The Jewish Activism Reading Group 

Our fifth session is coming soon, at the JVB Salon, Turmstraße 10 10559 Berlin:

"Dynamics of Identity in the Jews of Turkey: from Kayades to Avlaremos".

'Kayades' is a Ladino word meaning 'discretion', 'silence'. The Jewish community in Turkey uses this word as an expression of the community's reaction towards anti-semitism, and  their stance towards other hot topics of Turkey, like Turkish national Identity and Turkish-Israeli relations. But recent years have brought change. The young generation of Jews have started to use another Ladino word -  'Avlaremos', meaning 'Let's Talk'.

   Adem Muzaffer Erol, doctoral candidate at the University of Potsdam and ELES fellow, will lead the discussion in english.

The Jewish Activism Reading Group, a project of the Jewish Activism Summer School, aims to educate Jews and others in the past, present and future of (Jewish) activism, also known as tikkun ha-olam (repair of the world) and to provide participants with skills, tools and tactical models for effective change-making and awareness of current thinking regarding activism.


The prooftexts urging us to understand that activism is necessary are many:

Said Hillel the elder: If not now, when?! If I am not for myself, who will be for me?! If I am for myself alone, what am I?!” (Pirke Avot, 1:14)

“If the misery of our poor be caused not by laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” (Charles Darwin)


“Shimon, [Rabban Gamliel’s] son, says, ‘Study [of Torah] is not what is essential, but acting [based on Torah]’” (Pirke Avot 1:17)


“Rabbi Tarfon taught: ‘It is not your responsibility to finish the work, but neither are you free to desist from it’” (Pirke Avot, 2:16)


“Rabbi Yochanan son of Zakkai taught: ‘If you have a sapling in your hand and someone tells you the Messiah has arrived, first plant the sapling and then go out to welcome the Messiah’” (Avot d’Rabbi Natan)


“Philanthropy is no doubt commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice that make philanthropy necessary” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)


“When I feed the poor, they call me a saint,” Hélder Câmara, the Brazilian archbishop, once said. “But when I ask why so many people are poor, they call me a communist.”

Our next session, set for Tuesday, March 17th at 18:30 is herby canceled. We are upholding by latests regulations and postponing the event until further notice, in order to contribute to the world wide efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 virus.

Please stay tuned for the new date.

©  2017 Jewish Activism Summer School 

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