Martin and Ginger Lewis Lecture: Author Robert Putnam to Speak at The Temple

On Friday, March 9, Harvard University professor and best-selling author Robert Putnam will speak during Sabbath services at 7:30 p.m. at The Temple as part of the Martin and Ginger Lewis Lecture Series.

Dr. Putnam is a widely respected scholar and passionate speaker on the future of religious and volunteer organizations in America. His first national best seller, Bowling Alone, charted the decline of volunteer and civic organizations in America and the impact of the loss of such valued civic institutions for the nation as a whole.

His latest book, and the subject of his remarks, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, received the Woodrow Wilson Award as the best book on government, politics, or international affairs for 2011.

In American Grace, Putnam demonstrates that despite the often strident voices of religious intolerance we hear from the pulpit and in the popular press, Americans themselves are becoming increasingly tolerant and accepting of their friends and neighbors who often profess entirely different religious ideas or who have no connection to religious life at all.

Of particular interest in Putnam’s groundbreaking study of American religion is the growing number of “Young Nones,” a younger generation of American adults who choose “none” when asked to identify their religious affiliation and yet profess a broadly stated belief in God and a commitment to a spiritual life.

Dr. Putnam’s lecture at The Temple is sponsored by the Martin and Ginger Lewis Lecture Series, established by the Lewis family to bring nationally recognized speakers to the congregation on issues of interest to the Jewish community and the community at large.

His visit to Louisville is a cooperative project with The Louisville Interfaith Forum, a collection of religious congregations and organizations that  brought Dr. Amy-Jill Levine to Louisville last year for four dynamic lectures attended by more than 1,000 participants at The Temple, Second Presbyterian Church, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church and Highland Baptist Church.

The paperback edition of American Grace was released in an updated version on February 21, and signed copies will be available from the author at the Oneg Shabbat following the service.

The service and lecture are free and open to the entire community.

Dr. Putnam will also deliver a major address at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church on March 10, at 10:30 a.m. at a cost of $20 per person, which includes lunch and an interfaith panel discussion beginning at noon.
For more information, contact The Temple at 423-1818 or go to

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