2012 Conference
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Shabbat at Limmud NY
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Saturday 3:15 PM–4:30 PM

Beit Midrash - Beit Teffilah (House of Study - House of Prayer)

Contemporary Visions for the Ancient Synagogue

Amichai Lau-Lavie, Isaac Shalev

Saturday 3:15 PM–4:30 PM Empire Lounge

Social and Communal, Spiritual Practice

Join Storahtelling Founding Director Amichai Lau-Lavie and Executive Director Isaac Shalev in a freewheeling conversation about the changing nature of synagogues, Jewish community, prayer, and study. Be part of the conversation and raise your own voice as we challenge ourselves to reinvent and renew our commitments to our ancient heritage and contemporary community.

How Pirke Avot Can Save Judaism

William Berkson

Saturday 3:15 PM–4:30 PM Ballroom C

Identity & Global Culture, Sacred Text & Thought

Pirke Avot, the sayings of the Jewish sages from 200 BCE – 200 CE, contains the founding ideas of rabbinic Judaism, and was the last before exile. Now that we are again free, the ideas in Avot are key to Judaism thriving. Come hear from its author how a new understanding of Avot led to his writing the new commentary for Jewish Publication Society, a commentary that compares the insights of the sages to modern rivals—Atheism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hedonism.

How Wise was Nathan the Wise?

Jonathan Wittenberg

Saturday 3:15 PM–4:30 PM The View

Identity & Global Culture, Jewish History, Modern Jewish Literature, Sacred Text & Thought

Nathan, the hero of Lessing’s late eighteenth century play, modelled on Moses Mendelssohn, presents the ideal of the plural and tolerant society. But was it really that ideal? Why did Franz Rosenzweig criticise the play so sharply? And why did the Jewish theatre in Nazi Germany choose it for its first production? What did the critics say then? What is the ideal society?

Jewish Meditation for Shabbat Afternoon

Larry Schwartz

Saturday 3:15 PM–4:30 PM Bentley's

Spiritual Practice

There is no better time to meditate than on Shabbat afternoon. Please join us for a meditation influenced by the weekly parshah (Torah reading). We will settle down with a niggun (wordless tune) and have a chance to fully experience the spaciousness that Shabbat affords us. This session is appropriate for both beginners and experienced meditators.

The Light and Fire of the Baal Shem Tov

Yitzhak Buxbaum

Saturday 3:15 PM–4:30 PM Ulster

Sacred Text & Thought, Spiritual Practice

Many of us have been profoundly affected by the spiritual waves set in motion by Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism and the greatest Jewish mystic. We have been moved by hasidic stories and songs, for example. But how much do we know of the Baal Shem Tov’s personality, his life and teachings? We will study the Besht’s core teachings, the legends about him, in order to infuse light and fire into our spiritual life.

My Big Fat Glatt Kosher Gay Jewish Wedding

Claudia Kreiman, Amichai Lau-Lavie

Canceled, sorry

Additional schedule

  • Sunday 2:30 PM–3:45 PM Ulster

Identity & Global Culture, Spiritual Practice

With New York as the newest state to legalize LGBT weddings, the Jewish community is faced with a growing creative challenge: creating wedding rituals that celebrate same sex couples and exist within normative and halachic (jewish legal) frameworks. How different or similar to the heterosexual model can these new rituals be? What is at stake? What are some successful models? Join Claudia Kreiman, Amichai Lau-Lavie, and guest teachers to grapple with these questions at an interactive study session focusing on core texts and sample ketubot (marriage contracts).

Portnoy's Complaint?: Faith, Passion, and Paradox

Samuel Klein

Saturday 3:15 PM–4:30 PM Bentley's fireside

Sacred Text & Thought

Having a religious crisis? In this workshop (for the very intense), we will explore whether truth is a good thing to go looking for in the first place. Come along, if you are up for a meaty discussion with fellow guests Abraham Joshua Heschel, Paul Tillich, Emmy Van Deurzen, Jonathan Sacks, and others on why passion and reason do not often get along so well.

The Sabbath Soul

Mystical Reflections on Holy Time

Eitan Fishbane

Canceled, sorry

Sacred Text & Thought, Shabbat

How might hasidic mystical sources enrich our contemporary practice and experience of Shabbat? Through study of inspiring primary texts, we will explore the ways in which hasidic masters reflected on the meaning and spiritual depth of Shabbat; their views on divine presence in this world; the transformation of religious consciousness during holy time; and the implications of these ideas for our lives today.

Volunteer Recognition Reception

Saturday 3:15 PM–4:30 PM Hudson I

Why James Herriot Should Be Required Reading

Shmuel Skaist

Saturday 3:15 PM–4:30 PM Orange

Identity & Global Culture, Shabbat

Country veterinarian turned best-selling author James Herriot is used as a springboard for a wide ranging discussion of what it means to be an integrated human being from a Torah perspective. Along the way we'll hear about Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman's most incredible achievements and failures as well as Yaakov Avinu's (Jacob our Father) dream awakening. And, perhaps unexpectedly if you don't know the presenter, how all of this can also give us a deeper understanding of and relationship to Shabbos.

Women’s Rights Under Fire In Israel

Regev Ben-David, Meesh Hammer-Kossoy, Ben Murane, Liz Nord, Leora Tanenbaum

Saturday 3:15 PM–4:30 PM Dutchess

Israel, Social Justice

Women’s rights have become one of the major issues in Israel’s social upheaval that began with the tent protests this past summer. While some ultra-Orthodox Jews push for gender segregation in public spaces from buses to sidewalks, women across the country are standing up for their equal rights. Join a panel discussion about the implications of this growing issue for Israel’s future and learn about citizens who are working on it presently.

Yoga for the Jewish Spirit

Mincha on the Mat

Shelley Levine

Saturday 3:15 PM–4:30 PM Outside pool

Shabbat, Spiritual Practice

Experience Shabbat menucha (rest) like never before. This restorative yoga session allows each participant to explore the meaning of rest in body and mind. Gentle restorative yoga poses and pranayama (breathing techniques) move us toward release, allowing for deep Shabbat relaxation. No prior yoga experience is necessary. Please wear loose fitting clothes and bring a mat if you have one. Poses are held for up to 10 minutes in comfortable positions. This session is not appropriate for young children.

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