2011 Conference
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Elie Kaunfer

Mechon Hadar

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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 (www.yeshivathadar.org), where Elie teaches Talmud. Elie is the author of Empowered Judaism (Jewish Lights). In 2009, Newsweek named him one of the top 50 Rabbis in America.

Beyond Maimonides’ 8 Levels of Charity

Complex Jewish Texts on Giving

Social Justice, Text & Thought

What does the Jewish tradition have to say about the levels of giving charity beyond Maimonides’ famous 8 levels? How might these other approaches to giving challenge the way we raise and distribute communal funds? Join us as we learn selections from the Talmud and responsa about giving charity and discuss their important implications for today.

Cosmic Separation: Lost Versions of Havdalah

Ritual, Prayer & Spirituality, Text & Thought

The Talmud records a number of alternative versions of Havdalah, many of which appeared in ancient prayerbooks lost to history. We will examine these texts, their Biblical sources, and the ways in which they complicate the theological implications of Havdalah.

God as King: Engaging a Subversive Metaphor

Ritual, Prayer & Spirituality, Text & Thought

Many of us have trouble with the metaphor of God as king, common in the liturgy. But this metaphor is actually quite complex in rabbinic thought. Join us as we examine some unusual midrashim about God vs. human kings, and explore the subversive messages encoded in the analogy.

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