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Jewish scholars talk about the “psychic familiarity” of Hamas attack on Oct. 7

Professors Cross (left), Lefkovitz (middle, and Rabinovitch (right) leading the panel.

When Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7, “the psychic familiarity to Jews was instant,” said Lori Lefkovitz, Ruderman Professor of Jewish Studies and Director of Jewish Studies Program. 

“‘Pogrom’ was all over the Jewish press. It looked like a pogrom,” she said during a talk that featured Jewish perspectives on a range of topics—from the establishment of the state of Israel, to the ongoing war. “So immediately there was this association with a history of persecution, and a familiarity with the innocent having been murdered,” Lefkovitz said. 

The talk was part of the ongoing Crisis Conversation Series on the Israel-Hamas war, held by the Center for International Affairs and World Cultures. Mai’a Cross, director of the center, and Dean’s Professor of Political Science, International Affairs and Diplomacy, moderated the discussion, which drew scores of students and community members.

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