The Anne Frank Center USA Presents "Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City," with Russell Shorto and Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, Thursday April 3, 7 – 9 p.m.

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Join author Russell Shorto and Rabbi Meir Soloveichik for a discussion of Mr. Shorto's new book, "Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City," as part of The Anne Frank Center USA’s Confronting Intolerance Today speaker series. Learn what makes Amsterdam's liberal values unique, and how are they being challenged today.

"Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City"

I have woven my own experiences to deliver an engaging story of Amsterdam from the 1300s through today. -- Russell Shorto

The event will be held Thursday, April 3, 2014 from 7.00 – 9.00 p.m. at Congregation Shearith Israel - The Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue, 8 West 70th Street, New York, NY 10023. Please RSVP given limited room.

Tourists know Amsterdam as a picturesque city of low-slung brick houses lining tidy canals; student travelers know it for its legal brothels and hash bars; art lovers know it for Rembrandt's glorious portraits. But the deeper history of Amsterdam, what makes it one of the most fascinating places on earth, is bound up in its unique geography-the constant battle of its citizens to keep the sea at bay and the democratic philosophy that this enduring struggle fostered.

Amsterdam is the font of liberalism, in both its senses. Tolerance for free thinking and free love make it a place where, in the words of one of its mayors, "craziness is a value." But the city also fostered the deeper meaning of liberalism, one that profoundly influenced America: political and economic freedom. Amsterdam was home not only to religious dissidents and radical thinkers but to the world's first great global corporation.

In this effortlessly erudite account, Russell Shorto traces the idiosyncratic evolution of Amsterdam, showing how such disparate elements as herring anatomy, naked Anabaptists parading through the streets, and an intimate gathering in a sixteenth-century wine-tasting room had a profound effect on Dutch-and world-history. Weaving in his own experiences of his adopted home, Shorto provides an ever-surprising, intellectually engaging story of Amsterdam from the building of its first canals in the 1300s, through its brutal struggle for independence, its golden age as a vast empire, to its complex present in which its cherished ideals of liberalism are under siege.A Q&A, book signing and reception with follow the program.

The Anne Frank Center USA launched its Confronting Intolerance Today speaker series in 2013, in conjunction with the Sapling Project. Confronting Intolerance Today events showcase innovative approaches to combating intolerance here in the United States and in the Netherlands, the home of Anne’s beloved chestnut tree. Learn more about the speaker series.

This event is sponsored by Congregation Shearith Israel in Manhattan, the Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, The Anne Frank Center USA, and the New Amsterdam History Center. It is supported as part of The Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York, and through funding from the ministries, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Netherland-America Foundation, and KLM Royal Dutch airlines, the official airline of The Anne Frank Center USA. Open to the public. Space is limited. RSVP here.

About Russell Shorto

Russell Shorto is an American author, historian and journalist, best known for his book on the Dutch origins of New York City, The Island at the Center of the World. Shorto is the New Netherland Research Center's 2013 Senior Scholar. His most recent work, published in October 2013, is Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City, which tells the story of the city from its origins, through its Golden Age, to the present day. Mr. Shorto's books have been published in fourteen languages and have won numerous awards. He is a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine. Mr. Shorto believes history is at its most vital when it is embedded in the stories of individuals in conflict.

About Rabbi Dr. Meir Y. Soloveichik

Rabbi Dr. Meir Y. Soloveichik is the rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel in Manhattan and director of the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University. He graduated summa cum laude from Yeshiva College, received his semikha from RIETS, and was a member of its Beren Kollel Elyon. In 2010, he received his doctorate in religion from Princeton University. Rabbi Soloveichik has lectured throughout the United States, in Europe, and in Israel to both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences on topics relating to Jewish theology, bioethics, wartime ethics, and Jewish-Christian relations. His essays on these subjects have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, First Things, Azure, Tradition, and the Torah U-Madda Journal.

About The Anne Frank Center USA

Otto Frank started the Anne Frank Foundation, Inc. in New York in 1959, which was incorporated in 1977 as The Anne Frank Center USA. The Anne Frank Center USA, a partner of the Anne Frank House, uses the diary and spirit of Anne Frank as unique tools to advance her legacy, to educate young people and communities in the U.S. and Canada about the dangers of intolerance, antisemitism, racism and discrimination, and to inspire the next generation to build a world based on equal rights and mutual respect.

Through a variety of innovative education programs and exhibitions, the Center uses Anne Frank as a role model for today. Her insights and courage continue to inspire students, educators and citizens more than 60 years after her diary was first published.

The Anne Frank Center USA is a non-sectarian, educational organization, that is not-for-profit under the Internal Revenue Code Section {501 (c) (3)}. Contributions to the organization are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

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