January 31st: DOUBLE BILL – Rabbi Stephen Fuchs (5:30pm) and Phil Alexander (8pm)

A buffet will be provided between 7pm and 8pm

At 5:30pm, Stephen Fuchs will speak about his new book What’s in it for Me: Finding Ourselves in Biblical Narratives

The world is rapidly dividing between those who take biblical narratives as the literal word of God—claiming that they are historically and scientifically true—and those who dismiss those narratives as quaint or even foolish fairy tales. There is however a sacred middle ground that What’s in It For Me? Finding Ourselves in Biblical Narratives invites the reader to discover. The “truth” of these stories has nothing to do with “Did this really happen?” Their truth emerges in the valuable lessons these stories can teach all of us. There will be a book signing after the talk.

Stephen Fuchs is the former president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. He has served as senior rabbi to Congregation Beth Israel having a strong interest in interfaith dialogue and has written extensively on issues pertaining to Jewish life and religion.

At 8pm, Phil Alexander will give a musically illustrated talk entitled My Lover, My Murderer’s Daughter: Berlin and the politics of klezmer music.

Over the last twenty-five years, Berlin has played host to Europe’s most dynamic klezmer and Yiddish music scene. These days, the city’s scene attracts a vibrant blend of musicians from around the world, part of a complex and international conversation which takes in rupture and renewal, tradition and innovation, history and modernity. The talk will explore this ongoing journey of Berlin klezmer and the challenges of making the traditional strains of Jewish folk music relevant to a twenty-first century capital city.

Phil Alexander is currently completing his PhD at SOAS, University of London, focusing on contemporary klezmer and Yiddish music in Berlin. As a musician he is the driving force behind Edinburgh-based Moishe’s Bagel, and a long-term musical partner of Eliza Carthy, Salsa Celtica and Mr McFall’s Chamber.

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Filed under 5776 / 2015-16 Programme

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