Trauma and Testimony in an Oversharing Society

Trauma and Testimony in an Oversharing Society

Dec 7, 2020 By Edna Friedberg | Public Event video

The pandemic has forced us to live much of our lives online. But what happens when experiences that used to be private and intimate are exposed to the glare of public scrutiny? How is the impact of experience changed by retelling it, and does sharing our experiences make them more meaningful? This is a discussion of how refugees from war-torn Europe were recast as “Holocaust survivors” and how trauma morphs when repackaged for broader consumption. The session will include pioneering early audio and film recordings of survivors as young people in the 1940s and 50s. 

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The Certainty of Uncertainty

The Certainty of Uncertainty

Nov 30, 2020 By Alan Cooper | Public Event video

Psalm 84, quoted in the Havdalah service, assures us that human felicity arises out of trust in God. But trust is hard to come by, and felicity seems remote in times of duress. In this session we will examine biblical texts that acknowledge the challenges of doubt and uncertainty and offer ways of meeting those trials with hope, faith, and trust. 

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The Wholeness of a Broken Heart

The Wholeness of a Broken Heart

Nov 23, 2020 By Mychal Springer | Public Event video

Life’s challenges raise up the reality of human vulnerability. Too often, people experience the heartbreak of suffering. In this session we will explore the paradoxical teaching of the Kotzker Rebbe that “there is nothing more whole than a broken heart.”   

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Nurturing Character, Community, and Meaning-Making Through Jewish Education

Nurturing Character, Community, and Meaning-Making Through Jewish Education

Nov 9, 2020 By Jeffrey Kress | Public Event video

Even as we are zooming forward into a new, Covid-altered educational landscape, there are goals of Jewish education—whether in schools, camps, home, or other settings—that are enduring. In this session we will look at Jewish education through the lenses of character, community, and meaning-making to provide context for current discussions of online and hybrid learning, and to expand our thinking about the goals and processes of Jewish learning.

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The Torah’s Take on Happiness

The Torah’s Take on Happiness

Nov 2, 2020 By Jan Uhrbach | Public Event video

Moses’ final speech concludes with a declaration of the happiness of being a Jew: “Happy are you, O Israel!” But does the Torah describe any individual as happy? While the pursuit of happiness, as expressed in the Torah and its interpretations? Is the American ideal of happiness a Jewish concept at all? 

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Spiritual Meaning and Inspiration in Hasidic Teaching

Spiritual Meaning and Inspiration in Hasidic Teaching

Oct 26, 2020 By Eitan Fishbane | Public Event video

In this session we explore several powerful examples in which hasidic spiritual masters read the Hebrew Bible figuratively in order to often playfully and brilliantly convey deep spiritual insights about the nature of life, of the world, and of God‘s immanent presence in our lives. 

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Gifts of Wisdom: The Historical Traditions and Values of the Ethical Will

Gifts of Wisdom: The Historical Traditions and Values of the Ethical Will

Oct 19, 2020 By Stefanie B. Siegmund | Public Event video

At pivotal moments that make us think about death—encounters with serious illness, the loss of loved ones, advancing age, or even bringing children into our lives—we turn to lawyers to write or revise our wills. Writing a will is an opportunity to consider our priorities as we plan to distribute our estates to the people, organizations, and causes that we care about. What if you also tried to write a letter that would be read by your descendants, perhaps even at your funeral, about your values? What would you say? How does Judaism inform these values?

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Generosity, Gratitude, and Faith: Rav Eliyahu Dessler’s Integrative Approach to Creating a Meaningful Life

Generosity, Gratitude, and Faith: Rav Eliyahu Dessler’s Integrative Approach to Creating a Meaningful Life

Oct 12, 2020 By Eliezer B. Diamond | Public Event video

What is the relationship between our level of generosity and our beliefs, our attitudes, and our actions? For Rav Eliyahu Dessler (1892-1953, England/Israel), love, faith, empathy, and social bonding are consequences of generosity—not its causes. In this session, we will discuss Rav Dessler’s insights and his vision for living meaningfully. 

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