ScholarStream 5782 Series Descriptions

Posted on: Friday September 3, 2021

Cultivating Our Relationships

Biblical stories can inform our understanding of our own relationships. The life lessons of our ancestors influence our personal, communal, and world values.

Series 1: Torah Relationships

REGISTER HERE

Wednesdays, 8 PM ET / 5 PM PT

Date

Teacher

Institution

Class Title

Oct 6, 2021

Dr. Alan Cooper

JTS

God, Abraham and Isaac: Who is the ‘Hero’ of the Akeidah?

Description: The story of the “binding of Isaac” (Akeidah) in Genesis 22 is a tale of problematic relationships, those among the characters as well as the reader’s relationship with a troubling and alienating story. How can God issue such a shocking and callous command to Abraham, a faithful follower? Why does Abraham comply without objection, in contrast to previous interactions with God? And why does Isaac remain passive and apparently acquiescent with his life at stake? Is there a hero in this story, in the sense of a character who is to be celebrated for his actions, and what are we supposed to learn from him? We will take up those questions in the light of both traditional and modern Jewish commentary.

 

Oct 13, 2021

Liza Bernstein

Conservative Yeshiva

Gendered Gaps: Remembering Sarah Where She is Most Erased

Description: When we study the Akeidah, the binding of Isaac, we often focus on the dynamics between Abraham, Isaac, and God. We rarely ask: where was Sarah? In this session, we will use traditional sources and gender theory to open up questions of gender, community, and parenting. Through our questioning, we will remember Sarah's story and re-member Sarah, in all her complexities, as a full part of our tradition.

 

Oct 20, 2021

Rabbi Bradley Artson

Ziegler

Loving Peace, One Person at a Time

Description: We often think of the pursuit of peace as a task for nations, communities, and public figures. And it is all that. But the work of peace is also private and individual. In the person of Aaron, first High Priest and brother to Moses, the ancient sages imagine what an integrated approach to making peace might look like.

 

Oct 27, 2021

Rabbi Elliot Dorff

Ziegler

The Dysfunctional Families of Genesis: What They -- and Later Jewish Law -- Tell Us About How *Not* to Treat Our Parents, Siblings, and Children

Description: We have all read the stories of Genesis many times over and have interpreted them in sermons and lessons. The goal of this session is to examine them in the context of family ethics.  What bad practices do they exemplify, and what does Jewish law tell us about how to form better family relationships and avoid family violence?

 

Series 2: Ethics

REGISTER HERE

Tuesdays, 1 PM ET / 10 AM PT

Date

Teacher

Institution

Class Title

Nov 2, 2021

Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin

Schechter

Risking One’s Life to Save Another: Required or Forbidden by Jewish Law?

Description: If you see someone drowning in a raging river – are you required or forbidden to try to save that person? If a mountain climber sees another climber lying in the snow – how far must he go to save the other climber? Must a doctor endanger her life to save another, or is this forbidden? In this session we shall study the main rabbinic sources regarding these moral dilemmas, which have been debated by rabbis for the past 2,000 years.

 

Nov 9, 2021

Rabbi Dr. Reb Mimi Feigelson

Schechter

Moral Dilemmas in the Teachings of the Mei Hashiloah, Reb Mordechai Yosef Lainer of Ishbitza

Description: What does it mean that halakha is not one and the same for all? Was it ever meant to be? And can we wrap our minds around a situation in which our moral sensibilities are challenged “in God's name”? Challenged in the name of what is presented as “God’s Will”? Join me in debating some of the more controversial teachings of the Ishbitzer Rebbe.

 

Nov 16, 2021

Rabbi Avi Novis Deutsch

Schechter

Can a Halakha be Immoral?

Description: In this session, we will try to define the relationship and the tensions between “halakha” and “ethics” as concepts, and examine how different rabbis dealt with this dilemma. We will also see how this dilemma still plays a major role in many contemporary Jewish debates, both in Israel and the Diaspora.

 

Nov 23, 2021

Rabbi Chaya Rowen Baker

Schechter

“Leshon Hara” (Gossip and Slander): an age-old ethical challenge

Description: The prohibition of Leshon Hara is one of the most difficult mitzvot to observe. How can we “guard our tongues from evil” in our personal and professional lives? What can we learn from the Biblical stories of Joseph, Miriam and the Spies? Are there ever occasions when it’s permissible to speak Leshon Hara?

 


Defining Our Sacred Spaces

Understanding how Conservative Judaism developed helps us form our own theology and practice. As a movement guided by Torah and modern interpretation, we embrace diversity as we gather in holy community.

Series 3: The Roots of Conservative Judaism

REGISTER HERE

Tuesdays, 8 PM ET / 5 PM PT

Moderator: Alex Friedman (JTS)

Date

Teacher

Institution

Class Title

Dec 7, 2021

Chancellor Shuly Rubin Schwartz

JTS

Conservative Judaism: Origins, History, Assets and Opportunities

Description: Conservative Judaism provided a compelling vision for a Judaism—traditional in orientation and embracing of evolutionary change—that captured the hearts and minds of so many twentieth century American Jews. What were its origins? Why/how did JTS serve as its incubator and disseminator? And why am I convinced that Conservative Judaism is well poised to meet the religious needs of North American Jews in the current moment?

 

Dec 14, 2021

Rabbi Elliot Dorff

Ziegler

The Theological Grounding of Conservative Judaism

Description: Historical and sociological factors played important roles in the creation of the Conservative movement in both Germany and the United States. This session will focus on the theological commitments that created the movement and still ground its approach to text study, law, Israel, and God.

 

Dec 21, 2021

Rabbi Gordon Tucker

JTS

The Torah of Conservative Judaism

Description: From its inception, Conservative Judaism has stood for a particular way of approaching, studying, and even defining Torah. The energizing encounter between the academic and the religiously committed has characterized The Jewish Theological Seminary, the Conservative Movement’s flagship institution, since its founding. In this session, we will consider the notable contributions to this special culture of Torah made by some of the significant figures in the history of JTS and our Movement.

 


Series 4: The Other Within - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in a Pluralistic Movement

REGISTER HERE

Wednesdays, 8 PM ET / 5 PM PT

Moderator: Alex Friedman (JTS)

Date

Teacher

Institution

Class Title

Jan 19, 2022

Daniel S. Nevins & Lauren Tuchman

CJLS

Removing the Stumbling Block: From Theory to Practice

Description: Many of the most important Jewish leaders have been blind, and the Torah commands Israel not to place stumbling blocks to impede their progress. Yet Jews who are blind have often been excluded from full participation in Jewish ritual or been denied access to the riches of Torah available only in print. What pathways to Jewish leadership do halakhic sources offer to Jews who are blind? What paths remain blocked? Rabbi Lauren Tuchman, the first blind woman to be ordained as a rabbi, and Rabbi Daniel Nevins, who wrote a responsum on this subject, continue this important conversation.

 

Jan 26, 2022

Pamela Barmash & Naomi Brunlehrmann & Susan Cohen

CJLS

"Status of the Heresh and of Sign Language"

Description: What is it like for a Deaf and Hard of Hearing member of a Conservative/Masorti synagogue to come on Shabbat or for a family simhah and not be able to avail themselves of a sign language interpreter, captioning service, or assistive listening devices? What is it like for a Deaf Jew to read in rabbinic literature that the deaf are placed in the same category as minors and the psychologically deranged, yet read in the Torah, “you shall not insult the deaf”? In 2011, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS) of the Rabbinical Assembly approved two teshuvot on the deaf who use sign language that were hailed as landmarks in the Deaf Jewish community. Susan Cohen, president of the Jewish Deaf Resource Center, Naomi Brunnlehrman, hazzan of the Deaf and executive director of the Jewish Deaf Resource Center, join with Rabbi Pamela Barmash, author of those teshuvot and co-chair of the CJLS, for a discussion of the teshuvot and how you can make your home community more accessible to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community.

 

Feb 2, 2022

David Fishman

JTS

When Jews Made Fellow Jews “Other”: Hasidism and Its Opponents

Description: The Hasidim, followers of the Ba’al Shem Tov and his spiritual heirs, emerged in the 18th century with controversial ideas related to Jewish practice and belief. While Hasidim coexisted peacefully with non-Hasidim in many communities, the Mitnagdim ("opponents") in many larger Jewish centers in Eastern Europe reacted to the Hasidim not only with condemnation, but with writs of excommunication and measures to persecute the members of the new movement. This internal Jewish religious strife led to the division of the community into rival "denominations'' for the first time in nearly a thousand years. We will study the conflict between the Hasidim and Mitnagdim and reflect on how the core principles of the dispute continue to shape our Jewish lives and guide our homes and institutions.  

 

Feb 9, 2022

Gail Labovitz

Ziegler

From Kinyan to Brit: Options for Egalitarian Partnerships in Conservative Halakhah

Description: In classical Jewish law, marriage and divorce are unilateral acts in which a man "sets aside" a woman as his wife at the wedding, and releases her in divorce; concomitantly, the ceremony presumes a heterosexual couple. Could it be possible to have a Jewish marriage in which each partner, of whatever gender, is equally responsible for initiating the binding relationship, and has equal rights to seek its end when necessary? Rabbi Labovitz will discuss her recent responsum for the CJLS, adopted in April of 2020, to validate new, egalitarian options for Jewish marriages.

 


Series 5: Halakha - The Process Moving Forward & the Forward-Moving Process

REGISTER HERE

Wednesdays, 8 PM ET / 5 PM PT

Moderator: Alex Friedman (JTS)

DATE

Teacher

Institution

Class Title

Feb 16, 2022

Rabbi Pamela Barmash

CJLS

Demystifying the CJLS: How does the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards work?

Description: The “Law Committee,” the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, gives guidance to the Conservative/Masorti movement globally and is one of the key institutions of the Conservative movement. We will discuss how it operates: How are its members, both rabbis and laypeople, appointed? How are the topics of teshuvot (responsa) selected? How do the CJLS members discuss drafts, and how do the CJLS rabbi/authors rewrite their drafts? What are the politics and spiritual and intellectual commitments that affect whether a paper is approved? Rabbi Pamela Barmash, the co-chair of the CJLS, will let us into the details of the process.

 

Feb 23, 2022

Rabbi Elliot Dorff

CJLS

The End of Life

Description: Does Conservative Judaism approve of assisted suicide/aid in dying? How do the theological, moral, and legal sources contribute to our understanding of these sensitive topics? And what can we learn from this conversation about dying to inspire us in our living? 

 

Mar 2, 2022

Rabbi Josh Heller

CJLS

When Do We Eat? Starting the Seder Early

Description: While traditional sources speak of the Passover seder happening "at night," this was before time zones and daylight saving time, and for many families starting seder after dark presents practical challenges. Does it matter when you start or finish seder? What are the implications for other Jewish practices (like reading Megillah) that are supposed to happen after dark? Rabbi Heller will review key concepts and themes of his 2017 CJLS Teshuvah, and in addition to practical suggestions for your own seder, will give you the chance to think more deeply about how our tradition understands time itself.

 

Mar 9, 2022

Judith Hauptman (To be confirmed)

CJLS

A Kosher Bun in a Non-Jewish Oven: What is the Status of a Baby Birthed by a Gestational Carrier?

Description: Now that IVF has become so successful, a new question has arisen: if a Jewish couple creates an embryo but needs a gestational carrier to bring the embryo to term, is the child considered Jewish at birth or does it need to immerse in a mikvah to convert to Judaism?

 

 

Series 6: The Power of the Prophets

REGISTER HERE

Tuesdays, 8 PM ET / 5 PM PT

Moderator: Alex Friedman (JTS)

DATE

Teacher

Institution

Class Title

Mar 22, 2022

Rabbi Bradley Artson

Ziegler

Jonah: A Prophet Who Failed His Way to Success

Description: What makes a true prophet? According to the Torah, one whose prophecy comes to pass. But if that’s so, what happens when people do teshuvah (repent) and avert the evil decree? Does that make the prophet a fraud? Jonah thought so, and insisted on strict truth instead of compassion. Let’s dive into a fishy exploration of truth and justice vs. compassion and repentance in one of the Bible’s best stories!

 

Mar 29, 2022

Rabbi Ernesto Yattah

Seminario Rabinico

A Focus on Amos

Description: What makes the prophet Amos such an inspiring Biblical figure? Using Abraham Joshua Heschel’s The Prophets, we will explore Amos within the context of his contemporaries, his experiences, and his prophecies.

 

April 5, 2022

Prof. Ben Sommer

JTS

Debate among the Prophets: Isaiah vs. Jeremiah

Description: How did Isaiah and Jeremiah differ on their views of the Temple and Jerusalem?  What does their disagreement teach us about prophecy, and about Jewish tradition more generally?

 

April 12, 2022

Bex Stern Rosenblatt

Conservative Yeshiva

“My Eyes are Finished by Tears” - Resilience and Lament

Description: How do we keep on going when the unthinkable happens? We will do a close reading of selections from the Book of Lamentations to illuminate some of the possible answers to this question.

 

 

Series 7: Liturgy of Resilience

REGISTER HERE

Tuesdays, 8 PM ET / 5 PM PT

Moderator: Alex Friedman (JTS)

DATE

Teacher

Institution

Class Title

May 3, 2022

Rabbi Jan Uhrbach

JTS

“I Shall Not Fear”: Liturgy, Emotional Honesty, and Resilience

Description: Can praying other people’s words help build and sustain resilience? Using particular familiar examples from our daily and Shabbat prayer, we’ll explore the unique ways in which a regular prayer practice grounded in traditional liturgy can help strengthen us and give us honest hope in challenging and distressing times.

 

May 10, 2022

Rabbi Cheryl Peretz

Ziegler

Psalms of Hope, Psalms of Comfort

Description: Every Jewish prayer is an expression of lived experience in the moment in which it was written. Nowhere is this more evident than in the poetry of the Book of Psalms and the occasions for which the rabbis chose their individual use. In this session, we will examine selections from those Psalms used in our regular liturgy asking what the psalmist might have been living through and what their experience and expression has to say to us about comfort, resilience, and hope.

 

May 17, 2022

Dr. Raymond Scheindlin

JTS

Resilience in the Face of the Crusades

Description: When the crusaders marched across the Rhine in the eleventh century and decimated the region’s ancient and prosperous Jewish communities, there was little the Jews could do to resist. Some were forcibly baptised, some were killed, some committed suicide, some fled. Reflecting on the devastation, the survivors asked themselves why their generation had been chosen for such suffering, what it meant, and perhaps why they should even remain Jews. Their turmoil is recorded in chronicles and poems that deal with the emotional and intellectual upheaval of the times. The Hebrew Crusade literature that we will study is thus a monument of Jewish resilience in the face of disaster. 

 

May 24, 2022

Rabbi Reuven Kimelman

RA

The Kabbalah of Lekhah Dodi

Description: Lekhah Dodi was composed in Safed of the 1550’s by a Kabbalist (Shelomoh Alkabetz) for Kabbalists (such as Moshe Cordovero) to celebrate the kabbalistic meaning of the welcoming of the Sabbath bride. It operates on the four dimensions of kabbalistic reality simultaneously: space, time, human, and Divine. This session will show how all four axes coincide to crack the meaning of the refrain and the nine stanzas of Lekhah Dodi.

 

 

Series 8: Israel - Models of Resilience

REGISTER HERE

Wednesdays, 1 PM ET / 10 AM PT
 

DATE

Teacher

Institution

Class Title

May 11, 2022

David Frankel

Schechter

The Land of Israel in Biblical Theology

Description: To what extent is living in the land central to the theology of the Hebrew Bible? What makes the land particularly unique? Is it imbued with a special and innate holiness? And what is the place of the non-Israelite in the land both in Israel in general and in Jerusalem in particular? Some surprising answers to these and similar questions will be uncovered and analyzed.

 

May 18, 2022

Shula Laderman

Schechter

Hebrew Letters and Jewish Symbols as an Expression of Zionism in Israeli Art

Description: The lecture will focus on the integration of the Hebrew letters and Jewish symbols in works of Israeli artists such as: Mordechai Ardon, Michael Sagan-Cohen, Moshe Gershuni, Jacques Gianno, Ruth Kestenbaum and others.

 

May 25, 2022

Doron Bar

Schechter

The Kotel: The Dispute over Israel’s Holiest Jewish Site, 1967-2000 (in honor of Yom Yerushalayim)

Description: The Western Wall occupies a prominent position in contemporary Jewish and Israeli discourse, current events, and local politics. In the lecture, Prof. Doron Bar offers a detailed exploration of the Western Wall plaza’s evolution in the late twentieth century. The lecture examines  the role of archaeology in defining the site, the Western Wall’s transformation as an Israeli and Jewish symbol, and the movement to open it to a variety of Jewish denominations.

 

June 1, 2022

Anat Rubinstein

Schechter

The Land of Israel and Zionism as Reflected in Israeli Music

Description: Since the early days of Zionism, music played a critical role in shaping the image of the "new Jew" and the Land of Israel. The pioneers sought to form a new style of music in order to distinguish themselves from the Diaspora. Elements were borrowed from Arabic music, traditional Yemenite and Eastern Jewish music, all created a new musical aesthetic aimed to evoke the image of biblical times and ancient Hebrews. In the lecture, Dr. Rubinstein explores fascinating musical examples soundscape and unique sonorities related to developing image of the Land of Israel from the early 1920's to the 1980's.