What is the Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture?

eizenstatstuartAmbassador Stuart Eizenstat created the Eizenstat Lecture Series as a distinct way to remember his father, Leo, who died in 1986. Eizenstat came up with the idea of a lecture series after learning that Michael Bloomberg, now the Mayor of New York, held an annual lecture in honor of his mother. Eizenstat created the annual lecture, with distinguished world figures, on topics of interest to the Jewish and general communities, at Ahavath Achim, his late parents’ congregation in Atlanta. In this way, each year Eizenstat’s father is remembered.

Leo Eizenstat’s attachment to the Ahavath Achim Synagogue was very special. The synagogue was an important part of his life. He was so proficient in reading from the Prophets (the "Haftorah") that he was affectionately called the "pinch hitter", because he could be asked at the last minute to read. His brother, Berry, was his partner in the wholesale shoe business for some 40 years after World War II. Berry was also very learned and versed in Jewish traditions, and likewise a bulwark of the AA. When he died a few years after Stuart’s father, Stuart renamed the lecture series the Leo and Berry Eizenstat Memorial Lecture.

Stuart’s mother Sylvia and Aunt Bess were the mainstays of the Eizenstat Lecture series, working diligently to ensure their success.  After the death of his aunt and then his mom, who died in April 2007 at the full age of 93, Stuart renamed the lecture series the Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture.

With the exception of 2008, this annual lecture has become the major event in the Atlanta Jewish community. The Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture series has had four Nobel Peace Prize winners, two United States Presidents, two seated Supreme Court Justices, one Pulitzer Prize winner, and other distinguished speakers.

Former Eizenstat Lecture Speakers:

2012 Justice Stephen Gerald Breyer
2011 David Brooks | Author, Columnist, Pundit
2010 The Honorable Michael B. Oren
2009 The Honorable Al Gore
2007 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
2006 Paul Wolfowitz, PH.D
2005 The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
2004 The Honorable Ehud Olmert
2003 The Honorable Bill Clinton
2002 The Honorable Jimmy Carter
2001 U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
2000 The Honorable Joseph Lieberman
1999 Herman Wouk
1998 Professor Alan Dershowitz
1997 Cantor Benjamin Muller & Choir
1996 The Honorable Shimon Peres
1995 Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
1994 The Honorable Itamar Rabinovich
1993 The Honorable Simcha Dinitz
1992 The Honorable Teddy Kollek
1991 The Honorable Dr. Henry Kissinger
1990 The Honorable Abba Eban
1989 Natan Sharansky
1988 Elie Wiesel