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Posts Tagged ‘jewish thought’

So what really happens at the Shalom Hartman Institute during the summer programs?

Wonder no more, as Rabbi Michael Feshbach of the Institute’s three-year Rabbinic Leadership Initiative has blogged his experience of the summer. Here are some excerpts:

How can I describe the Hartman Institution, and this program, without sounding like I have, to use what I have always found a puzzling phrase, “drunk the Kool-Aide?”  What made this so special, I believe, was the content, the context and the colleagues.

The content.  What we learned was simply the highest quality educational experience of my career — on the most urgent and pressing questions of our time. … Discussions and panels and peer study on questions such as the meaning of Judaism after the Jewish state.  Or questioning who defines “the good.”  Or asking what is an ethical approach to the use of power based on Jewish sources?  Or dealing with the complex and existentially central question of the meaning of peoplehood in a world of individuality, autonomy and choice. 

But the most valuable piece… the teachers… and my fellow learners.  The colleagues who are travelling this path with me.  To study together with colleagues from all streams of Judaism… that alone gives a wider vision of Jewish life and possiblity than I had before coming, or have had in quite some time.  

The complete post, with greater detail about this  year’s curriculum and the experience,  is at Rabbi Feshbach’s blog.

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In September 2009 the Shalom Hartman Institute  released the pilot volume of its DVD lecture series – “Leadership and Crisis: Jewish Resources and Responses.” Developed based on the invaluable experience gained from the highly successful Hartman Global Beit Midrash, the DVD series brings the excellence of Hartman Torah to lay leaders in synagogues and organizations, rabbinic students, teachers and principals in Jewish community day schools, Hillel leadership on university campuses, and private study groups.

Partnering with world-renowned Hartman Institute faculty, these local scholars and educators together with the study groups that they lead, enjoy an intensive study experience geared at enhancing their knowledge and equipping them with the resources required to confidently address and respond to key questions facing the Jewish people and contemporary society.

Response from participants and rabbinic leaders was very clear: “WE WANT MORE” – so our team got to work.

Rabbi Dr. Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi

Introducing the recently released volume II, entitled “The ‘Other’ in Jewish Tradition: Challenges and Opportunities,” Rabbi Dr. Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, VP of the SHI North America Israel Department and director of the DVD lecture series volumes, shared a few comments with us.

Q: What makes the “Other” an especially relevant theme in North America today?

Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi: “One of the most important challenges facing the Jewish people today is the challenge of identity in a contemporary context.
“Two major phenomena highlight the relevance and urgency of the themes studied in this volume necessitating a better understanding of the role of the ‘Other’ in the Jewish world. These are increased fundamentalism in the religious world on the one hand, and often diluted religious identity in the postmodern world on the other.

(more…)

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