What is the future of the Jewish people? Very few have truly developed a comprehensive vision. Avraham Infeld is one of those few, and he will share this vision at the Joseph Teverow and Jacqueline Teverow Factor Memorial Lecture. Scheduled for Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Alliance’s Dwares Jewish Community Center, Infeld’s presentation will engage participants in ideas that can change the Jewish world.
Infeld exclaims that “Judaism is NOT a religion!” Lord Jonathan Sacks, former chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, calls Infeld “engaging and inspiring…full of delightful stories, compelling analysis and generosity of spirit.” The President Emeritus of Yeshiva University (Orthodox), Richard M. Joel, calls Infeld “our minstrel of Jewish passion and purpose.” The Chancellor Emeritus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (Reform), Rabbi David Ellenson, says that “anyone who wants to know what the best of Judaism and the Jewish people can be” should turn to Infeld.
Infeld explains how the Jewish people may achieve unity without uniformity through their shared peoplehood, rather than through religion. Through his stories and accessible messages, he describes how the idea of Jewish peoplehood connects Jews together, no matter where they live or how they practice. He provides the opportunity to engage with world-shaking ideas that he illustrates through delightful story-telling.
Infeld is president emeritus of Hillel International and founder and director of a number of innovative educational institutions. He was planning director of Birthright Israel. For a long time, no Israeli army cadet could graduate from Officer’s Training School without attending a talk by Infeld. He was the first-ever community shaliach (Israeli emissary) assigned to the United States and he speaks each year at the training sessions of the shlichim. He has invested a lifetime building Jewish identity and strengthening the State of Israel by instructing Jewish youth on five core principles: the Hebrew language, the Land of Israel, Jewish values, the Jewish religion and the Jewish community.
I first met Infeld when I was on the staff of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. Infeld spoke so passionately then that the Dallas Federation had to bring him back twice in two years, as too many people complained they had not been available to hear him during his first visit. Infeld, who tells stories in with his charming South African accent, is a popular speaker among Jews in their twenties, as well as those closer to his own age.
This lecture is sponsored by the Teverow family in loving memory of their parents, Joseph Teverow and Jacqueline Teverow Factor. Both shared a passion for Jewish education and for Israel, and they were avid supporters of adult Jewish educational programs. Joseph Teverow was especially active at Temple Emanu-El and the Bureau of Jewish Education, both of which honored him with awards. Jacqueline Teverow Factor played a prominent role locally and nationally in Na’amat (Pioneer Women).
This lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer period. It is the second of this season’s Israel Culture Series, hosted by Or Cohen, this community’s shlichah (Israel emissary). For more information, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-421-4111, ext. 121. Copies of Infeld’s book, “A Passion for a People,” will be sold at the event for $20. Infeld will be available to sign books.
LARRY KATZ (email@example.com) is the director of Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.