2011 Conference
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Yaffa Epstein


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Yaffa Epstein teaches Talmud and Halacha (Jewish law), and serves as the Director of Recruitment at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. She has taught at SIACH, Ta Shma and Young Judea. Yaffa holds an LLB, and is a member of the Israeli Bar. She was a student at the Pardes Kollel, as well as the Advanced Talmud Institute at Matan, and is currently pursuing a Graduate Degree in Talmud at Hebrew University.

If It's Worth Saying Once, It's Worth Saying Twice

Lessons from Hillel's Ascent to Power

Global Culture & History, Text & Thought

Hillel, one of the most significant rabbis in Jewish history, is appointed to the position of Nasi head of the Beit Midrash (house of study), after an interesting episode. We will examine how this story is told in the Tosephta, the Palestinian Talmud, and the Babylonian Talmud—and see what this story can teach us about the cultures within which it is being told.

Romance or Respect? Understanding Rabbi Akiva

College/University Student Recommended, Text & Thought

Akiva, a poor shepherd, and Rachel, a wealthy heiress, seem like an unlikely match! Yet their story is one of the most romantic of all stories in the Talmud. This session will examine their life together, their life apart from each other, and what lessons we can learn from them.

Women in The Talmud: New Lessons or Old News?

Text & Thought

The Talmud, while mentioning very few women by name, does include quite a few female characters. But, in 2011, are these characters role models for us, or relics of the patriarchy? This session will examine three stories of Talmudic women, and see what they have to teach us.

Insiders and Outsiders

Who makes the Rules about the Beit Midrash (Study Hall)?

College/University Student Recommended, Text & Thought

This class will look at one of the most fascinating stories in the entire Babylonian Talmud - the deposition of Rabban Gamliel. We will examine critical questions of Rabbinic leadership and authority with an eye to understanding just who makes the rules about the Beit Midrash (study hall). All sources will be provided in the original and in English translation.


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