“Groupthink and the
Sanhedrin of Ancient Israel"
Saturday, October 27, 2012, 8:15 pm
Venue: Young Israel of Southfield
27705 Lahser Road, Southfield, Michigan*
One of the most
influential theories in the behavioral sciences in recent decades has been
''groupthink.'' Developed by the psychologist Irving Janis in the early
1970s, that theory describes how a tight-knit, smart and well-informed
group can suppress dissent and make disastrous decisions because of the
pressure to agree. As examples, Janis used the failure to anticipate the
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the American escalation of the
Vietnam War in the mid-'60s. Dr. Schnall argues that decision-making
entities in the ancient world may have been aware of the danger of
conformist thought and developed methods similar to Janis's recommended
preventative techniques. He examines, in particular, the practices of the
Sanhedrin, the judicial and legislative body of ancient Israel. The
evidence is substantial, convincing, and fascinating. And the implications
for contemporary organizations and institutions, particularly in the
Jewish world, are far-reaching.
Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Schnall is
Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology at Yeshiva College and the
Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education, Yeshiva University. He
earned his Ph.D. at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva
University, and his training has included programs at the Robert Wood
Johnson Medical Center of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of
New Jersey, and at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He received
his Rabbinic Ordination at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological
Seminary, Yeshiva University.
Dr. Schnall has lectured widely on
topics related to mental health and Orthodox Jews and has published in
such noted academic journals as Family Medicine, Psychology
and Health, and the Journal of Counseling and Development.
His research on psychology and religion has been featured in The New
York Times, The Wall Street Journal, on CBS television news, and
numerous other national and international media.
There is no charge but, as seating is limited, reservations are required.
To reserve seats, write
firstname.lastname@example.org, or call
Click here for map and directions.
Young Israel of Southfield is located
on the west side of Lahser Rd., just south of the traffic light at
Winchester, a half-mile north of 696/11 Mile Rd., or south of 12 Mile Rd.
Parking in the synagogue lot is limited, but there is plentiful parking in
the lots of Stevenson School, just north of the
synagogue. Turn west at the traffic light
(opposite Winchester) into the lots. Enter the synagogue at the rear
entrance, accessible through the gate bordering the school lot.