Carmel U. Chiswick, Ph.D., Presents 2019 Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Carmel U. Chiswick, Ph.D., Presents 2019 Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture

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Friday, November 8, 2019


Bamberger Lecture 2019

On Wednesday, November 6, 2019, Carmel U. Chiswick, Ph.D., Professor of Economics at George Washington University presented the Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture at HUC-JIR/New York. The topic was: "Freakonomics & American Judaism: Economic Incentives That Help Shape American Jewish Traditions," and Dr. Chiswick spoke about how the American Jewish community has responded to economic incentives over time.

Modern economics focuses on how price and income incentives affect life decisions as people budget scarce time and money to achieve their goals, she explained. But, differences early in the 20th century between the home-country economic environments of Jewish immigrants and that of the United States to which they came suggest a strong economic incentive to adapt (or “modernize”) old-country Judaism into the American Judaism that we practice today.

Recent research on Jews as workers (education, occupation, income), on the Jewish family (marriage, fertility, two-career households), on Jewish immigrants (economic adjustment and assimilation), and on intergroup relationships (Jews and non-Jews, American Jews and Israeli Jews, Orthodox and other “denominational” streams including secular Jews) has been of particular interest to Dr. Chiswick.

Bamberger Lecture 2019

HUC-JIR President, Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D; Carmel U. Chiswick, Ph.D., Michael Bamberger; Gabrielle Bamberger; HUC-JIR/New York Dean, Rabbi David Adelson.

Although the evolution of American Judaism is not yet complete, she says we can trace how it responded to economic incentives throughout the 20th century, examine how these incentives are currently changing, and consider their implications for new issues as the 21st century advances.

Dr. Chiswick's book, Judaism in Transition: How Economic Choices Shape Religious Tradition, delves further into these topics. 

The Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture is sponsored by the Bamberger family in memory of their father, Dr. Fritz Bamberger, z"l, who served as Assistant to the President and Professor of Intellectual History at HUC-JIR/New York.

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates leaders to serve North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.