“Heaven and Hell: A Jewish Perspective”

A Day of Study and Conversation in Toronto


April 14, 2010, Toronto, ON

Rabbi Robert Harris, associate professor of Bible at The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), and Rabbi Abigail Treu, director of Donor Relations and Development at JTS, will discuss “Heaven and Hell: A Jewish Perspective” at the Toronto Hereld Institute Study Day at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 25, at Beth Emeth Bais Yehudah Synagogue, Toronto. The program is cosponsored by JTS, Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am Synagogue, and Beth Emeth Bais Yehudah Synagogue.

There are very few descriptions of heaven or hell in the Hebrew Bible that correspond to popular Western images. Nonetheless, Jews still believe in the “world to come.” Rabbis Harris and Treu will explore why and how concepts of heaven and hell were developed from the Bible and will discuss the historical and spiritual implications of these concepts in the present day.

Rabbi Robert Harris Rabbi Harris teaches courses in biblical literature and commentary, particularly medieval Jewish biblical exegesis; his doctoral dissertation was titled The Literary Hermeneutic of Rabbi Eliezer of Beaugency. In 2004, Rabbi Harris published Discerning Parallelism: A Study in Northern French Medieval Jewish Biblical Exegesis. Rabbi Harris is a graduate of the Joint Program between JTS and Columbia University, having received a BA in Ancient Studies from Columbia and a BHL in Talmud from JTS. He also received an MA in Judaica, an MPhil in Bible, rabbinical ordination, and a PhD from JTS.

Rabbi Abigaul TreuBefore coming to JTS, Rabbi Treu worked at the Jewish Outreach Institute, where she researched intermarriage and outreach to interfaith families; at the University of Michigan Hillel; as a chaplain at Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan; and as a fundraiser at Channel Thirteen/WNET. Rabbi Treu has taught classes at the 92nd Street Y in New York City and at Hillels and synagogues across North America. She is the coauthor, with Dov Peretz Elkins, of The Bible’s Top 50 Ideas. Rabbi Treu was ordained by JTS in 2008.

The afternoon study is open to the entire community. Thanks to a generous grant from The Jewish Theological Seminary Hereld Fund, there is no charge to attend.

For more information, please contact Beth David Synagogue at (416) 633-5500, Beth Emeth Synagogue at (416) 633-3838, the JTS Canada Office at (416) 789-2193 x2132, or Tom Wexelberg-Clouser at toclouser@jtsa.edu.