Throughout his decades at Temple B’nai Abraham, the late Rabbi Barry Friedman, z”l, the synagogue’s spiritual leader from 1968-1999,  was a strong supporter of Israel, an outspoken advocate for civil rights and a champion of the victims of all kinds of oppression. Rabbi Friedman also believed deeply in the synagogue pulpit as the ultimate open microphone, from which absolute freedom of speech should be practiced, with all points of view welcome. This year, Temple B’nai Abraham will present Varied Voices with speakers offering diverse opinions on a variety of important topics, each seeking in her or his own voice to offer a path toward the betterment of the Jewish world and the world at large. Rabbi Friedman taught that the first step in progress was to listen, and then to engage. Varied Voices, we hope, will honor his memory by doing just what he prescribed.

On Sunday November 10, at 10:00 AM, at the temple, the guest speaker will be Gershom Gorenberg, an American-born Israeli historian, journalist and blogger, specializing in Middle Eastern politics and the interaction of religion and politics. His topic is  Israeli Democracy: What Threatens It, How to Save It.

Gorenberg is the author of The Unmaking of Israel (Harper Collins 2011), a provocative examination of Israeli history that describes the crisis of Israeli democracy and lays out a vision for the country's future. Gorenberg's previous book is The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977.  Gershom Gorenberg is a senior correspondent for The American Prospect, and has written forThe Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books, Foreign Policy and in Hebrew for Ha’aretz. He blogs at SouthJerusalem.com and tweets at @GershomG. He lives in Jerusalem. He has been a visiting professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and will return to Columbia in the spring of 2014. 

All the Varied Voices programs are free and open to the community, and are held at Temple B’nai Abraham located at 300 E Northfield Road, Livingston, New Jersey. Register online at www.tbanj.org or contact the Temple office, 973.994.2290. For upcoming Varied Voices lectures please go to http://www.tbanj.org/congregational-learning/varied-voices.