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Posts Tagged ‘torah’

Nice post here summarizing some of the lectures Rabbi Dan Fink attended as part of the Rabbinic Torah Study Seminar:

Rabbi (David) Hartman finished with an important charge, which I have been thinking about a great deal as this two week seminar draws to an end. The question, of course, is: how do we take the heightened reality we enter on Shabbat—or during this sacred study time—and bring it with us into our daily lives? This is a real challenge. Moments of enlightenment are not so difficult to achieve; it is much harder and far less romantic to keep them alive day after day. Rabbi Hartman said: the alternative that lifts us out of crisis cannot be an escape. It must translate into the structure of the every day. We must bring kodesh—the holy—into chol, the ordinary. I hope that I am able to do this upon my imminent return to America.

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8 rabbis who have come to the summertime Rabbinic Torah Study Seminar at the Institute in Jerusalem for the last 10 years or more were given the honor of being named Senior Fellows for 10 years of participation in the RTS program:  Robert Alpert, Howard Hoffman, Kenneth Emert, Frank Fischer, Pat Fischer, Garson Herzfeld, Chaim Seidler-Feller, Ned Soltz.

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Summertime programs at Shalom Hartman Institute are well under way. We have hundreds of rabbis, community leaders, and others here for seminars, havruta study, lectures, tours, and more. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is on tap tonight for a private appearance. Israeli Education Minister Gidon Sa’ar was here the other night.

So, with visitors, we also have bloggers, of course. So far, I’ve found two three:

David Suissa, a writer for the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles is attending the Lay Leadership Summer Retreat. The column he is writing about his visit is entitle Jerusalem View. He seemed to enjoy his first day:

I have no idea where Plato and Socrates engaged in their famous dialogues and ruminations, but if they were around today, I’m guessing they would love the physical space on a hill at The Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem….

Hartman Institute classes are not for people with a short attention span. They take an idea and dive deeply into the texts. In this first class (with Donniel Hartman), I felt like I was at a baseball game—stretches of slow, scholarly build punctuated by short bursts of intensity, such as:

“Moral failing is not the failure to see good and bad, but failure to see the other face.”

“When Hillel says, ‘What is hateful to you don’t do unto others’, he is telling you that you already know the deepest and most important knowledge you will need to live an ethical life: How you like to be treated.”

“Jewish ethics are not exclusive to Judaism. Beware of anything that claims to be unique.”

This was not a sermon. It was a class, interrupted by moments of passion—a passion that sought to empower us.

“We are not empty vessels, just waiting to be filled”, the rabbi told us.

Hartman was taking a mushy message—do good and be good—and teaching it with an intellectual and emotional edge, one that valued human dignity and the innate Godliness of each individual.

So, after years of hearing so much about the Hartman Institute, I had finally attended my first class. It was a lot to mull over. Luckily, when you leave a Hartman class, you get to walk out onto “Plato’s Courtyard” (my phrase), where there are plenty of opportunities to sit on Jerusalem stones and mull over the teachings with students and teachers.

Maybe they should have everyone wear white robes and sandals. That would really get us in the mood to ponder the big ideas of life and Judaism, and apply them to real life—which is what the Institute aspires to do.

His follow-up column the next day was about a lecture by David Hartman:

If I had come to Israel just for the two hours I spent on Friday morning listening to Rabbi David Hartman, founder of the Institute, it would have been worth the trip….

So these were the three motifs that made Shabbat a transcending moment: I am God your Creator, I am God your liberator, and I am your God forever.

But here was the kicker: by creating and liberating us, and being there forever, God gives us the strength to do our own creating and liberating.

It was as if the rabbi was saying to each of us: We are both Jewish, we both love our tradition, but I am not you and you are not me.

Also blogging about the Institute and his visit here is Rabbi Dan Fink, who is attending the Rabbinic Torah Study Seminar along with more than 90 colleagues:

The highlight today was Rabbi Hartman’s evening talk. He is a genuinely wise elder statesman, and an iconoclast who is observantly Orthodox but has real respect for the contributions of the other, liberal movements in Judaism. He is cantankerous, brilliant, brutally honest, funny, charming and, above all, heimish.

I found another one, blogger B.G.S. Magarik, although it seems he was just a one-time visitor. He also saw David Hartman’s lecture (soon available online) and wrote about it on his blog Loisaida Times:

I spent the evening at the Shalom Hartman Center, and heard Rabbi David Hartman lecture, in a rare and brilliant appearance. He spoke on Contingency in Jewish texts, focusing on the Joseph story, with frequent and wonderful detours into his life, personal and intellectual relationships, contemporary jewish practice, and current Israeli politics.
It was a very moving lecture; he told wonderful stories about his mother, shared his pluralistic and progressive vision for the Jewish people (defending egalitarianism, the Reform movement, and taking a page from Obama’s book in speaking of the need for realistic hope), and confronted his mortality and physical pain.

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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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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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Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi tells us how and why to make Torah study relevant and useful in our lives today in this great essay:

We must strive to establish the Torah for ourselves, our families and our communities as a vital, dynamic text – as relevant to our lives today as it was 2,000 years ago. We must become fully engaged in Torah study, appreciating its power to guide us through our daily existence, inform our understanding of the world around us, challenge our beliefs and preconceived notions and inspire us to always achieve more. It is only once we allow Torah to enter our lives and to permeate every aspect of our being that we may someday come to exclaim – with the Psalmist, “Oh how I love your law, it is my meditation all the day.”

Read her entire essay here.

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God Narratives in the Torah by Donniel Hartman. This special lecture is now available online for the first time. It was given July 10, 2008, at Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem, Israel.

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