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Posts Tagged ‘jewish pluralism’

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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October fourth marked the beginning of orientation for the members of the sixth cohort of the Shalom Hartman Institute Melamdim program–designed to develop a new generation of outstanding North American Jewish studies high school teachers. Ten exceptional graduate students were chosen from a highly selective pool of applicants, to undergo intensive training in the philosophical foundations of Judaism and the pedagogical skills required to turn Jewish high school education into a transformative experience.

Attracting participants of diverse backgrounds and from all streams of Judaism, the rigorous two-year Melamdim program exposes these future teachers of all denominations to the highest levels of SHI learning, while simultaneously providing them with the opportunity to earn a Master’s degree in Judaic studies at the Tel Aviv University.

Orientation week kicked off with an introduction by Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman on the vision of the Hartman Institute and the Melamdim School of Teacher Education. This was followed with an introduction by Rabbi Phil Field, Melamdim program director, on the unique educational philosophy of the Hartman Institute.

A large part of the Melamdim curriculum consists of familiarizing participants with the richness and complexity of Israel’s cultural and political life. After having their first in-depth look at the Tel Aviv University, the cohort went on to explore the city of Tel Aviv, and to consider its role as a diverse microcosm of Israeli society. This theme was viewed through the lens of such significant issues as the development and history of Zionism and the current refugee crisis in south Tel Aviv.

A full day tour exploring a variety of educational models for different populations in Israel began with Yemin Orde, a residential village of 500 economically deprived new immigrants from countries throughout the world, and on to Michve Alon, an educational army base dedicated to training and improving the citizen skills of a broad array of new immigrants as an entry gate to Israeli society.

The tour concluded with an examination of high school education in the Arab Muslim community of Abu Gosh, presenting an opportunity to learn about alternative models of education within Israeli society. 

The full educational program of Melamdim is scheduled to begin on Sunday, October 17, in conjunction with Tel Aviv University.

 

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On October 6, the Shalom Hartman Institute, in partnership with Keren Karev, will launch the new Be’eri School for Teacher Education. The School will offer a basic and advanced track for teachers, as well as a track customized for school principals.

The basic teachers training track provides junior and high school teachers with the tools required to become instructors in Jewish heritage—Tarbut Yisrael. The advanced track is targeted at accredited teachers in the field of Jewish heritage who wish to broaden their expertise in this field and potentially become Tarbut Yisrael coordinators in their schools.

The principal track will equip participants with advanced Tarbut Yisrael training, enabling participants to play a leading role in strengthening pluralistic Jewish values and identity among their students. In response to requests from graduates of the principal track, a special program, led by a SHI faculty researcher, has been created. Graduates will meet six times a year to enhance their knowledge through a Beit Midrash learning format.

Eighty-five educators have registered for the 2010-11 school year. Be’eri schools proactively encouraged their staff to obtain the School’s enriched education, integral to the program mission. 70% of the participating educators hail from institutions that are part of the Be’eri program. The remaining participants will support the outreach of the Be’eri program to new schools.

“We are very excited to be opening the Be’eri School for Teacher Education, tasked to develop educators with an enhanced knowledge of Tarbut Yisrael disciplines,” says Rani Jaeger, Director of the School and a researcher at the Shalom Hartman Institute. “Principals and teachers are key to introducing young Israelis to pluralistic Israeli-Jewish identity education.  Our school will provide educators with the pedagogical training needed to inspire and lead a new pluralistic Jewish-Israeli discourse in our society.”

So what is so special about Be’eri? Read more about the program and its impact on Israeli schools here.

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The Shalom Hartman Institute announces the second year of the well-received Rabbinic Student Seminar. During the 2009-2010 academic year, 20 students from six North American rabbinical schools participated and gave phenomenal evaluations.

Click here now for secure online registration.

“We are excited about this coming year. We will again include significant time for socializing, for processing important issues having to do with spirituality, Israel related concerns, and the meaning of becoming a rabbi,” said Rabbi Dr. Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Vice President, Shalom Hartman Institute North America, Israel Department.
 
The study this coming year will again include a variety of scholars from the Hartman faculty. Program Co-Coordinators are Dr. Melila Hellner-Eshed and Rabbi Bill Berk. Melila will teach a class every other week focusing on central biblical stories and figures, primarily in Bereshit and Sh’mot, and the ways in which they are interpreted and developed in Midrash and in the Jewish mystical teachings of the Zohar. In addition, this year we are planning a shabbaton for the group in the winter.
 
The sessions will take place weekly on Tuesday evenings from 6-10 pm. The program will begin October 12, 2010, and run through May 30, 2011. The substantially subsidized program fee for a limited number of students from each school is $390, including the shabbaton.
 

Click here now for secure online registration. If you have additional questions please contact Marlene Houri. We look forward to another rewarding year.

The Rabbinic Students Seminar in Jerusalem

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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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