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Archive for the ‘Hartman Institute’ Category

Shalom Hartman Institute President Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman, and SHI-North America President Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer recently taught at the launch of the third cohort of The Berrie Fellowship, a two-year intensive Jewish learning and leadership education program for a select cadre of leaders in Northern New Jersey.

The Hartman Institute is working closely to help develop the curriculum for this two-year program, which is funded by the Russell Berrie Foundation, and will include a week-long seminar in Jerusalem in July 2012 that will be taught by a faculty of SHI fellows.

To read more, click here.

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At a time when a disturbing number of Jewish nonprofit organizations are cutting back on programming or closing their doors altogether, why is the Shalom Hartman Institute (SHI) dramatically expanding its reach?

 “Precisely at this moment, one of the most important and challenging times in Jewish life, the Jewish community Donniel Hartman, President, Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem, Israelcannot afford to put its educational needs on hold,” says Donniel Hartman, President of the Shalom Hartman Institute. “Our current obligation is to act in ways that meet the needs of the Jewish community to create a strong and vibrant future.”

 What Hartman’s father, David Hartman, set out to accomplish nearly 40 years ago in Israel was nothing less than deepening and spreading Jewish knowledge, commitment, passion and pluralism. Much more than a think tank, SHI has been called an “action tank,” a laboratory for the development of high-impact initiatives destined to shape the future of Jewish life in Israel and around the world. Through learning and dialogue the Institute has built strong new models of unity within diversity, based on mutual respect across the denominational spectrum.

 “The Hartman Institute creates a place where some of the finest minds in the world can come together to address the critical challenges facing the Jewish people,” says Hartman. “We then disseminate these ideas to the people best positioned to influence the future of their communities,” adds Hartman.

Now, the Institute is building on the work it has long done in its Jerusalem campus by expanding programming directly to North American shores. “The vitality and independence of the North American Jewish community requires us to have a North American base of operations to ensure that we sufficiently serve this community,” says Hartman. “North America has its own unique challenges. We need to make sure that we service the Jewish community there at the highest level, which is tough to do at a 6,000-mile distance.”

Yehuda Kurtzer, President, Shalom Hartman Institute, North AmericaYehuda Kurtzer, a rising star in the Jewish world, has been selected to spearhead the new Shalom Hartman Institute of North America (SHI-NA). Two years ago, the Harvard doctoral student was selected over 200 other applicants to capture the first Charles R. Bronfman Visiting Chair in Jewish Communal Innovation at Brandeis University. Kurtzer takes the Hartman mission seriously. “We are looking to become the Jewish community’s premier provider of serious learning applied to leaders and change-agents, and the central address for serious engagement with ideas,” he says. In order to accomplish this, SHI-NA will reach out to Jewish leaders, from congregational rabbis to start-up entrepreneurs. “We will continue to build on the Institute’s innovative work: engaging and empowering these change-agents with the kind of Torah wisdom they need to be stronger and more effective leaders. Our vision is to elevate the discourse of the North American Jewish community to deal with texts, ideas, and learning; rather than crisis-management.”

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Reflections Newsletter from Shalom Hartman InstituteThe newest issue of Reflections, the Shalom Hartman Institute electronic magazine of ideas, is now online. Read these five great articles:

Israeli Society and the ‘Society of Learners’

Professors Shlomo Naeh, Zvi Zohar and Elhanan Reiner discuss the place of Torah scholars within the Jewish People throughout the generations, and the relevance of models from Jewish history to the current political rift

The Secrets of ‘Guide to the Perplexed’

Dr. Micah Goodman, who is currently completing the first book in Hebrew that is completely dedicated to the Guide to the Perplexed, explains why he also chose to reveal its secrets

Ancient Jewish Magic

Dr. Ishay Rosen-Zvi surveys Yovel Harari’s book on magic in Judaism, which shatters some of the myths relating to magic

Devekut

As shown by Dr.Adam Afterman, devekut was a marginal commandment in the time of the Sages. Only under the influence of external philosophies did the great medieval Jewish thinkers give it a new meaning and a more significant status

Abraham Abulafia

Professor Moshe Idel’s survey clarifies how even amongst self-declared messiahs, the 13th century Abulafia was a unique figure

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Donniel Hartman’s commentary on the “Rotem Conversion Bill” controversy, “Relationship of Israel and World Jewry Depends on Meaning, Not Claims of Necessity,” is receiving widespread attention in Israel and North America, including citations and reprints by The New York Times, Forward, and Ynet, among others:

Israel Puts Off Crisis Over Conversion Law (The New York Times, 23/07/2010)

Donniel was quoted in an article by The New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Ethan Bronner on the subject:

“There is increasing discomfort among American Jews with Israel,” commented Rabbi Donniel Hartman, president of Jerusalem’s Shalom Hartman Institute, which is devoted to exploring Jewish issues. “This issue is a place where they can express the displeasure that they might not be willing to state on the flotilla and other political matters.”

For that reason, some here, even among those sympathetic to the Reform and Conservative movements, like Rabbi Hartman, feel that the American reaction to the Rotem bill was overly aggressive.

“They overstated this one,” he said.

Jewish Legitimacy (Forward, 21/07/2010)

In an editorial taking a contrarian view of the conversion bill uproar, the Forward excerpted Donniel’s most recent commentary: “Rabbi Donniel Hartman of the Shalom Hartman Institute, one of the saner voices during this emotional dispute, put it best: ‘It requires a commitment to Israel not as it is, but as it ought to be, and a willingness to invest in creating such an Israel.’ And, he wrote recently, ‘it requires a deep caring.’”

The Forward then went on to say: “To care deeply doesn’t obligate us to swear blind loyalty and suppress disagreement. But it doesn’t allow us to turn our backs, either. With all the worried talk about the demise of “liberal Zionism,” here is a chance for Jews in Israel and the Diaspora to resurrect its future.”

The Forward’s editorial was also reprinted on the influential blog, EJewishPhilanthropy.com

United or divided? (Jerusalem Post, 24/07/10)

The Jerusalem Post reprinted the original commentary by Donniel Hartman, which ran first on the Institute’s website.

A version in Hebrew was published on Ynet, the leading news website in Israel, on 25/07/2010. Click here for the Hebrew version.

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Israel’s image continues to take a beating. Just Wednesday, July 7, 2010, there was a report – widely repeated in the media and Twittersphere that Dustin Hoffman and Meg Ryan, two Hollywood A-list actors (well, maybe Meg is A- or B+ these days) had backed out of advanced negotiations designed to bring them to Israel for the upcoming Jerusalem Film Festival. The festival opens July 8, 2010. (Update: According to gojerusalem.com, French actor Jean Reno, star of the festival’s opening film, is planning to attend.)

The JTA offered a good analysis of the anti-Israel feeling and the delegitimization campaign(?) and cited a recent report by Tel Aviv’s Reut Institute that offered suggestions on how to combat it. The article also notes that the government hasn’t done anything like what the report calls for, and says other efforts, from “re-branding” Israel to quicker responses to breaking news, haven’t done much to combat the phenomenon, either.

That’s where the Hartman Institute’s Engaging Israel Project is looking to enter and change the debate. Engaging Israel is focused on bringing Jewish values to the dilemmas of nationhood. Panelists such as Donniel Hartman, Gil Troy, Yossi Klein Halevi, and others have already been writing about the project, even before it comes out with a final report or conclusions.

Hundreds have already signed up for emails updating the Panel’s progress. Sign up today and get on board and participate in the discussion.

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The question of how to sustain and maintain Jewish identity in a democratic State of Israel will be the subject of a daylong conference at the Knesset, May 27, 2010, expected to draw more than 400 participants and leading rabbis from all streams of religious thought in Israel.

The conference was set up by Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni, who told the Jerusalem Post:

The attention of the leaders and the public naturally is devoted first and foremost to security and diplomatic issues, but the challenges related to the character of internal Israeli society are no less important. We must work on developing the Zionist vision of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

Success dealing with the challenges of civil and social issues will make the state better able to deal with its challenges on diplomatic and security issues.

Hartman Institute participants include Ron Margolin, Ariel Picard, Gili Zivan, and Shraga Bar-on are scheduled to be the chairs of four sessions, at which lecturers will talk on various aspects of the subject. Margolin helped organize the panels. Hartman Institute’s Micah Goodman is among the participants.

“This is an attempt to have a serious conversation in the Knesset and discuss issues of Jewish identity and democracy in a rational manner,” said Ariel Picard.

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The Jerusalem Post editorializes today (10 May 2010) about the sorry state of Jewish education in Israeli schools:

Our founding fathers understood the centrality of the Bible to the Jewish people’s connection to the land. In 1937, for instance, David Ben-Gurion told the British Peel Commission, saddled with the job of ending conflict the between Jews and Arabs, that the Bible was “the Jewish people’s mandate” for the land of Israel.

Israel policy makers, educators and IDF commanders have come to appreciate the strong correlation between a solid Jewish education and patriotism. Religious convictions aside, without a strong Jewish identity, Israeli citizens cannot be expected to make the necessary sacrifices demanded of them in a Jewish state surrounded by enemies. Nor can they hope to create an original Jewish culture.

But despite the appreciation for Jewish learning and Jewish identity, the reality today is far from ideal. Just two hours a week of Bible studies are required by the Education Ministry. According to minutes from a Knesset Education Committee meeting in March, many secular state schools teach even less, sometimes as little as one semester during all of the last three years of high school.

Then the Post goes on to praise private-government initiatives in Israel, including the Hartman Institute’s Be’eri program (although, sadly, it doesn’t mention Be’eri by name):

…privately funded initiatives such as TALI, a Hebrew acronym for Tigbur Limudei Yahadut (enhanced Jewish studies), and the Hartman Institute are filling the vacuum, proving once again that private initiative always beats state-funded projects.

TALI, with an annual budget of just under $2 million, funded principally by North American Jews, works in cooperation with 40,000 families and hundreds of teachers to introduce a pluralistic, liberal version of Judaism and prayer into the secular state school system on the preschool and elementary school level, while Hartman works with 50 junior high and high schools.

That final reference to Hartman, is, of course, to the Be’eri program. Be’eri does have government backing and the educational curricula are endorsed by the Education Ministry, but the program does have significant private backing, as well.

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