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Archive for the ‘Interfaith’ Category

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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Holy Living in Human Bodies: 2010 Edward Bronfman Family Foundation Annual Lecture at Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem, Israel. Part of the 2010 International Theology Conference, January 2010. Speakers were Dr. Melila Hellner-Eshed, Shalom Hartman Institute, Prof. Rusmir Mahmutehaji, University of Sarajevo, President, International Forum Bosnia, and Rev. David M. Neuhaus, SJ, Vicar for the Hebrew and Russian-speaking Catholic communities in Israel, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Opening remarks were made by Rabbi Prof. David Hartman. The moderator was Dr. Hami Verbin, Shalom Hartman Institute.

The Hartman Institute gratefully acknowledges the Bronfman family for supporting this annual initiative.

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Jewish, Christian, and Muslim theologians from across the globe will be addressing the topic, “Holy Living in Human Bodies” in seminars and study sessions in which they will use classic and contemporary texts from all three faiths.

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A high-powered panel of religious scholars and clerics, including Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman, President of Shalom Hartman Institute, will be speaking at the Kaufman Interfaith Institute at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Thursday, October 15, 2009. The theme: “Religion and the Challenge of Modernity.”

Along with Donniel, the daylong conference and panel discussion will include Vincent Cornell, a professor of Islamic and Middle East studies at Emory University in Atlanta, and James Carroll, author of the best-selling book “Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews,” and a longtime advocate of efforts toward Jewish-Christian-Muslim reconciliation. Lutheran scholar and writer Martin E. Marty will moderate the discussion. Find more information here and registration information here.

Whether the Twins were three outs or eight outs from a win, the Yankees were never uncomfortable. Instead, the Twins were the club that seemed edgy.“You look up at the scoreboard, and every single player on that team has 175 at-bats in the postseason,” first baseman Michael Cuddyer said. “I think that’s one reason they don’t panic. They’re all 10-, 15-year veterans that know how to play the game. They believe in themselves and they’re good.”

If Nick Punto had not run past third base in the eighth inning of Game 3 and Carlos Gomez had not been caught off second base in the fourth inning of Game 2, probably costing the Twins at least a run each time, would the Yankees have still won both games? The Twins would love to say they had those games clinched, but they did not. Somehow, the Yankees stayed calm and prevailed.

So, even if Punto and Gomez had not made their gaffes, there was a feeling that the Yankees, who were better and more seasoned, would have won anyway. The division series sweep pushed the Yankees’ record to 10-0 against the Twins this season, including four games that they won on game-ending hits.

“Every time we put up a run or two or we scored, they don’t panic,” outfielder Denard Span said. “They seemed like they just took a deep breath. It’s almost like they relaxed even more and answered back. They always answer back.”

Span recalled how when he was 12, he watched in awe as a 22-year-old Derek Jeter helped the Yankees win the 1996 World Series. Thirteen years later, Jeter helped doom Span’s team during another October dash.

“That’s why they’re the Yankees,” Span said. “You got to give them credit. They did what they were supposed to do.”

Great players often cite the importance of being able to slow the game down, even when the game is at its quickest and most stressful. From Alex Rodriguez to Jorge Posada to Jeter, the Yankees made the important plays in the most important situations, while the Twins stumbled through those spots.

Carl Pavano, who was a ghost of a Yankee for four injured seasons, said the Yankees were formidable because they had talented players. But Pavano said the Yankees’ success stretched beyond their talent to the belief that they were going to win. Rodriguez and Posada smashed home runs off Pavano in the seventh inning of Game 3 to erase a 1-0 deficit and propel the Yankees.

“It’s a cliché, but if you’ve done it once, you can do it again,” Pavano said. “And they’ve been doing it. A lot of those guys have been around a while and have done it from behind and from ahead. They keep the game pretty simple.”

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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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Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, Israel, runs summertime programs for rabbis and Jewish community leaders to learn history, philosophy, contemporary issues, and to interact with the best and brightest from North American Jewry and Israel. Come to Jerusalem this summer – registration remains open in June 2009.

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There’s a lot going on at the Hartman Institute this week. Beginning Sunday, more than 20 leading Jewish, Christian and Muslim theologians from Europe, North America, and Israel arrived for the Institute’s 22nd annual theology conference. The session is not open to the public, but there will be one evening of lectures for public consumption. The subject of the public evening is:  “Holy Envy,” and speakers are Paula Fredriksen, Jesper Svartvik and Shiraz Hijiani. Rabbi Prof. David Hartman will give what is being described as a “personal note” during the evening.

Watch this video to get a sense of what the conference’s aims are. They’re quite different from what many call “interfaith” dialogue.

The lecture is the Edward Bronfman Annual Lecture and is in memory of theologian Krister Stendahl, a onetime Fellow at the Institute, who died in 2008. The lecture is being given Tuesday, February 24, 2009, at the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. There will be a video made of the lecture, so those who cannot come to the event will be able to watch it on this and other websites afterward. Write me if you want to receive notification of its posting online.

Shalom Hartman Institute will dedicate the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Beit Midrash on Thursday, February 26, 2009.

Mandel Beit Midrash Dedication, February 26, 2009

Mandel Beit Midrash Dedication, February 26, 2009

In the dedication announcement, it reads:

Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel have lived their lives in total dedication and commitment to the well-being of the Jewish people. They have made concern for Jewish education the central value in their efforts to strengthen Jewish life.

Their work in the Jewish community center movement, and their development of learned, dedicated Jewish professionals have made a tremendous contribution to Jewish communal and institutional life.

The Shalom Hartman Institute is honored to name its new study hall for Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel, and to dedicate this room to enhancing the learning of students who yearn for a deeper understanding of Judaism.

The program for the dedication ceremony includes greetings by Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman, comments by students, an address by Rabbi Prof. David Hartman, and closing remarks by Mort Mandel.

The library dedication will also be filmed, so look forward to seeing that online, as well.

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A globally diverse group of distinguished Jewish, Chsristian and Muslim theologians is due in Jerusalem at the Hartman Institute annual theology conference on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009.

Outside participants (Hartman participants below)

Nicholas Adams, University of Cambridge
Sr. Therese Andrevon, Institut Superieur d’Etudes Ecumeniques, Paris
Ahmed Al-‘Atari, Al-Quds University
Paul Ballanfat, Galatasaray University, Istanbul
Avriel Bar Levav The Open University
Hakan Bengtsson, Swedish Theological Institute
Frederick Bliss, Pontifical St. Thomas Aquinas University
Davida Charney, University of Texas
Shlomo Fischer, Tel Aviv University
David Ford, University of Cambridge
Paula Fredriksen, Boston University, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Alon Goshen-Gottstein, The Elijah Interfaith Institute
Shiraz Hajiani, University of Chicago
Zeev Harvey, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Annabel Herzog, Haifa University
Muhammad Hourani, The David Yellin College
Jimmy Jones, Manhattanville College
Karen King, Harvard Divinity School
Halima Krausen, Initiative for Islamic Studies, Hamburg
Halida Mahmutcehajic, International Forum, Bosnia
Rusmir Mahmutcehajic, International Forum, Bosnia
Tzvi Marx, Folkertsma Inst. for Talmud, Hilversum, Catholic University of Nijmegan
Michael McGarry, CSP, Tantur Ecumenical Institute
Barbara Meyer, Franz-Rosenzweig Institute, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Donald Moore, Pontifical Biblical Institute, Jerusalem
David Neuhaus, SJ, Bethlehem University, Latin Patriarchate Seminary
Emre Oktem, Galatasaray Universitesi, Turkey
Kimberley Patton, Harvard University
Peter Pettit, Institute for Jewish Christian Understanding, Muhlenberg College
Christoph Schmidt, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Adam Seligman, Boston University
Murtaza Shibli, Kashmir Affairs, London
Karla Suomala, Luther College, Iowa
Jesper Svartvik, Lund University
Karen Jo Torjesen, Claremont Graduate University
Olivier Thomas Venard, OP, Ecole Biblique, Jerusalem
Ophir Yarden, Brigham Young University, Jerusalem, Interreligious Coordinating Council In Israel
Randall Zachman, University of Notre Dame
Asim Zubcevic, University of Sarajevo

Shalom Hartman Institute participants

Adam Afterman
Bill Berk
Angelica Berrie, Board of Directors
Menachem Fisch
Ori Goldberg
David Hartman
Donniel Hartman
Melila Hellner-Eshed
Israel Knohl
Ron Margolin
Stuart Schoffman
Nehama Verbin

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Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem, Israel, brings you video lectures and other programs featuring scholars of Jewish life in Israel, Jewish life in the Diaspora, Jewish education, Jewish leadership, Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian politics and more.

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Israel Knohl tells us his latest in-depth article about the “Messiah Stone” and its translation is available in the new issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (It’s the cover article for you print types).

What Israel tells us is also new is written confirmation by prominent archeological scholar Ada Yardeni, “premier expert of the script of that period, where she accepts my reading of the crucial words IN THREE DAYS, LIVE.”

Those four words provide the basis for the thesis that ties in Jewish prophecy of the day with the origins of the Christian Jesus.

For a lot more from Knohl, including his translation, click here. One more thing…

(more…)

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