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Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah) falls this Tuesday. Given the nature of the day and what it commemorates, Yom Hashoah leaves many people with an urge to grapple with large questions. Questions like how can evil persist in the world? Why? What can be done to stop it?
This year you do not have to wrestle with such questions alone.
On Thursday, a conference entitled "Evil and Wickedness: Myth and Reality" will take place in Rishon Lezion. Hosted by the Behavioral Studies Department of the College of Management, the conference will feature experts exploring the question of evil both in academia and in the world of human affairs.
Dr. Danny Gimshi, organizer of the conference, writes that evil has two main effects.
"On the one hand it undermines the social order, but on the other it creates an essential place for good and right... and actually reinforces the conventions of society."
Though the level of discourse will be quite scholarly, Gimshi intends the event to have a practical impact.
"We hope that the debate, which takes place very close to the day which remembers human evil more than any other, will raise awareness in the public and begin a process of change in the decision makers."
The conference, which takes place from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., will be comprised of three separate panels. The first will debate the psychology of evil, the second will explore the role of evil in history, literature and philosophy, and in the final panel, a rabbi, an archbishop and a sheikh will discuss the role of evil in their three faiths.
Among the guests are painter and journalist Imanuel Bar Kadma, Rishon Lezion Chief Rabbi Yossef Azran, Greek-Catholic Archbishop Elias Chacour, and academics from the college.
Though much of the debate will be conducted in Hebrew, Dr. Stephan Morris will be speaking in English on "Responses to Perceptions of Political Evil."
The conference takes place in room 227 of building gimmel at Sderot Yitzhak Rabin 7 on the College of Management campus in Rishon Lezion. Admission is free. Details at (03) 963-4027 or (03) 963-4432.