A compelling talk by The New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief capped off a busy Fall semester of Jewish Studies events, many focused on Israel. Jodi Rudoren, who has been in Israel for The Times since May 2012, addressed critics on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide in delivering this year’s Morton E. Ruderman Memorial Lecture. Rudoren, who titled her Dec. 2 talk, “Journalism in a Land of Few Facts,” discussed the many ways in which contested facts complicate media coverage.
During her years in Jerusalem, Rudoren covered two Gaza wars and two Israeli elections. She has also reported on the Syrian civil war, West Bank resettlement, terror attacks, and the fallout from the Iran nuclear deal.
Rudoren grew up in Newton and graduated from Newton North High School in 1988. Her parents, who are founding members of Newton’s Shaarei Tefila congregation, attended the talk, along with many local friends and family.
Rudoren’s Ruderman Lecture was one of her last public acts as The Times’ Jerusalem Bureau Chief. She will return to New York in January to assume the position as deputy on The Times’ International Desk.
Rudoren wasn’t the only Middle East journalist to visit Northeastern in the Fall semester. Israeli journalist Itai Anghel discussed the rise of ISIS and his trip to Syria to report on the phenomenon in a Nov. 17 address. The documentary filmmaker showed clips from his films during his talk, as well as described his personal experiences as an Israeli operating in conflict zones such as Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Lebanon.
Jewish Studies also co-sponsored several events with the Middle East Center, including a lecture by former Newsweek and Daily Beast Jerusalem bureau chief Dan Ephron, who talked about his new book, “Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel.” Jewish Studies and the Middle East Center also featured two Israeli experts who discussed key issues in the Middle East: Efraim Inbar, a professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University, and David Govrin, Director of the Jordan and North Africa Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Israel. (For a description of Inbar’s and Govrin’s lecture and reception, see the accompanying article “Israel Studies at Northeastern.”)
Rounding out its Israeli programming this semester, Jewish Studies sponsored the film “Rock in the Red Zone” at the Boston Jewish Film Festival on Nov. 8. The film explored the vibrant rock music scene that exists in the Israeli town of Sderot despite persistent rocket fire from the Gaza strip. Following the film’s screening, Northeastern University Professor of Music Josh Jacobson moderated a discussion with the film’s director Laura Bialis and one of the featured musicians.
Author, journalist, and Farsi poet Roya Hakakian delivered a lecture on “What Jewish Life in 20th Century Iran Reveals about Iran Today” on Nov. 19.
Professor and Director of Jewish Studies Lori Lefkovitz closed the busy semester with her Dec. 3 lecture, “In Media Res: The Shaping of Time in Jewish Stories.”
Read the rest of the Fall 2015 Haverim Newsletter here.