JTS in the Berkshires Summer 2023

Date: Jul 07, 2023

Time: 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Sponsor: JTS Learning in Your Community

Location: Massachusetts

Category: Community Courses JTS in the Berkshires

Chancellor Emeritus Arnold Eisen, Rabbi Gordon Tucker, and Dr. Shira Billet will teach in the Berkshires this summer.

Join JTS scholars in Lenox, Massachusetts, for inspiring learning that illuminates the Jewish past and shapes the Jewish future. With Prof. Arnold M. Eisen, Rabbi Gordon Tucker, and Dr. Shira Billet.

Three Sessions
Fridays, July 7, July 21, and August 4, 2023
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

Shakespeare & Company 
Elayne P. Bernstein Theater 
70 Kemble Street 
Lenox, Massachusetts 

Tickets: $15 per session

Shakespeare & Company Discount: Anyone who registers for JTS in the Berkshires is eligible for a 20% discount on tickets to Shakespeare & Company’s August production of Golda’s Balcony. Contact the box office and request the discount code. 

Questions? Contact Lynn Feinman at (212) 678-8821 or lyfeinman@jtsa.edu

Session I

Revisiting Zionist Thought: Charting a Path Forward

With Prof. Arnold M. Eisen, Chancellor Emeritus and Professor of Jewish Thought, JTS

Friday, July 7, 2023 

David Ben Gurion famously declared in the 1950s that Zionist thought was no longer needed, now that the State existed. Whether or not that was true then (or is true now), echoes of classical Zionist thinkers such as Herzl, Ahad Ha’am, Jabotinsky, and rabbis Reines and Kook, still resound loudly in current debates. Reflecting on Israel’s 75th birthday and the recent crisis regarding judicial reform we will ask: What elements of past Zionist thought remain indispensable to our thinking about Israel today? How should diaspora Jews think about Israel—and vice versa? Have events of the past few months—or the past few years—changed our thinking about Zionism and/or Israel? We will try to agree on a path forward.  

Session II

Rabbi Gordon Tucker

“In the Narrow Places”: Jeremiah and His Artistic Interpreters 

With Rabbi Gordon Tucker, Vice Chancellor for Religious Life and Engagement, JTS 

Friday, July 21, 2023 

The darkest time in the Jewish calendar, the three weeks leading up to the Ninth of Av, is referred to as bein hametzarim (the narrow places). Marking the final weekend of this period, we will explore some evocative passages in the Book of Jeremiah, and in the Book of Eikhah (Lamentations), traditionally attributed to the prophet. We will also reflect on how Jeremiah’s later interpreters in midrash, visual art, and music (Leonard Bernstein) continued to find meaning in these texts.  

Session III

Law in Context: Uncovering the Mother’s Perspective in Traditional Sources on Abortion 

With Dr. Shira Billet, Assistant Professor of Jewish Thought and Ethics, JTS 

Friday, August 4, 2023 

Can a closer look at Jewish sources move us beyond the entrenched simplistic pro-life/pro-choice binary of American public discourse today? This session examines traditional sources that have played a central role in constructing Jewish perspectives on abortion. We’ll explore the complex interplay between the legal aspects of these sources and the stories from women’s lives in which they are embedded to uncover a complex and nuanced Jewish perspective on abortion.