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Elie Kaunfer

Mechon Hadar

Telephone: 646-734-9837

Email: show

Elie Kaunfer is a rabbi and co-founder and executive director of Mechon Hadar. Mechon Hadar has launched the first full-time egalitarian yeshiva program in North America: Yeshivat Hadar, where Elie teaches Talmud. He is pursuing a doctorate in liturgy at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Elie is the author of Empowered Judaism: What Independent Minyanim Can Teach Us About Building Vibrant Jewish Communities (Jewish Lights). In 2009, Newsweek named him one of the top 50 Rabbis in America.

The Origin of the Amidah: A Literary Exploration

Ritual & Prayer, Text & Thought

The Talmud famously debates the origin of the Amidah, the central Jewish prayer. Is it modeled on sacrifice, or on actions of the Avot (patriarchs)? Join us as we take a fresh look at this Talmudic passage, examine its Biblical sources, and ponder the meaning of narrative backstory to Jewish prayer.

How Can I Pray What I Do Not Believe?

The Case of Un'Tane Tokef

Ritual & Prayer, Text & Thought

Are you troubled by reciting the “Who shall live and who shall die?” prayer (the Un'Tana Tokef) every year on High Holidays? Does God really mete out just reward and punishment each year? Together we will examine the Un'tTane Tokef prayer, look at its Biblical allusions, and discover its radically divergent internal theological approaches.

“New” Kabbalistic Poetry

A Lost Text of Lekha Dodi

Ritual & Prayer, Text & Thought

Lekha Dodi is the high point of the Kabbalistic (Jewish mystical) Friday night service, Kabbalat Shabbat. But the version we sing is only one of many drafts of the poem known to kabbalists. Come discover an earlier version of the poem, and explore the deeper kabbalistic meanings encoded in these texts.

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