JTS in the Berkshires: Back to Nature

Date: Aug 10, 2018 - Aug 10, 2018

Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Sponsor: JTS Learning in Your Community

Location: Massachusetts

Category: JTS in Your Community

Back to Nature: Jewish Encounters with the Natural World

Judaism’s complex relationship to nature begins in Eden, where humans are commanded to subdue and to guard the earth. Join JTS scholars as they reveal the diversity of Jewish perspectives on nature and the sacred realm. How do our sources—literary, legal, and liturgical—conceive of the world around us and our relationship to other creatures?

Fridays, August 10 and 24
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Location

Shakespeare & Company
70 Kemble Street
Lenox, Massachusetts

August 10
Rabbi Eliezer Diamond, Rabbi Judah Nadich Associate Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics
THINKING WITH TREES:WHAT ONE BIBLICAL VERSE REVEALS ABOUT OUR RELATIONSHIP TO NATURE

Deuteronomy 20:19, which forbids the destruction of fruit trees by a besieging army, is often cited as evidence of Judaism’s concern for the environment. Yet the final phrase of this verse is quite ambiguous. What does it mean to ask whether trees of the field are “human”? In this session, as we survey the various rabbinic explanations of this verse, we’ll get a window into the subtleties of the interpretive process. We’ll also see how the implications of this verse for our relationship to nature vary widely depending on how it’s interpreted. By highlighting different Jewish approaches to this verse, the session will encourage you to reflect on the reasons for your own environmental commitments.

August 24
Dr. Raymond Scheindlin, Professor Emeritus of Medieval Hebrew Literature
GARDENS OF THE GOLDEN AGE: THE PLEASURES AND PERILS OF NATURE IN MEDIEVAL HEBREW LITERATURE

For medieval Spanish Jewry, the garden was a place of tranquility, where members of elite society could enjoy each other’s company, drink wine, listen to music, and recite poetry. For the philosophically-minded poet, the pleasures of the garden provide a moment for reflection on the brevity of life, yet for the religiously-minded poet, the garden is a lure that diverts people from serious activities to worldly pleasures. We will read and discuss selections of poetry (in English translation) that explore these complementary and conflicting values.

Cost
$25 per session

Register Now

For more information, contact Lynn Feinman at (212) 678-8821 or lyfeinman@jtsa.edu