Actor and UCSB alumnus Michael Douglas and author Natan Sharansky will conclude their three-part university tour, “Jewish Journeys,” a talk focused on Judaism, Israel and current-day anti-Semitism, at Pollock Theater on Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
The tour begins on Thursday at Brown University and stops at Stanford University before arriving at UCSB next week. Douglas and Sharansky will discuss their personal relationships with Judaism, anti-Semitism, religious pluralism and human rights activism. Tickets are available to students and other community members through the Santa Barbara Hillel website.
The Santa Barbara Hillel, Hillel International, the Jewish Agency for Israel and The Genesis Prize are all sponsors of the event. Douglas, a well-known actor, producer and United Nations activist, was awarded the Genesis Prize in 2015 for his work on Jewish community inclusion of interfaith couples and their families. The prize included a $1.65 million Matching Grant Initiative for projects that support Douglas’ work.
Sharansky is a human rights activist, politician and author who spent nine years in Soviet prisons after being accused of spying for the American Defense Intelligence Agency. He became an activist after the Soviet government denied him permission to emigrate on discriminatory grounds. After his release during a prison exchange, Sharansky immigrated to Israel and founded organizations to help new Israelis integrate. Sharansky was active in Israeli politics until his resignation in 2006, when he turned his focus to work with NGOs.
The two men come from different backgrounds, but aim to use their stories to discuss commonalities within their personal narratives. Their combined experience and discussion serves to shed light on current politics and movements toward a deeper understanding of the modern Jewish community.
Space is limited, so early registration is required, including individuals with student tickets. Community members and students can reserve spots on the Santa Barbara Hillel’s website: santabarbara.hillel.org.