2011 Conference
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Friday 8:45 PM–10:00 PM

Challenging God—The Blessings of a Rainbow

Marc Wolf

Friday 8:45 PM–10:00 PM Hudson II

Interactive, Text & Thought

Judaism presents a number of models of challenging God—Abraham, Job are two of the most well known. But what about us? Can we challenge God? Does Judaism welcome not only a crisis of faith, but direct confrontation of God? Through a study of the blessing said when seeing a rainbow, we will address these and other questions of faith, belief, doubt, and theology. Yes, a rainbow …

College Student Meet up

Friday 8:45 PM–9:45 PM The View lobby

Social Programming

Meet other college students who are attending the conference. A chance to socialize, discuss common interests and how you can get the most out of Limmud NY!

Curb Your Consumerism

Cultivating a Baal Taschit (Preservation) Ethic for Today

Kevin Kleinman

Friday 8:45 PM–10:00 PM Sullivan

Identity & Responsibility, Social Justice

Have you seen "The Story of Stuff"? For thousands of years our Jewish ancestors lived in harmony with the natural cycles of the earth. They understood that working and protecting the land was vital to their own survival. Since the Industrial Revolution, we have begun to take more than we actually need, causing damage to the Earth and our own bodies. Today, we are returning to the wisdom of our sages and re-examining our responsibility as stewards of the world: how we grow and harvest crops, produce goods, and dispose of waste. We are cultivating a Jewish environmental ethic for today, based on both contemporary science and ancient texts.

Finding Meaning in Shabbat

A Panel Discussion

Dasee Berkowitz, David Ingber, Marc Katz, Malya Kurzweil Levin, DovBer Pinson, Karina Zilberman

Friday 8:45 PM–10:00 PM Bentley's

Ritual, Prayer & Spirituality, Shabbat

As Shabbat begins, so does an exploration of its significance. The diverse observances throughout the Jewish community are a reflection of individuals’ varied meanings of Shabbat. How, as a community, do we respect each others’ Shabbat observances while at the same time exploring a renewed, deeper meaning in our own practices? To explore this and other questions, the panelists will share the rituals and ideas that are most important to them in their observance of Shabbat.

Friends of Bill W.

Friday 8:45 PM–10:00 PM Orange

This is a closed 12-step meeting for people who are already in any 12-step program, or who think they have an addiction problem, or have a friend or family member with an addiction of any kind.

God, Gender, Justice: The Meaning of Homosexuality

or, Sexual Regulation as Ordering Power

Jay Michaelson

Friday 8:45 PM–10:00 PM Empire Lounge

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.

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?

Revisiting the Mechitzah

Ethan Tucker

Friday 8:45 PM–10:00 PM Columbia

College/University Student Recommended, Text & Thought

The mechitzah remains the bete-noire of all conversations about tefillah. Reviled by some and considered indispensable by others, it rarely gets a fair and honest hearing one way or the other. We will attempt to clear the air and have a frank and source-rich conversation about what role considerations of sexuality might and ought to play in gender-egalitarian environments.

Intellectual Property and Jewish Education

Russel Neiss

Friday 8:45 PM–10:00 PM Columbia foyer

Text & Thought

Traditional Jewish texts and contemporary copyright law help frame a conversation for examining the implications of both in 21st century Jewish education.

Interfaith Meet Up

Friday 8:45 PM–9:45 PM Lobby side

Social Programming

Meet fellow interfaith couples who are attending the conference. A chance to socialize, discuss common interests, and explore what Limmud NY has to offer you.

Israel Meet Up

Friday 8:45 PM–9:45 PM Lobby center

Social Programming

Come meet fellow Israelis, people who have lived in Israel, and people interested in life in Israel. You will have a chance to socialize, to listen to experiences, to discuss common interests, and to explore what Limmud NY can offer you.

LGBT Meet Up

Canceled, sorry

Additional schedule

  • Friday 10:15 PM–11:15 PM Lobby center

Social Programming

Meet fellow members of the LGBT community who are attending the conference. A chance to socialize, discuss common interests, and explore what Limmud NY has to offer you.

Limmud NY 101

Friday 8:45 PM–9:15 PM Bentley's fireside

How-To, Social Programming

Are you a first-timer? Or, do you want to ask questions about how to navigate and make the most out of your Limmud NY experience? Come join members of the steering committee and learn how-to Limmud NY!

Next Year in Jerusalem:

Fact, Fiction, or Farce?

David Breakstone

Friday 8:45 PM–10:00 PM The View

Identity & Responsibility, Israel

After "Shema Yisrael (Hear O Israel)," there is no phrase that might be considered a watchword of our faith more than "Next year in Jerusalem." But what do we really mean when we say it? Examining a wide range of texts on Jerusalem, from the ancient to the contemporary, we will explore our own relationship to this many faceted city, including both its celestial and earthly dimensions. By extension, we will also begin delving into Israel-Diaspora relations and the real meaning of Israel in our lives.

Sexual Repression and Obsession

The Case of Kitzur Shulhan Arukh

Chaim Seidler-Feller, Doreen Seidler-Feller

Friday 8:45 PM–10:00 PM Dutchess

Identity & Responsibility, Text & Thought

Although the Jewish tradition is generally open-minded regarding sexual behavior within marriage, certain repressive ideas have gained currency over the centuries and have determined sexual attitudes within elements of the Orthodox community. The claim of this workshop is that the Kitzur Shulhan Arukh, a popular 19th century halakhic work read broadly by Yeshiva High School students, is largely responsible for the dissemination of these ideas, We will read the texts, explore the origins of these teachings and discuss the psychological impact of these prohibitions and inhibitions.

Singles Meet Up

Friday 8:45 PM–9:45 PM Limmud NY Cafe

Social Programming

Meet other single conference participants. Here is a chance to socialize, discuss common interests, and explore what Limmud NY can offer you.

Speed Mixing

Meet New People of All Ages

Friday 8:45 PM–10:00 PM Manhattan Theater

Social Programming

Want to meet new people at Limmud NY? This session is for you! That encompasses all attendees—older or younger, single or married, gay or straight, tall or short. This mixer is a great way to start Limmud - to meet and make connections that could last the weekend—or a lifetime!

Then We Will Sing

Why Some Sang While Others Danced at the Sea of Reeds

Chaya Adler-Poretsky

Friday 8:45 PM–10:00 PM Sullivan Lobby

Interactive, Text & Thought

Referencing the text of the Beis Yaakov from a Chasidic Dynasty and the Zohar (a book of kabbalah), we will explore the miracles of the crossing of the Yam Suf (Sea of Reeds), as well as the power of Shira (song) using Hebrew text that will be discussed in English. The session will include opportunity for singing as well as group discussion.

Too Many Bored Jews in Synagogue

Admitting the Detachment and Enlivening Services

Abigail Pogrebin

Friday 8:45 PM–10:00 PM Ulster

Additional schedule

  • Saturday 10:20 AM–11:35 AM The View

Identity & Responsibility, Ritual, Prayer & Spirituality

It's taboo to admit it when we don't feel anything in synagogue services—some of us end up looking at our watches or taking naps. Last year, I watched my son's entire 7th grade class dutifully attend each other's services, only to get progressively turned off at each one. I wanted to shake the clergy, "You just missed such an opportunity to captivate—or at least intrigue—the next generation." In this session, I'll explore ways to invigorate worship for the less pious.

Who is an Authority in the Jewish World?

A Talmudic Tale of Tradition, Logic, and Trust

Mishael Zion

Friday 8:45 PM–10:00 PM Hudson III

Text & Thought

Talmudic texts tell the story about how young Hillel (not yet “the Elder”) turned from a nobody to president in one afternoon. But as only the Talmud can, each version of the story reveals a very different answer to the question: what are we looking for in a leader in the Jewish world. Studying this humorous story uncovers many of the issues that we continue to debate to this day: who is king in the Jewish world—ancestral tradition, human reason, or the people's voice?

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