Dr. Daniel Gordis Discusses Op-ed with Gann Students

Dr. Daniel Gordis, an American-born Israeli writer, speaker, and ordained rabbi in the Conservative movement, visited Gann last week to discuss his controversial op-ed "Israelis don’t care that you’re insulted: An open letter to American Jews" (The Times of Israel, 2007). Dr. Gordis, whose writings are frequently read by Gann Jewish Studies students, had previously visited Gann to speak with parents about his book We Stand Divided (Harper-Collins 2019). Dr. Gordis' op-ed, which argues that American Jews should not interfere with or offer advice on matters of Israeli security, incited thoughtful debate amongst students.

Shira '20 is grateful that Gann brings in speakers with different stances. "Dr. Gordis strongly articulated his stance that those who do not have physical skin in the game do not have the right to profess opinions on issues of national security," said Shira. "But he was also careful to emphasize the need for our voices to be part of the conversation with regard to the future of Israel."

Gann students certainly added their voices to the conversation as they questioned Dr. Gordis further during his visit.

While talking with Dr. Gordis, Kobe '21 asked, "How is it fair that American Jews, who give their unconditional support to Israel, don't get a say in Israel's decision making, but when Israel makes a controversial decision, American Jews and Jews living in the diaspora have to suffer the international consequences of anti-Semitism?"
"I thought his response was surprising," said Kobe. "He agreed that Israel should take into consideration their effects on Jews around the world." However, Dr. Gordis reiterated that Israel’s national security should be the main deciding factor.

Every year, Gann invites several Israel-related speakers to talk to students, exposing them to a diversity of views on the country. "Ultimately, we want to help students forge a connection to Israel, be knowledgeable about its history, culture, and language, and develop their own stances," said Israel Curriculum Coordinator and history teacher Dr. Jonathan Golden.

Past speakers have included: Israeli historian Gershon Gorenberg, Joe Hyams of Honest Reporting, Mosab Hassan Yousef (also known as the Green Prince), representatives from the Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative Shorashim, Israeli Ambassador George Deek, American lawyer and academic Alan Dershowitz, and several Israeli Consuls to New England.
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