JTS in the Berkshires: Back to Nature

Date: Jul 13, 2018 - Jul 13, 2018

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

Sponsor: JTS Learning in Your Community

Location: Massachusetts

Category: JTS in Your Community

View the 2019 program

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, July 13, July 27, August 10, August 24
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Location

Shakespeare & Company
70 Kemble Street
Lenox, Massachusetts

July 13
Rabbi Daniel Nevins, Pearl Resnick Dean of The Rabbinical School
BIOTECH AND THE BIBLE: JEWISH PERSPECTIVES ON GENETIC ENGINEERING

Humans have been tinkering with lifeforms since the beginning of history, breeding plants and animals to suit their needs. Recent rapid developments in genetic engineering have allowed researchers and industry to improve crop yields, invent new medicines and therapies, and increase the quality of life. Yet the blending of DNA from different species also presents risks both physical and ethical. What do Jewish sources offer to guide our exploration of this brave new world?

July 27
Rabbi Mychal Springer, Director of the Center for Pastoral Education
WATERING THE SOUL: RAIN, DEW, AND SPIRITUAL CARE

Rain comes—or does not come—from heaven. The rhythms of wet and dry seasons attune us to our vulnerability and call on us to enter into prayer with humility and open hearts. We will explore these themes through liturgical, biblical and rabbinic sources.

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

In Deuteronomy 20:19 we read: “When in your war against a city you have to besiege it a long time in order to capture it, you must not destroy its trees, wielding the ax against them. You may eat of them but you must not cut them down. Are trees of the field human to withdraw before you into the besieged city?” We will examine the last part of this verse and how it has been interpreted in the rabbinic tradition and what those different interpretations can tell us about our relationship to nature.

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; $85 for all four

Register Now

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