We change the homepage picture on the Hartman website on a regular basis – once every week or so. But we don’t have space to say a lot about each photo. So, beginning with the current picture (see a small version above), we are going to have something to say about each picture as it goes online.
The current picture is an interesting shot over the left shoulder of Rabbi Ron Aigen, a member of the Rabbinic Leadership Initiative, during that group’s Summer 2008 residency in Jerusalem. In the picture, Ron is seen studying in the Institute’s internal courtyard in the cool shadows of a Jerusalem summer afternoon.
Rabbinic Leadership Initiative participants spend three years with the Institute. They make three summer visits and three shorter ones in the winter. During the academic year they learn on a weekly basis with a Hartman Institute scholar via a videoconference. And they are in touch with us and each other on a regular basis. The current cohort is in the second of its three years.
They are turning out to be an unusually close-knit group that has bonded despite their far-flung locations – New York to California, Montreal (Ron) to Florida – and their different denominations – Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox. Last month, during their winter visit, the group conducted a morning (Shaharit) service together. That sounds like no big deal, but it was the first time the men and women of the Rabbinic Leadership group had been able to find a way to pray together.