Loneliness as a Spiritual Crisis

Loneliness as a Spiritual Crisis

Mar 21, 2022 By Mychal Springer | Public Event video

Rabbi Mychal Springer explores the existential issues related to belonging and abandonment, drawing on Jewish spiritual resources that help foster a loving embrace, divine and human, even when we must carefully balance distance and proximity in the face of contagion. 

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Purim Eve On (and Off) Broadway!

Purim Eve On (and Off) Broadway!

Mar 16, 2022 By Jan Uhrbach | Public Event video | Purim

Watch the parody songs: View the whole service: For Ma’ariv (Evening Service) and Megillat Esther (Book of Esther), we will be using the Rabbinical Assembly’s newly published volume featuring a new translation of Esther by Dr. Pamela Barmash, an alumna of JTS’s Rabbinical School, and the translation of the evening service from Siddur Lev Shalem. […]

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Compassion and Love in Jewish Mystical Sources

Compassion and Love in Jewish Mystical Sources

Mar 14, 2022 By Eitan Fishbane | Public Event video

Through study of Kabbalistic texts ranging from 13th-century Spain to 16th-century Tzfat, Dr. Eitan Fishbane, associate professor of Jewish Thought, JTS, explored how the related themes of love and compassion were central to the spiritual and ethical thinking of key Kabbalists. For these mystics, compassion and love were simultaneously ideals in relation to other people and in relation to God; what is more, many understood interpersonal compassion and love as actual manifestations of Divinity in the earthly realm. Our createdness in the image of God brings the ideals of emotion and virtue to life in the physical world.

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Space, Place, and Communities of Faith

Space, Place, and Communities of Faith

Mar 13, 2022

Renowned architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien say that the foundation of architecture “lies in believing that it is possible to make places on earth that can give a sense of grace to life.” Join Williams, Tsien, and their partner Paul Schulhof when they speak with Professor Barbara Mann about their philosophy and how it is reflected in their design for the JTS campus.

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The “Burning Heart”: <br>From the Book of Jeremiah to the Metropolitan Opera

The “Burning Heart”:
From the Book of Jeremiah to the Metropolitan Opera

Mar 7, 2022 By Alan Cooper | Public Event video

In Jeremiah 20:9, the prophet compares the divine word to “a burning fire in my heart, shut up in my bones.” This powerful image of irresistible passion constrained has long been interpreted in both positive and negative ways.  Dr. Alan Cooper examined how the image has been used by Jewish authors and also glance at the way it has come to prominence as the title of both Charles M. Blow’s memoir and Terence Blanchard’s pioneering opera based on the memoir. Dr. Alan Cooper examined how the image has been used by Jewish authors and also glance at the way it has come to prominence as the title of both Charles M. Blow’s memoir and Terence Blanchard’s pioneering opera based on the memoir. 

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Can American Judaism Change Jewish Identity in Israel?

Can American Judaism Change Jewish Identity in Israel?

Mar 3, 2022

THE HENRY N. AND SELMA S. RAPAPORT MEMORIAL LECTURE “The New Jew”—a recent Israeli TV documentary series exploring the diverse and creative ways in which American Jews express their Jewishness—was immensely popular in Israel. What accounts for Israelis’ positive response to several distinctively American models of Jewish identity and practice? How can religious expression in […]

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The Jewish Community of Ukraine and the Current Crisis

The Jewish Community of Ukraine and the Current Crisis

Mar 2, 2022 By David Fishman | Public Event video

There are between 50,000 to 100,000 Jews in Ukraine today. This talk, featuring Dr. David Fishman and senior JTS rabbinical student Alisa Tzipi Zilbershtein, analyzed the state of the community, and its reactions to the unfolding events.

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Jealousy and Gender in Rabbinic Literature

Jealousy and Gender in Rabbinic Literature

Feb 28, 2022 By Sarah Wolf | Public Event video

“Men are more likely to have anger issues.” “Women are more sensitive than men are.” We are all familiar with gendered beliefs and stereotypes about emotion in today’s world. Presumptions about gender and emotion also existed in the time of the rabbis, though not necessarily the ones we’d expect. Join Dr. Sarah Wolf to look at rabbinic texts about jealousy and other emotions that are portrayed as negative or dangerous, noticing how gender roles function in these texts, and to reflect on how rabbinic ideas about gender and emotions can help us shed light on our own.

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Love During the Holocaust

Love During the Holocaust

Feb 14, 2022 By Edna Friedberg | Public Event video

The Holocaust was one of the most profound ruptures in Jewish history. And yet, the foundational human emotion of love persisted—and even blossomed—in the most devastating circumstances. Dr. Edna Friedberg explores the varied manifestations of love—romantic, parental, platonic—at a time of terror and loss. Each of these forms of deep affection and connection offered psychological sustenance and sometimes spurred life-saving acts of courage and altruism. The session will draw from primary sources including diaries, oral testimonies, artifacts, and historical photographs.

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Unlocking the Gates of Heaven: The Transformative Power of Grief

Unlocking the Gates of Heaven: The Transformative Power of Grief

Feb 7, 2022 By Rachel Rosenthal | Public Event video

Grief is a primal emotion, often associated with paralysis, but sometimes it has the power to generate great change in the face of loss. In this session, we will study some rabbinic sources that focus on grief and the ways that the rabbis use it to transform their circumstances and their communities.  

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Emotions and Reason, Experience and Intellect: Two Views of the Book of Psalms

Emotions and Reason, Experience and Intellect: Two Views of the Book of Psalms

Jan 31, 2022 By Benjamin D. Sommer | Public Event video

What sort of religious experience does the Book of Psalms reflect and encourage? Does the book primarily appeal to our emotions, or is it first and foremost a work to be studied on an intellectual level? Join Dr. Benjamin Sommer to see how the Book of Psalms provides its own answers to these questions. By addressing these questions, we will have an opportunity to think about the relative places in Judaism of emotion and reason, heart and mind, and to explore the relationship between prayer and text-study in the Bible and rabbinic Judaism.

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Between the Lines: When I Grow Up

Between the Lines: When I Grow Up

Jan 26, 2022 By Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary | Public Event video

Author Ken Krimstein discussed his book, When I Grow Up, a graphic narrative based on newly discovered, never-before-published autobiographies of Eastern European Jewish teens on the brink of WWII—found in 2017 hidden in a Lithuanian church cellar.

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The Importance of Shame in Rabbinic Tradition

The Importance of Shame in Rabbinic Tradition

Jan 24, 2022 By David C. Kraemer | Public Event video

We often think of shame or embarrassment as an experience to be avoided, and, to be sure, rabbinic tradition considers shaming someone else in public to be a grievous sin. But the Talmud also teaches that the capacity to feel shame is important, for the fear of shame will keep one from sin. Join Dr. David Kraemer to discuss this complicated emotion and how Jewish tradition “feels” about it.

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Between the Lines: Sanctified Sex

Between the Lines: Sanctified Sex

Jan 24, 2022 By Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary | Public Event video

Author Noam Zion discusses his book, Sanctified Sex, which draws on 2,000 years of rabbinic debates addressing competing aspirations for loving intimacy, passionate sexual union, and sanctity in marriage.

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Between the Lines: Embers of Pilgrimage

Between the Lines: Embers of Pilgrimage

Jan 11, 2022 By Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary | Public Event video

Dr. Eitan Fishbane talks about his book, Embers of Pilgrimage (Panui Publications), a collection of original poems incorporating imagery from the Zohar and other Jewish mystical works.

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Between the Lines: Remember KHURBM: The Forgotten Genocide

Between the Lines: Remember KHURBM: The Forgotten Genocide

Jan 10, 2022 By Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary | Public Event video

Author Alexander Gendler shared his book, KHURBM 1914-1922: Prelude to the Holocaust. The Beginning, a collection of eyewitness testimonies and other sources that reveal the destruction of Jewish life by the Russian army during World War I.

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“It is not up to you to finish the work” (Pirkei Avot 2:21): On Striving for the Unattainable

“It is not up to you to finish the work” (Pirkei Avot 2:21): On Striving for the Unattainable

Dec 13, 2021 By Alan Cooper | Public Event video

Some of the most dramatic moments in the Tanakh describe the completion of work—the creation of the world (Genesis); the fabrication of the Tabernacle (Exodus); and the construction of the Temple (Chronicles).  In contrast, at the end of chapter 2 of Pirkei Avot, Rabbi Tarfon admonishes us that while we are under pressure with much work, a tight deadline, a penchant for laziness, and a demanding boss, nevertheless “it is not up to [us] to finish the work.”

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When Matzoh Bakers and Tallis Weavers Went on Strike: The Jewish Workers’ Movement in Eastern Europe

When Matzoh Bakers and Tallis Weavers Went on Strike: The Jewish Workers’ Movement in Eastern Europe

Dec 6, 2021 By David Fishman | Public Event video

The grandparents or great grandparents of most American Jews were poor wage-earning workers from Eastern Europe. This session will explore the world of Jewish workers in Tsarist Russia, in particular the Jewish labor movement that arose at the end of the 19th century. The movement organized strikes, underground trade unions, classes, and cultural activity for workers in Yiddish, and a Jewish socialist party known as the “Bund.” Its ideas and practices migrated to the United States and left a powerful imprint on American Jewish life.

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Maimonides at Work: A Rabbi’s Workday in Medieval Egypt

Maimonides at Work: A Rabbi’s Workday in Medieval Egypt

Nov 29, 2021 By Tamar Marvin | Public Event video

Toward the end of his life, Maimonides received a request from his translator and admirer in France: to come and visit the great rabbi and discuss with him the important matter of translating his most sensitive work, The Guide of the Perplexed. In response, Maimonides waves off Samuel Ibn Tibbon, the translator, recounting how busy he is. The correspondence between Maimonides and his translator is rich in detail, providing insight into Maimonides’ life.

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How to Make Work Meaningful for Us: Exploring the Value of Work in Biblical and Rabbinic Sources

How to Make Work Meaningful for Us: Exploring the Value of Work in Biblical and Rabbinic Sources

Nov 22, 2021 By Eliezer B. Diamond | Public Event video

Work can be uplifting; it can also be draining and demoralizing. This depends not only on what we do but on how we do it. We’ll look at Jewish sources that offer us different ways of thinking about work and some wisdom about how to make the work we do work for us.

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