WATERVILLE — Colby College Community Conversation on “Assimilation: What Must We Give — and Give Up — to be American?” 6:30-8:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, at the Chace Forum, Bill and Joan Alfond Commons, 150 Main St. Colby’s Center for Small Town Jewish Life will host the event, which is free and open to the public.
The program will feature Colby College Jewish chaplain Rabbi Erica Asch of Temple Beth El in Augusta, and Pugh Center leader Bethashley Cajuste ‘20.
The most recent presidential election revealed a vocal segment of the American population wants to restrict immigration — both legal and illegal — in order to retain some sense of “common American culture.” The emergence of this voice in the American political context raises core questions that this conversation will explore:
1)What does it mean to be American, and does becoming American require some kind of cultural sacrifice?
2) What have our personal and collective experiences taught us about the struggle to become American while retaining an authentic sense of self?
3) What do immigrants and greater American society lose when immigrants leave parts of their former selves behind?
Following this public conversation, there will be the opportunity for further facilitated discussion in smaller groups. Dinner from Pad Thai Too and desserts by Acadia Cakes will be provided.
Community Conversations is a series of three discussions bringing together Waterville faith and community institutions with Colby faculty and students to discuss major issues of common concern. The theme for 2018-19 is Home. Each conversation will feature two thought-leaders—one Jewish and one secular—in conversation with each other, followed by group discussions with the members of both Colby and Waterville communities.
The program is sponsored by the Center for Small Town Jewish Life and the Maine Humanities Council, and co-sponsored by Colby Religious Studies, Jewish Studies, and the Office of the Provost.
The second program, scheduled for Sunday, January 27, 2019, asks “What is the Role of the American Family Today?” and the third, on Thursday, May 2, 2019, asks “Who Calls Waterville Home?”