Each month we'll ask a preeminent Jewish scholar 4 questions about the Jewish experience.
4 Questions with Anita Shapira
Anita Shapira is professor emerita at Tel Aviv University, where she previously served as dean of the Faculty of Humanities and held the Ruben Merenfeld Chair for the Study of Zionism. Her previous books include the Jewish Lives biography Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel, and Israel: A History, winner of the National Jewish Book Award. Anita is the Israel Prize laureate of 2008, and she lives in Tel Aviv.
1. In your opinion, what is the defining feature of Jewish life today?
I would choose Jewish diversity, and the existence of two basic forms of Jewish lives: living in a Jewish state, and living in a liberal non-Jewish state.
2. What is your favorite Jewish book and why?
The Tanakh. It is the most interesting, influential, inspiring epic ever. There can hardly be Jewish culture without it.
3. What do you think Jewish life will look like in 100 years from now?
I don’t know. One thing I am sure about: it would not be one way of life, but many.
4. If you could meet any figure from Jewish history, who would it be and why?
King David: the most controversial, full of contradictions and flaws, and hence most modern and human person in the galaxy of Jewish figures.