Almost exactly a century ago, Louis Brandeis wrote that “the 20th-century ideals of America have been the ideals of the Jew for 20 centuries.” How true do we judge this statement to be for the 21st-century ideals of America? Lawrence Bush, the editor of Jewish Currents magazine, will contrast the communitarian sensibility of Judaism (what Martin Buber called “the genuine We”) and the values implicit in contemporary Jewish history with the “rugged individualism” and hyper-capitalist sensibility that is shaping American culture and politics today. Jews have been leaders of key progressive American political and cultural movements for the past two centuries. Has that progressive role run its course?   

Lawrence Bush has been a creative force in the Jewish community as a writer, visual artist and magazine editor for over three decades. He edits Jewish Currents, a 70-year old magazine, and conducts a daily blog about the date in Jewish history, JEWDAYO. Bush was a speechwriter for a dozen years for Rabbi Alexander M. Schindler, the late leader of Reform Judaism in America, and also served for thirteen years as the founding editor of the magazine of the Reconstructionist movement, Reconstructionism Today. His newest books are Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist and The Tree Jumped, the River Ran Backwards, a retelling of Talmudic stories for young readers. His other books include BESSIE: A Novel of Love and Revolution; American Torah Toons: 54 Illustrated Commentaries;and Jews, Money and Social Responsibility, among others. Bush’s essays, fiction and artwork have appeared in the New York Times, Village Voice, MAD magazine, Tikkun, Reform Judaism, and many other publications, and his writings have been anthologized in Best Jewish Writing 2003; Hallucinogens: A Reader; The 54th Century; and A Mentsh Among Men

6:15 p.m. (After Lawrence Bush), Friday, Aug. 21: Potluck dairy-vegetarian dinner. Open to the public.

RSVP Dorothy Goldstone – dorothygoldstone@gmail.com or

                                                Eileen Regen – e.sregen@roadrunner.com.