2011 Conference
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Saturday 7:30 PM–8:45 PM

Dinner

Saturday 7:30 PM–9:30 PM Ballroom A

Shavua Tov! (A Great Week!) Start a great week by making new friends at Saturday evening dinner.

"Walking in Memphis: The Life of a Southern Jew"

Jon Adam Ross

Saturday 7:30 PM–8:45 PM Manhattan Theater

Arts & Performance

"Walking in Memphis: The Life of a Southern Jew" traces the life of Jon Ross, an actor and playwright now living in New York City. Jon begins the play by giving his background, his origin, and the show weaves itself through his childhood as a Jew in the Southern city of Memphis, Tennessee. It is a unique journey of passage, and it is made all the more so by the characters Jon inhabits. He begins with his family, of course, a logical place to start. But Jon soon branches out to Elizabeth, his family's housekeeper, Clarence, his barber, Jim Grigg, their Southern Baptist next-door neighbor, and many others. He even spends some time during the show at Jewish summer camp. And, by the end of the show, the audience feels like it has been sitting in a living room having a conversation with a dozen or so people even though they were in a theater, listening to just one person, and not speaking themselves at all. Jon touches on the lives and deaths of many people during the course of the show, and ends the show with a touching, and quite humorous, remembrance of his mother; ending the show in a fitting way, as all Jewish services do—with "Adon Olam."

Camp Limmud NY: 4th Annual PJ Party

Saturday 7:30 PM–10:00 PM Sullivan

Children & Families

Come join our annual tradition—an evening pajama party for Camp Limmud NY kids K-5th grade. Highlights include a mac'n'cheese and ice cream dinner (no need to go to the early dinner if you want your children to eat here), and a movie. Teddy bears, dolls, and other similar companions are very welcome.

Coping with Transition

Kim Schneiderman

Saturday 7:30 PM–8:45 PM Hudson III

Identity & Responsibility

Change is the one constant in life. Yet we are often surprised when it happens. Our educational system grooms us for progressive levels of security, reinforcing the belief that skill mastery yields the predictable comforts of a settled life. As we age, we are measured by our gains, not our losses, our stability, not our vulnerability. Learn about a framework for coping with uncertainty that integrates images and themes from the Jewish tradition. Learn how to understand and make the most of the “neutral zone,” the place where old roles and identities no longer make sense and life seems somewhat unreal. See why every beginning starts with an ending, and how embracing the lessons of endings and the neutral zone can maximize the potential for powerful beginnings in our lives.

Hilchot Pluralism

Theory and Practice of Pluralistic Jewish Communities

Ben Dreyfus

Saturday 7:30 PM–8:45 PM Empire Lounge

College/University Student Recommended, Identity & Responsibility

Every community has some areas on which it takes a firm stand, and other issues on which it seeks to be pluralistic, accommodating multiple practices and identities. What does it mean to be pluralistic, and how do we implement this in our communities? When is a pluralistic solution impossible or undesirable? We will explore the theory of Jewish pluralism, and share pluralistic practices developed in our communities.

In Search of Ten Good Men and Women

What Happened to the Minyan in Reform Judaism?

Leon Morris

Saturday 7:30 PM–8:45 PM Dutchess

Ritual, Prayer & Spirituality, Text & Thought

The American Reform movement, while never explicitly rejecting the notion of a minyan, has been ambivalent about it over the course of the last century. The minyan points to critical areas of tension in American Jewish life: the centrality of community within a Jewish framework that is increasingly about the self; the meaning of requirements and standards for a Jewish community that sees personal autonomy as a defining feature of Jewish life; and hard distinctions between Jews and non-Jews.

Israel 2011

The Economic Miracle

Barry Mark Spielman

Canceled, sorry

Additional schedule

  • Saturday 12:00 PM–1:15 PM Dutchess

Israel

Israel's economy is rolling. Even as most Western countries continue to struggle with the recession, Israel (officially the first Western country to exit the crisis) has an economy that continues to expand. Nowhere is this more true than in the technology sector. This session will discuss Israel as a "start-up nation," analyzing Israel's success and delving into the unique circumstances that got Israel to where it is today.

King Arthur and King David: Literary Brothers

How Biblical accounts seeped into English legend

Sharonah Fredrick

Canceled, sorry

Additional schedule

  • Sunday 5:45 PM–7:00 PM Columbia

College/University Student Recommended, Global Culture & History

The extraordinary compendium of medieval Arthurian legends which is Geoffrey of Monmouth's "Kings of Britain," derives its sources equally from Celtic and Old Testament narratives. Intertwining in equal measure elements of both the Davidic and Solomonic characters, together with early historical (and fictional) sources from the Dark Ages, Geoffrey, writing in the 12th century, created a framework in which Jewish, Christian, and pre-Christian Celtic culture fused to forge Arthurian dramatic tales.

The Ayins Have It: The Nothingness That is Everything

David Ingber

Saturday 7:30 PM–8:45 PM Bentley's

Ritual, Prayer & Spirituality, Text & Thought

Jewish Mysticism, like many other forms of mysticism, asserts that reality is not what it may seem to be. Behind the apparent diversity and plurality of phenomenon witnessed by our senses, lies a simple, unified field of Divinity, called by the Kabbalists, Ayin. Ayin, or No-thingness is a concept in Kabbalistic and Hassidic sources that has profound implications for our post-modern search for authentic religious experience. This class will follow the development of this core concept, drawing from traditional Jewish and non-Jewish sources to deepen our familiarity with this dimension of our spiritual heritage. No prior background necessary.

The Kabbalah of Dreams

Confronting Demons through Ritual and Text

Nathaniel Berman

Saturday 7:30 PM–8:45 PM Hudson II

Ritual, Prayer & Spirituality, Text & Thought

Dreams are key to Jewish thought about the soul and God. The Talmudic saying “an uninterpreted dream is like an unread letter” is oft-quoted but highly mysterious: from where do such “letters” come? The "Zohar" (the foundational book of Jewish mysticism) teaches that the dreams may be sent by the demonic as well as the divine realms. The Talmud bequeathed us an elaborate ritual with the power of turning bitter dreams into sweet. Join us as we study texts about dream-mysteries, and together perform the “dream-sweetening” ceremony.

What Kind of God Do We Believe In?

Heschel and Maimonides in Conversation

Shai Held

Saturday 7:30 PM–8:45 PM Columbia

Text & Thought

In this session, we'll explore what just might be the biggest question of all: what do we mean when we say "God"? What is the relationship between the God of philosophy and the God of the Hebrew Bible? We'll consider two approaches to these questions-- that of Maimonides, for whom God is radically transcendent and unknowable, and that of Abraham Joshua Heschel, for whom God is thoroughly personal and concerned with human history. We'll bring these two thinkers into dynamic conversation.

Who, Me? Life Opportunities in Israel

Barry Mark Spielman

Saturday 7:30 PM–8:45 PM The View

College/University Student Recommended, High School Student Recommended, Israel

More people have made Aliyah from North America in 2009 and 2010 than in any years since the Yom Kippur War. Israel presents many opportunities for people interested in choosing to live in Israel or to go on various programs. As the head of the Aliyah Delegation in North America, I will present the work we are doing, our work together with Nefesh B'Nefesh, and everything you need to know about the Aliyah process.

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