Multiple Dialogues: Martin Buber in Palestine and Israel

Multiple Dialogues: Martin Buber in Palestine and Israel- International Conference
Activity Date: 
Thursday, May 7, 2015 to Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The conference MULTIPLE DIALOGUES: MARTIN BUBER IN PALESTINE AND ISRAEL on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Martin Buber’s Death and 50 Years of Israeli German Relations took place in Jerusalem between May 7-12 2015, sponsored by the Martin Buber Society of Fellows, the Leo Baeck Institute of Jerusalem the Martin Buber Chair for Jewish Thought and Philosophy, Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main.
Martin Buber’s life and work continues to enjoy wide scholarly and public attention. Yet, he is mainly known for his philosophical and theological writings, which given their overarching significance have largely eclipsed his engagement in multiple aspects of Israeli culture and politics. In the conference we wished to correct this situation, by not only mapping his varied contributions to the cultural and political landscape of Palestine and Israel, including the kibbutz movement, and the "Arab Question" but also indicating how the “dialogue” with Buber’s legacy has continued to engage Israeli society. Also, Buber is justifiably celebrated for his single role, ever since he commenced his university studies at the fin-de-siècle, in promoting German-Jewish and interfaith dialogue, which he vigorously reaffirmed with the rise of Hitler and after the war. Scholars from many institutions in Israel and abroad and from divergent fields vividly interacted during the conference's days on variety of topics such as, "Buber's Socialism and Zionism," "Buber and the Israeli Humanities," "Buber and the Israeli Institutional Ethos," and "Buber’s Legacy and the Prospects of Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue." MBSF's fellows contributed significantly to the symposium, among whom are Dr. Antonios Kalatzis who spoke about "Emunah and Pistis: Judaism and Christendom as Way and Problem according to Buber” and Dr. Laura Jockusch about "Martin Buber’s plea to annul Adolf Eichmann’s death penalty." Of notable interest was the dialogue between two eminent Social Sciences scholars, Prof. Dan Avnon (HUJI) and Prof. Uri Ram (BGU) deftly introduced and mediated by Dr. Orit Gazit of the MBSF. Other MBSF who actively participated are: Dr. Jonathan Moss, Dr. Kim Wünchmann and Dr. Maurice Ebileeni. At the conference's overture at the Jerusalem Cinematheque Prof. Davis Shulman, the former Director of MBSF, dialogued with Prof. Sari Nuseiba on Buber's legacy for our times and region.