It’s not surprising why some people try to avoid talking about politics or religion: Passionately held views on such sensitive subjects can easily lead to heated arguments.
And that’s exactly why several local Jewish organizations are bringing two prominent Jewish journalists here to talk about Israel from their opposite ideological perspectives.
Jonathan Tobin and J.J. Goldberg “model what it looks like when people disagree with each other and talk about issues” instead of launching personal attacks, said Elana Kahn, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. “So rarely do we get to hear people argue … without being nasty.”
The conservative Tobin and progressive Goldberg will face off in a moderated forum, as they have done in other cities around the nation.
Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor-in-chief from 2000 to 2007. According to the Forward’s website, he was previously U.S. bureau chief for the Jerusalem Report, managing editor of the Jewish Week of New York, editor-in-chief of the labor Zionist monthly Jewish Frontier and a syndicated columnist for Jewish publications. He’s also worked as a taxicab driver in New York City; a Jewish communal worker in Los Angeles; and a construction worker, kibbutz secretary-general and Border Police sharpshooter in Israel. He is the author of three books: “The Jewish Americans” (1992), “Builders and Dreamers” (1993), and “Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment” (1996).
Goldberg was born in New York, raised on Long Island and in Washington, D.C., lived in Israel during the 1970s and now lives in New York. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Jewish studies and Islamic studies from McGill University in Montreal and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York.
Jonathan Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary Magazine, which he served as executive editor from 2009 to 2011. According to his LinkedIn profile and the World Journalism Institute website, he was previously executive editor of the Jewish Exponent of Philadelphia and of the Connecticut Jewish Ledger; a columnist for the Forward and The Jerusalem Post; and a contributing editor for the Miami Jewish Tribune.
Tobin was born in New York and now lives in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Columbia.
“They’re both real intellectuals, and they’re certainly well-informed and respected thought leaders,” Kahn said. “Each of them does love Israel, from their own perspective. … It’s a great opportunity to talk about the things that are hard to talk about.”
The forum is part of the “Let’s Talk Israel” series, presented by the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Israel Center of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. Other sponsors of this forum include the Committee for Truth and Justice, the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, Hillel Milwaukee, J Street; Congregations Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah, Beth Israel Ner Tamid, Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun, Emanu-El of Waukesha, Shalom, Shir Hadash and Sinai; Lake Park Synagogue and Temple Menorah.
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How to go
“Left vs. Right: The Battle for Israel’s Soul,” with Jonathan Tobin and J.J. Goldberg
Thursday, Nov. 17, 7*9 p.m.
7630 N. Santa Monica Blvd.,
AllisonH@MilwaukeeJewish.org or 414-390-5735