Judaism and AntiSemitism: Jewish Self-Identity in Utah and the United States

Judaism and AntiSemitism: Jewish Self-Identity in Utah and the United States November 26, 2017

Utah Valley University
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Classroom Building (furthest north building on main Orem campus–just east of the track & field)
Free parking immediately west of the Classroom Building
The panel discussion is free & open to the public

Judaism is the most popular faith in the United States, yet there is an upsurge in anti-Semitism across the country, the rise of nationalism, the escalation of neo-Nazi and white-supremacist movements, and hesitancy of some elected officials to unequivocally denounce racism, fascism, and bigotry contribute to this disconcerting trend. The Interreligious Engagement Initiative at Utah Valley University and the UVU Interfaith Student Council welcome to campus three distinguished leaders of Utah’s Jewish community. Together, they will address issues including the state of Judaism in Utah and the U.S. and consider current swells of AntiSemitism in their own experience and those of their congregations.

The panelists include Cantor Wendy Bat-Sarah of Congregation Kol Ami (Salt Lake City); Rabbi Benny Zippel of Chabad Lubavitch (Salt Lake City); and Rabbi David Levinsky of Temple Har Shalom (Park City). They are accomplished inter and intrafaith dialogists and come prepared to discuss the multifaceted aspects of Judaism while simultaneously exploring the sinister realities and implications of racist and religious hatred. This panel discussion provides a singular opportunity for students and members of the community to enjoy a face-to-face encounter with these prominent leaders. In addition to the panelist’s prepared introductory comments and dialogue between themselves, attendees may pose questions themselves to achieve a more thoughtful understanding of Judaism.
Dr. Blair Van Dyke, co-advisor to the Utah Valley University Interfaith Student Council explained that “Jews have been marginalized and persecuted throughout the course of American history. Even so, significant strides have been made toward civility and respect toward Jews. The reality of the Holocaust, the Catholic Church’s formal disavowal of AntiSemitic teachings in Vatican II, deep admiration of Judaism in broad swaths of evangelical Christianity and, most importantly, the remarkable contributions of Jewish Americans in education, science, literature, industry, and governance all combine to account for the respect generally afforded Judaism today. And so, the current spike in AntiSemitism is particularly troubling. Exposing students to a dialogue among Jews will promote greater understanding of successes and challenges in the faith and encourage them to respond to Judaism thoughtfully and reject AntiSemitism.”
Utah Valley University welcomes members of the community to join these Jewish leaders on November 28 beginning at 7:00 pm. KlezBros will provide Yiddish celebratory music to open the dialogue. This panel discussion is free and open to the public.

For additional information contact Blair Van Dyke at

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