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Archive for the ‘Holidays/Festivals’ Category

With Rosh Hashanah in our minds and hearts, we are pleased to share new articles for the holiday by David Hartman and Donniel Hartman, as well as additional articles from our scholars. 

Rabbi Dr. David Hartman

  •  David Hartman illuminates the significance of Rosh Hashanah through an analysis of the Akeidah:

Two of the most important biblical stories we revisit every Rosh Hashana are the binding of Isaac (known in the Hebrew parlance as the Akeida), and Abraham’s argument with God regarding the fate of the inhabitants of Sedom. These two accounts represent two different religious anthropologies: one of sacrificial self-surrender, and one of assertive moral challenge.

Read “The Akeidah”: A Window into God’s Humanity and Our Own 

 

 

The Shalom Hartman Institute wishes all of our readers a happy, healthy, and a sweet New Year! 

 

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Has there ever been a more contentious time in Jerusalem than now? Or is that a joke? It has always been the most contentious time in Jerusalem: invaders, occupants, takeovers, fences, walls, barbed wire, combat, fire, and more are in the earthly history of Jerusalem.

Yet now, while we hope and pray there is never again a shooting war in Jerusalem, is a particularly contentious time where the future of Jerusalem as an earthly and spiritual city, as well as the capital(s?) of state(s?) is under heated discussion. It seems that every apartment built, every synagogue reopened, every road/street repair causes someone to get agitated, from the President of the United States to the lowliest local resident. I do not mean to equate all of these concerns; some are clearly more serious on a global, political, and spiritual basis than others. But it does make for lively discussion when the city’s Mayor is snubbed by the White House and the Interior Minister is invited.

Herein, then, in advance of this year’s Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day – May 12, 2010)  are several articles and essays by Hartman Institute scholars on this city of many faiths, many constituents, and residents:

One Mount, Two Religions, Three Proposals

A set of surprising suggestions and recommendations for how to address perhaps the most argued over spot on Earth: the Temple Mount/Har Habayit/Haram Ash-Sharif/Mount Moriah/Noble Sanctuary from Hartman Institute’s Menachem Fisch, Israel Knohl, and Elhanan Reiner.

Professor Israel Knohl relates to the partial fulfillment of Yeshayahu’s vision; Professor Elhanan Reiner explains the idea behind aliyah le’regel; and Professor Menachem Fisch explains that the holiness of place is not connected to ownership.

Donniel Hartman: Divide Jerusalem to unite it

Jerusalem must be a divided city – divided among all aspects and ideologies of Israeli society, for only as a divided city can it be united as the capital of all Israelis. Jerusalem must be a safe city – safe for all expressions of Jewishness.

Jerusalem will achieve this only when we recognize that the city is no one’s unless it is all of ours, and when there is a new spirit in which we all actively pursue public policies that give room and respect for us all, not only our personal agendas.

Donniel Hartman: This summer in Jerusalem – heat and holiness

Jerusalem is not just the place where we convene; it is the place that enables the convention. It is in this capacity that I experienced the holiness of Jerusalem, a holiness which fosters respect, loyalty, and mutual consideration. May this be the Jerusalem we all get to experience, for this is when Jerusalem is truly a city of gold.

Rani Yaeger: Heavenly Jerusalem, Earthly Jerusalem

Forty one years after the reunification of the city’s east and west, it is time to unify heavenly Jerusalem and earthly Jerusalem. We must temper our veneration with criticism, and our criticism with veneration, neither glorifying the city so much we cannot see her flaws, nor deploring her so much we have no desire to correct them. Only once we stop loving Jerusalem from afar, once we eradicate the barriers of idealized images and disappointed dreams, will the 2,000-year exile from the city really come to an end. Only then will Jerusalem become our home.

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With Quentin Tarantino’s war-fantasy film, “Inglourious Basterds” up for four Golden Globe Awards on January 17, 2010, including, Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz), Best Director (Quentin Tarantino himself), and Best Screenplay (yup, Quentin Tarantino again),the controversial film is surely going to be the starting point for many conversations.

The Jewish community has taken the film on with special showings and conversations both public and private. In this article, Shalom Hartman Institute Rabbinic Fellow Mark S. Diamond offers his take on the film – he sees it as a Purim-style midrash – and drops a few celebrity names who attended the screening he saw (well, he is head of the Southern California Board of Rabbis, after all).

In his piece, Hartman Institute Senior Fellow Yoske Achituv meditates on the true nature of revenge in Jewish history and philosophy.

Two different views, each interesting and certain to offer fuel for discussion. Just what you expect from the Hartman Institute.

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A controversial new book, The Invention of the Jewish People, by Tel Aviv University historian Shlomo Sand, is now in English, after kicking up a dust storm of controversy in its original Hebrew incarnation. This is a summary of the book’s thesis, as explained in a recent review on Tablet, an online Jewish cultural magazine:

Sand… argues that the Jews were not in fact exiled from Israel, and that the bulk of modern Jewry does not descend from the ancient Israelites Rather, he claims, they are the children of converts—North African Berbers and Turkic Khazars—and have no ancestral ties to the land of Israel. Zionism is not a return home, Sand writes, it is the tragic theft of another people’s land. As such, Israel is not the political rebirth of the Jewish nation—it’s a complete fabrication.

The first issue of Shalom Hartman Institute’s Havruta magazine touched on many aspects of the matter of Jewish peoplehood – from a different perspective that accepts and aims at strengthening the concept of Jewish peoplehood. Read the articles here.

Shalom Hartman Institute’s coverage of Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, also addresses these issues from a perspective that embraces Jewish peoplehood.

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Enjoy the holiday. Spend it with friends and family. Think about the past year and the year ahead. Look inward, and hope outward. See our special content section and the exclusive new holiday video from Donniel Hartman on the Hartman Institute main website.

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President Obama is set to call a group of religious leaders today – that’s Aug. 19, 2009 –  to push his health care reform proposal. At least one rabbi with ties to Shalom Hartman Institute is going to be in on the call. Rabbi Jonah Layman, rabbi of Shaare Tefila Congregation of the Washington, DC, suburb of Silver Spring, MD, and a member of the current cohort of rabbis in the Institute’s Rabbinic Leadership Initiative, told us he is going to be in on the call.

That’s not surprising, as Rabbi Layman is co-chair of the Rabbinical Assembly’s Social Action Committee and Washington Board of Rabbis.

There are several faith-based groups supporting the president’s program, including Faithful America’s faithforhealth.org, and Reform Judaism’s jewsforhealthcarereform.org.

According to the LA Times, the president actually will be speaking with rabbis twice today (Shaharit and Mincha?). The first call is strictly to rabbis, a sort of Rosh Chodesh Elul, pre-Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe) health-care pep talk, and then the second call where rabbis are part of the larger group of pro-health-care-reform religious leaders:

First up is a “High Holy Day” call this morning with rabbis from Judaism’s Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements. Organizers hope the call will provide fodder for synagogue sermons when the Jewish holidays arrive next month.

To listen in on the call, go to the Faith For Health website.

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The annual Tikkun Leil Shavuot lectures at Shalom Hartman Institute are one of the year’s most anticipated events.
This year’s theme is, “Ethics, Judaism and War,” and features lectures in English and Hebrew from Hartman Institute faculty on issues both classic and contemporary.

Shavuot evening, Thursday, 28 May, 2009

English/אנגלית
22.30-23.45 Rabbi Prof. David Hartman: The Role of the Other in Situations of War and Civic Life in the Jewish Tradition
2.30-3.30 Dov Weiss: “Moshe’s Protest against Divine War: The Case of Sihon.”

Hebrew/עברית
00:00-01:00 הרב ד”ר דניאל הרטמן: מוסר מלחמה במסורת היהודית ובמקורות ישראל

01:15-02:15 פרופ’ אבי שגיא, האלוף ישי בר: “והיה מחניך קדוש”: טוהר הנשק ומשמעותו במסמך רוח צה”ל

02:30-03:30 ד”ר אורית קמיר: מוסר כבוד האדם במלחמה

חג שבועות ביום – יום שישי ו’ סיון, 29 במאי, 2009

16:00-17:00 ביטי רואי: כוח, תפילה ומלחמה בתורת ר’ נחמן מברסלב
17:15-18:15 פרופ’ אבי שגיא: מוסר במלחמה

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Shalom Hartman Institute Fellow and Scholar Melilah Hellner-Eshed talks about how to remember the event at Sinai in which the Jewish people received the Torah, and what is Jewish memory, the how the transmission of the collective Jewish memory was through ritual and reciting. This is the second in a series of three classes given to Jewish community leaders at Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, Israel

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