught widely in the Jewish and non-Jewish communities in Washington and elsewhere.
Eisen is active as a consultant on issues of religion and international conflict with an interest in fostering better relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims throughout the world. For this purpose, he has participated in a number of high-level dialogues and consultations in Washington and abroad.