Greenfield Summer Institute explores Jewish dissidence and rebellion

July 2, 2013

Participants in the 14th annual Greenfield Summer Institute will explore Jewish dissent and rebellion in a five-day event on the UW-Madison campus.

Photo: Michael Walzer

Michael Walzer

Hosted by the George L. Mosse/Laurence A. Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies July 7-11, the Institute will feature talks by nationally-renowned speakers, including political scholar Michael Walzer, and a concert by Grammy-nominated jazz musician and UW-Madison graduate Ben Sidran.

This year's theme is "Subversive Jews: Dissidents and Rebels in the Jewish Tradition." Scholars and participants will discuss topics such as gender, political action, literature and science, as well as prominent Jewish intellectuals. Madison Mayor and UW alumnus Paul Soglin will speak about Jewish participation in student protests at UW-Madison in the 1960s, while Walzer, a professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., will discuss the political views of various biblical writers. All lectures will occur in Grainger Hall.

"You think of dissent and rebellion as things that involve a break with tradition, or that challenge tradition in some way, but we thought one of the things that is interesting about the Jewish tradition is that those things are so much a part of the tradition itself," says Chad Goldberg, chair of the Greenfield Summer Institute Committee and UW-Madison sociology professor.

Walzer's book "In God's Shadow: Politics in the Hebrew Bible" is also the featured reading of this year's Greenfield Book Club, a new addition to the institute's curriculum.

“You think of dissent and rebellion as things that involve a break with tradition ... but we thought one of the things that is interesting about the Jewish tradition is that those things are so much a part of the tradition itself.”

Chad Goldberg

In addition to lectures, discussions and the book club, the institute will feature two concerts. Sidran, an acclaimed producer, composer, pianist and singer, will perform at 4 p.m. on July 10 at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, while local klezmer band Yid Vicious will play at 4 p.m. on July 8 at Union South. Both concerts are free and open to the public.

The institute was originally created through an endowment from the late Larry Greenfield, a 1956 UW graduate in electrical engineering, and continues to be supported by his wife, Roslyn.

Michael Bernard-Donals, director of the university's Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies, notes the institute maintains connections with friends and alumni and forms community ties.

"It's consistent with the Wisconsin Idea, that what we do here at the university should have an impact well beyond it."

For more information or to register, call 608-890-3572 or visit the event website. The registration cost is $185.

—Aly Pavela