While it is generally recognized that the singular dilemma of being a Jew in the world informs and conditions much, if not all, of Arendt’s political thought, this talk explores how Arendt’s work on the problem of evil, the concepts of freedom and natality, the nature of the political, the role of forgiveness, the distinctions between responsibility and guilt and between pariah and parvenu, the significance of friendship, and amor mundi, the nature and function of history may together constitute a foundation for a future Judaism.
James Ponet is the Howard M. Holtzmann Jewish Chaplain at Yale, where he has served as a religious leader since 1981. He earned his undergraduate degree from Yale in Religious Studies and his masters and doctoral degrees from Hebrew Union College, where he was ordained in 1973. Rabbi Ponet lived in Israel from 1974–1981, studying Jewish thought at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and serving as a Fellow and teacher at both the Shalom Hartman Institute and the Pardes Institute. He returned from Israel in 1981 to become Yale’s Jewish Chaplain, a position he has held ever since.