2011 Conference
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Shabbat at Limmud NY
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Jay Michaelson

Nehirim: GLBT Jewish Culture and Spirituality

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Author of "Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism", "God vs Gay: The Religious Case for Equality" amongst other books and articles. Contributing editor to Forward, Zeek, Huffington Post, Tikkun. Founder of Nehirim (national GLBT organization) & Zeek; Forward 50 list. JD/Yale; PhD/Jewish Thought/Hebrew Univ.; MFA/Sarah Lawrence. Nondual BuJu fae neo-Kabbalist.

Can We Get Serious about Meditation Practice?

How to Do It, Why to Do It, Where You Can Go with It

How-To, Ritual, Prayer & Spirituality

What should a "Jewish" meditation practice look like? Should you do it with a tallis on? Have bagels afterward? Can you do it in a hectic life? With a skeptical mind? Do you have to be "spiritual" to meditate? How is meditation understood by contemporary cognitive neuroscience? And what can we expect of meditation practice? How does practice deepen? Are we allowed to talk about goals—if so, what might they be? All this and more, plus silence.

God, Gender, Justice: The Meaning of Homosexuality

or, Sexual Regulation as Ordering Power

Identity & Responsibility, Social Justice

Why is homosexuality such a political football? Sexuality is the first site of power and control, and liberated sexuality does indeed look like “the end of civilization” for those of a mythic religious bent. Using text from the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and New Christian Right, this workshop will explore how the regulation of sexuality reflects deep concerns of order and chaos, and why it is of importance not just for LGBT people but to all of us.

To Sin is Holy: The Anti-Torah of Jacob Frank

Text & Thought

The antinomian heretic Jacob Frank (1726-1791) was a fascinating and startling Jewish (and Christian) thinker and/or cult leader who believed that the total transgression of all basic norms was necessary to actualize the messanic redemption. Think Sabbetai Sevi but with more sex and heresy. In this class we'll apply a very traditional format—hevruta, text study—to very radical texts, including some of Frank's outrageous, shocking legends and tales. If you think you've seen it all, think again.

The Religious Case for Gay Rights

Identity & Responsibility, Text & Thought

You read that right: FOR gay rights. While two verses in the Torah may have something to say about male homosexual behavior, hundreds of verses offer much more important teachings about partnership, love, justice, and compassion. Combined with what we understand about sexuality and the extent of LGBT teen suicide, our fundamental religious values compel us not merely to tolerate or accept but to celebrate and agitate for full equality of sexual and gender diversity. Help take God back from the extreme Right!


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