Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Scholar to discuss meaning of ‘Israel’

Wood River Jewish Community will host Howard Berger

Express Staff Writer

The flag of Israel has become a meaningful symbol for many Jewish people. The meaning of “Israel” will be the focus of a series of lectures in Sun Valley later this week.

Israel is not only a country in the Middle East. For Jews, it has existed as a symbolic concept for at least 2,000 years, says Albertson College history professor Howard Berger.

The Wood River Jewish Community will host Berger this week for a series of lectures titled "The Meaning of Israel to the Jewish People Over the Millenia."

Berger is an authority on Jewish history, theology and practice.

"There are many different layers of the word 'Israel,'" Berger said in an interview. "These concepts have endured in Jewish consciousness for at least 2,000 years."

Berger said he will begin by dissecting the meaning of the Hebrew term "Yisrael" in the Tanakh and Prayer Book, from its first appearance in the Bible. He will then trace the significance of "Israel" from the destruction of the Jewish Temple by the Romans in 137 A.D. until the first stirrings of Zionism in 1868.

Berger said he will finish his lectures with a discussion of the meaning of Israel today in light of the success of Zionism.

"What does God intend that word to mean?" Berger asked.

For more information, call 726-1183.

Tony Evans:

Howard Berger lecture schedule:

· Thursday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. "The Meaning of Israel to the Jewish People Over the Millenia." Lecture at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Sun Valley Road, in Sun Valley.

· Friday, Feb. 26, at 6 p.m., lecture continued at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Sun Valley.

· Saturday, Feb 27, at noon, lecture continued at Sun Valley Nordic Center following snowshoeing with Berger.

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