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The MetroWest New Jersey community is the site of a unique adult education opportunity. Three local rabbis, all of whom have participated in a Shalom Hartman Institute rabbinic leadership program have teamed up to bring Hartman ideas to their congregations in the form of an eight session course based on the first volume of the Hartman DVD Lecture Study Series. The big news is that in true Hartman spirit, this initiative was spearheaded by three rabbis representing different denominations in the MetroWest community–Rabbis Menashe East of the Mount Freedom Jewish Center (Modern Orthodox), David Nesson of the Morristown Jewish Center (Conservative), and Amy Small of Congregation Beth Hatikvah (Reconstructionist)–that decided to bring a powerful learning experience to the entire MetroWest community .  

Volume I of the Hartman DVD Lecture Series entitled: “Leadership and Crisis: Jewish Resources and Responses” draws upon centuries of Jewish scholarship—from biblical sources to Holocaust literature—to shape a uniquely Jewish response to the significant challenges posed by current geopolitical and economic realities. Lecturers in the series include Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman, Rabbi Dr. Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi , Dr. Micah Goodman, and Dr. Melila Hellner-Eshed.

Rabbi Amy Small comments, “The MetroWest community learning program is based on the collaboration of three colleagues of different ideological perspectives. Our goal is to model pluralism for our entire community, while offering an opportunity for people of different backgrounds to learn from and with each other and with us.  We hope the initiative sets the stage for further opportunities of this nature.”

Rabbi Menashe East agrees that the course is an opportunity for a “community-wide Beit Midrash,” and adds that it is also a chance for bridge-building with Israel. “We so often focus on standing alongside Israel for its security and political stability, and don’t usually take enough time to speak about how brilliant and creative the learning and scholarship going on there is. For the American Jewish community, exposure to the incredible luminaries of Jewish thought at Hartman is a real gift.”

Click here for background information on the Engaging Israel: Foundations for a New Relationship lecture series.

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