Hot Potatoes: Should the Diaspora be our new Zion?

20 March 2023 – 27 Adar 5783
Hot Potatoes

Liberal Judaism’s Hot Potatoes is back… and in person!

Hot Potatoes is a series of panel events covering keenly debated issues within the Jewish community, while aiming to create a ‘safe space’ where there is debate without judgement.

In the past, we’ve covered Labour and antisemitism, citizenship, faith schools, lockdowns and more.

After a few years online only, due to the pandemic, we are relaunching as a hybrid event at 7:15pm this Wednesday (22 March) to debate the question ‘Should the Diaspora be our new Zion?’

Join Rabbi Lea Mühlstein, Rabbi Leah Jordan, Dr Yair Wallach and Dr Keith Kahn-Harris as they ask whether we should be seeking our inspiration, and injecting our energy and resource solely into revitalising and strengthening diasporic communities. The panel will be chaired by Rabbi Rebecca Birk.

The event will take place at Finchley Progressive Synagogue (54 Hutton Grove, N12 8DR) and online. Please email Tom on to register to attend in person or take part via Zoom.

You can also watch live on Liberal Judaism’s YouTube or Facebook channels.

Our panellists are:

Rabbi Lea Mühlstein is the International Chair of Arzenu – the political voice of Reform, Progressive and Liberal Religious Zionists. Lea works to represent the interests of Arzenu’s constituent groups in 14 countries around the world, as well Progressive Jews more generally, within the governing bodies of the Israel’s National Institutions (the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and Keren Hayesod). She is a member of the Executive of the Jewish Agency. She is a strong supporter of World Jewry and has served as a board member of the World Union for Progressive Judaism and as the assistant treasurer of the European Union for Progressive Judaism. She is a Senior Rabbi at The Ark Synagogue.

Dr Keith Kahn-Harris is a sociologist and writer, based in London. He is a Senior Lecturer at Leo Baeck College, an Associate Lecturer and Honorary Fellow at Birkbeck College, and the Project Director of the European Jewish Research Archive at the Institute for Jewish Policy Research. He has a broad range of interests, including particular expertise in researching metal music scenes and the UK Jewish community. The author or co-author of eight books, editor of several collections and many articles and reviews, his career bridges academia and multiple other worlds. His work has appeared in publications including The Guardian, New Humanist, Prospect, Haaretz, The Forward, New Statesman and more. His most recent books are The Babel Message: A Love Letter to Language (Icon) and What Does A Jew Look Like? (in collaboration with Rob Stothard).

Dr Yair Wallach is a social and cultural historian of modern Palestine/Israel, studying the entangled and relational histories of Jews and Palestinians. He is a Reader in Israeli Studies at SOAS University, where he is also Chair of the Centre for Jewish Studies. His work has focussed primarily on visual and material culture and on the urban fabric as sites and vehicles of contestation and transformation in late Ottoman and British Mandate Palestine. His book, A City in Fragments: Urban Text in Modern Jerusalem, won the Association for Jewish Studies’ Jordan Schnitzer Book Prize in 2022. He has also written on Israel/Palestine and on Antisemitism for the Guardian, Haaretz, 972+, and other publications.

Rabbi Leah Jordan is rabbi of Kehillah North London and Liberal Judaism’s Progressive Jewish Chaplain for University Students and Young Adults in the UK. Leah is co-coordinator of Azara-Opening the Beit Midrash, a new initiative creating Jewish text learning for everyone in the UK, and she is a current and founding member of Na’amod: British Jews Against Occupation. Leah recently spent three years in Jerusalem, learning Torah and on-the-ground organising, as a Fellow at both the Conservative Yeshiva and the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, as well as doing a yearlong Fellowship at Yeshivat Hadar in New York City.

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