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Dennis & Hugh: When Jewish and Christian Friends Talk About God

An interview with RJ Moeller about his March 17 "Ask a Jew" event featuring Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt in interfaith dialogue. Tickets still available.

by
Dave Swindle

Bio

March 14, 2013 - 4:30 pm
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My friend RJ Moeller has done it again. Last fall, when he first told me about his hopes to start a series of interfaith, cross-cultural dialogue events, I knew he had a great idea, but whether he would actually pull it off seemed to me an open question. RJ always overflowed with great ideas and an infectious enthusiasm to share them with others. So as great as it would be for him to bring together more Adam Carolla-Dennis Prager-style combinations, I wondered if this idea would really come to fruition or if another of his entrepreneurial efforts would take off instead.

And I have to say, I’m really a bit stunned not just that RJ pulled this off, but that he managed to organize it all so quickly. And not only that, but could he have picked a more appropriate subject to begin with than defining the Judeo-Christian value system?

“Ask a Jew” will take place on Sunday, March 17 from 4:00-6:00 at Mariners Church in Irvine, CA, and tickets can be purchased here for $25, or $75 for VIP reserved tickets and a pre-show reception. This week I asked RJ a few questions to learn more about what he’s cooked up for us:

PJ Lifestyle: Given the success of the events you organized with Dennis Prager and Adam Carolla dialoguing, it’s no surprise you would want to expand and try new combinations of speakers. Why “Ask a Jew: An Evening With Dennis Prager And Hugh Hewitt“?

RJ: The Prager-Carolla connecting was in many regards “lightning in a bottle.” In a very real sense of the cliche, I simply happened to be in the “right place at the right time” to help make that thing happen. However, what I learned from that exciting experience was this: if you have a good idea, pursue it — because often the reason something like it hasn’t happened before (or hasn’t happened in the way you believe it should) merely boils down to other folks not taking a risk or putting forth the effort to bring it to life.

In the case of “Ask A Jew,” both Dennis and Hugh are fairly well-known commodities but they are known primarily for their political radio shows, columns, and best-selling books. But what I want to personally hear from both men — and many other articulate voices in the public square like them — are their perspectives on cultural, moral, and philosophical issues that matter to all of us. This event is the kick-off of what I hope will end up being a long-running series of candid conversations among those who describe themselves “center-right” politically.

My goal is to bring the people I enjoy listening to and reading the most to new audiences. I want evangelicals to interact with Jewish and Catholic intellectuals. I want secular libertarians to hear how thoughtful and interested in limited government and free markets so many brilliant religious conservatives are. Hugh and Dennis typify the dynamic I’m talking about. They are from such different backgrounds, have different personalities, part ways on key theological points — and yet they are best friends and share so many common values. It’s so much bigger (and more important) than politics, and anyone who listens to a show like Dennis Prager’s knows how serious he is about engaging all issues and areas of life.

Politics is dominating and suffocating Americans because, in my opinion, they’ve stopped talking (and thinking critically) about all of the infinitely more important things in life. Not every show we do will be “Ask A Jew,” and we’ll have other interesting combinations and pairings of well-known writers/thinkers across the country this year, but I wanted to start with Hugh and Dennis because they are two of the most candid, knowledgeable, and good-natured voices in the public square. Oh, and they are entertaining. Remember when that was important?

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All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
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I don't know if I would call Dennis Prager a "Jewish Scholar", but ever since High School he has been very good at articulating traditional Judaism (Orthodoxy or something close to it; I'm not clear where he is personally at the moment) to outsiders.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Will there be an audio MP3 file for downloading after the event? That would make a commute a little easier to handle.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm not sure. In the past some of the Prager-Carolla events have been recorded. Wouldn't be surprised if they do that again or sometimes in the future.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What makes them culturally progressive is the same thing that makes Christians culturally progressive: not practicing their religion.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Interfaith dialog in the civilized world = a fun and enlightening night out. The uncivilized world, not so much.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
" I hope to learn more about what Judaism (and Jews themselves) think of Christianity in the United States and what causes so many of them to end up culturally progressive. "

Jews view Christianity as a historically oppressive repressive, bloodthirsty religion much the way both Christians and Jews view Islam today. The attempt at dialogue and, " interfaith understanding " is a new phenomenon brought about by the fact that Christians no longer have exclusive use of military power.
That Jews have become, " progressive ", is due to the repression faced by decades of Christian intolerance in the USA. Jews in other countries are far less liberal. Indeed those Jews who are the most liberal are those least educated in Jewish values and learning. Sadly they know little of Judaism other than bagels and lox for breakfast.
The assimilation of the Jewish community in the USA is a result of the false value formerly known as , " the melting pot ", as if homogeneity rather than respect for the differences of others is the moral ideal.
What is needed is not dialogue , as if explaining a religious dogma will act as some great preventative to hate. What is needed is simple human respect for another to worship as he pleases as long as your own right to worship is not impeded. You need neither approve or understand another's form of worship. That requirement is what stands in the way of mutual respect.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I would really differentiate Christianity as practiced for most of history from the post-Vatican II Church and many American Protestants going back to George Washington's letter to the Jewish community.

There really is a commonality of purpose between religious Jews and many Conservative Christians. Catholic practice is very close to the Noachide law. Much of the goodwill is isncere. Of course, we need to stay away from theological discussions and give no quarter to missionaries, as we have nothign to gain - we want Christinas to stay religious - and everything to lose.

It is true that historically, Christendom, from Pope to peasent, thought of Jews as evil people being punished by their sins, and made the prophecy self-fulfilling by putting Jews through every possible horror imaginable, leading to the myth of a "tolerant Islam", which was true only by comparision. And unfortunately, in many parts of the world (much of Eastern Europe) Christians still hold these beliefs.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't think I've ever read such bilge water in my life!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Miss Lolly you got it. I have heard this self-serving twaddle starting at Hopkins. One Jew even said of the likes of Menny Boy above: "Oy, no wonder people don't like Jews!"

He makes no sense, but he knows like many of his group that if you say something loud and long, people will mistake your confidence for knowledge.

To my knowledge there was never a pogrom in the US.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Menny Boy"? Many of his group? You are killing your own point.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There actually was. Look up Leo Frank - the only time a white man was ever lynched in the South based on the testimony of a black one.

The Crown Heights riot would have been labeled a pogrom if it had taken place in Europe.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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