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Text & Thought [clear filter]
Friday, February 13
 

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

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
 

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

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

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

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

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

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
 

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
 
Monday, February 16
 

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