Exile and Return as a Spiritual Paradigm

Exile and Return as a Spiritual Paradigm

Sep 6, 2023 By Mychal Springer | Public Event video | Video Lecture | Rosh Hashanah | Yom Kippur

The haftarot of the High Holidays link personal teshuvah with the return to the land of Israel.  When we hold these two returnings together the spiritual and communal dimensions of teshuvah come into powerful focus. We explore the exiles of our soul and pathways of return in this season of teshuvah.

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Can Institutions Be Nimble? Community Organizing in Tumultuous Times 

Can Institutions Be Nimble? Community Organizing in Tumultuous Times 

Aug 14, 2023 By Stephanie Ruskay | Public Event video | Video Lecture

It’s human nature to build and rebuild, organize and disorganize. Institutions both large and small are grappling with the challenging tasks of shaping the present and future.  Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay, Associate Dean of The Rabbinical School, JTS, will lead us in a process of exploring communal narratives and asking provocative questions that help us discover solutions.  

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Becoming Jewish Americans: Popular Culture and Protest in Yiddish New York

Becoming Jewish Americans: Popular Culture and Protest in Yiddish New York

Aug 7, 2023 By Annabel Cohen | Public Event video | Video Lecture

For newly arrived Jewish immigrants, New York was a city of contradictions. Here they experienced freedoms and opportunities they hadn’t enjoyed in the “old country,” allowing for the development of a mass popular culture that was at once Yiddish and American. Yet for many Jews, the pace of change was too fast, representing the decline of traditional Jewish values and cultures. Meanwhile, for those who found success on the Yiddish stage, screen, and in the press, America was indeed a “golden country,” but the vast majority of Jewish immigrants lived in extreme poverty and hardship. Home to the first popular Yiddish press and the world’s biggest Yiddish theater district, New York was also soon home to a sizeable Jewish labor movement and an important center for the transnational Jewish left. Using materials featured in the JTS Library’s exhibition, we learn about Jewish immigrants in late-19th to early–20th century New York, and the various ways that they embraced, resisted, and demanded change. 

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The Torah of the New Year

The Torah of the New Year

Sep 6, 2023 By The Jewish Theological Seminary | Public Event video | Video Lecture | Rosh Hashanah | Shemini Atzeret | Yom Kippur

Join JTS faculty for a close reading of several of the biblical texts that we read during the fall holiday season. Discover new insights into these readings and reflect on what meanings they hold for us today.

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From Justification to Justice: Evolving Jewish Attitudes Towards Abortion

From Justification to Justice: Evolving Jewish Attitudes Towards Abortion

Jul 31, 2023 By Michal Raucher | Public Event video | Video Lecture

In the 1980s, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards—the Conservative Movement’s central authority on Jewish law—ruled on abortion’s permissibility based on a justification framework. This framework assumes that abortion is generally prohibited but permitted in certain circumstances. They based their position on their reading of particular biblical and rabbinic sources. In the decades that followed, many Jewish institutions in the United States supported abortion rights on similar grounds and using the same texts. More recently, we’ve seen a shift in Jewish attitudes towards abortion. As more Jews have shared their own abortion experiences, their narratives have moved to the forefront and shifted the conversation. Jews are now advocating for abortion rights based on their experiences of abortion and a different reading of classical sources. In this session, we explore why and how this change occurred and consider the impact it might have on abortion rights in the United States.

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The Evolution of Law in the Bible

The Evolution of Law in the Bible

Jul 24, 2023 By Benjamin D. Sommer | Public Event video | Video Lecture

Download Sources Part of the series, The Dynamics of Change  This session has generously been sponsored by Yale Asbell, JTS Trustee. With Dr. Benjamin Sommer, Professor of Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages, JTS  Professor Sommer will use laws pertaining to the Sabbath and Passover to show how ritual law evolved in the Bible. During the session, he […]

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Tikkun Olam: Repairing the World, Healing God in Kabbalistic Thought

Tikkun Olam: Repairing the World, Healing God in Kabbalistic Thought

Jul 17, 2023 By Eitan Fishbane | Public Event video | Video Lecture

The term tikkun, which refers to the process of cosmic-divine repair as well as the personal-psychological repair of the human soul, was central to Jewish mystical thought and literature. The idea and practice flourished especially in the Zohar and related texts in 13th- and 14th-century Spain; in the teachings of Moses Cordovero, Isaac Luria, and other Kabbalists of 16th-century Tzfat; and in the Kabbalah of modern eastern European Hasidism. In this session, we will delve into sources that understand tikkun olam as an act of healing the Divine Self, which has the potential of bringing God closer to our world.

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The Power of Words: How What We Say Affects Us and Those Around Us

The Power of Words: How What We Say Affects Us and Those Around Us

Jul 10, 2023 By Eliezer B. Diamond | Public Event video | Video Lecture

How does our speech affect us and others both for good and ill? How can changing our speech impact our character and our relationships with others?  Dr. Eliezer Diamond guides us in the study of both traditional sources and contemporary discussions as we seek to answer these questions.

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