Jewish Priorities 2023

Thank you for a great event!

Watch or Listen: Check out the post-conference videos and podcast below


This conference was made available free of charge. Thank you to Philip M. Darivoff and the Steinhardt Foundation for their support. To further help underwrite the costs of this event and support the Weitzman’s vital work of confronting antisemitism through educating the public about Jews, please donate. 


Questions? Please email


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About the Jewish Priorities Conference

at the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History

How do we move forward together in the face of the unthinkable? Join us as we bring together more than 25 of the most important writers, thinkers, and leaders from across the Jewish world to discuss, debate, and reassess the deepest questions of Jewish life in the wake of the devastation and war in Israel. This gathering will include deep dives on peoplehood, antisemitism, diaspora institutions, Zionism, literature, ritual, and more—and you will have the opportunity, over a full day, to engage directly with some of the most essential Jewish voices today.

This event signifies a pivotal moment for The Weitzman, as it embraces the role of a nationwide leader and convener of Jewish thought leadership.

As the only organization anywhere dedicated to exploring, preserving, and interpreting the nearly four centuries of American Jewish history from the dawn of our nation to the present day, the Jewish Priorities Conference is a natural extension of our mission to unleash the power of education as an antidote to antisemitism. 

The conference is in conjunction with and has been inspired by the much-awaited release of Jewish Priorities: Sixty-five Proposals for the Future of Our People. This trailblazing anthology, skillfully edited by David Hazony—and featuring essays by many of the distinguished participants in this conference—serves as a powerful catalyst for opening dialogues, embracing disagreements, and fostering understanding. 

Convened by The Weitzman, presented with Unorthodox

Questions? Contact

Sessions & Recordings

Final program subject to change due to current events in Israel.
All sessions moderated by Liel Leibovitz and/or Stephanie Butnick of the Unorthodox Podcast
(updated as of 10/22/23)

Recording 1

WELCOMING REMARKS: Dr. Misha Galperin, President & CEO, The Weitzman

SPECIAL GUESTS: Nova Music Festival Survivor Natalie Sanandaji interviewed by Dan Raviv


OPENING SESSION: Can We Even Sit on a Panel Together?
Philip M. Darivoff, Chairman Emeritus, The Weitzman
Adam Bellow, Publisher, Wicked Son Books
Panelists: Rabbi Shlomo Elkan, Jodi Rudoren, Rabbi David Wolpe
Moderators: Stephanie Butnick & Liel Leibovitz

Recording 2

SESSION 1 (Concurrent Session):
Egypt: Are We Doing Exile Wrong?

Panelists: Rabbi David Gedzelman, Ally Goldberg, Dara Horn
Moderator: Liel Leibovitz

Recording 3

SESSION 2 (Concurrent Session) | Dell Theater (C)
Wilderness: Hate, Alliances, Identity

Panelists: David L. Bernstein, Rabbi Shais Rishon (MaNishtana), Hallel Silverman, Izabella Tabarovsky
Moderator: Stephanie Butnick

Recording 4

SESSION 3 (Concurrent Session)
Mount Sinai: Stories, Rituals, and the Jewish Spirit Theater

Panelists: Rabbi Melanie Levav, Ruby Namdar, Laura Shaw Frank, Ph.D., Scott A. Shay
Moderator: Stephanie Butnick

Recording 5

SESSION 4 (Concurrent Session)
Promised Land: Sovereignty, Democracy, and the Land of Israel

Panelists: Sally Abrams, Rabbi Yishai Fleisher, Blake Flayton, Dahlia Scheindlin Ph.D., Bret Stephens
Moderator: Liel Leibovitz

Recording 6

CLOSING SESSION: We’re Just Getting Started

Remarks: David Hazony, editor of Jewish Priorities
Panelists: Yosef Abramowitz, Roya Hakakian, Tal Keinan, Andrés Spokoiny
Moderators: Stephanie Butnick & Liel Leibovitz

CLOSING REMARKS Misha Galperin, Ph.D., President & CEO, The Weitzman


Author/Speaker bios

Yosef Israel Abramowitz is a leader of President Herzog’s Climate Forum, was named by CNN as one of the leading six Green Pioneers worldwide, and serves as CEO of Gigawatt Global, an impact investment platform for green energy. He was nominated by twelve African countries for the Nobel Peace Prize for his solar work.

Sally Abrams is Director of Judaism and Israel Education at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.

Adam Bellow is publisher of Wicked Son Books and executive editor of Bombardier Books, imprints of Post Hill Press. He has previously been editorial director of The Free Press, executive editor at Doubleday-Broadway, and editorial director of Broadside Books and All Points Books. He is also the author of In Praise of Nepotism: A History of Family Enterprise from King David to George W. Bush and co-editor of
New Threats to Freedom and The State of the American Mind.

David L. Bernstein is founder of the Jewish Institute for Liberal Values ( and author of Woke Antisemitism: How a Progressive Ideology Harms Jews (Wicked Son, 2022).

Stephanie Butnick is head of community for Tablet Magazine and the co-host of its popular podcast, Unorthodox

Philip M. Darivoff is Chairman Emeritus of the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History as well as a longtime AIPAC national board member.  Darivoff serves as Chairman of the Board of Vibrant Capital Partners.  He is also on the Board of CLAL, The Henry Jackson Society, American Friends of Tel Aviv University, The Katz Center at the University of Pennsylvania, and the National Trust for the Humanities.

Rabbi Shlomo Elkan is the rabbi and co-director of Chabad at Oberlin College. Along with his wife, Devorah, and eight children, Shlomo is committed to helping young Jews connect with their rich heritage and history in creative ways. He also serves as a Jewish chaplain in prisons in the state of Ohio.

Blake Flayton is a recent graduate of George Washington University writing as a weekly columnist for the Jewish Journal. He made Aliyah to Tel Aviv in September of 2022.

Rabbi Yishai Fleisher is the International Spokesperson for the Jewish community of Hebron, home of the Biblical Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs. He is a broadcaster on the Land of Israel Network and has been featured on CNN, Al Jazeera, Fox, Vice, BBC, and more. He holds a J.D. from Cardozo Law School.

Dr. Misha Galperin is President & CEO of the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History. A clinical psychologist by training, Dr. Galperin has led major Jewish communal and philanthropic organizations for nearly four decades. He is the author of two books: The Case for Jewish Peoplehood: Can We Be One?, and Reimagining Leadership in Jewish Organizations.

Rabbi David Gedzelman is President and CEO of the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life.

Ally Goldberg is a freelance writer and passionate advocate for the Jewish community whose work has been in many Jewish publications including Kveller, Times of Israel, and The Jewish Chronicle.

Roya Hakakian is the author of a selected volume of poetry in Persian, For the Sake of Water, and three books of nonfiction in English, including the acclaimed Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran (Crown, 2005) and, most recently, A Beginner’s Guide to America: For the Immigrant and the Curious (Knopf, 2021).

David Hazony is an award-winning editor, translator, and author. He is the former editor-in-chief of the journal Azure and was the founding editor of His book The Ten Commandments (Scribner, 2010) was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. His translation of Uri Bar-Joseph’s The Angel (HarperCollins, 2016) was a winner of the National Jewish Book Award. He has edited two previous anthologies: Essential Essays on Judaism by Eliezer Berkovits (Shalem, 2002), and, with Yoram Hazony and Michael B. Oren, New Essays on Zionism (Shalem, 2007). He has a Ph.D. in Jewish Philosophy from
the Hebrew University and lives in Jerusalem.

Dara Horn is the award-winning author of five novels and the essay collection People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present (W.W. Norton, 2021) and a scholar of Hebrew and Yiddish literature.

Tal Keinan is the author of God Is in the Crowd: Twenty-First-Century Judaism (Random House, 2018). Born and raised in the United States, he immigrated to Israel where he served for eighteen years as a fighter pilot in the Israel Air Force. Keinan lives in New York and works in airport infrastructure development.

Rabbi Melanie Levav is a board-certified chaplain, licensed social worker, certified end-of-life doula, and second-career rabbi passionate about helping people to live well in the face of mortality, inspired by Jewish wisdom.

Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and the co-host of its popular podcast, Unorthodox 

Ruby Namdar is an Israeli-American author born and raised in Jerusalem to a family of Iranian-Jewish heritage. His latest novel The Ruined House (HarperCollins, 2017) won the Sapir Prize, Israel’s most prestigious literary award. He lives in New York City with his wife and two daughters.

MaNishtana is the pen name of Rabbi Shais Rishon, an Orthodox African-American-Jewish writer, speaker, rabbi, and author of Thoughts from a Unicorn: 100% Black. 100% Jewish. 0% Safe. (2012).

Jodi Rudoren is editor-in-chief of the Forward. Before coming to the Forward in 2019, she spent twenty-one years as a reporter, editor, and digital innovator at the New York Times, including a stint as Jerusalem bureau chief. This essay is adapted from her weekly column, “Looking Forward.”

Dahlia Scheindlin, Ph.D., is a political scientist and a political advisor who has worked on nine national election campaigns in Israel and studied public opinion regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for twenty-five years. Her book about the history of democracy in Israel is forthcoming in 2023.

Laura Shaw Frank, Ph.D., is the National Director of the William Petschek Contemporary Jewish Life Department at American Jewish Committee (AJC) where she works on the thriving of the American Jewish community. Laura completed her doctorate in Jewish history from the University of Maryland and has undergraduate and law degrees from Columbia University.

Scott A. Shay is the author of Conspiracy U: A Case Study (Wicked Son, 2021) and In Good Faith: Questioning Religion and Atheism (Post Hill Press, 2018).

Hallel Silverman is an American-born, Israeli-raised activist, content creator, and blogger in Tel Aviv. She has created content for dozens of major organizations and has been a leading voice online for liberal Zionism. She is an associate at the Tel Aviv Institute. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.

Andrés Spokoiny is a long-time Jewish communal leader. Currently the CEO and president of the Jewish Funders Network, he held senior positions in Canada, Europe, and South America. Andrés has a multi-disciplinary academic background that includes business, Jewish education, rabbinic studies, and organizational behavior.

Bret Stephens is a columnist with the New York Times and editor-in-chief of Sapir. He won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2013 and was banned for life from Russia in 2022.

Izabella Tabarovsky writes about Soviet Anti-Zionism, contemporary Left antisemitism, and the links between the two.

Rabbi David Wolpe is the Rabbi Emeritus of Sinai Temple, Visiting Scholar at Harvard Divinity school, and the author, most recently, of David: The Divided Heart (Yale, 2014).


4th of July Family Day

The Weitzman is the perfect spot for history and fun on the fourth!

 Whether you prefer the indoors or the fresh air outside, we’ve got you covered with a fantastic viewing party followed by make-and-take crafts, interactive performers, and sensory-friendly activities.

Activities 11 am – 4 pm | Museum & Store 10 am – 5 pm

Extended Holiday Schedule
10 am – 5 pm, Thursday, June 27 through Sunday, July 7

Preview the Party Schedule
The Weitzman