18Forty Podcast
18Forty Podcast
Nov 28, 2023
The Opportunity and Difficulty of Unity: On the Israel March
Play • 1 hr 35 min
In this episode of the 18Forty Podcast, we talk to Eric Fingerhut—president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America—and Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff, a scholar and professor at Yeshiva University, about the need for Jewish unity and the barriers to achieving it.

In recent weeks, the Jewish community has been confronted with questions of collective Jewish existence in a way we haven’t seen in decades. In response, the Jewish world has had to join together with an achdus we previously weren’t even sure was possible. In this episode we discuss:
  • What went into planning the historic and enormous March for Israel?
  • What are the opportunities and challenges for Jewish unity in times of crisis?
  • What can the current movement for Jewish solidarity learn from past moments from American and Jewish history?
Tune in to hear a conversation about mobilizing a people known for its proclivity for disagreement.

Interview with Eric Fingerhut begins at 7:26.
Interview with Rabbi Rakeffet begins at 56:31

Eric Fingerhut is the President and CEO of The Jewish Federations of North America. Prior to his appointment at JFNA, Fingerhut served as the President and CEO of Hillel International from 2013-19. He was an Ohio state senator from 1997 to 2006, and he represented Ohio’s 19th congressional district in the U.S. Congress from 1993 to 1994.

Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff is a renowned scholar, historian, author, and teacher, and he is currently professor of rabbinic literature at Yeshiva University’s Caroline and Joseph S. Gruss Institute in Jerusalem. Rabbi Rakeffet has written many entries for Encyclopedia Judaica, including the one on Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. Rabbi Rakeffet served in the Israel Defense Forces until the maximum allowable age, and served in Lebanon during the 1982 Lebanon War. In 1980, he was recruited by Aryeh Kroll to join Mossad's clandestine Nativ operation to teach Torah in the Soviet Union.


The Glue, with Eric Fingerhut

Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn by Daniel Gordis

Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation by Yossi Klein Halevi

Rabbinic Authority and Leadership On the Contemporary Scene” by Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff

Taanit 20a

Crisis Management” by David Bashevkin

Rafael Halperin

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