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November 16, 2014

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Global Day of Jewish Learning

 Drisha          Global Day          Hadar

Program date has passed. If you would like to hear about similar programs in the future, please email us at inquiry@drisha.org to be added to our mailing list.


Drisha Institute and Mechon Hadar were excited to welcome over 200 participants to the Global Day of Jewish Learning on Sunday November 16, 2014 at Drisha. Recordings of all of the sessions are below.


 Rachel AinRachel Ain on Leaning In: Biblical Women Who Changed History…And the Lessons We can Learn     There are a number of Biblical Women who, through their actions, ensured the continuity of the Jewish people, despite the context in which they were living. Join Rabbi Rachel Ain to understand who these women were, what they did, and what complicated lessons we can learn from their actions.
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Rabbi Rachei Ain is the Rabbi at Sutton Place Synagogue, an egalitarian, Conservative Synagogue on the East Side of Manhattan. A Barnard/List College alumna, she was ordained at the Rabbinical School of JTS in 2004 while concurrently receiving an MA in Jewish Education. Prior to her position at SPS, she was the Sr. Director of the National Young Leadership Department at JFNA. She is the chair of the Rabbinic Advisory Committee and a board member at Schechter Manhattan; serves on the Chancellor’s Cabinet at JTS, and was chosen for the inaugural Rabbinic Fellowship for Visionary Leaders at UJA Federation of NY. She is married to Rabbi David Levy, the National Director of Teen Learning at USCJ and the proud mother of 2 sons. Learn more on twitter @RabbiRachelAin or check out www.spsnyc.org  

Wendy AmsellemWendy Amsellem on “She Said Well”: The Brief Wondrous Life of Beruriah     Beruriah is the only female scholar mentioned by name in the Talmud. She is simultaneously a part of the rabbinic world of Torah study and also an outsider to it. We will study the texts in which she appears and consider the challenge of reconciling one’s own sensibilities with a broader tradition of learning.
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Wendy Amsellem is the Director of the July College Kollel for women and a full time faculty member. She is the former Director of the Dr. Beth Samuels High School Program and an alumna of the Drisha Scholars Circle. She is pursuing a PhD in Judaic Studies at New York University and has a BA in History and Literature from Harvard University.

Guy AustrianGuy Austrian on Rabban Gamaliel: Halachic Tyrant or Radical Humanist?     What happens when we feel that we need to act differently than the normative halachah? What gives anyone the right to decide? If we deviate, are we heroes or fools? We’ll discuss deeply moving episodes in which the personal life of Rabban Gamaliel collides with his professional role.
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Rabbi Guy Austrian serves as spiritual leader of the Fort Tryon Jewish Center, an independent traditional egalitarian community in Washington Heights-Inwood, NYC. He completed his studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary with rabbinic ordination and an M.A. in Liturgy. At JTS, he received the four-year Neubauer Fellowship and honors including the Einhorn Award in Hebrew, the Rosenberg Award in Jewish Thought, and the Citron Scholastic Prize. He previously served as Cooperberg-Rittmaster Rabbinic Intern at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST) and Director of Social Action/Social Justice at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun (BJ).

Shraga Bar-OnShraga Bar-On on Educating the Educator: Bar Kappara and Rebbi’s Laughter     Focusing on a miniature drama in three episodes in the Babylonian Talmud (BT Nedarim 50b-51a) we will discuss the merit of the ‘rabbinic fool’ and the merit of humor in religious life.
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Dr. Shraga Bar-On is a research fellow and a faculty at the Shalom Hartman Institute and the Gruss Scholar-in-Residence at NYU law school. His research and his public involvement focus on two major issues: Rabbinic thought and Contemporary Jewish identity.  He received his Ph.D. in Jewish Thought from the Hebrew University.  He is deeply involved in “The Jewish Renaissance” in Israel. With other members of the institute, he has founded and coordinated the Hadarim Beit Midrash program for outstanding students and the Cathedra program of Jewish identity for senior IDF officers; He was an associate moderator in the Gevanim program and he has chaired Ne’emani Torah v’Avodah, the open Orthodox movement in Israel. He is married to Vered and has three children.


Dianne Cohler-EssesDianne Cohler-Esses on Lot: “Second best always. Eternally overshadowed.”*     What does it take to empathize with Abraham’s nephew,  Genesis’s minor character of Lot? ​Traditional midrash and commentary typically sees Lot as a wicked foil for Abraham, but the Torah, sending​ subtle ​linguistic messages, insists on his humanity. To what other resources might we turn to​ understand Lot and his motivation more deeply?    In this session we will also​ use the figure of Lot to raise questions about the “unchosen” characters in Torah and how we might approach them. *​Quote from the seventh book of the Harry Potter series, the Deathly Hallows.
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses is the first woman from the Syrian Jewish community to be ordained.  She graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1995, where she was awarded several fellowships and a prize for academic excellence.  Since that time she has served as an educator and administrator for multiple organizations including CLAL, the Bronfman Youth Fellowship, The Curriculum Initiative and UJA Federation. In 2007 she was named one of  fifty top rabbis by the Washington Post online. Currently she is director of Life-long learning at Kehilat Romemu.  In addition, she co-teaches the Arts Beit Midrash at Skirball with Tobi Kahn and other adult education classes including classes and workshops on Judaism as a Spiritual Resource for Parents with Children with Disabilities and writes regularly on Jewish values and family life, Jewish ethnicity and Judaism and disabilities.   Rabbi Dianne and her journalist husband live on the upper west side of Manhattan and have three children.


Jina DavidovichJina Davidovich on Slamming about the Soul: Spoken Word Poetry as Jewish Expression     Since the times of the Temple, poetry in the form of prayer has been a central facet of our tradition. Spoken word poetry, which synthesizes poetry and performance, is akin to prayer in its form, and often in its content. Just as the worshiper wishes to connect to God – the spoken word poet also seeks connection: to him/herself, to an audience, and perhaps even to a higher being. This session will explore how we can use the tools of spoken word poetry to talk to God, and ourselves, in a new way.
Click here to listen to the lecture.

Jina Davidovich holds a BA in English Literature, with focuses in Poetry and Women’s Studies from Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women. She is now pursuing her MA in Bible from Bernard Revel School of Judaic Studies at Yeshiva University. During her tenure at Stern, Jina had the opportunity to organize and execute Yeshiva University’s Model United Nations conference as Secretary General, serve as Treasurer to the Student Council, tutor at the Writing Center, and participate in the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance’s (JOFA) On-Campus Fellowship. Jina’s passions have always centered on language, learning, and love of text.


Dasi FruchterDasi Fruchter on We’ve Got the Power: Jewish Perspectives on Collective Action     In this session, we will explore the power that can emerge from shared leadership. As our texts, we will draw from biblical & rabbinic material–and from stories that have emerged in the AJWS “We Believe Campaign,” which seeks to end violence against women and girls worldwide.
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Dasi Fruchter is currently a student at Yeshivat Maharat, where she is working towards her ordination as an Orthodox clergy member. In addition to her seminary studies, Dasi is a student at New York University and a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar, pursuing an MPA at the Wagner School for Public Service and an MA in Judaic Studies. Dasi also works with JOIN for Justice and is the Rabbinic Intern and Leadership Development Coordinator at ImmerseNYC, New York’s only community mikveh project.   When she’s not teaching or learning, Dasi spends much of her time connecting with those trying to help create spiritually strong, vibrant, and world-changing communities, doing Orthodox feminist organizing, and hosting extravagant Shabbat meals.

Yael HammermanYael Hammerman on Frenemies, Wannabes and Sisters: The Role of Bnot Yerushalayim in Shir HaShirim     What is the role of “Bnot Yerushalayim” – the Daughters of Jerusalem, in Shir HaShirim? We will explore their complicated relationship with their “Frenemy,” Queen Bee and Sister – the Shulammite. How can we relate to them today? What can they teach us about relationships between women?
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Rabbi Yael Hammerman is the Director of Congregational Learning at Ansche Chesed. Since attending the Double Degree program between Barnard College and JTS, Yael has lived on the Upper West Side. In 2014, she was ordained by the JTS Rabbinical School and received a master’s degree from the Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education. Yael has served as student rabbi of Congregation Eitz Chaim in Monroe, NY as well as Director of Student Placement for the JTS Rabbinical and Cantorial Schools. Yael has worked in NYC congregations including B’nai Jeshurun, and the Forest Hills Jewish Center. She has also served as chaplain at St. Luke’s Hospital and taught at the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan.

Judith HauptmanJudith Hauptman on Examination of a Talmudic Principle: The Moral Obligation to Speak Out Against Wrongdoing     We will analyze a Talmudic unit which claims that a person who does not confront wrongdoing is as guilty as the perpetrator of the act. It begins with a statement of Jewish Sabbath law and moves seamlessly to a principle of Jewish ethics.
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Rabbi Judith Hauptman is the E. Billi Ivry Professor of Talmud and Rabbinic Culture at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She is the author of three books and many articles. She is also the founder and rabbi of Ohel Ayalah, an organization that offers free, walk-in High Holiday services to Jews in their 20s/30s and low-cost Passover seders.


Amy KalmanofskyAmy Kalmanofsky on The Great Woman Behind the Man of God:  A Fresh Reading of the Story of the Shunamite and Elisha     Elisha the prophet is a miracle worker who can promise children and even resurrect the dead.  In this session, we read closely the story of Elisha’s encounter with the woman from Shunem in 2 Kings 4, and consider how the Shunamite’s greatness inspires and enables Elisha to become a man of God.
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Amy Kalmanofsky is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and an associate professor of Bible at The Jewish Theological Seminary, teaching courses on biblical literature, religion, and feminist interpretation of the Bible.  She has written numerous articles examining the biblical representation of women and the roles women play in the Bible.  Her most recent book, The Dangerous Sisters of the Hebrew Bible (Fortress Press, 2014) explores the biblical portrayal of sisters and sisterhoods, and argues that sisters and sisterhoods play a vital role in the Bible’s narrative.  She currently is working on a book which explores the ways in which the Bible defies and challenges gender norms entitled Gender-Bending Torah.


Elie KaunferElie Kaunfer on The Mourner’s Kaddish – A Prayer with Hidden Biblical Characters     Join us as we explore the essence of the kaddish, moving on an interpretive journey that has implications for all prayers we read. Along the way we will encounter the hidden biblical characters who stand behind the kaddish, and discover the meaning these characters can provide to our own prayer life.
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Rabbi Elie Kaunfer is the co-founder and executive director of Mechon Hadar (www.mechonhadar.org). A Wexner Graduate Fellow and Dorot Fellow, Elie is the author of Empowered Judaism: What Independent Minyanim Can Teach Us about Building Vibrant Jewish Communities (Jewish Lights). Elie holds a doctorate in liturgy from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and has been named multiple times to the Forward 50 and to the Newsweek list of “Top 50 Rabbis in America.” He has served as Scholar-in-Residence at the Federation’s General Assembly and at the annual Jewish Funders Network conference, and has lectured widely on Jewish prayer.

Jon KelsenJon Kelsen on (Re)conceiving Abraham: The Contested Legacy of the First Patriarch     For thousands of years, the question “Who is Abraham” has received multiple and radically divergent responses. In this  session, we will encounter some of these answers as we encounter various textual portraits of the founding father of three great faiths, and pose the additional question: How can his story inform our own?
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Rabbi Kelsen is a faculty member at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education and Rosh Kollel of the June Kollel, and has taught at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Pardes, and Beit Rabban Day School. Rabbi Kelsen received rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Daniel Landes and holds an MA in Jewish Civilization from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Avi KillipAvi Killip on Weep, Pray, Love: Rachel in the Bible and Beyond     We will discover what makes Rachel such an interesting character, how she is embedded in and affects her family, and how she is presented and imagined throughout the Bible and Jewish thought.
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Rabbi Avi Killip serves as Director of Project Zug at Mechon Hadar. Avi was ordained from Hebrew College’s pluralistic Rabbinical School in Boston. She is a Wexner Graduate Fellow and holds a Bachelors and Masters from Brandeis University in Jewish Studies and Women & Gender Studies. Avi has worked as a teacher and Jewish professional in two synagogues, an independent minyan, a mikveh, and a yeshiva. 


Sharon KorenSharon Koren on From Unloved to Exalted: The Symbol of Leah in the Zohar     Poor Leah.  Genesis explains that  “Leah had weak eyes” but her younger sister Rachel “was shapely and beautiful.”  Jacob “loved Rachel more than Leah.”  The thirteenth-century Zohar champions the “unloved” matriarch and elevates Leah above her sister and Jacob.
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Sharon Faye Koren is Associate Professor of Medieval Jewish Culture and Borman Cohen Chair for an Emerging Jewish Scholar.  Dr. Koren received her PhD in Medieval Studies from Yale University.  Her book, _Forsaken: the Menstruant in Medieval Jewish Mysticism_ explores the absence of female Jewish mystics.  Her articles have appeared in several scholarly journals and books.  She is currently working on a book on the Matriarchs in the Zohar.

Daniel LandesDaniel Landes on Is it Jewish: A Saintly Mother, Heroic Children, A Villainous King and a Random Fool     The Maccabees II narrative of the Mother and her Seven Children, along with its parallel in Lamentations Rabbah, raises the specific question of what makes a story Jewish.
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

R’ Landes is Director of the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem. He was ordained by his mentor Rav Soloveitchik. He now teaches and directs the Pardes Kollel, and was a founding faculty member of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and of Yeshiva U. of L.A.  He was a Wexner faculty member for many years, a Lehman Fellow at Brandeis-Bardin Institute and taught Ethics at the RAND Corp.  As rabbi, he served Bnai David-Judea Congregation of L.A. and the L.A. Rabbinic Court. He is married to Sheryl Robbin, a social worker and writer, with whom he writes on Bible and ethical issues. Their daughter Hannah is a Ph.D. student at Hebrew U. and is married to R’ Eitan Gavson, a teacher at Berman Hebrew Academy in Maryland. Their son Isaac studies history at Hebrew U. and works with youth-at-risk in Jerusalem.


Sari LauferSari Laufer on Bat Kol: The Angel or the Devil on Your Shoulder?     The message of a voice from heaven seems perfectly clear, but is it? We’ll take look at several Talmudic tales where the bat kol, the heavenly voice, might be hero, villain, angel, devil—or all of them at once. What do we hear, how do we hear it, and what do we do with it?
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Rabbi Sari Laufer is the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City. Rabbi Laufer was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles in May 2006. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, she was also selected for the PEER program through Synagogue Transformation and Renewal, for CLAL’s Rabbis Without Borders Fellowship, and for the inaugural class of the UJA-Federation’s New York Rabbinic Fellowship for Visionary Leaders. At Congregation Rodeph Sholom, Rabbi Laufer is a teacher of those young and young-at-heart, bringing her passion for rabbinic texts, social justice, and Judaism’s wisdom and relevance in the 21st century into the lives of those with whom she is privileged to learn and to share. Rabbi Laufer is a sporadic blogger (torahblahnik.blogspot.com), prolific Tweeter (@rabbilaufer), avid SoulCyclist, and aspiring epicure. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Ben Cutter and son Jacob (Kobi), born in October 2013.

Steven LorchSteve Lorch on Women from B’reshit to Sh’mot: An Exploration in their Character Evolution     Women in B’reshit (Genesis) tend to be inside the family tent, working by indirection: subterfuge, persuasion, and understatement. A transformation occurs between B’reshit and Sh’mot (Exodus). We will explore continuities and contrasts between the portrayal of key women in B’reshit  and in Sh’mot.
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Dr. Steven Lorch is the founding and current Head of the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan. Prior to establishing Schechter Manhattan, he headed the Hartman High School in Jerusalem, Israel, Mount Scopus Memorial College in Melbourne, Australia, and the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy (formerly Akiba Hebrew Academy) in suburban Philadelphia. He is the immediate past President of the Board of Directors of the Schechter Day School Network and serves as a mentor in the Day School Leadership Training Institute (DSLTI). He received his Ph.D. in religion and education from Columbia University and his rabbinic ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University.

Marc MargoliusMarc Margolius
on Anonymous: Offering Directions and Changing History     We’ll explore in depth the seemingly superfluous narrative in Gen. 37 of the anonymous person who discovers Joseph wandering in Shechem, searching for his brothers, and directs him to where he might find them in Dotan. What can we learn about the  meaning of even the smallest act of compassion?
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Rabbi Marc Margolius is  spiritual leader of West End Synagogue on the Upper West Side.  He also directs alumni programs for the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, a center for the cultivation of Jewish contemplative practices among clergy and lay leaders.  Rabbi Margolius previously directed the Legacy Heritage Innovation Project, an initiative supporting  educational transformation in congregations in North America, Europe and Israel.  At Congregation Beth Am Israel in Penn Valley, Pennsylvania from 1989-2003, Rabbi Margolius helped develop a national model of the synagogue as a Shabbat-centered learning community.   Ordained in 1989 at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Rabbi Margolius graduated from Yale College and Yale Law School.

Gary RendsburgGary Rendsburg on Rahab: Harlot of Jericho, Heroine of Israel     A literary reading of Joshua 2, with the text available both in Hebrew and in English.  We will focus on the literary devices present in the narrative, and we will address the manner in which Rahab serves not only as the heroine of the story, but represents much more as well.
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Gary Rendsburg serves as Blanche and Irving Laurie Professor of Jewish History in the Department of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University.  His teaching and research focus on ‘all things ancient Israel’ – primarily language and literature, though also history and archaeology.  Prof Rendsburg is the author of six books and about 150 articles; his most popular book is The Bible and the Ancient Near East, co-authored with Cyrus Gordon.  In addition, he has produced two courses for the ‘Great Courses’ program, one on ‘The Book of Genesis’ and one on ‘The Dead Sea Scrolls’.  His current book project is entitled How the Bible Is Written, with particular attention to the use of language to create literature.  More information at his website:  http://jewishstudies.rutgers.edu/link/grendsburg

Haggai ResnikoffHaggai Resnikoff on Raising Cain: Penitent Hero or Sarcastic Villain?     The story of Cain in the bible is ambiguous about how we’re supposed to understand Cain the man himself. Why exactly did he do what he did and how did he respond to God’s warnings and punishments? We’ll examine this story in the Torah and in the Midrash and consider where we feel Cain lines up as a character as well as the relevance of the question for a modern reader.
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff spent two years at Yeshivat HaKibbutz HaDati in Ein Tzurim before attending the university of California in Berkeley, earning a BA in History. He spent several years at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem doing graduate course study in Talmud. He Joined YCT in 2011 and recieved his Semicha there in June 2014. He is presently a Rebbe at Chovevei and Director of Community Learning. His main interests lie in the intersection of academic/critical and traditional/halkhic methods of studying texts. He has recently developed an interest in using rabbinic texts to investigate ambiguous Biblical characters.


Rachel RosenthalRachel Rosenthal on He Who Must Not Be Named? The Curious Case of Ploni Almoni     In the Book of Ruth, names are of paramount significance, but Ruth’s would-be redeemer seems to be consciously nameless. How did the rabbis understand this omission, and what are we to learn from the man who has no name?
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Rachel Rosenthal is a member of the faculty at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education and a PhD candidate in Rabbinic Literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary. A graduate of the Drisha Scholars Circle, she serves on the faculty of Nishma: A Summer of Torah Study at JTS and has taught for numerous Jewish organizations, including American Jewish World Service, Limmud, the 92nd Street Y, the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism, JOFA and the Manhattan JCC.

Shamu Fenyvesi SadehShamu Fenyvesi Sadeh
on Heroes or Villans? Biblical and Modern Views on Farming     From the Garden of Eden to Noah, the invention of the plow to GMOs, we will explore ancient and modern views on the place of farmers and farming in the world. Is farming a blessing or a curse and is their a third way? We will study Biblical texts, ancient commentary, and contemporary environmental and agricultural writings , as well as the experience of Jewish farmers at Adamah.
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet and here for an additional article.

Shamu Fenyvesi Sadeh co-founded Adamah and has been its program director since 2004. He has led the growth of Adamah into the most productive Jewish educational farm in the country, with a transformative fellowship program that has produced dozens of leaders in the Jewish farming, environmental education and food movements. Among Adamah’s almost 300 alumni are food justice advocates, rabbis, farmers, community organizers, teachers, chefs and green business leaders. Before coming to Adamah, Shamu was a professor of environmental studies, writer, Jewish educator and wilderness guide. He directed the Teva Learning Center in its early years and completed a doctorate in Educational Leadership. Shamu has the yichus – ancestral connections – for Adamah from his great-grandparents and father, Jewish farmers and gardeners who practiced the mystical arts of composting and soil conservation. 


david SilberDavid Silber on Playing by the Rules: Samson’s Mission     Samson, strong man and lover of Philistine women, is a unique character in the Bible. Is he a hero and an anti-hero? We will study this unusual story and discuss its place within the Book of Judges and the Bible as a whole.
Click here to listen to the lecture.

David Silber is Founder and Dean of Drisha. He received ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Rabbi Silber received the Covenant Award in 2000. He is the author of A Passover Haggadah: Go Forth and Learn (JPS, 2011) and is currently working on a book about Megillat Esther. 


Ben SkydellBen Skydell on Cast a Giant Shadow: Reading Samson in Modern Israel     How do stories of the ancient past inform the political choices of the present? In this session we will examine the story of Samson (Judges 13-16) through the writings of the Revisionist Zionist thinker Ze’ev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky and the contemporary Israeli novelist David Grossman.
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Ben Skydell is the Rabbi of Congregation Orach Chaim on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He is also an Instructor of Judaic Studies at the North Shore Hebrew Academy High School of Great Neck, New York. Additionally, he is a long-time faculty member of the Drisha Institute. Rabbi Skydell received his ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.

Bryan WexlerBrian Wexler on “I can see clearly now…” The Gift of Sight in Jewish Tradition     In this session we will engage in text study and discussion and will share personal stories in order to explore what Jewish texts and tradition have to say about the value of vision. We will ask and seek to answer questions that include: what does it mean to open our eyes? what does it mean to notice? What does it mean to see?  And how does God see?
Click here to listen to the lecture. Click here to access the source sheet.

Bryan Wexler is a Wexner Fellow and a 4th year Rabbinical Student at JTS.  This year he also has the honor of serving as a Rabbinic Fellow at B’nai Jeshurun.  Bryan also currently works as the Director of Student Placement Services for JTS rabbinical and cantorial students and as the student Rabbi at the Atria Senior Living Residence.  Bryan has also spent a summer learning at Hadar, has worked at Ramah Berkshires, and has completed a unit of CPE (clinical and pastoral education) at Mt. Sinai Hospital. Bryan lives on the Upper West Side with his wife Rebecca.


Ethan WitovskyEthan Witkovsky on Rabbi Yehoshua: Fighting In and Fighting Out     We will look mainly at one Talmudic story depicting Rabbi Yehoshua fighting (physically and intellectually) against Athenian sages. We will explore the text for clues behind the characters’ motivations, true identities and the messages for us as readers.
Click here to listen to the lecture.  Click here to access the source sheet.

Ethan Witkovsky recently became a rabbi at the Park Avenue Synagogue after graduating from the Jewish Theological Seminary with ordination and a Masters degree in Talmud and Rabbinic Literature. He is from Madison, WI and a graduate of Oberlin College where he majored in Greek, Jewish Philosophy and Ultimate Frisbee. 



Thank You to our Co-sponsoring Organizations:
American Jewish World Service, Ansche Chesed, B’nai Jeshurun, Congregation Orach ChaimCongregation Rodeph Sholom, Darkhei NoamFort Tryon Jewish Center, Hazon, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Jewish Theological Seminary, Limmud NYOhel Ayalah, Park Avenue SynagogueProspect Heights ShulRomemu, Rutgers University, Shalom Hartman Institute,Solomon Schechter School of ManhattanSutton Place Synagogue, The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, UJA Federation of New York, West End Synagogue, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, Yeshivat Maharat