2011 Conference
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Sunday 5:45 PM–7:00 PM

"InnerSpace: Introduction to Kabbalah, Meditation and Prophesy"

Avraham Sutton

Canceled, sorry

Ritual, Prayer & Spirituality, Text & Thought

Since its publication in 1990, "InnerSpace" continues to be considered one of the finest introductions to authentic Jewish mysticism in the English language. As posthumous editor of this work, I will give a brief description of my relationship with Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, and how I put "InnerSpace" together from transcripts of his classes. We will then discuss the main ideas in depth. Some of these ideas are: the olamot (mega-system of worlds), sefirot, and levels of the soul.

A Song of Ascents: A Spiritual Journey back to Judaism

Rachel Ravitz

Sunday 5:45 PM–7:00 PM Hudson III

Arts & Performance

Join Rachel Ravitz as she shares, through song, story, humor, and Jewish wisdom teachings, her fascinating spiritual journey through the world's major religions back to her Jewish roots. Rachel has offered this one-woman show, to great acclaim, throughout the United States. This session is open to women only.

A Two State Solution--Why Israel Depends On It

Kate Press

Sunday 5:45 PM–7:00 PM Orange

Israel

Why does the future of Israel as a democratic homeland for the Jews depend on the two-state solution? What role should American Jews play? Come and learn with J Street about why the urgency of the moment demands a new, bolder, and more assertive approach to achieve two states before time runs out.

Biblical Stories

Why Stories? What Good Are They, Anyway?

Aaron Koller

Sunday 5:45 PM–7:00 PM Hudson II

101, Text & Thought

We will ask a simple question: what is the value of stories in the Bible? By reading and thinking about some stories, we will try to address the question, what is the Bible, anyway?

Exploring the Other

Rori Picker Neiss

Sunday 5:45 PM–7:00 PM Exhibit Hall

Identity & Responsibility, Text & Thought

What does Judaism think about other faith traditions? Together we will study the writings of famous Jewish thinkers, from the Rabbinic period through today, in an attempt to understand what Judaism has to say about other religious communities.

From Passion to Action

Sarah Mulhern

Sunday 5:45 PM–7:00 PM Ulster

Social Justice, Text & Thought

How can we transform the passionate outrage we feel about injustice into effective action? In this session we will study vignettes from the life of Moses to help us explore how we can become effective Jewish activists with the tools to make a difference in the world.

How Can We Love Our Neighbor as Ourself?

A Textual Analysis of Chapter 32 of the "Tanya"

Aaron L. Raskin

Sunday 5:45 PM–7:00 PM Dutchess

Advanced, Text & Thought

In today's world, with Jews from all walks of life wearing different labels, how can we truly love every Jew as we love ourself? Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, in his holy work the "Tanya," revolutionizes the true path of how we are to feel towards our fellow Jew and how to overcome our differences. The text puts a new spin on the statement of Rabbi Hillel: "That which you despise, do not do unto your neighbor, the rest is commentary." Both Hebrew and English text will be supplied.

King Arthur and King David: Literary Brothers

How Biblical accounts seeped into English legend

Sharonah Fredrick

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.

Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh BaZeh

Struggling with Jewish Colective Responsibility

Marc Katz

Sunday 5:45 PM–7:00 PM Sullivan

Identity & Responsibility, Text & Thought

We like to say "all of Israel is responsible for one another" but what does that really mean? In this course we will take a close look at the biblical and rabbinic roots of this concept and wrestle with the notion of Jewish collective responsibility? Just how tied are we to the greater Jewish world? What does it really mean to be a "guarantor" for our fellow human being?

Mythical Jews of Renaissance Peru

Untangling Fact from Jewish and Inquisition Myths

Sharonah Fredrick

Canceled, sorry

Additional schedule

  • Monday 11:15 AM–12:30 PM Bentley's

College/University Student Recommended, Global Culture & History

In the seventeenth century, a daring Portuguese Jewish explorer decided to challenge both the Spanish Conquest of the New World, on the one hand, and the Inquisition, on the other, in order to supposedly "discover" one of the Ten Lost tribes in the jungles of Peru and Ecuador. His mythical recounting-and outright invention-of the jungle Jews of the Amazon nonetheless had profound consequences for Jewish history, including eventual legalization of the Jewish presence in post-Cromwell England.

Rabbi Akiba and Moses: Revelation and Redemption

Was Akiva greater than Moses?

Amitai Bin-Nun

Sunday 5:45 PM–7:00 PM The View lobby

Text & Thought

The Talmud in Menahot (29b) details an enigmatic episode in which Moses ascends to the Heavens and has a vision of Rabbi Akiva's classroom. What did Rabbi Akiva have over Moses and why would God choose to give the Torah to Moses anyway? We will engage in a joint textual study of relevant sources over millenia of Jewish history and come away with a new understanding of what revelation and redemption really are.

Shaping a New Jewish Sexual Ethic

Chaim Seidler-Feller, Doreen Seidler-Feller

Sunday 5:45 PM–7:00 PM Empire Lounge

Identity & Responsibility

Classical Jewish teachings regarding sexuality (homosexuality, pre-marital sex …) generate increasing individual conflicts and social consequences that demand our attention. So long as these tensions are not addressed, community members are confronted with a choice between all of the restrictions of the tradition on the one hand and the permissive orientation of contemporary culture on the other. This seminar intends to step into that breach by proposing a contemporary sexual ethic.

Writing from a Novel (Mussar) Perspective

Get Unstuck

Kim Schneiderman

Sunday 5:45 PM–7:00 PM The View

How-To, Identity & Responsibility, Interactive

Every life is an unfolding story. Yet few of us take time to figure out what our story is about, why we’ve selected our chosen roles, or how the challenges that we face can help us develop the strengths we need to move to the next chapter. This series of structured writing exercises are designed to help people who feel stuck – in a dead-end job, a challenging relationship, or stage of life – get a fresh perspective on a familiar story….their own. Borrowing from the mussar (Jewish literary) tradition, we will explore how conflict creates opportunities for personal growth. One need not be a “good writer” to participate. A sense of adventure is all that’s required.

Yetzer Rah of Idolatry and Sex—Love‘em; Hate‘em

With No Yetzer ha’Rah, How Boring Would It Be?

Joe Septimus

Sunday 5:45 PM–7:00 PM Bentley's

Identity & Responsibility, Text & Thought

Is the goal to be good or to accomplish good? If it is to accomplish good, we need the possibility of evil and failure. Talmud Yoma 69B, tells of the Jews returning from Persia to build the 2nd Temple and their request of God to eliminate the Yetzer HaRah (Evil Inclination) of Avodah Zarah (Idolatry) and sex so they can avoid failure. In agreeing, has God buckled? Our journey to excavate will reveal some of life’s complexities, with something gained and something lost in each of our significant decisions.

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