Monday, December 13, 2010

The Links Between Judaism and African Culture, a Discussion with Rabbi Eitan Webb and Dr. Cornel West

By Morgan Jerkins '14

As I sat in Frist 302, I saw Dr. Cornel West and Rabbi Webb walk in together with friendly countenances. I knew that this event was going to involve unity and cordiality. Jacob Loewenstein ’11, the Vice President of Chabad, set the tone with his quirky rules, such as calling out instead of raising hands. Dr. West and Rabbi Webb faced each other for a few seconds until Dr. West took it upon himself to start the lecture. A late-night conversation around a dinner table inspired Dr. West to fully convey how his whole being derives from the “prophetic, Judaic tradition.” Rabbi Webb, his “Jewish brother” represents the wisdom, knowledge, and connection of Judaism.

Rabbi Webb began his speech with the definition of a Hasid while Dr. Cornel West looked on, enthralled, and nodded his head with each statement that Rabbi Webb made. Their voices projected sheer enthusiasm, passion, and experience. Their gesticulations helped me to see the progression and fluidity of their dense philosophies. What kind of human being would you like to be? Dr. West looked out into the audience as he posed this inquiry. It was the only question that was not met with an astute response. When the Q & A began, the audience hesitated to ask a question; with impeccable timing, Loewenstein justified this silence by stating that the audience was overwhelmed with the wisdom of the two speakers.

Not only did I did learn about the idea of catastrophes within the works of Kafka and Shakespeare, the vicissitudes of life, and Yiddish proverbs, I felt enlightened as a human being. I do not need to reiterate how powerful Dr. West and Rabbi Webb are as speakers, but I will write this: I was not just sitting in on a lecture, I was on a journey.


Anonymous said...

This is poor journalism. You can't just praise a speech like it was the sermon on the mount, you have to critique, ask questions, speculate as to where it could have gone further, and then, perhaps, praise it in spite of the fact it didn't go further.

Does the Prince have editors?

Dick Rorty said...

This is great journalism. West and Webb deserve nothing less than praise and hagiography.

Anonymous said...

It's a blog, not something in the newspaper.