Three Iconic Figures: Marx, Freud & Einstein – Who Permanently Changed Our World

James Rudin

Wednesday, 9:30 am – 11:00 am

3/7/2018- 3/21/2018

3 weeks: $80 members/$100 non-members

Revered and reviled by millions of people throughout the world, German born Karl Marx was modern socialism’s chief theorist and a political activist whose influence has continued for 170 years. In 1848 he published The Communist Manifesto that challenged capitalism: “A specter is haunting Europe—the specter of Communism…existing society is the history of class struggles…The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.” We will analyze how and why Marx, the London correspondent for a New York City newspaper and a revolutionary who for years studied in the British Museum Library, permanently changed our politics, economics and culture.


Sigmund Freud was a Viennese psychiatrist and the creator of psychoanalysis. His early professional interest in hysteria and other nervous illnesses expanded to include a focus on sexuality, child-parent relationships, repressed feelings, the interpretation of dreams, and the “pleasure principle” of human beings. Freud believed that breaking through emotional self-censorship was necessary to overcome mental pain and suffering. His peers often opposed Freud, and today many of his pioneering teachings are either abandoned or sharply criticized. Yet, Freud’s controversial but penetrating psychological insights and his critiques of culture and religion have forever transformed our world.


Albert Einstein was a German born physicist and the discoverer of the theory of relativity, which shattered many previous concepts about light, energy, motion and matter. Although a wunderkind in mathematics and physics, Einstein was denied a university teaching position and was forced to take a job in the Swiss Patent Office. However, this allowed him to pursue his extraordinary studies. In 1921 Einstein won the Nobel Prize and in 1933 he settled in the United States. A foe of Nazism and a pacifist, Einstein wrote a now famous letter in 1939 to President Roosevelt describing the feasibility of atomic energy. That letter spurred the development of the atomic bomb. In 1952 Einstein was offered the presidency of the State of Israel, but he declined saying he was “not suited” for a political position. At his death, the man who transformed science was at work on a “Unified Field Theory” of the universe.

Instructor Bio

Rabbi A. James Rudin was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and grew up in Alexandria, Virginia. He attended Wesleyan University and graduated from George Washington University with academic distinction. While in college he was elected to several honorary societies, was a member of the wrestling and track teams and served as a student government officer.

He received his Masters degree and rabbinical ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and later did graduate studies in American History at the University of Illinois. He holds honorary doctorates from Saint Leo University, Saint Martin’s University and HUC-JIR. He is Distinguished Visiting Professor of Religion and Judaica at Saint Leo University.

Rabbi Rudin served congregations in Kansas City, Missouri and Champaign-Urbana, Illinois and was a United States Air Force Chaplain stationed in Japan and Korea. In 1968 he began his career as a member of the American Jewish Committee’s senior professional staff where he served as Director of the Interreligious Affairs Department. He is currently the AJC’s Senior Interreligious Adviser and a member of the organization’s Board of Governors.

A former chairman of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations, Rabbi Rudin participated in eleven meetings with Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. He was a papal guest of honor at the 1994 Vatican Concert that commemorated the Shoah.

In April 2008 he was chosen by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops to respond to Pope Benedict XVI’s address to Jewish leaders in Washington, DC. Rabbi Rudin has also participated in historic meetings with the World Council of Churches in Geneva and with Eastern Orthodox Christian leaders in Greece.

He served on the Camp David Presidential Retreat Interfaith Chapel Committee and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission. Rabbi Rudin was a founder of the National Interreligious Task Force on Soviet Jewry and the National Interreligious Task Force on Black-Jewish Relations. He was a founding member of the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, an interdisciplinary body that focuses on bioethical issues and public policy.

Rabbi Rudin is the author or editor of seventeen books and since 1991 has written commentaries for Religion News Service. Two of his recent books are Christians and Jews: Faith to Faith—Tragic Past, Promising Present, Fragile Future and Cushing, Spellman, O’Connor: How Three American Cardinals Transformed Catholic-Jewish Relations. His latest book, Pillar of Fire, a biography of Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, was nominated for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize.

Rabbi Rudin’s articles have appeared in many newspapers and publications including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, America, Christian Century, Christianity Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Origins, and many other Christian and Jewish publications and international print media. He has lectured throughout the world and the rabbi has been a frequent guest on numerous radio and television programs including ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, NBC, NPR, PBS and international electronic media.

Rabbi Rudin collects memorabilia of the old Washington Senators baseball team and he is an avid fan of crossword puzzles and American popular music. He and his wife Marcia live in Fort Myers, Florida. They are the parents of Eve, a rabbi, and Jennifer, a casting and talent director for stage productions, films and television programs. The Rudins are the grandparents of Emma Mollie.