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Now displaying: Category: haberman distinguished scholar series

Welcome to The Foundation for Jewish Studies' Podcast. Please visit our website to learn about upcoming events and donate to support our programs and this podcast. We invite you to join our mailing list and subscribe to our blog. Enjoy the lectures!

 
Dec 11, 2011

Speaker: Dr. David Ruderman, Joseph Meyerhoff Professor of Modern Jewish History and the Ella Darivoff Director of the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania

Location: B'nai Israel Congregation; Rockville, MD

"The Book of the Covenant" (Sefer ha-Brit), first published by a relatively unknown Eastern European Jew named Phinehas Elijah Hurwitz, in Brunn, Moravia in 1797, was one of the most popular Hebrew books read by Jews in the Modern Era. In this massive volume - purported to be a commentary of a popular 16th century mystical work - Hurwitz presented his understanding of the sciences of the day - cosmology, astronomy, geography, botany, zoology, and medicine. In a commentary on the injunction to "Love thy neighbor as thyself," Hurwitz insisted that the commandment requires every Jew to love all human beings, not only their own co-religionists, and not merely as a political concession but as an inherent value of Judaism itself. The complex mixture of science, kabbalistic piety, and universal ethics mark the special quality of this work and underscore its uniqueness in an era of cultural debate and polarization. Hurwitz's attempt to balance the secular and Jewish worlds in which he lived offers insight into our own struggle to live as committed Jews in the modern world.

This program is made possible by the generosity of K. Peter & Yvonne Wagner

Nov 22, 2011

Speaker: Rabbi Dr. Levi Cooper, professor at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem and spiritual leader of Kehillat HaTzur VeHaTzohar in Tzur Hadassah

Location: Temple Shalom; Chevy Chase, MD

The Maharal is celebrated as a mystic, but he was also a legal authority. To be sure, only a few of his halakhic writings survived, and most of his decisions did not become accepted law. Nevertheless, we would be remiss to ignore that he was also a jurisprudent.

In addition to exhibiting this lesser-known aspect of his personality, this lecture discusses how he and other scholars of Prague reacted to the codification of Jewish law. It explores the intended goals of codification, why scholars were against it, and how that issue is reflected today in our complicated and diverse relationships with Halakhah.

Rabbi Cooper's three-part lecture series is supported by the generosity of Gerald and Dina Leener

This lecture was made possible by the generosity of Dr. Anita O. Solomon, in memory of her beloved husband, Frederic, and her father, Arthur Ostrin

Nov 20, 2011

Speaker: Rabbi Dr. Levi Cooper, professor at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem and spiritual leader of Kehillat HaTzur VeHaTzohar in Tzur Hadassah

Location: Ohr Kodesh Congregation; Chevy Chase, MD

Rabbi Akiva is generally seen as the central legal authority in the Mishna; much of Jewish law, both civiland ritual, can be traced to him and his students. Yet Rabbi Akiva's prayer indicates that he may have also been a mystic. Certainly the Hasidic masters saw Rabbi Akiva as the paradigm for mystical prayer.

This lecture also discusses different types of mystical experiences that are recognized in the Hasidic tradition.

Rabbi Cooper's three-part lecture series is supported by the generosity of Gerald and Dina Leener

Nov 17, 2011

Speaker: Rabbi Dr. Levi Cooper, professor at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem and spiritual leader of Kehillat HaTzur VeHaTzohar in Tzur Hadassah

Location: Washington DC JCC; Washington, DC

This lecture looks at the famous Hasidic tale and how it has been retold so that it conforms to the norms of Jewish Law. What is the price paid by such revisions? Is the story enhanced or does it lose some of its original flavor?

Rabbi Cooper's three-part lecture series is supported by the generosity of Gerald and Dina Leener

Nov 10, 2011

Speaker: Dr. Ziony Zevit, Distinguished Professor of Biblical Literature and Northwest Semitic Languages at American Jewish University

Location: Agudas Achim Congregation; Alexandria, VA

The idea of  "the Fall" of humanity from divine grace as a result of original sin is deeply ingrained in both Jewish and Christian religious consciousness. Although the idea of the Fall is attested in Jewish writings of the first century BCE, the New Testament, and in Rabbinic texts, it is unknown in the Hebrew Bible.

This lecture looks in on Adam and Eve as they walk through the garden, eavesdrops on their reported conversations, and watches as God drives them out from Eden. Following in their footsteps, as portrayed in Genesis 2 - 4, and reading the biblical text very closely, it undertakes to respond to the following questions and discover why what we think we know is wrong: Why does the Hebrew Bible not consider what happened in the garden a Fall? Why did later thinkers come to think of what happened there as the Fall? And if not a Fall, what did happen there?

Also co-sponsored by Beth El Hebrew Congregation, Congregation Olam Tikvah, Congregation Etz Hayim, and Temple Rodef Shalom

Nov 3, 2011

Speaker: Dr. Judith Hauptman, The E. Billi Ivry Professor of Talmud and Rabbinic Culture at the Jewish Theological Seminary

Location: Temple Shalom; Chevy Chase, MD

For years, scholars and laypeople alike have asserted that women in the talmudic period were relegated to housework and did not study Torah. New research about the study house (bet midrash) argues that it was not a free-standing building. Instead, a rabbi and a circle of students would discuss Torah in the rabbi’s home, courtyard, and at his table. It follows that women would overhear Torah talk. Small anecdotes appearing in the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds show that occasionally women actually participated in Torah discussions, contributing comments that reflected deep knowledge of the subject at hand. Other anecdotes show that some rabbis taught Torah to their wives and daughters. In short, as patriarchal as ancient rabbinic society surely was, women were not excluded from Torah study. They learned far more than we have generally thought possible, although not as much as men.

Also co-sponsored by the Georgetown University Program for Jewish Civilization

Oct 27, 2011

Speaker: Dr. Hasia Diner, Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University

Location: JCC of Greater Washington; Rockville, MD

From the idea that the eighteenth century constituted a "sephardi era" in American Jewish history through the decades following World War II in which American Jews shunned talking about and memorializing the Holocaust, the history of the Jews of the United States has been laced throughout with myths which do not stand up to the test of historical evidence. This lecture examines a number of those ideas about the American Jewish past which have dominated popular memory. It juxtaposes them against the actual historical data and explores why such renditions of the past have held on so long and so tenaciously.

Also co-sponsored by Georgetown University Program for Jewish Civilization and the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington

Jun 27, 2011

Speaker: Rabbi Avi Weiss, founder and president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, the Modern and Open Orthodox Rabbinical School in New York

Location: Sixth & I Historic Synagogue; Washington, DC

Rabbi Avi Weiss, one of Newsweek’s “50 Most Influential Rabbis in America,” discusses his philosophy on an Orthodoxy that is both open and inclusive.

Also co-sponsored by Ohev Sholom - The National Synagogue and Beth Sholom Congregation & Talmud Torah

May 17, 2011

Speaker: Prof. Jenna Weissman Joselit, Charles E. Smith Professor of Judaic Studies & Professor of History at The George Washington University

Location: Beth Sholom Congregation & Talmud Torah; Potomac, MD

This age-old compilation of dos and don'ts has become an American article of faith and, in some quarters, even America's "rightful heritage." The most richly imagined of all Biblical texts, the Ten Commandments loom large in American culture, where they figure in art, literature, politics, and the law. The cultural and historical processes by which a covenant with the ancient Israelites became a covenant with America lies at the heart of this encounter in both American history and Jewish history.

In memory of Renee and Frank Schick – Endowed by the Schick Family

Also co-sponsored by the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington

May 10, 2011

Speaker: Dr. Eliezer Diamond, Rabbi Judah Nadich Associate Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at The Jewish Theological Seminary

Location: Congregation Beth El; Bethesda, MD

The traditional liturgy of the Siddur was composed in a time and place quite different from our own. Moreover, the theological assumptions that animate this liturgy are not necessarily shared by many of us. Given this ideological and experiential disparity, how can we not simply recite the words of the Siddur but actually turn them into a meaningful prayer experience? This issue was addressed both by drawing upon a number of rabbinic texts and by utilizing the midrashic methodologies that are central to rabbinic discourse.

In honor of Dorothy G. and Robert H. Rumizen - Endowed by Dr. Bruce and Joy Ammerman through the Ammerman Foundation

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