Registration & Breakfast

Plenary Session

The Spirit of Jewish Conservatism

Eric Cohen

We are living in a Jewish golden age—shaped by the blessings of American freedom and the miracle of Jewish sovereignty. Yet the Jewish people also face remarkable challenges: virulent forms of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism around the world, the diminishing of Jewish identity at home, and “progressive” ideas that weaken Jewish civilization everywhere. The time is now for a new Jewish political vision that brings together the riches of Jewish tradition and the wisdom of conservative ideas, and a new political movement that speaks up for the Jews in a proud conservative voice.

Jewish Books and Jewish Politics: New-Old Literature for the Old-New Land

Dr. Ruth Wisse

The greatest modern Jewish writers—like the biblical prophets—grappled passionately with the dilemmas of political life. They wrote stories, poems, and novels—but for many of them, the real subject was the problem of Jewish weakness and the promise of Jewish sovereignty. How did these writers and thinkers understand the political behavior of the Jews, and how did they shape the spirit of modern Jewish nationalism?


Breakout Session A

(Participants Choose One)

Left, Right, and Israeli National Security

Elliott Abrams

Moderator: Dr. Michael Doran

Political support for the Jewish state has long been a broadly bi-partisan issue in America—and a multi-denominational issue in the American Jewish community. Yet the nature of the Israel question in America seems to be changing, as witnessed in recent debates over the Iran nuclear deal and over various anti-Israel efforts at the United Nations. Why is the left becoming more hostile towards Israel, and why is the right becoming even more committed to standing with the Jewish state? And what do these ideological shifts mean for the future of pro-Israel advocacy?

God, Nationalism, and Conservatism: A Jewish View

Dr. Yoram Hazony

Moderator: Dr. Jonathan Silver

The idea of nationalism has dramatically returned to the center of American and world politics. But what does nationalism have to do with conservatism? And can a nationalist make room in his worldview for God? Jews have a great stake in these questions—and much to contribute. The Jewish Bible is the fountainhead for our ideas of the national state, God, and Anglo-American conservatism. Bringing these biblical ideals together in a way that is relevant to modern citizens and modern nations may be the most pressing challenge of our era.

Jews, Christians, and the Conservative Alliance

Gary L. Bauer & Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik

Moderator: Eric Cohen

When it comes to many of the great cultural and political issues of our age—religious freedom, school choice, the culture of the family, love of Israel—Jews and Christians are indispensable allies to one another and essential leaders for the country. The time has come to form a deeper cultural and political alliance between our two communities in the public arena, while respecting the permanent theological differences that will forever define our distinct identities as Jews and as Christians.


Why Conservatism is Good for the Jews

Dennis Prager

For decades, Jewish conservatives have wondered—and despaired—about why Jews are liberals even when liberal ideas seem to undermine Jewish interests and conflict with Jewish values. The time has come to make the positive case for why conservatism is good for the Jews, and why Jewish ideas are essential to the conservative renewal of America. Drawing on history, philosophy, and modern politics, veteran radio host and intellectual entrepreneur Dennis Prager makes the case for a new era of Jewish conservatism.

Breakout Session B

(Participants Choose One)

School Choice and the Jewish Education Agenda

Jason Bedrick & Dr. Eva Moskowitz

Moderator: Eric Cohen

No issue in American life today is more important for American Jews—or for American civilization—than the future of our schools. A series of innovative reforms—including charter schools, education savings accounts, and school choice programs—provide a potential new opportunity to expand the range of options for Jewish families. What is at stake for Jews and Christians alike in the state-level and national school choice debates? And how could school choice programs around the country unleash a new age of Jewish educational entrepreneurship?

Religious Liberty on Trial: What are the Challenges for the Jewish Community?

Leonard Leo & Dr. Yuval Levin

Moderator: Aylana Meisel

Religious liberty is on trial in America, both in legislative debates at the state and federal level and in court cases now working their way through the judicial system. Will American society continue to respect the religious freedom of traditional communities? Will the moral teachings and ritual practices of Jewish schools and synagogues face new kinds of scrutiny or even prohibitions? And what can Jewish leaders and activists do to help protect and preserve religious freedom in America—not only for Jews, but for all Americans?

The Jewish Invention of Western Civilization

Dr. David Gelernter

Moderator: Neal Kozodoy

In every arena of Western civilization—morality and politics, art and literature, the spirit of chivalry and the quest for God—Jewish ideas and biblical images lie at the foundation. Jews themselves have often failed to appreciate this majestic history, or to understand their remarkable place in the cultural history of mankind. To renew the West, we need to rediscover and renew the central place of the Hebrew Bible in shaping who we are, how we live, what we create, and what we value.


Closing Reception