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Archive for the ‘torah’ Category

On Tuesday night, November 23, 2010, the Hartman Institute Beit Midrash was packed from wall to wall with an eager audience of listeners tuned in to a topic no less vital than that of Creation itself. The speaker was Professor Arthur Green, Rector of the Hebrew College Rabbinical School in Newton, Massachusetts, on the theme of his new book, “Radical Judaism: Re-Thinking Basics for the 21st Century.”

By “basics” Professor Green means the foundations of religion and all existence—Creation, evolution and their ultimate purpose in the world. His talk touched upon matters as diverse as Hasidism, environmentalism, science and philosophy.

As he wrote in Tikkun earlier this year:

“As a religious person I believe that the evolution of species is the greatest sacred drama of all time. It dwarfs all the other narratives, memories, and images that so preoccupy the mind of religious traditions, including our own. We Jews, Christians, and Muslims are all over-involved with proclaiming — or questioning — the truth of our own particular stories. Did Moses really receive the Torah from God at Mount Sinai? Did Jesus truly rise from the tomb? Was Muhammad indeed God’s chosen messenger? We refine our debates about these forever, each group certain as to its own narrative’s place as the center of universal history. In the modern world, where all these tales are challenged, we work out sophisticated and non-literalist ways of proclaiming our faith in them. But there is a bigger story, infinitely bigger, and one that we all share. How did we get here, we humans, and where are we going? For more than a century and a half, educated Westerners have understood that this is the tale of evolution. But we religious folk, the great tale-tellers of our respective traditions, have been guarded and cool toward this story and have hesitated to make it our own. The time has come to embrace it and to uncover its sacred dimensions.”

In the course of his lecture, Professor Green would occasionally recognize Hartman scholars in the audience and call out a greeting.  The stately Beit Midrash became an intimate setting wherein Professor Green recounted his own spiritual transformation through the years—experiences which helped form the basis for the ideas which are put forth in “Radical Judaism.”

Among his many previous writings, Professor Green is author of the definitive biography of Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav.

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A student who attended the Religion and the Challenge of Modernity conference at Grand Valley State University in Michigan earlier this month had this to say about Donniel Hartman’s presentation there:

Donniel Hartman, the first lecturer of the day at this conference, did a very good job not only presenting his thoughts, but introducing a theme that could be common in almost every religion. We all have our challenges with modernity, and it creates multiple identities. When we have these multiple identities, we tend to lose sight of who we really are. Years ago, if you referred to someone as Jewish, you knew everything you needed to know about them. Now-a-days this isn’t necessarily the case. People now have more complex identities. (more…)

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The Marker, Israel’s leading Business newspaper, profiled the Shalom Hartman Institute in an article about a recent survey (Summer 2009) of North American rabbis at the Institute for the Rabbinic Torah Study Seminar and the Rabbinic Leadership Initiative programs about the economic crisis, and how the financial scandals of Jewish financier Bernie Madoff may help American Jews re-find their moral and spiritual centers. The article did not run online (huh?), and so we reproduce it here for you to read, courtesy of Scribd.

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A new survey reported here has found that the current generation of Israelis has a weak – to be charitable – knowledge of Judaism. According to the article:

The survey revealed that 80% of secular Israelis and 59% of Israelis overall define their level of Judaic knowledge and Jewish heritage as mediocre or lower. The percentage claiming a low level of knowledge was relatively high among adults over age 55 (21%), among Jews of Ashkenazi descent (22%), and among those with above-average incomes (20%)….

Among secular Israelis who define their level of knowledge as low, only 25% want to expand their Judaic knowledge.

But nearly half (43%) of all secular Israelis want to increase their knowledge of Judaism and Jewish sources, with many citing such options as a secular beit midrash (Torah study center) (15%) or Jewish academic institutions (14%).

The Hartman Institute’s Be’eri program – now encompassing 50,000 Israeli students in so-called “secular” high schools across the country – teaches Judaism, Jewish culture, Jewish history, Jewish tradition, and Jewish thought without adding on requirements of observance. The program is wildly popular among students (see the video from a visit the Be’eri students made to Hartman Institute last winter), and is set to expand to thousands of additional students in coming years. For more information on Be’eri, write to us at the Hartman Institute.

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[blip.tv ?posts_id=2283152&dest=32833]

Four lectures about Serving God in the Jewish tradition by leading scholars of Jewish studies from the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, Israel, pluralistic Jewish learning and leadership training. Soon on the Shalom Hartman Institute website.

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The annual Tikkun Leil Shavuot lectures at Shalom Hartman Institute are one of the year’s most anticipated events.
This year’s theme is, “Ethics, Judaism and War,” and features lectures in English and Hebrew from Hartman Institute faculty on issues both classic and contemporary.

Shavuot evening, Thursday, 28 May, 2009

English/אנגלית
22.30-23.45 Rabbi Prof. David Hartman: The Role of the Other in Situations of War and Civic Life in the Jewish Tradition
2.30-3.30 Dov Weiss: “Moshe’s Protest against Divine War: The Case of Sihon.”

Hebrew/עברית
00:00-01:00 הרב ד”ר דניאל הרטמן: מוסר מלחמה במסורת היהודית ובמקורות ישראל

01:15-02:15 פרופ’ אבי שגיא, האלוף ישי בר: “והיה מחניך קדוש”: טוהר הנשק ומשמעותו במסמך רוח צה”ל

02:30-03:30 ד”ר אורית קמיר: מוסר כבוד האדם במלחמה

חג שבועות ביום – יום שישי ו’ סיון, 29 במאי, 2009

16:00-17:00 ביטי רואי: כוח, תפילה ומלחמה בתורת ר’ נחמן מברסלב
17:15-18:15 פרופ’ אבי שגיא: מוסר במלחמה

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[blip.tv ?posts_id=2108066&dest=32833]

Shalom Hartman Institute Fellow and Scholar Melilah Hellner-Eshed talks about how to remember the event at Sinai in which the Jewish people received the Torah, and what is Jewish memory, the how the transmission of the collective Jewish memory was through ritual and reciting. This is the second in a series of three classes given to Jewish community leaders at Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, Israel

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