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Prof. Eliezer Schnall: “Groupthink and the Sanhedrin of Ancient Israel"

Saturday, October 27, 2012, 8:15 pm
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 lectures@thejewishforum.org, or call 248-354-6415.

Location: Click here for map and directions.

Parking: 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.


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