Not in God's Name: Does the Bible Justify Today's Religious Violence?


Wednesday, January 25, 2017 and Wednesday, February 1, 2017 from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm


  • Rabbi Gilah Langner


Tikvat Israel Congregation

Program Series: 

  • Jewish Enrichment

Is religion to blame for religious extremism and violence? Rabbi Langner poses this question by using a recent book by Lord Jonathan Sacks, Not in God's Name: Confronting Religious Violence, as the jumping-off point for a deep and probing discussion. Lord Sacks acknowledges in his book that the Bible has played a role in motivating religious violence. Rabbi Langner adds her own voice and guides the discussion using, in part, Lord Sacks' radical re-readings of the Hebrew Bible and its stories of sibling rivalry. Current world events and timeless texts provide an unparalleled perspective from which to examine some of the most basic questions of human relations.

About the book:

From Amazon: In this powerful and timely book, one of the most admired and authoritative religious leaders of our time tackles the phenomenon of religious extremism and violence committed in the name of God. If religion is perceived as being part of the problem, Rabbi Sacks argues, then it must also form part of the solution. When religion becomes a zero-sum conceit—that is, my religion is the only right path to God, therefore your religion is by definition wrong—and individuals are motivated by what Rabbi Sacks calls “altruistic evil,” violence between peoples of different beliefs appears to be the only natural outcome.

But through an exploration of the roots of violence and its relationship to religion, and employing groundbreaking biblical analysis and interpretation, Rabbi Sacks shows that religiously inspired violence has as its source misreadings of biblical texts at the heart of all three Abrahamic faiths. By looking anew at the book of Genesis, with its foundational stories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Rabbi Sacks offers a radical rereading of many of the Bible’s seminal stories of sibling rivalry: Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, Rachel and Leah.

About Rabbi Gilah Langner:

Rabbi Gilah Langner is currently the rabbi at Kol Ami Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community in Arlington, Virginia and Shirat HaNefesh in North Chevy Chase, Maryland. Since her ordination in 2003, Langner has served nine congregations. She was principal of Shoreshim Hebrew School in Reston and Kehilah Chadasha Sunday School. She was a guest teacher at Kol Ami and at the Catholic University of America, The George Washington University and the University of Maryland, College Park. Rabbi Langner also served as a visiting chaplain at Georgetown University Hospital and co-directed the Washington Jewish Healing Network.

Rabbi Langner is the founding publisher and co-editor of Kerem: Creative Explorations in Judaism, and is a member of Jews United for Justice and T’ruah, the rabbinic call for human rights. 

This event will be co-sponsored by and held at:

Tikvat Israel Congregation
2200 Baltimore Road
Rockville, Maryland 20851

There is no cost for this event, but we request that you register.