This Saturday, Beth Am Synagogue in Resevoir Hill kicks off its four-part series, “Press Freedoms Under Siege: The First Amendment and the Jewish Commandments,” consisting of discussions by prominent journalists. Writer, producer and former journalist David Simon is the first speaker.
Although the role that journalism plays in mainstream dialogue has become a controversial topic of conversation, Rabbi Daniel Burg, along with Beth Am’s Continuing Education Committee, acted without hesitancy to put this series together.
“This is part of the mission of the congregation, to help the community — both our immediate community and the broader community,” said Robert Lieberman, the committee’s co-chair. “This is a perfect setting to do that.”
The series will also feature discussions with Ben Jacobs of The Guardian on Dec. 6; Rachel Fishman Feddersen, publisher and CEO of The Forward on Jan. 6; and Robert Blau, managing editor of Bloomberg News, on March 3.
Besides the unique role each speaker has played in championing journalism, all four are associated with Beth Am Synagogue, either as current members or having grown up in the congregation. Lieberman, who is a professor of political science at Johns Hopkins University, said having these individuals associated with Beth Am made for an opportunity the synagogue could not pass up.
“As events have unfolded in the country over the last few months, we wanted to do something that would really highlight the contributions that these four people have made thinking about the predicament that journalism is in in the United States,” he said.
Lieberman expressed great excitement in having the opportunity to hear from the speakers about how the values of journalism connect with Jewish values.
“We know what it is to live as an oppressed minority within an authoritarian society that doesn’t value truth or the freedom of expression,” he said. “I think for us, as Jews in the United States, this is an especially important conversation.”
Connor Graham is a local freelance writer.