Sufferings Large and Small

Sufferings Large and Small

Dec 15, 2020 By Sarah Wolf | Public Event video | Video Lecture

The ancient Rabbis struggled with the classic problem of theodicy: why would God let terrible things happen to good people? But they also struggled with what may seem like a more contemporary problem: if suffering is supposed to be meaningful in some way, is there any significance to our more mundane, everyday disappointments? Explore the rabbis’ perhaps surprising take both on what counts as “suffering” and what it ultimately means.

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The Other in Jewish Text and Tradition

The Other in Jewish Text and Tradition

Feb 8, 2021 By The Jewish Theological Seminary | Public Event video | Video Lecture

We live in a time of such polarization—political, racial, economic, religious—that the gaps between us sometimes feel insurmountable. But this is not a new condition for Jews, either within or outside of the Jewish community. JTS scholars guide us on an intellectual journey through Jewish history and text to understand how these gaps have been understood and, at times, bridged.

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The World in God

The World in God

Nov 27, 2020 By Gordon Tucker | Commentary | Vayetzei

Our patriarch Jacob reaches a night camp on his way to Haran, a fugitive from the anger of his brother Esau. And then the text of Genesis 28:11 tells us: Vayifga bamakom. The New Jewish Version translation [JPS 1962] renders that phrase according to its straightforward, contextual meaning [peshat]: “He came upon a certain place”—a place that we learn was first called Luz, and later Bet-El. But while the peshat is the primary way of reading a biblical text, it is almost never the only way to do so. 

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Living a Life of Meaning

Living a Life of Meaning

Dec 21, 2020 By The Jewish Theological Seminary | Public Event video | Video Lecture

The disruption to normal lifeand, for many, close encounters with mortalityprovides an opportunity to evaluate what is truly important in our lives.  Guided by JTS faculty and fellows, we will discuss the role of values, ethics, and Torah in the quest for a well-lived life.  

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Gene Editing and the Transformation of Human Life: Perspectives from Jewish Ethics

Gene Editing and the Transformation of Human Life: Perspectives from Jewish Ethics

Nov 21, 2019 By The Jewish Theological Seminary | Public Event video

Revolutionary technology known as CRISPR has enabled scientists to change human genes, holding great medical promise. But it also raises significant ethical questions. Should there be restrictions on the development of this technology? How can we avoid abuse? Should we be able to design human beings and control evolution? Join us to explore these vital issues from the perspective of Jewish ethics.

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Prophets of Faith

Prophets of Faith

Sep 6, 2019 By Amy Kalmanofsky | Commentary | Shofetim

I often distinguish between faith and belief and consider myself to be a person of faith. Whereas belief implies a degree of certainty that I am uncomfortable with, faith embraces doubt. To my ear, the statement that I believe something to be true communicates that you know something is true. The statement that I have faith that something is true suggests that you desire or suspect something is true. Belief seems restrictive to me—confined by only what is known or can be known—and is at risk of dogmatism.

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What Now?

What Now?

May 29, 2019 By The Jewish Theological Seminary | Podcast or Radio Program

After tragedy, what happens next? How does Jewish tradition help us respond? To put to rest her own years of turmoil with life’s most fundamental questions, alum Sara Beth Berman interviews faculty members of the Jewish Theological Seminary to finally get some answers.

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Finding Our Place in a Universalistic Age

Finding Our Place in a Universalistic Age

Jul 6, 2018 By JTS Alumni | Commentary

By Rabbi Juan Mejia (RS ’09)

Israel and Humanity is the magnum opus of Italian rabbi and polymath Elijah Benamozegh. Born in the cosmopolitan city of Livorno in Italy in the early nineteenth century (only one year before JTS´s founder Rabbi Sabato Morais was born in the same city), Rabbi Benamozegh was a distinguished community leader, printer, kabbalist, and public intellectual both in Jewish and non-Jewish circles. In his erudite but extremely approachable and poetic treatise, Israel and Humanity, Benamozegh presents a bold and refreshing view of Judaism vis-a-vis other religions (with special emphasis on Christianity). 

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God, Judaism, and Divine Law

God, Judaism, and Divine Law

Mar 9, 2018 By Matthew Goldstone | Commentary

We all know that divine law is supposed to be true, unchangeable, universal, and make sense . . . right? Wrong. In fact, for the Rabbis, precisely the opposite may be the case. As Christine Hayes argues in her book What’s Divine about Divine Law, many of our preconceptions about what makes Jewish divine law “godly” are, in fact, incorrect.

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Finding the Golden Apple

Finding the Golden Apple

Jan 26, 2018 By Tim Daniel Bernard | Commentary | Text Study

The Sage has said, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings (maskiyyot) of silver” (Prov. 25:11). Hear now an elucidation of the thought that he has set forth. The term maskiyyot denotes filigree traceries . . .  When looked at from a distance or with imperfect attention, it is deemed to be an apple of silver; but when a keen-sighted observer looks at it with full attention, its interior becomes clear to him and he knows that it is of gold. The parables of the prophets, peace be on them, are similar.

—Moses Maimonides, Guide of the Perplexed (trans. S. Pines) (11–12)

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