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Jews and the Military

John Jay, Derek Penslar 

22/02/2015 11:00 am

Jewish active involvement in the military is often perceived as a relatively new phenomenon, associated with the establishment and defence of Israel. Derek Penslar’s Jews and the Military: a History challenges this popular misconception, exploring Jewish participation in the military across many countries and centuries. Penslar is in conversation with John Jay, whose Facing Fearful Odds tells the story of his father Alec, a British and Jewish POW, who made five escape attempts before teaming up with Czech partisans to fight the Nazis. The session is chaired by SOAS professor Colin Shindler.

John Jay

John Jay, now an investment manager, was formerly a financial journalist. He has constructed his father’s war story using archival material from four countries and numerous other sources and POW accounts.

Derek Penslar 

Derek Penslar is Stanley Lewis Professor of Israel Studies at Oxford. A native of California, he taught at the Universities of Indiana and Toronto, as well as Harvard and Columbia, before coming to Oxford in 2012. His books include Shylock’s Children: Economics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe. He is an elected fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.