In the 1930s, Marxism seemed an attractive new ideology to a generation of young, Jewish intellectuals growing up in New York City in the lean years of the Depression. Four radical young students at City College in New York, Daniel Bell, Nathan Glazer, Irving Howe and Irving Kristol began a conversation that continued publicly and passionately for the next six decades as each man journeyed from their liberal roots.
That pilgrimage is explored in the 1998 documentary, Arguing the World, which highlights the men’s working class backgrounds and divergent political paths. Bell considered himself a liberal in politics, a socialist in economics and a conservative in culture. Glazer became a leading authority on issues of race, immigration, urban development and social policy. Howe, who passed away in 1993 was a democratic socialist and Kristol became a key founder of the neoconservative movement.
Michael Walzer, Political Philosopher, explains what shaped the men’s intellects. “One of the most striking things about them and what distinguishes them from their academic peers and from some of their successors, both left and right, is their way of thinking about the world. They wouldn’t begin to analyze, say, the most recent strike in Detroit without starting with the division of labor in Ancient Babylonia. These men grew up absorbing historical context at their kitchen tables.”
On January 23, Rabbi Barry Cytron, Adath Jeshurun Senior Scholar and Jewish Chaplain at Macalester College, will lead a fascinating discussion using a clip from the documentary and discussing what these men’s intellectual journeys say about us as Jews.
His discussion will be part of Adath’s Sampler of Jewish Culture which will feature fifteen different courses. Attendees can learn about Aging Wisely or Living Mindfully. There will be sessions on Yoga & Kabbalah and a class on Comics and Jews, and much more.
The evening begins at 6:30 and concludes at 10 PM with refreshments. Early bird registration, by January 21 is $14 or $18 at the door. Click HERE for complete class descriptions and to sign-up.
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