Rabbi Avi Novis-Deutsch, Dean of Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, invites us to consider the varied roles God plays in our lives. In Parshat Shemot, when God says “I will be what I will be,” God give us permission to imagine the Divine in many different ways.
Does God make mistakes? In Parshat Noah, the flood confronts us with a disturbing story of God destroying the world. Rabbi Avi Novis-Deutsch, Dean of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, explores that something that seems so wrong impacts our reading of the Torah text.
There are probably numerous reasons people have for coming to shul for Kol Nidre, not least as stated in the prayers themselves: “We sanction prayer with the transgressors.” This phrase reflects the encounter of Jewish men and women who, on this night, are as transgressors who have come to ask forgiveness and atonement. But the heart of Kol Nidre does not deal with transgression; rather it pierces the human heart and highlights our vulnerability as humans, separate from our Creator.
You are warmly invited to an evening hosted by The Schocken Institute and The Jewish Theological Seminary celebrating the publication of:
The Ineffable Name of God: Man.
Analysis of Abraham Joshua Heschel Songs by Alexander Even-Chen
Tuesday, 26 September 2017
Balfour 9, Jerusalem
The holiday that falls on the first two days of the Hebrew month of Tishrei has many names. Most famously, it is known as Rosh HaShana, the beginning of the year. Yet it is also called Yom Zikaron Tru’ah – the day of remembering the blast of the shofar, Yom Harat Olam – the day of the world’s beginning, and Yom HaDin, the day of judgment.
Within ancient Hebrew manuscripts, scattered among libraries throughout the world, one can find some surprising treasures, like previously unknown and unpublished pieces of writing. The unusual midrash we will examine here is one of these. It appears in a manuscript that is part of the Firkovich collection, which resides in the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg.
Jewish sources posit different dates and meaning to the Jewish New Year.
The verses of the Rosh Hashanah Torah reading force us to ask ourselves how to define the essence of this day. Leviticus 23 tells us, “… In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall be a solemn rest unto you, a memorial proclaimed with the blast of horns, a holy convocation. You shall do no manner of servile work; and you shall bring an offering made by fire unto the LORD.” In Numbers 29 it is written, “And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a holy convocation: you shall do no manner of servile work; it is a day of blowing the horn unto you.” These two descriptions, referring to a memorial and a blast of horns, are a far cry from the holiday we know as Rosh Hashanah. How did a day of rest and blast of horns become the day to mark the new year, and why on the first day of the seventh month?
On Purim we are bidden to get so thoroughly drunk on wine or other intoxicants that we are unable to distinguish between good and evil:
Rava said: one is obligated to become inebriated on Purim until he does not know (ad delo yada) the difference between “Cursed is Haman” and “Blessed is Mordechai”. Talmud Bavli, Megillah 7b.
With the high holidays approaching, the Schechter Institutes wish you and your loved ones a most festive and meaningful holiday experience. Dr. Tomer Persico, a respected researcher and lecturer on contemporary spiritual culture and frequent contributor to Israeli media, joined the Schechter faculty last year with the launch of our newest M.A. specialization – Spiritual Education. He is also a popular lecturer in TALI’s spiritual education program – Neshama Yetiera.
Every year, the days between Passover and Independence Day are a period of rumination for me regarding the purpose of personal, familial, and national memory. Twenty-four years have passed since my son Uriel Yitzchaq of blessed memory, an infantry officer in the IDF, passed away, and I wonder what elements of my family story, prototypical of the Jewish-Israeli narrative of this generation, shall be remembered in my family in the years to come? What part of the heroic account of the “Holocaust and Renewal” generation shall remain in the collective memory of later generations?