2011 Conference
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Saturday 4:45 PM–6:00 PM

A Glimpse into the Afterlife

Exploring Reincarnation, The Near-Death Experience, Souls, Heaven and Hell, and the Afterlife Journey

DovBer Pinson

Saturday 4:45 PM–6:00 PM The View

Ritual, Prayer & Spirituality, Text & Thought

What happens to us after we physically die? What is consciousness, and can it survive without a physical brain? What is a soul? Can we remember our past lives? Do near-death experiences prove the immortality of the soul? Drawing from ancient Jewish wisdom and modern understanding of consciousness, we will explore the possibility of surviving death, the near-death experience, and a possible glimpse of the peace and unconditional love that awaits, empowering people to live their day-to-day lives with these great spiritual truths.

Are You There God?

Open Forum

Marc Wolf

Saturday 4:45 PM–6:00 PM Bentley's

Interactive, Ritual, Prayer & Spirituality

Join other LimmudNYks as Marc Wolf moderates an open conversation on God. Raise questions or propose answers big and small, theological or technological. This is a space in which to voice your own opinions and gain perspective from others.

Chesed Shel Emet (True Kindness)

Behind the Scenes at a Jewish Funeral

Rena Boroditsky

Saturday 4:45 PM–5:45 PM Ulster

Identity & Responsibility, Text & Thought

Against the backdrop of core values Chesed (compassion) and Tzelem Elokim (image of God), we’ll look at the basics of shmira ("guarding" the body), tahara (washing the body according to ritual), tachrichim (shrouds) and aron (wooden casket). Do these often “hidden” mitzvot (obligations) affect the journey of the deceased? What can the dead teach us about living? Discover how participating in acts of loving kindness strengthen us as individuals and as community.

It's Tu B'Shvat This Week -- How To Do Your Very Own Tu B'Shvat Seder

Nigel Savage

Saturday 4:45 PM–6:00 PM The View lobby

Tu B'Shvat is a great holiday, and worthy of more than a kid's seder. This year Hazon is planning Tu B'Shvat seders with Moishe Houses and Birthright Next around the country. In this session Nigel will place Tu B'Shvat in context, and give you a ton of materials and ideas - including a Tu B'Shvat haggadah - to do your own Tu B'Shvat seder this week.

Jewish Meditation--Ancient and Modern

Avraham Sutton

Canceled, sorry

Ritual, Prayer & Spirituality

Jewish Meditation: an introduction to the various modalities involved in meditation in general, and in Jewish meditation in particular. Includes breathing techniques and sounding the letters in enjoyable and relaxing way; also visualization techniques; and finally, how all this relates to prayer.

Kol Isha (A Woman's Voice):

What Women’s Songs Tell Us About the Jewish World

Adrienne Cooper

Saturday 4:45 PM–6:00 PM Manhattan Theater

Global Culture & History

From forest to factory floor, from the cradle to the chuppah (wedding canopy), from kitchen to kibbutz, in the synagogue and at the shore of the sea - women’s experience fills the map of Jewish song across five centuries. We will learn songs about and by women in Ashkenaz, Sefarad, pre-state Palestine and Israel, in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino and in some singable English translations, and discuss their historical contexts.

Social Justice Songs

Chana Rothman

Saturday 4:45 PM–6:00 PM Hudson III

Arts & Performance, Interactive, Social Justice

In the words of Woody Guthrie: "A folk song is what's wrong and how to fix it, or it could be who's hungry and where their mouth is, or who's out of work and where the job is, or who's broke and where the money is, or who's carrying a gun and where the peace is." Bring your favorite songs, instruments, and most of all, your voice! Jewish tunes are especially welcome. Song sheets will be provided.

Updating Tradition

Planning a Jewish Same-Sex Wedding

Justin Rosen Smolen, Avi Smolen

Saturday 4:45 PM–6:00 PM Orange

Identity & Responsibility, Ritual, Prayer & Spirituality

Avi and Justin Smolen will share their experiences as a same-sex couple planning a wedding. They will discuss the tension of creating a traditional Jewish wedding, while altering the ceremony to reflect egalitarian values and a committed same-sex partnership. Come hear stories of the planning process, the excitement of the day, and discuss what it means to accept and celebrate all committed partnerships in the Jewish community.

What Is behind the Idea of "Tikkun Olam"?

The Origin and Philosophy of a Key Idea

Mishael Zion

Saturday 4:45 PM–6:00 PM Dutchess

Social Justice, Text & Thought

Now becoming a central term in Jewish life, the term "tikkun olam", meaning "the repair of the world", originated in the Mishna as part of a discussion about divorce law. Tracking the origins of this idea in the Mishna and Tanakh, we will gain insight into what this term tells us about God, humanity and the world.

Why Can't I Pray What I Mean Or Mean What I Pray?

The Most Important Issue In Jewish Worship

Jeffrey Hoffman

Saturday 4:45 PM–6:00 PM Columbia

Ritual, Prayer & Spirituality

If the proverbial Martian visited most modern synagogues, he would report that the Jews seem to mostly read words that others wrote; that they also do some singing and some talking to each other. What they don't seem to do much of is attempting to connect with God, which is what prayer is all about. We will survey why this problem arose, and study a number of VERY provocative comments from Sages throughout the generations on resolving this issue. Our goal: To truly feel God's presence during prayer.

Why Do We Write This Way?

The Origins of the Alphabet

Aaron Koller

Saturday 4:45 PM–6:00 PM Bentley's fireside

Text & Thought

The alphabet is one of the world's greatest inventions, and it was invented only once, about 4,000 years ago, maybe by a speaker of Hebrew. We will look at what we know of where the alphabet came from and how it came to be what it is today—and what Jewish thinkers have done with it since.

Write On! Creative Experiential Writing for All Ages

Aliya Cheskis-Cotel

Canceled, sorry

Additional schedule

  • Sunday 9:15 PM–10:30 PM Columbia foyer

How-To, Interactive

Travel through the holiday cycle with creative writing to experience history with selected exercises from the presenter's book. Write Ha Lachma Anya (the traditional start to the Passover seder, which means "this is the bread of affliction") from the perspective of a foodless child. Write a Tu B'Shevat (new year for trees) piece as if you were a tree about to be destroyed. Write a report of a resistance fighter in the Maccabee caves. Renew creative learning energy for all ages, making Jewish history come alive!

Early Family Dinner

Saturday 5:30 PM–6:30 PM Ballroom C

Children & Families

A special time just for families with young children who wish to eat a little earlier.

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