Public Events




Little Kids, Big Ideas: What We Learn from Taking Children’s Thoughts About Israel Seriously


Monday, April 17, 2023

Light Reception: 5:00 PM – 5:30 PM PT, Steinhart Courtyard

Lecture: 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM PT, 297 Goldberg Room, Berkeley Law Building

In contrast to popular views of America’s youth as naive or apathetic, this talk will illuminate how young children spend considerable time and effort thinking about big questions that matter in their communities. Even in elementary school, young children think about—and care about—the very issues that adults often assume are beyond children’s reach: the intricacies of identity and belonging, and the demands of civic responsibility. Based on a nine year longitudinal study of Jewish children, this talk will illuminate how children develop big ideas about the world, and why children’s ideas ought to matter for schools, communities, and society.

Sivan Zakai: Sara S. Lee Associate Professor of Jewish Education, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles; Senior Editor, Journal of Jewish Education

Ronit Stahl: Professor of History, UC Berkeley

The Robbins Lecture in Jewish Law, Thought, and Identity

The Executioner’s Prayer: What Evolutionary Neuroscience and Talmudic Tradition Teach Us About the Roles of Punishment in Society


Thursday, April 20, 2023

Light Reception: 5:00 – 5:30 PM PT, Bancroft Hotel

Lecture: 5:30 – 7:00 PM PT, Bancroft Hotel

It’s hard to imagine a system of justice without punishments. We might think that judicial sanctions deter potential criminals, or keep offenders off the streets, or provide the “just deserts” of illegal antisocial behavior. But perhaps there’s another reason why every legal system makes use of punishment — one deeply seated in the evolution of humankind and its institutions. Considering how judicial punishment is portrayed in Biblical and Talmudic literature, and understood by evolutionary psychology, we’ll consider new directions in finding forms of punishment that might be most effective in strengthening social cohesion today.

Daniel Levy: 2022-2023 Helen Diller Institute Visiting Professor Associate Professor, Former Dean, Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology, Reichman University