10.11.13 Issue

by Sherrie Saag, Communications, Jewish Federation of Omaha

“The Schwalb Center for Israel and Jewish Studies has once again garnered one of the best and brightest to speak at the 5th Annual Ruth and Phil Sokolof Lecture Series,” said Gary Javitch, a Schwalb Center advisory committee member.

Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat  is an attorney and heads the International Practice at Covington & Burling, LLP in Washington D.C. He has received seven honorary doctorate degrees and more than 100 awards including the Legion of Honor from France and an Honorary Doctor of Human Letters from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

Eizenstat has served in senior leadership positions in three U.S. administrations: White House Chief Domestic Policy Advisor for President Jimmy Carter and Under Secretary of State; Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and Ambassador to the European Union in the Clinton Administration, and as a member of President Lyndon Johnson’s White House staff.

“We are fortunate this year to have such a special guest. Ambassador Eizenstat not only served three U.S presidents in his distinguished government career, but is also quite well known for his many contributions to the American Jewish community,” said Nate Schwalb, founder of the Schwalb Center for Israel and Jewish Studies.

The lecture will take place at UNO’s Thompson Alumni Center on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

His latest book, The Future of the Jews: How Global Forces are Impacting the Jewish People, Israel, and its Relationship with the United States, will serve as the basis for his talk in Omaha. In it, he surveys the major geopolitical, economic, and security challenges facing the world in general, and the Jewish world and the United States in particular.

Some of the challenges he references include the shift of power and influence from the United States and Europe to the emerging powers in Asia and Latin America; the battle for the direction of the Muslim world; changing demographics in relation to worldwide Jewry and the rise of a new anti-Semitism that seeks to delegitimize Israel as a Jewish state.

He also discusses the enduring nature of and challenges to the strategic alliance between the United States and Israel. “The ambassador’s strategic analysis should prove interesting to anyone concerned about the future of Jews worldwide. His depth of knowledge and experience will make for a fascinating lecture,” said Stacey Rockman, past Chair of the Schwalb Center for Israel and Jewish Studies.

The Ambassador’s previous speaking engagements have been described as, “a uniquely interesting view of the roles of Israel and the United States in a world that is confronting unprecedented simultaneous, cataclysmic changes.”

Ambassador Eizenstat has been a longtime volunteer leader in the Jewish community, most recently as the co-chair of the Jewish People Policy Institute in Jerusalem.

As Special Representative of the President and Secretary of State on Holocaust-Era Issues during the Clinton Administration, he developed a keen interest in obtaining belated justice for victims of the Holocaust and other Nazi tyranny during World War II. Ambassador Eizenstat successfully negotiated major agreements with the Swiss, Germans, Austrian and French covering restitution of property, payment for slave and forced laborers, recovery of looted art, bank accounts, and payment of insurance policies.  His book on these events, Imperfect Justice: Looted Assets, Slave Labor, and the Unfinished Business of World War II, has been translated into four languages.

Today his articles appear in The New York Times, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs magazines. Ambassador Eizenstat grew up and was educated in the public schools of Atlanta. He is a Phi Beta Kappa, cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and of Harvard Law School.

The Phil and Ruth Sokolof Lecture Series is made possible by a generous donation from the Sokolof Family Foundation with additional support by the Jewish Federation of Omaha.

Established in 2009, the Center’s mission is to create, coordinate, and promote an interdisciplinary program focusing on teaching and scholarship in Jewish and Israeli history, politics, culture, and society. The Center’s primary goal is to expand knowledge about Judaism and Israel, both on the university campus and in the broader Nebraska community. It is a part of the University of Nebraska Omaha’s College of Arts and Sciences.

For more information about the 2013 Sokolof Lecture, contact Dr. Moshe Gershovich, Director, Schwalb Center for Israel and Jewish Studies at UNO, mgershovich@unomaha.edu, or call 402.554.3175.