SFWAF To Host Lunch Talk/Discussion With Jack Shlacter On Oppenheimer And Strauss, A Difficult Relationship – From A Jewish Perspective Thursday Dec. 7

From The Santa Fe World Affairs Forum:

‘A Jewish Perspective on the Relationship Between Lewis Strauss and J. Robert Oppenheimer’

The Santa Fe World Affairs Forum invites the community to attend a buffet lunch and talk, noon to 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7 in board room #223 at Santa Fe Community College.

In June 1954 the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) revoked the security clearance of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientific leader of the Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bombs. Particularly in Los Alamos, the canonical view today of the clearance clash between Oppenheimer and 1954 AEC Chairman Lewis Strauss paints Oppenheimer as the victim and Strauss as the villain.

This presentation will focus on the Jewish dimension of these two individuals and reflect on how their opposing approaches to their respective Jewish heritage may have contributed to the revocation. We’ll begin by exploring the history of the Jewish presence in the United States and the mechanisms used by Jews to integrate into American society.

A little-known connection between Strauss and the Los Alamos Jewish Center, co-host of this presentation, will be described. Through the efforts in part of the Los Alamos-based J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Committee, in December 2022 the Secretary of Energy apologized for the clearance revocation and vacated the June 1954 decision In The Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer. 

Rabbi Jack Shlachter

Jack Shlachter is a physicist who worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory for more than 30 years with briefer stints at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, the latter two based in Vienna, Austria; he led both the Physics Division and Theoretical Division during his LANL career. In parallel, Shlachter is an ordained rabbi who led the Jewish congregation in Los Alamos for many years, was the rabbi in Center Moriches, NY, during his years at Brookhaven, and now serves as rabbi of HaMakom, a congregation in Santa Fe, NM as well as the Los Alamos Jewish Center. He has also provided itinerant rabbinic support to far-flung Jewish communities including those in Vienna, Austria and Beijing, China


This SFWAF lunch is $25 for members and $35 for nonmembers. To register you may either pay by check made out to SFWAF and mailed to the Santa Fe World Affairs Forum, PO Box 31965, Santa Fe, NM 87594 or by credit card through Paypal. Please indicate on your check – or if using Paypal (“add special instructions to the seller”) that your payment is for the Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023 program: https://sfwaf.org/payment/

If you are not a member yet, please include your best contact information. If you are interested in membership or inclusion on our email list please email us: sfwaforum@outlook.com

Payment for this program is nonrefundable after Dec., 1 2023. We strongly prefer that payment be made by Paypal or check postmarked by Dec. 1, 2023 to facilitate check-in and catering needs. If you are mailing a check, please also email us at sfwaforum@outlook.com to be sure we know you plan to attend.


SFCC Board Room (#223) is in the West Wing (Administration building). The college is located at 6401 Richards Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 87508. Enter through the building’s main entrance (on the left side of the building behind the flag poles). The Board Room is on the corridor to the left of the Campus Center.


From Rodeo Road turn south onto Richards Avenue. Turn into the campus main drive. Parking lots are in front of the building. Park in the East Wing Parking Lot to the right of the main entrance. If you enter through the Administration building take the corridor to the right just before the student center and cafeteria to enter the East Wing. From I-25 take the Cerrillos Road exit, turn east onto Governor Miles Road and then right onto Richards Avenue. Then follow directions above.


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