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Text & Thought [clear filter]
Friday, February 13
 

1:00pm EST

Food and Spirituality: Limmud Chavruta
In this interactive session, we will explore, debate, and discuss food and spirituality from a Jewish perspective. Can a person live on bread alone? What does God eat for breakfast? Is there such a thing as a free lunch? What is spiritual food? Ancient sources, modern scholarship, song lyrics, and more will be used. All are welcome; prior knowledge of Jewish texts or Hebrew is not required. Part of the new Limmud Chavruta series on food. Come to one session; or even better, come to all four!

Presenters
RM

Robin Moss

Robin Moss is head of Israel Engagement at UJIA, the central agency connecting the British Jewish community to Israel. He works to improve the quality and nuance of Israel-related educational conversations among Jewish youth, primarily within youth movements, day schools, non-Jewish schools... Read More →


Friday February 13, 2015 1:00pm - 2:15pm EST
Glenbrook

2:30pm EST

God's Hero: In Search of a Little Humanity
Religious devotion sometimes inspires harsh impulses, as if loving God requires rejecting humanity. Asking what kind of loyalty God wants is an urgent, old question. In this text study, we’ll learn a provocative Midrash that challenges common religious assumptions, models fierce loyalty, and demands that both God and we honor our stake in the fate of the Jewish people. All texts provided in Hebrew and English.

Presenters
JA

Joel Alter

Joel Alter is Director of Admissions for Jewish Theological Seminary Rabbinical and Cantorial schools. He has served in pluralistic Jewish schools as teacher, rabbinic leader and administrator, and is committed to advancing institutions organized around Torah study and Jewish living... Read More →


Friday February 13, 2015 2:30pm - 3:45pm EST
High Ridge

8:45pm EST

Ethics of War: The Status of Enemy Civilians
What guidance can a largely diasporic Jewish corpus offer today's Israeli military? This session mines Jewish tradition for responses to the relatively new reality of asymmetric/guerrilla warfare in the Middle East, while placing these responses in context of contemporary Israeli debate.

Presenters
ES

Elana Stein Hain

Elana Stein Hain is the Director of Leadership Education at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. She has a PhD in Religion with a focus on rabbinic legal loopholes in the Talmud from Columbia University, and served as a clergy member at Lincoln Square Synagogue and the Jewish... Read More →


Friday February 13, 2015 8:45pm - 10:00pm EST
Aspen

8:45pm EST

Halacha: Science or Art?
In this session, explore the rabbinic decision making process, particularly the subtle interplay between the jurisprudential dimension of halachah (Jewish Law) and hashkafah (the broader worldview of the rabbinic jurist) and the degree to which halachah may be ‘flexible’. This presentation is also intended to illustrate the practical significance for the lay person who has to consult a rabbinic expert.

Presenters
CR

Chaim Rapoport

Chaim Rapoport, a prolific author and scholar of Jewish law, has served as head of the Leeds Kollel, rabbi for the Birmingham Central Synagogue and Head of the Birmingham Rabbinic Board, and Rabbi to the Ilford Synagogue, Beehive Lane. In 1998 he was appointed as member of the Chief... Read More →


Friday February 13, 2015 8:45pm - 10:00pm EST
Springdale

8:45pm EST

Weep, Pray, Love: Rachel in the Bible and Beyond
Rachel is one of the most confusing, beautiful, and tragic characters in the Bible. We may think we know Rachel as Jacob's beloved wife, but there is so much more to learn and wonder about her. Through a study of Rachel's life and her relationships with those around her we will explore the broader themes of love, competition, and crisis within the Bible and our own lives. This class is the first session of a course available online at www.projectzug.org.

Presenters
AK

Avi Killip

Avi Killip serves as Director of Project Zug and Alumni Affairs at Mechon Hadar. Avi was ordained from Hebrew College's pluralistic Rabbinical School in Boston. She is a Wexner Graduate Fellow and holds a Bachelors and Masters from Brandeis University in Jewish Studies and Women and... Read More →


Friday February 13, 2015 8:45pm - 10:00pm EST
Cove

10:15pm EST

Were the Rabbis Proto-Feminists? The Case of the Adulterous Woman
How do our views of sexuality compare with those of the rabbis? The biblical Sotah rite is prescribed for a woman suspected of infidelity. Simply read, the procedure seems capricious and patriarchal. The rabbis revise the process, making it more egalitarian and exploring issues of marriage and sexuality along the way. Join us for a lively discussion of sex, marriage, gender and a variety of rabbinic views on these topics.

Presenters
YK

Ysoscher Katz

Ysoscher Katz is Chair of the Talmud Department at Yeshivat Chovevi Torah; Director of the Lindenbaum Center for the Study of Halakha; Rabbi of the Prospect Heights Synagogue; and Director of Judaic Studies at the Luria Academy in Park Slope, New York. He studied at Brisk and at Yeshivat... Read More →


Friday February 13, 2015 10:15pm - 11:30pm EST
Elm
 
Saturday, February 14
 

7:30am EST

Daf Yomi Saturday
Every day (yomi) people across the Jewish world are learning a page of Talmud (daf) with the aim of completng the entire Talmud in seven years. This global movement started in 1923 and has captured the imaginations of thousands. Everyone is encouraged to attend, from first timers to those following the current Daf Yomi cycle.

Presenters
ET

Ethan Tucker

Ethan Tucker is Rosh Yeshiva and Director of the Center for Jewish Law and Values at Mechon Hadar. Ethan was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and earned a doctorate in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He enjoys learning Torah with a wide variety... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 7:30am - 8:45am EST
Ballroom III

10:00am EST

Food and Ritual: Limmud Chavruta
In this interactive session, we will explore, debate, and discuss food and ritual from a Jewish perspective. Is kashrut logical or arbitrary? Why are we commanded to feast? Which values inform our food rituals? How is seasonal eating Jewish? Ancient sources, modern scholarship, song lyrics, and more will be used. All are welcome; prior knowledge of Jewish texts or Hebrew is not required. Part of the new Limmud Chavruta series on food. Come to one session; or even better, come to all four!

Presenters
KR

Karen Radkowsky

A founder of Limmud NY and a trustee of Limmud in the UK, Karen Radkowsky has participated in over 50 Limmud events worldwide since 2000. A three-time alumna of Frequent Traveler University, her air miles have taken her across Europe, Asia and Africa. In her professional life, Karen... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 10:00am - 11:15am EST
Glenbrook

11:30am EST

Ms. President: The Obligation for Women to Exercise Leadership
This session will explore rabbinic sources in order to open a discussion about the chiyuv (obligation) for women to exercise leadership in the Jewish community. We will also discuss the obligation of the community to empower women.

Presenters
SW

Sharon Weiss-Greenberg

Sharon is the executive director of JOFA (the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance). She has taught in a variety of schools and synagogues; served as the Orthodox adviser of Orthodox Union's Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (OU JLIC) at Harvard Hillel; and was the Rosh Moshava (Head... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 11:30am - 12:45pm EST
Elm

11:30am EST

Passing the Pen: How Increased Literacy and Education Have Changed the Meaning of Torah
While the contents of the written Torah and the oral Torah certainly contain a multitude of voices, access to "Torah-making" authority has always been limited by factors such as gender, literacy, and social status. In this session we will explore the ways in which shifts and expansions in access to "Torah-making" authority have contributed profoundly to the content and meaning of Torah over time and how the most recent expansions in access to both Jewish studies and the rabbinate are having a profound effect on contemporary Judaism and Torah.

Presenters
ES

Elsie Stern

Elsie Stern is the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. She teaches courses in Bible and Rabbinics at RRC and studies the ways in which Jews throughout history have transmitted and received Torah through text and oral performance. Her teaching... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 11:30am - 12:45pm EST
Willow

12:15pm EST

The Scholar, the Techie and the Artist
Time magazine once referred to Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz as a “once-in-a-millennium scholar." Mix his wisdom with a team of tech-savvy translators and graphic designers along with top researchers in various fields and you will experience the Talmud with synergistic power. Get a taste of this creative approach to Talmud learning.

Presenters
AM

Avishai Magence

Avishai Magence is an editor and content curator of the Koren Talmud Bavli. He oversees translation issues, curates the realia and graphics, and is involved in developing tools for the project. After finishing his army service in the hesder yeshiva program, he served as a JLIC (Jewish... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 12:15pm - 1:30pm EST
Waterside

12:15pm EST

The Dragon in the Abyss, the Id in the Unconscious: Kabbalah, Myth and Psychoanalysis
Jewish mythology is replete with dragon-like creatures inhabiting the depths of the earth, sea, and soul. These beings, both terrifying and fascinating, are obstacles to divine and human creativity, yet indispensable for their flourishing. After centuries of midrashic and kabbalistic life, these Jewish dragons have resurfaced as forces in psychoanalysis’ unconscious, frightening yet unavoidable for personal growth. Through text and practice, we will explore these alien, yet uncannily familiar, beings.

Presenters
NB

Nathaniel Berman

Nathaniel Berman is a professor at Brown University's Cogut Center for the Humanities and holds a PhD in Jewish Studies from University College London. His doctoral dissertation, entitled Improper Twins: The Ambivalent "Other Side" in the Zohar and Kabbalistic Tradition, focused on... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 12:15pm - 1:30pm EST
Glenbrook

12:15pm EST

Exodus, the Sequel
Is Egypt a place or an existential condition? What is revelation, and where can it be found? Though Exodus chapters 15-17 (which include the tale of the encampments at Marah and Eilim) seem to be mere digressions from the core moments of the book of redemption, they are in reality segues in the strong sense of the term, the path Israel must travel to get from their past and to meet their future. Between Egypt and Sinai, one must travel the desert, starting with Marah and Eilim. Come find out why!

Presenters
JK

Jonathan Kelsen

Jon Kelsen is the Rosh Kollel and Director of the June Kollel and a full-time faculty member at Drisha. He received ordination from Daniel Landes and holds an MA in Jewish Civilization from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


Saturday February 14, 2015 12:15pm - 1:30pm EST
High Ridge

12:15pm EST

Parashat Terumah: The Offerings of Our Hearts
In this Torah portion, God instructs Moses to collect gifts from the Israelites to build a dwelling place for God's presence among the people and describes the Tabernacle. Moses has come to the mountain to receive God's commandments and remains there with the Divine presence for forty days and nights. What offerings of the heart do we bring to find or keep God's presence? In which kinds of sanctuaries do we find God’s presence?  What makes them spiritual? Prior knowledge of God is not needed.

Presenters
MK

Molly Karp

Molly Karp is a passionate, experienced Jewish educator and spiritual leader. She is a deep listener, skilled counselor, pluralistic rabbi, and an experienced curriculum writer. Ordained at the Academy for Jewish Religion in Riverdale, NY, she spent ten years in doctoral studies on... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 12:15pm - 1:30pm EST
Belltown

1:45pm EST

Lethal Wives and Impure Widows
This session examines the widow marriage taboo in Jewish and Hindu law and lore through the lens of two religio-legal scholars and reformers who sought to alleviate the plight of widows who were made to suffer by lore being imposed as law. Our discussion will revolve around close text study—translated into English—from both traditions.

Presenters
SR

Shoshana Razel Gordon Guedalia

Shoshana Razel Gordon Guedalia is mother-writer-lecturer-sermonizer-activist-aspiring rabbi-student. Her “A Hike” on terror in Israel is a Pushcart nominee. Her work appears in lit reviews, Jewish journals, Keren journal & Dharma & Halacha. She taught soldiers who did not complete... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 1:45pm - 3:00pm EST
Waterside

1:45pm EST

Models of Shared Leadership: Miriam, Moses and Aaron
When we think of the Exodus story, we often conjure up dramatic images of Moses leading the people to freedom: Moses bringing plagues upon Egypt, splitting the Red Sea, and guiding the Jewish people through the desert. This session will challenge the “single-hero” narrative of the Exodus story and explore the many types of leaders that contribute to a leadership team—both in the Torah and in our world today—and which leadership qualities can be found in each of us.

Presenters
DF

Dasi Fruchter

Dasi Fruchter is working towards ordination as an Orthodox clergy member at Yeshivat Maharat and is also a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar, pursuing masters’ degrees in Public Administration and Judaic Studies at NYU. A strong believer in the power of both ritual and community... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 1:45pm - 3:00pm EST
Cove

1:45pm EST

The Rabbinic Narrative of Pacifism and Its Modern Critics
This session will offer a political theory for rabbinic Judaism—namely, that the rabbis used narrative, law, interpretation, and their own myth of origin to not only opt out of history but also to make a strong statement against sovereignty and its trappings of military force and the use of power. We will then reckon with the consequences of being the inheritors of this literature, as well as its implications for modern Zionism.

Presenters
YK

Yehuda Kurtzer

Yehuda Kurtzer is the president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, overseeing its educational initiatives for Jewish communal leaders. He taught at Brandeis as the inaugural Chair of Jewish Communal Innovation. His book Shuva: The Future of the Jewish Past offers new... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 1:45pm - 3:00pm EST
Grove

1:45pm EST

Hasidut Today
The significance of hasidut today as seen through the prism of different Hasidic masters in different generations.

Presenters
MF

Michael Fishbane

Michael Fishbane is the Nathan Cummings Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. He is the author of many works, including Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel; Sacred Attunement: A Jewish Theology; and the forthcoming Jewish Publication Society... Read More →
AG

Art Green

Arthur Green, the Founding Dean and Rector of Hebrew College Rabbinical School, is both a historian of Jewish religion and a theologian; his work seeks to form a bridge between these two distinct fields of endeavor. Green studied under such prominent teachers as Alexander Altmann... Read More →
YK

Ysoscher Katz

Ysoscher Katz is Chair of the Talmud Department at Yeshivat Chovevi Torah; Director of the Lindenbaum Center for the Study of Halakha; Rabbi of the Prospect Heights Synagogue; and Director of Judaic Studies at the Luria Academy in Park Slope, New York. He studied at Brisk and at Yeshivat... Read More →
AK

Avi Killip

Avi Killip serves as Director of Project Zug and Alumni Affairs at Mechon Hadar. Avi was ordained from Hebrew College's pluralistic Rabbinical School in Boston. She is a Wexner Graduate Fellow and holds a Bachelors and Masters from Brandeis University in Jewish Studies and Women and... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 1:45pm - 3:00pm EST
Aspen

1:45pm EST

Gift Me Something to Give
When wanting for that which we most desire, we feel bereft – impoverished – like Hannah, inconsolable in her longing for a child. A close look at Hannah’s story reveals that being without is only part of the pain of not having. We learn that having is receiving and receiving invites giving. No Hebrew required in this Hebrew-English text study with commentary about reciprocity in God’s world.

Presenters
JA

Joel Alter

Joel Alter is Director of Admissions for Jewish Theological Seminary Rabbinical and Cantorial schools. He has served in pluralistic Jewish schools as teacher, rabbinic leader and administrator, and is committed to advancing institutions organized around Torah study and Jewish living... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 1:45pm - 3:00pm EST
Long Ridge

1:45pm EST

The Ties That Bind Us: The Possibilities and Limits of Communal Repentance
What can the story of a sordid affair in 19th-century Corsica teach us about the communal connections that bind us together? What obligations do we have to each other? In this session we will explore the concept of tochacha (rebuke) and its implications for an interconnected and interdependent community.

Presenters
BG

Ben Greenberg

Ben Greenberg was ordained by Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School and is the Planning Executive for Synergy Manhattan of UJA-Federation of New York as well as the Founding Director of OpenSinai.com. He has worked in a variety of capacities in settings ranging from campus to... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 1:45pm - 3:00pm EST
Belltown

3:45pm EST

For Grandparents Only!
What can our tradition and secular writings teach us about being Jewish grandparents? How might we understand them in ways that are nonjudgmental, welcoming, and appropriate to our individual families? We will go from peshat (what the words mean) to drash (what we can learn from them), examining sources and suggestions. We will also examine the Jewish perspectives on time and celebration and how they can inform vibrant, meaningful, intergenerational Jewish family activities for holidays and every day!

Presenters
SH

Sharon Halper

Sharon Halper has served as a Jewish educator for over three decades in informal, congregational and communal settings. Her work has been published by the URJ Press, Torah Aura Productions and Behrman House. She has written for the Ziv Tzedakah Fund, socialaction.com, grandparentsforsocialaction.org... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 3:45pm - 5:00pm EST
Belltown

3:45pm EST

Heavenly Jerusalem, Earthly Jerusalem
Jerusalem has always been a place of deep emotions, tensions, and often violence. Today, these dynamics have a major impact on the possibilities for peace. We will examine some classic texts about Jerusalem in light of the contemporary political reality.

Presenters
JJ

Jill Jacobs

Jill Jacobs is the Executive Director of T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, which brings a rabbinic moral voice to human rights in North America, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories. She is the author of two books about Judaism and social justice: Where Justice... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 3:45pm - 5:00pm EST
Waterside

3:45pm EST

Meditating on Language
We will look at texts from the Jewish tradition (Kabbalah, Hasidut, Buber, Rosenzweig), and Western philosophical tradition (Plato, Aristotle, Heidegger) on the meaning and power of language. Is language simply a tool for expression or is language somehow synonymous with the world itself? We will also explore different techniques for arriving at God-consciousness through our relationship to language in all of its registers (sound, tone, volume, shape, rhythm, pace, and meaning).

Presenters
ZA

Zohar Atkins

Zohar Atkins is a first-year rabbinical school student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He holds an AB in Classics and Judaic Studies and an AM in History from Brown. He recently completed his doctorate in theology at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, where he wrote on Heidegger... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 3:45pm - 5:00pm EST
Glenbrook

3:45pm EST

Family Chavruta
Limmud's Family Chavruta Project is an opportunity for parents to learn from their kids and kids to learn from their parents in a voyage of joint discovery. In this session, we will use traditional texts, modern sources, and all of our senses (taste, smell, hearing, seeing and touch) to learn about prayer and one another! The session is suitable for kids in grades K-5. Knowledge of Hebrew or Jewish texts in not needed.

Presenters
RM

Robin Moss

Robin Moss is head of Israel Engagement at UJIA, the central agency connecting the British Jewish community to Israel. He works to improve the quality and nuance of Israel-related educational conversations among Jewish youth, primarily within youth movements, day schools, non-Jewish schools... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 3:45pm - 5:00pm EST
Glen

3:45pm EST

Judaism and Medicine: Beyond Bioethics
The history of Jews and medicine is as ancient and as rich as the history of the People of Israel itself. But is there a Jewish way to relate to medicine? This session examines the values at the core of medicine, and their impact on doctor and patient. Drawing on Jewish texts and contemporary thought and bioethics, we offer three models of the Jewish license to heal. Through study and sharing, we will explore the intersection of our Jewishness and our health. Practitioners and patients welcome!

Presenters
YH

Yonah Hain

Yonah Hain is the campus rabbi of Columbia University. In his work, he guides the educational, interfaith and religious initiatives of Columbia/Barnard Hillel's robust Jewish community. Having previously worked at New York University, he is now in his ninth year as a rabbi on campus... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 3:45pm - 5:00pm EST
Westover

3:45pm EST

Pluralism, Integrity, and Community
How do we maintain our religious integrity as we build community with those who do not share all of our practices or interpretations of Torah? We will look at an ancient debate between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel about marriage and personal status. Through a close reading, we will gain wisdom into the tough choices that are necessary to live in a diverse community.

Presenters
ET

Ethan Tucker

Ethan Tucker is Rosh Yeshiva and Director of the Center for Jewish Law and Values at Mechon Hadar. Ethan was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and earned a doctorate in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He enjoys learning Torah with a wide variety... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 3:45pm - 5:00pm EST
Grove

5:15pm EST

Modern Orthodoxy and the Boundaries of Pluralism
Can a denomination that stakes out exclusive theological claims genuinely learn from those who believe differently? In this session we will examine Jewish thought from the 19th century to the present day that attempts to balance exclusive faith claims with an openness to learn the wisdom offered by others who do not share those beliefs and/or practices. Come and explore what Karaites bottling wine and horse riding on Shabbat have to teach us about pluralistic Jewish learning.

Presenters
BG

Ben Greenberg

Ben Greenberg was ordained by Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School and is the Planning Executive for Synergy Manhattan of UJA-Federation of New York as well as the Founding Director of OpenSinai.com. He has worked in a variety of capacities in settings ranging from campus to... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 5:15pm - 6:15pm EST
Willow

5:15pm EST

Corporate Compliance and Jewish Ethics
Can today's corporations be a force for social good? Are they out for themselves, their customers, or society? And what do our Jewish ethical teachings have to say on the subject? Hear from Carole Basri, whose corporate compliance podcast was the Carnegie Council’s most popular resource in 2014.

Presenters
CB

Carole Basri

Carole Basri is a filmmaker and lawyer of Iraqi Jewish descent. Her films provide a historical and personal view of the persecution, torture, escape and flight of over 160,000 Jews from Iraq between 1940- 2003. A graduate of Barnard College and NYU School of Law, Carole is an... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 5:15pm - 6:15pm EST
Cove

5:15pm EST

Creating and Holding Sacred Space
What makes a space “holy”? What role do we have in creating holy spaces, and what responsibility do we have to create or to protect those places? In this session, we will uncover some powerful parameters of holiness, rooted in the Torah and in rabbinic texts, for creating a sense of the holy in our physical surroundings.

Presenters
DF

Dasi Fruchter

Dasi Fruchter is working towards ordination as an Orthodox clergy member at Yeshivat Maharat and is also a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar, pursuing masters’ degrees in Public Administration and Judaic Studies at NYU. A strong believer in the power of both ritual and community... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 5:15pm - 6:15pm EST
Springdale

5:15pm EST

Fallen Angels and Forbidden Fruit
Many of us are familiar with the story of Adam and Eve and its message of free will. Jews in late antiquity told another story as well that offers a different perspective on human evil and misfortune. We will explore the story of the fallen angels from the ancient text 1 Enoch and reflect on its message regarding the human condition and its relevance for us today.

Presenters
ES

Elsie Stern

Elsie Stern is the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. She teaches courses in Bible and Rabbinics at RRC and studies the ways in which Jews throughout history have transmitted and received Torah through text and oral performance. Her teaching... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 5:15pm - 6:15pm EST
Glenbrook

5:15pm EST

Three Mitzvot That Never Were and Never Will Be
The rebellious child, the afflicted house, and the city of apostates are commandments that are related to events that the Talmud describes as never having occurred, nor will they ever occur. What are the underlying themes that link these three commandments? What lessons do they teach us as theoretical models? What are the implications for understanding the human potential for rehabilitation and transformation? How do they inform our responsibility to insure that these realities never DO occur?

Presenters
BL

Bill Liss-Levinson

Bill Liss-Levinson is a healthcare publishing executive, a member of the Board of the Jewish Book Council, and the CenterLight Health System, and has done pro bono consulting for various social service, healthcare, and educational organizations. Bill has a book forthcoming in 2015... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 5:15pm - 6:15pm EST
Westover

7:30pm EST

Responsa Radio: Live!
Come to a live recording of Responsa Radio, where you ask and we answer deep and challenging questions in Jewish law. Join Avi Killip interviewing Ethan Tucker with questions sent in by LimmudNY attendees! We will take questions from the floor as well. Note: This session will be recorded and those attending are requested to arrive a few minutes early and to stay for the duration.
Free Giveaways!

Presenters
AK

Avi Killip

Avi Killip serves as Director of Project Zug and Alumni Affairs at Mechon Hadar. Avi was ordained from Hebrew College's pluralistic Rabbinical School in Boston. She is a Wexner Graduate Fellow and holds a Bachelors and Masters from Brandeis University in Jewish Studies and Women and... Read More →
ET

Ethan Tucker

Ethan Tucker is Rosh Yeshiva and Director of the Center for Jewish Law and Values at Mechon Hadar. Ethan was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and earned a doctorate in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He enjoys learning Torah with a wide variety... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 7:30pm - 8:45pm EST
Aspen

7:30pm EST

Twentieth-Century Philosophies of War: Heschel, Levinas and Their Relevance to Israel
This session takes a close look at two diaspora thinkers, Emmanuel Levinas and Abraham Joshua Heschel, whose conceptions of war were framed largely by their own experiences. We probe the relationship between their philosophies, as well as the relevance of their thought, to today's sovereign Jewish army as it conceptualizes its own military engagement.

Presenters
ES

Elana Stein Hain

Elana Stein Hain is the Director of Leadership Education at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. She has a PhD in Religion with a focus on rabbinic legal loopholes in the Talmud from Columbia University, and served as a clergy member at Lincoln Square Synagogue and the Jewish... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 7:30pm - 8:45pm EST
Springdale

8:15pm EST

Gilgul, Dybbuks and Golems: Do Jews Believe in Them?
Is Judaism a completely rationalistic religion which deplores magic, dybbuks (demons), gilgul (transmigration) and Golems, as a study of Maimonides would have us believe? In this session, we will explore various towering rabbinic figures who espoused these mystical concepts and even dabbled in occult practices, including the Vilna Gaon, Nachmanides and Joseph Karo.

Presenters
SF

Sharon Flatto

Sharon Flatto is an associate professor of Judaic Studies at Brooklyn College and Deputy Director of its graduate program. Specializing in early modern Jewish history and Kabbalah, Sharon has taught at educational institutions including Yale, Brown, and Queens College, and is the... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 8:15pm - 9:30pm EST
Long Ridge

8:15pm EST

Judaism and Homosexuality

In light of modern changes in attitude regarding homosexuality, and recent controversy surrounding government legislation, explore the halachic stance on homosexuality with Chaim Rapoport, Ethics Advisor to the former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth. Rapoport combines an unswerving commitment to Jewish Law, teachings and values with a balanced, understanding perspective that Jonathan Sacks described as “blessed with grace, loving kindness and compassion.” 



Presenters
CR

Chaim Rapoport

Chaim Rapoport, a prolific author and scholar of Jewish law, has served as head of the Leeds Kollel, rabbi for the Birmingham Central Synagogue and Head of the Birmingham Rabbinic Board, and Rabbi to the Ilford Synagogue, Beehive Lane. In 1998 he was appointed as member of the Chief... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 8:15pm - 9:30pm EST
Westover

8:15pm EST

The Original Hassidic Tales: Law, Narrative, and Piety in the Talmud
Poisonous snakes. Ancient Hasidic Miracle Workers. Communal Zoning Laws. Come find out what these three have in common and join a rich exploration of Talmudic tales. We’ll be asking: How do we balance integration into the world with the retreat from it necessary to grow?

Presenters
JK

Jonathan Kelsen

Jon Kelsen is the Rosh Kollel and Director of the June Kollel and a full-time faculty member at Drisha. He received ordination from Daniel Landes and holds an MA in Jewish Civilization from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


Saturday February 14, 2015 8:15pm - 9:30pm EST
Glenbrook
 
Sunday, February 15
 

8:30am EST

'You Shall Love the Stranger': Traditional Approaches to the Status of Non-Jews in Israel
Rabbis have made headlines in recent years with declarations that the Torah prohibits renting or selling your home in Israel to non-Jews. The mayor of Ashkelon declared that Arabs will not be employed in educational institutions. What is the Torah basis for these declarations? And is that really the Jewish way?

Presenters
MH

Meesh Hammer-Kossoy

Meesh Hammer-Kossoy teaches Talmud and directs the Social Justice Track at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, an open, co-ed, non-denominational Jewish learning community where students encounter and grapple with classic texts and traditions of Judaism while exploring... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 8:30am - 9:45am EST
Waterside

8:30am EST

Daf Yomi - Sunday
Every day (yomi) people across the Jewish world are learning a page of Talmud (daf) with the aim of completng the entire Talmud in seven years. This global movement started in 1923 and has captured the imaginations of thousands. Everyone is encouraged to attend, from first timers to those following the current Daf Yomi cycle.

Presenters
GG

Goldie Guy

Goldie Guy is a member of the Yeshivat Maharat class of 2017. Goldie has studied at the Beit Midrash for Women- Migdal Oz and as Collegiate Fellow at the Drisha Institute. Goldie earned her BA in Religion at Barnard College of Columbia University and completed the Graduate Program... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 8:30am - 9:45am EST
Ballroom III

8:30am EST

Torah in the Religious School Classroom
This session is geared for teachers in supplementary Jewish schools, but also applicable for day school teachers. In the limited time we have with our students, we can integrate knowledge and study of Torah into other subject areas (holidays, mitzvot, social action, prayer, etc.) This session will present ideas and approaches to maximize connecting our students with Torah as the foundational sacred text of Judaism.

Presenters
GG

Galya Greenberg

Galya has been active in Jewish education for many years, mostly in the Jewish day school environment. She is currently the Project Director of the MaToK Bible Curriculum and a doctoral student in Jewish Education Leadership at Hebrew College and Northeastern University. She is particularly... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 8:30am - 9:45am EST
Elm

10:00am EST

Forgiveness: Whom Is It For? A session for teens and parents
Why would you want to forgive someone who has wronged you? Is there any benefit to forgiving? Is there a “right” time to forgive? And what does Judaism have to teach us? Come explore forgiveness with Hanan Harchol, the creator of Jewish Food For Thought, a collection of animated shorts that teach Jewish ethics to adults and teens using thought-provoking and funny conversations between animated versions of Hanan and his parents. This session is for teens. Adults and parents welcome. Created with generous funding by The Covenant Foundation.

Presenters
HH

Hanan Harchol

Hanan Harchol is the creator, writer and animator of Jewish Food For Thought, a free online animated series that teaches Jewish ethics through thought-provoking conversations between Harchol and his parents. His work has been broadcast on Channel 13, Jewish Life TV, Shalom TV, and... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 10:00am - 11:15am EST
Alder

10:00am EST

NEW, CHANGED SESSION: Reflections on Copenhagen and Paris
The session on shemitta has been replaced with a discussion of what has happened in Paris and Copenhagen, and the world in general.  What's going on in the world?  How can or should we react?

Presenters
AL

Amichai Lau Lavie

Amichai Lau-Lavie is the founding director of Storahtelling, Inc. and the spiritual leader of Lab/Shul. An Israeli-born Jewish educator, writer, and performer, he is currently a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Amichai was a Jerusalem Fellow at the Mandel Leadership... Read More →
NS

Nigel Savage

Nigel Savage launched Hazon in 2000 with a Jewish bike ride across the USA. Today Hazon has more than 60 staff in seven locations, working to renew Jewish life and create a more sustainable world for all through food, the outdoors and the environment. Nigel has been listed in the... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 10:00am - 11:15am EST
Grove

10:00am EST

Varieties of Modern Orthodoxy 1800-2015
The term "Modern Orthodoxy" was first used in the 1960s to refer to a "small alienated minority" of "no more than several score intellectuals." But by the late 1970s, the term was used by a sociological group of many adherents. Explore the many separate antecedent groups who combined in the last 200 years tradition with modernity. The views of Hertz, Reines, Hertzog, Hirsch and Belkin were all generated by different questions. But more fundamentally, for us now, what is modern?

Presenters
AB

Alan Brill

Alan Brill is the Cooperman/Ross Endowed Chair for Jewish-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University. Brill’s books include Judaism and Other Religions (2010) and Judaism and World Religions (2012). Last year, he was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Varanasi, India. He is currently... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 10:00am - 11:15am EST
High Ridge

10:00am EST

The Conflict of Priorities: Inwardness-vs-Ethics
The religious person must sometimes resolve conflicts between two competing mitzvot. A classic tension involves a clash between the act of prayer or contemplation and the simultaneous demands of a moral task or duty. We shall consideration three resolutions: one articulated in the Talmud, and two others found in the writings of the Netziv and in a Hasidic teaching on the weekly Torah portion Va-yera’.

Presenters
MF

Michael Fishbane

Michael Fishbane is the Nathan Cummings Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. He is the author of many works, including Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel; Sacred Attunement: A Jewish Theology; and the forthcoming Jewish Publication Society... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 10:00am - 11:15am EST
Waterside

10:00am EST

Food and Hunger: Limmud Chavruta
In this interactive session, we will explore, debate, and discuss food and hunger from a Jewish perspective. What is the point of fasting? How can we best feed the hungry? Is it better to give bread, dough, or money? What is food justice? Ancient sources, modern scholarship, song lyrics, and more will be used. All are welcome; prior knowledge of Jewish texts or Hebrew is not required. Part of the new Limmud Chavruta series on food. Come to one session; or even better, come to all four!

Presenters
EF

Ellen Flax

Ellen Flax is a longtime member of Limmud's International Chavruta team and directs the Hadassah Foundation, which invests in social change for girls and women in Israel and the US. She received her rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.


Sunday February 15, 2015 10:00am - 11:15am EST
Glenbrook

11:30am EST

Hakovesh Et Yitzro (Mastering Your Instincts): Neurobiology Meets Rabbinic Wisdom
Emotional reactivity and dysregulation are sources of personal and interpersonal suffering. This session will explore ways to regulate our emotions, informed by cutting-edge research in neurobiology. We will consider the rabbinic dictum, "Who is mighty? The one who conquers his(/her) impulses" in light of current thinking about social and emotional intelligence.

Presenters
MF

Mona Fishbane

Mona Fishbane, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and the director of couple therapy training at the Chicago Center for Family Health. She lectures nationally and internationally and writes articles on couples, intergenerational family dynamics, and the neurobiology of love and relationships... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 11:30am - 12:45pm EST
Aspen

11:30am EST

'I Am with You in Distress': Jewish Responses to Communal Crisis and Tragedy
The history of the Jews is filled with persecutions and crises. From the time of the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem to the recent terrorist attacks in Israel, Jews have tried to respond to these challenges in different ways. Can these tragedies be explained as punishment for sins? As part of God's plan for the world? Or, are we to be silent in the face of these challenges? This session will study a selection of sources from throughout the centuries.

Presenters
AM

Adam Mintz

Adam Mintz is the founding rabbi of Kehilat Rayim Ahuvim in New York City and a professor of Jewish History at City College, New York. He lectures widely throughout the United States and Europe. Most recently, he edited a volume entitled It’s A Thin Line: Eruv from Talmudic to Modern... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 11:30am - 12:45pm EST
Belltown

11:30am EST

On Serving God: Does Halakha Help or Hinder?
In this session, we’ll explore one of the most basic questions Jews can ask: what role should halakha (Jewish law) play in our religious lives? Martin Buber and Yeshayahu Leibowitz offer two antithetical answers to this question. For one, halakha is little more than an obstacle to authentic worship; for the other, halakha itself constitutes authentic worship. What, if anything, can Buber and Leibowitz say to each other—and to us? Can engaging extreme positions help us formulate more moderate ones?

Presenters
SH

Shai Held

Shai Held is Co-Founder, Dean, and Chair in Jewish Thought at Mechon Hadar, and he directs its Center for Jewish Leadership and Ideas. He is a 2011 recipient of the Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education and has been named multiple times to Newsweek’s list of the top... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 11:30am - 12:45pm EST
Grove

12:00pm EST

The Four Founding Stories of Judaism: Why They Matter Separately and Together
This session will explore not only the four founding stories of Judaism—about peoplehood, nationhood, being a light unto the nations, and faith and covenant—but also their crucial role in ensuring Jewish survival, security, prosperity, and leadership.

Presenters
GG

Gidi Grinstein

Gidi Grinstein is the founder and president of The Reut Institute and the author of Flexigidity: The Invisible Hand of Jewish Adaptability. He served as secretary and coordinator of the Israeli delegation to the negotiations with the PLO between 1999-2001 under Ehud Barak. Gidi is... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 12:00pm - 1:15pm EST
High Ridge

12:00pm EST

Subconscious Yiddish Issues
A close reading of articles about Yiddish from the American media reveals a deeper subtext about the complex psychological relationship of Jews to their past. Join us as we explore recurring themes in various articles about Yiddish and what they tell us about unresolved issues in the modern Jewish psyche. This session includes chavrusa (Jewish peer learning), a moderated discussion, and frontal instruction.

Presenters
NE

Naftali Ejdelman

A native Yiddish speaker and lifelong Yiddish teacher, Naftali Ejdelman is the founder and president of the Yiddish Farm Education Center, an educational organic farm that teaches Yiddish through language immersion programs. He has appeared in the Jewish Week's 36 Under 36 and participated... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 12:00pm - 1:15pm EST
Glenbrook

1:30pm EST

Sketches of our Fathers: Medieval Jewish Art as 'Visual Torah Commentary'

Can an artist be a 'mefareish' (traditional Torah commentator)? While Rashi and Nachmanides were writing their respective Torah commentaries, some medieval Jews were drawing their own examples of Biblical interpretation. Uncover a colorful tradition of "visual Torah commentary" in illuminated Hebrew manuscripts, based on research at Oxford's Bodleian Library.

Presenters
BG

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield is Wexner Fellow, a rabbinical student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, and an intern at the International Beit Din. Ben is currently a proud resident of the UWS Moishe House and a founder of the partnership Minyan Maarav.


Sunday February 15, 2015 1:30pm - 2:45pm EST
Belltown

1:30pm EST

Where Are We Going? Judaism for the Mid-21st Century
What will American Jewish life look like in the decades to come? How can we help to shape a Judaism that will appeal to coming generations? What are the greatest challenges before us? Prepare for an honest, no-holds-barred discussion of some of the great issues. LimmudNYks who wish to participate will be able to pick up two recent articles by the presenter on Friday afternoon at the Help Desk. The articles will form the basis of discussion at the session.

Presenters
AG

Art Green

Arthur Green, the Founding Dean and Rector of Hebrew College Rabbinical School, is both a historian of Jewish religion and a theologian; his work seeks to form a bridge between these two distinct fields of endeavor. Green studied under such prominent teachers as Alexander Altmann... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 1:30pm - 2:45pm EST
Glenbrook

1:30pm EST

Taking Hold of Torah: The Weekly Portion and the Yearly Cycle as Gateways into Life
One of the gifts of being alive as a Jew today, rather than in previous modern generations, is the greater openness to and appreciation of our sacred texts. The last century of scholarship has made a major difference in this regard. So has the realization that each one of us brings things to the study of Torah that enhance the learning of everyone around the table. How can we maximize the meaning that Torah provides to us, our children and our students? What ways of reading should we avoid? We will start with this week's portion and work outwards in concentric circles of encounter and inclusiveness.

Presenters
AE

Arnold Eisen

Arnold M. Eisen, one of the world’s foremost authorities on American Judaism, is the seventh chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Since taking office in 2007, he has transformed the education of religious, pedagogical, professional, and lay leaders for Conservative Judaism... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 1:30pm - 2:45pm EST
Elm

1:30pm EST

Uniformity and Diversity: Left-Handedness and Halakhah
Communities must constantly balance a sense of uniformity and common purpose with the fact that all communities are made up of diverse individuals. When must individuals bend to the dominant norm and when do we create space for some people to do things differently? We will explore this question through the prism of handedness as we examine a number of places in halakhic literature where lefties and righties are (and are not) treated differently.

Presenters
ET

Ethan Tucker

Ethan Tucker is Rosh Yeshiva and Director of the Center for Jewish Law and Values at Mechon Hadar. Ethan was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and earned a doctorate in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He enjoys learning Torah with a wide variety... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 1:30pm - 2:45pm EST
Springdale

1:30pm EST

Write Your Own Talmud
Learn how to think like the rabbis by composing your own Talmudic sugya (argument). We will study the sugya as a poetic art form that combines reason and play, argument and digression, proof and suggestion. This session offers an opportunity to reflect on the wild nature of ancient rabbinic thinking and to make that style of thinking intellectually and therapeutically relevant. Thematic focus will be given to the question of what it means for Torah "to have seventy faces."

Presenters
ZA

Zohar Atkins

Zohar Atkins is a first-year rabbinical school student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He holds an AB in Classics and Judaic Studies and an AM in History from Brown. He recently completed his doctorate in theology at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, where he wrote on Heidegger... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 1:30pm - 2:45pm EST
Westover

3:00pm EST

Israel of the Heart/Israel of the Mind
How do we speak with children (and ourselves!) about our complex relationship with Israel while still passing along our love affair with the Jewish state to the next generation? Through deep discussion and a text study of Israel's Declaration of Independence, we will delve into this important topic.

Presenters
AH

Ami Hersh

Ami Hersh is the assistant director of the Ramah Day Camp in Nyack. He also serves as the Family Life Coordinator at the Orangetown Jewish Center. He was ordained as a rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2012 with an MA in Jewish non-profit management and a second MA in Experiential... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 3:00pm - 4:15pm EST
Westover

3:00pm EST

Off the Record: The Law and Law-to-Be-Applied in Jewish Responsa and Islamic Fatawa
The letter of the law is one thing; its implementation—quite another. In this session we will examine 12th-century responsa and fatawa in which we find religio-legal decisors suggesting creative off-the-record advice to individuals in difficult predicaments. Come study the responses to these out-of-the-box cases in which authorities endeavored to ensure that the spirit of the law was not negated by inappropriate enforcement of its letter.

Presenters
SR

Shoshana Razel Gordon Guedalia

Shoshana Razel Gordon Guedalia is mother-writer-lecturer-sermonizer-activist-aspiring rabbi-student. Her “A Hike” on terror in Israel is a Pushcart nominee. Her work appears in lit reviews, Jewish journals, Keren journal & Dharma & Halacha. She taught soldiers who did not complete... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 3:00pm - 4:15pm EST
Willow

3:00pm EST

Towards a Theology of the Child: The Chovat HaTalmidim as Case Study in Complexity
How does Judaism view the complex character of childhood? How does the idea of “Jewish childhood” develop in the modern era, when social and psychological factors place a premium on youth, individuality, and development. Through a careful reading of two spiritual giants of the 20th century, the Hasidic educational theorist Kalonymous Kalman Shapira, and the Modern Orthodox leader, Joseph Soloveitchik, we will explore the theological contours of this critical age.

Presenters
MG

Mark Gottlieb

Mark Gottlieb is Senior Director of the Tikvah Fund. He previously served as Head of School at Yeshiva University High School for Boys and and as principal of the Maimonides School in Brookline, MA, and has taught at the Frisch School, Hebrew Theological College, and the University... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 3:00pm - 4:15pm EST
Glenbrook

6:00pm EST

The Torah after Ferguson: Human Equality in the Bible
Ferguson has left much of our country shell-shocked, confused, and hopeless about race in America. In this session, we'll ask what the Torah says about human equality and discuss how its ideas could and should affect the way we conduct ourselves in the world. We'll accomplish this through close readings of texts from Genesis and Deuteronomy. Come with an openness to exploring inspiring, challenging, and unsettling ideas.

Presenters
SH

Shai Held

Shai Held is Co-Founder, Dean, and Chair in Jewish Thought at Mechon Hadar, and he directs its Center for Jewish Leadership and Ideas. He is a 2011 recipient of the Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education and has been named multiple times to Newsweek’s list of the top... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 6:00pm - 7:15pm EST
Grove

6:45pm EST

Shiva, Shabbos Candles, and Mikveh: Innovation and Creativity in Jewish Ritual
Rituals help us to mark important moments in our lives—times of transition, celebration and grief. Is there room to adapt, grow, and change the rituals that exist within our tradition? This session will ask participants to examine more closely their practice of existing rituals, and to explore some of the possibilities around creative rituals.

Presenters
DF

Dasi Fruchter

Dasi Fruchter is working towards ordination as an Orthodox clergy member at Yeshivat Maharat and is also a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar, pursuing masters’ degrees in Public Administration and Judaic Studies at NYU. A strong believer in the power of both ritual and community... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 6:45pm - 8:00pm EST
Cove

6:45pm EST

Adam's Invention of Religion
Why do Jewish holy days so often coincide with the observances of other peoples and traditions? In this session we will examine how rabbinic stories in the Talmud and Midrash address this question. In recounting Adam's first prayer, Adam's first fast, and Adam's first offering, the rabbis imagine the experience of the first human beings as the origin of religion.

Presenters
MW

Mira Wasserman

Mira Wasserman is on the faculty of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where she teaches Talmud. For her, the Talmud is both a great work of literature and a resource for thinking about contemporary ethics, and she seeks to open Talmud up for students and seekers of all ages... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 6:45pm - 8:00pm EST
Belltown

8:15pm EST

Finding the Jewish God in the Post-Secular Age
The triumph of secularism used to be assumed; now God is back everywhere in our post-secular age. Yet, we find Biblical transcendence and God's presence to be elusive. People alternately attain and lose religion, seeking some meaning and moral orders in their lives. Some turn to inner spirituality, some to strong beliefs, and others toward a kitchen deity. We will explore the contours of this new terrain and discuss the Jewish God in an age of post-liberalism, after-theism, and post-secularism.

Presenters
AB

Alan Brill

Alan Brill is the Cooperman/Ross Endowed Chair for Jewish-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University. Brill’s books include Judaism and Other Religions (2010) and Judaism and World Religions (2012). Last year, he was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Varanasi, India. He is currently... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 8:15pm - 9:30pm EST
Glenbrook

8:15pm EST

The Akedah (Sacrifice of Isaac) in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Traditions
The Akedah tells the story of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac, as a demonstration of his faith in God. This ultimate test, central to the Jewish narrative, was adapted by Christianity and Islam in different ways. A close reading of the relevant sacred texts reveals specific religious tropes within each of the Abrahamic religions and offers an opening into interreligious conversations.

Presenters
NM

Noam Marans

Noam Marans is the national director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations at AJC (the American Jewish Committee). Previously he served as the rabbi of Temple Israel in Ridgewood, NJ. He has participated in multiple private audiences with Pope Francis and leads AJC's battle against... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 8:15pm - 9:30pm EST
Long Ridge

8:15pm EST

The Joy of Text - Live!
The Joy of Text (tjot.org) is a monthly podcast about Judaism and sexuality, featuring Dov Linzer, Bat Sheva Marcus, and Ramie Smith. Some past topics: sexual fantasies, the use of vibrators, covering up sexual abuse in schools, and the Kama Sutra. This will be the very first time the show has been recorded before a live audience. Featuring a special guest and what will surely be a very interesting Q&A.

Presenters
DL

Dov Linzer

Dov Linzer is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, a groundbreaking Orthodox smicha (ordaining) program, now in its 14th year with close to 100 rabbis serving in the field. Dov has published and lectures widely, writes a weekly parasha sheet, and teaches... Read More →
BS

Bat Sheva Marcus

Bat Sheva Marcus is the clinical director of The Medical Center for Female Sexuality. She holds a PhD in Human Sexuality and  Masters’ degrees in Social Work, Public Health and Jewish Studies. Bat Sheva is a founding member and Vice President of JOFA, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist... Read More →
RS

Ramie Smith

Ramie Smith is a graduate of Yeshiva University with a BA in English communications with emphases on television writing and public relations, and a focus on Women's Studies. She interned at Comedy Central's Emmy and Peabody Award winning show The Colbert Report. She served as the... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 8:15pm - 9:30pm EST
Elm

9:45pm EST

The Origins of Havdalah in the Book of Esther
Every week when we say Havdalah, we chant "layehudim hayetah orah v'simhah," "The Jews had light and happiness." This is a beautiful verse from the Book of Esther, but why does a verse from Esther play such a central role in the Havdalah ritual? Reading these two texts together lets us see that the themes of this liturgy of separation and this biblical tale of salvation actually relate beautifully to each other, and leads us to new understandings of both Esther and Havdalah.

Presenters
OH

Ora Horn Prouser

Ora Horn Prouser is the executive vice president and academic dean at the Academy for Jewish Religion in NY. She has published widely on gender issues and literary analysis of the Bible. Ora has worked with the Melton Center for Jewish Education and the Jewish Theological Seminary's... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 9:45pm - 11:00pm EST
Glenbrook
 
Monday, February 16
 

8:30am EST

Who Was the Ramban?
Ramban, Moshe b. Nachman (Nachmanides) 1194–1270, wrote one of the most famous commentaries on the Torah. But what made his thought so enduring? Together we will explore some of Ramban's key passages in the hopes of understanding his revolutionary worldview.

Presenters
AS

Abe Schacter-Gampel

Abe is a second-year rabbinical school student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. He is a graduate of NYU, where he studied Classics and Comparative Literature, and has studied at Yeshivat Ma’ale Gilboa and Yeshivat Hadar, where he was a Kevah Teaching Fellow. This summer Abe served as... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 8:30am - 9:45am EST
Glenbrook

8:30am EST

What Would Moses Do?
The Torah has divided the Promised Land in an equitable manner and then used the mechanisms of shmita (sabbatical), yovel (jubilee), and go-eil (the redeemer) to keep it so. In this shmita year, we will discuss how relevant these mechanisms are to today's economy and what makes for a fair economy.

Presenters
CB

Chaim Bronstein

Chaim Bronstein is a retired high school teacher. Born in Paris, France, he was raised on an ultra-Orthodox moshav in Israel and currently resides in Riverdale, NY and North Adams, MA with his wife Pamela Wax, a rabbi. He has a strong interest in economic justice. This is his sixth... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 8:30am - 9:45am EST
Belltown

8:30am EST

Recovering the Mystical Tradition: Toward a Contemporary Jewish Spirituality
Lecture, followed by questions. Why is the Jewish people today scrambling to recover the mystical tradition, jettisoned from the Jewish "mainstream" over two hundred years ago? What might this tradition have to offer to the contemporary seeker? What are some of the right and wrong ways to access the legacy of Kabbalah and Hasidism for the post-modern era?

Presenters
AG

Art Green

Arthur Green, the Founding Dean and Rector of Hebrew College Rabbinical School, is both a historian of Jewish religion and a theologian; his work seeks to form a bridge between these two distinct fields of endeavor. Green studied under such prominent teachers as Alexander Altmann... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 8:30am - 9:45am EST
Elm

8:30am EST

Daf Yomi Monday
Every day (yomi) people across the Jewish world are learning a page of Talmud (daf) with the aim of completng the entire Talmud in seven years. This global movement started in 1923 and has captured the imaginations of thousands. Everyone is encouraged to attend, from first timers to those following the current Daf Yomi cycle.

Presenters
YK

Ysoscher Katz

Ysoscher Katz is Chair of the Talmud Department at Yeshivat Chovevi Torah; Director of the Lindenbaum Center for the Study of Halakha; Rabbi of the Prospect Heights Synagogue; and Director of Judaic Studies at the Luria Academy in Park Slope, New York. He studied at Brisk and at Yeshivat... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 8:30am - 9:45am EST
Ballroom III

8:30am EST

Tackling Tefillah: Is More 'Effective' Prayer Possible?
Are we "changing G-d's mind" when we pray? Take a new look at tefillah (prayer) through the thinking of Rav Kook and some contemporary commentary as well. Attendees at this session will receive a free gift from Koren Publishers!

Presenters
YP

Yossi Pollak

Yossi Pollak is Director of Synagogue and School Outreach for Koren Publishers in the Northeast US. He graduated from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School and has served pulpits in Washington DC, New York City, and Westport, CT, as well as teaching in day schools in Brooklyn... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 8:30am - 9:45am EST
Westover

10:00am EST

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!
Research has found that even "honest" people lie multiple times a day. According to the Jewish tradition, under what circumstances, if any, is it permissible to tell an untruth? We will explore what some (in)famous biblical and rabbinic lying liars can teach us about the topic.

Presenters
EF

Ellen Flax

Ellen Flax is a longtime member of Limmud's International Chavruta team and directs the Hadassah Foundation, which invests in social change for girls and women in Israel and the US. She received her rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.


Monday February 16, 2015 10:00am - 11:15am EST
High Ridge

10:00am EST

When the Tablets Shatter: Dementia in Rabbinic Literature and Theology
The painful reality of dementia in parents and teachers was as much a part of Talmudic life as it is for so many today. Drawing on Talmudic legend, modern journalism, and halacha, we will explore how Jewish tradition has responded to, portrayed, and even embraced dementia.

Presenters
BG

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield is Wexner Fellow, a rabbinical student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, and an intern at the International Beit Din. Ben is currently a proud resident of the UWS Moishe House and a founder of the partnership Minyan Maarav.


Monday February 16, 2015 10:00am - 11:15am EST
Westover

11:30am EST

Creating Family: Infertility Then and Now
Ancient wisdom can help with a modern problem! Judaism places a strong emphasis on families, but building a family is not always easy. Stories from our tradition can provide a source of comfort, strength, and inspiration as we struggle to have and raise children.

Presenters
SB

Suzanne Brody

Suzanne Brody creates innovative, dynamic programming for Jews of all ages. She currently oversees education and programming for children and teens at Temple Beth El in Ithaca, NY. When leading prayers—whether from the bima in the main sanctuary, on the floor surrounded by a circle... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 11:30am - 12:45pm EST
Glenbrook

11:30am EST

Spirituality and Leadership
Does God work at my non-profit or firm? In this highly interactive session, participants will look at a case study from the field of management and respond to it using a set of biblical and rabbinic texts. Participants will explore new perspectives from scholars who are currently thinking about spirituality in relationship to the workplace.

Presenters
DF

Dasi Fruchter

Dasi Fruchter is working towards ordination as an Orthodox clergy member at Yeshivat Maharat and is also a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar, pursuing masters’ degrees in Public Administration and Judaic Studies at NYU. A strong believer in the power of both ritual and community... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 11:30am - 12:45pm EST
Springdale

11:30am EST

The Talmud Uncensored
Among the most incendiary passages in the Talmud are those that denigrate non-Jews. What do these texts actually say and how have they been read, resisted, and revised? We will explore the Talmud’s role in shaping relationships between Jews and non-Jews since late antiquity and learn how Christian censorship reshaped the Talmud. Can censorship ever be good? Can the Talmud serve as a teaching for all people? What is the role of censorship in preparing the Talmud—and the Jews—for modernity?

Presenters
MW

Mira Wasserman

Mira Wasserman is on the faculty of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where she teaches Talmud. For her, the Talmud is both a great work of literature and a resource for thinking about contemporary ethics, and she seeks to open Talmud up for students and seekers of all ages... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 11:30am - 12:45pm EST
Elm

11:30am EST

The Messiah: When Is She Coming and What Is Her Role?—Hasidic Views
Throughout Jewish history, Jews have been praying for the arrival of the Messiah. When will that time come? What is the Messiah's role? What will be the nature of the messianic age? In this session, we will examine the complex and much-debated role of messianism in early Hasidism. To explore these themes, we will focus on one of the only extant writings of the founder of the movement, Israel ben Eliezer Ba'al Shem Tov (the Besht).

Presenters
SF

Sharon Flatto

Sharon Flatto is an associate professor of Judaic Studies at Brooklyn College and Deputy Director of its graduate program. Specializing in early modern Jewish history and Kabbalah, Sharon has taught at educational institutions including Yale, Brown, and Queens College, and is the... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 11:30am - 12:45pm EST
Waterside

1:00pm EST

Artists’ Beit Midrash
Who is an artist? What is the role and responsibility of an artist? Together we will consider a handful of biblical, rabbinic, and contemporary Jewish texts that propose a few surprising answers! This session aspires to be part learning circle and part artists’ coffee klatch. Calling all creatives (broadly defined!).

Presenters
EF

Erica Frankel

Erica Frankel began taking dance classes and playing soccer at age three. By five, she quit soccer (after kicking the ball to the other team "because they wanted it more" and winning "Best Singer on the Field") and told her parents she wanted to grow up to be a "multi-talented artist... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 1:00pm - 2:15pm EST
Belltown

1:00pm EST

Jewish Education is Dead. Long Live Jewish Education.
The approaches to Jewish education that were developed in the 20th century served us reasonably well in that era. But the world has changed, and Jewish education needs to change with it. Join a no-holds-barred discussion about Jewish education’s future. We’ll ask: What should Jewish education’s goals be in a time of permeable boundaries, personal meaning-making, learner empowerment and prosumerism? What paradigm shifts are needed for Jewish education to thrive in a rapidly changing world?

Presenters
JW

Jonathan Woocher

Jonathan Woocher is the president of the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah, which promotes efforts to connect Jews and others to Jewish wisdom, sensibilities, and experiences that help them to lead more purposeful and fulfilling lives and to shape a better world. Previously... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 1:00pm - 2:15pm EST
Cove

1:00pm EST

Jewish Jonah and Islamic Yunus
Jonah/Yunus, the prophet, is depicted both in the Tanach and in the Quran and their mefarshim/tafsir, their commentaries. By examining these depiction in each text--translated into English--we will discuss theological differences illuminated by each portrayal.

Presenters
SR

Shoshana Razel Gordon Guedalia

Shoshana Razel Gordon Guedalia is mother-writer-lecturer-sermonizer-activist-aspiring rabbi-student. Her “A Hike” on terror in Israel is a Pushcart nominee. Her work appears in lit reviews, Jewish journals, Keren journal & Dharma & Halacha. She taught soldiers who did not complete... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 1:00pm - 2:15pm EST
Long Ridge

1:00pm EST

'You Shall Surely Open Your Hand': Poverty, Shmita and a Social-Theological Vision
We are currently in a shmita (sabbatical) year. Shmita in Deuteronomy is not primarily about land but about remitting debts and liberating slaves. In this session, we'll ask: what kind of social ethic does Deuteronomy seek to instill? How does it work to ensure that there will be no permanent underclass in the land of Israel? What strategies does it use to motivate people to treat one another generously? Along the way, we'll see how Deuteronomy radicalizes the social vision of Exodus.

Presenters
SH

Shai Held

Shai Held is Co-Founder, Dean, and Chair in Jewish Thought at Mechon Hadar, and he directs its Center for Jewish Leadership and Ideas. He is a 2011 recipient of the Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education and has been named multiple times to Newsweek’s list of the top... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 1:00pm - 2:15pm EST
Grove

1:00pm EST

Food and Sustainability: Limmud Chavruta
In this interactive session, we will explore, debate, and discuss food and sustainability from a Jewish perspective. Are trees God’s most beautiful works? How could waste be good? Is vegetarianism Jewish? How do we achieve food sustainability? Ancient sources, modern scholarship, song lyrics, and more will be used. All are welcome; prior knowledge of Jewish texts or Hebrew is not required. Part of the new Limmud Chavruta series on food. Come to one session; or even better, come to all four!

Presenters
EF

Ellen Flax

Ellen Flax is a longtime member of Limmud's International Chavruta team and directs the Hadassah Foundation, which invests in social change for girls and women in Israel and the US. She received her rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.


Monday February 16, 2015 1:00pm - 2:15pm EST
High Ridge

1:00pm EST

Holy Ground: Surveying the Significance of Shoes and Bare Feet in the Bible
At the burning bush, Moses is asked to remove his shoes because he is standing on holy ground. We usually assume that removing shoes at holy sites is expected. However, the removal of shoes carries far more meaning in the Bible. More than highlighting the sanctity of the site, this action provides insight into the relationship that is being established between God and Moses, and ultimately with all Israel. Who knew that whether you wear your shoes or not had so much meaning?

Presenters
OH

Ora Horn Prouser

Ora Horn Prouser is the executive vice president and academic dean at the Academy for Jewish Religion in NY. She has published widely on gender issues and literary analysis of the Bible. Ora has worked with the Melton Center for Jewish Education and the Jewish Theological Seminary's... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 1:00pm - 2:15pm EST
Willow