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Is it a Mitzvah to Vote? Is Political Action A Religious Duty?

CLAL Breakfast to Explore the Changing Role of Religion in Public Life

By Judy Epstein, Director of Public Affairs

CLAL-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership will hold a breakfast to discuss the role of religion in public life. Led by CLAL faculty including political scientists Drs. Shari Cohen and Michael Gottsegen, and psychologist Rabbi Tsvi Blanchard, the program will look at the link between spiritual and political practice.

"The historic nomination of Senator Joe Lieberman as the Democratic Vice President has catapulted the subjects of religion, 'Jewishness' and Jews in public life into the national spotlight," said Rabbi Daniel Brenner, moderator for the event. "How might his candidacy affect the future of Jews in politics? Does he push the boundaries of church vs. state separation? But more pointedly, can politics be infused with ethical and spiritual concerns without invoking God? These are some of the issues CLAL's faculty will explore in preparation for Election Day.

Other topics examined will include the impact of globalization and technology on traditional electoral politics, how people's experiences in both religion and public life have changed, and where changing and divergent Jewish identities fit in. Classical Jewish texts that speak to these contemporary questions will be used.

The program, to be held at the Harmonie Club (4 East 60th Street, NYC) on November 1 will begin at 8:00 am with breakfast, followed by a panel and small group discussion from 8:30-10:00 am. The cost is $45. To register (by October 27), phone CLAL at 212-779-3300.

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