For Immediate Release
March 31, 2014
Contact: Elizabeth Moore

Ari Shavit is a leading columnist and reporter for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and the best-selling author of the book My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel that was published last year.

He is also this year’s guest speaker for the Shirley Sugerman Interfaith Forum on April 9, at 7:30 p.m. at the Concert Hall at the Dorothy Young Center for the Arts at Drew University. Shavit will be talking about My Promised Land with copies for sale and signing immediately following his speech.

The interfaith forum is free, but those attending are asked to pre-register at: Tickets will not be issued, seating will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Since Shavit’s book was published last year, it has received national critical acclaim and was on the New York Times bestseller list for several weeks. My Promised Land was named one of the Best Books of the Year by the New York Times Book Review and The Economist. It also won the Natan Book Award and a National Jewish Book Award.

In Booklist, Jay Freeman describes Shavit as “A fervently patriotic Israeli with an abiding love for his nation’s history” and calls My Promised Land an “honest and sometimes brutally frank portrait of his hometown’s past and its present dilemmas.”

Freeman calls the book “a masterful portrait of contemporary Israel.”

Thomas L. Friedman, who reviewed My Promised Land for The New York Times said the book offers deep insight, compassion and originality and said it “is a real contribution to changing the conversation about Israel.”

Terry Gross interviewed Shavit on National Public Radio and The Jewish Week called him a master storyteller.

Though Shavit’s great-grandfathers were both Zionists and he served in the Israeli Army in the occupied settlements, Shavit has become well-known for his ability to see the complexities of the Israeli/Palestinian relationship and for his challenges to dogma both on the right and left. He has an understanding of the issues that challenge progress towards peace.

He also published the book Partition in 2005, which explored different approaches to conflict, occupation and peace. In My Promised Land he uses first-person narratives from Israeli residents to help illustrate the issues going on in his homeland.

Shavit studied philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, wrote for the progressive weekly Kotert Rashit and was also chair of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. He is known for his in-depth interviews and thought-provoking articles. He is also a leading commentator on Israel’s public TV Channel 1.

The Shirley Sugerman Interfaith Forum was established in 1991 and endowed by Shirley Sugerman G’70, Drew trustee emerita, and other donors. The forum provides a venue for interdisciplinary exchanges between and among scholars, teachers, religious leaders and members of the larger community interested in exploring issues of interfaith understanding, the diversity of religiously based ethical perspectives, and the political, social and cultural conflicts caused by the clash of religious traditions.

About the Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict

Drew’s Center on Religion, Culture & Conflict (CRCC) focuses critical attention on the complex ways in which cultures and religions interact, especially in moments of crisis and conflict. The CRCC seeks to encourage and facilitate scholarly understanding of and conversation about the most problematic, and often tragic, intersections where religions and cultures meet. Drew’s CRCC also promotes practical model projects that apply enhanced knowledge of how religions and cultures interact to improve cultural and religious cooperation and understanding.

The CRCC supports a number of projects and initiatives, including: hosting distinguished visiting scholars; sponsoring lectures, symposia, and roundtable discussions; making research grants to promote scholarship; and supporting promising model projects to enhance inter-religious and cross-cultural understanding.

About Drew University

Drew University is a private, liberal arts university located in Madison, N.J., just 29 miles west of New York City. Ranked among the top liberal arts institutions nationwide by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes and Washington Monthly, Drew is also listed in Princeton Review’s Best 378 Colleges. The Drew promise—We Deliver Full-Impact Learning to the World—emphasizes the university’s commitment to borderless education that enables a student’s greatest success in a globally connected world. Drew has a total student enrollment of more than 2,000 in three schools: the College of Liberal Arts, the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies and the Drew Theological School. The undergraduate program offers degrees in 30 different disciplines, while Caspersen and the Theological School offer degrees at the master’s and doctoral levels.