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Winter Week of Learning

Minor Miracles: Chanuka and Purim- Commonalities and Contrasts
Sunday, December 25 – Wednesday, December 28

You may register for the full program by clicking here, or for individual classes by clicking on the class titles below.

Sunday
Dec 25
Monday
Dec 26
Tuesday
Dec 27
Wednesday
Dec 28
8:30
Shacharit
8:30
Shacharit
8:30
Shacharit
10-11:15
Darkness Envelops Me
Devora Steinmetz

11:30-12:30
Chanuka and Sukkot
David Silber

10-12:30
Maccabees and Martyrdom
Aaron Koller
10-12:30
How the Hasmoneans Reacted to the Book of Esther
Aaron Koller
10-12:30
Purim and Chanuka: Megillah and Hallel
David Silber
12:30-1:30
Lunch
12:30-1:30
Lunch
12:30-1:30
Lunch
12:30-1:30
Lunch
1:30-4
What Did Chanuka Stand For In Ancient Times?
Malka Simkovich
1:30-4
The Jews of Diaspora in the Hasmonean Period
Malka Simkovich

*Mincha @ 2:15

1:30-4
Purim and Chanuka: Text and Temple
David Silber

*Mincha @ 2:15

1:30-4
“It is forbidden to light with an old candle” – Chanuka and the Oral Torah
Miriam Gedwiser

*Mincha @ 2:15

 

Please join the students and faculty of Drisha’s Yeshivat Bein Hazmanim Monday through Wednesday for minyan: shacharit at 8:30am (followed by a light breakfast) and mincha at 2:15pm.

 

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25
10-11:15 -Darkness Envelops Me – Devora Steinmetz
The Talmud tells about the origins of Chanuka in a way that closely parallels a talmudic legend about Adam’s first encounter with darkness. As Chanuka begins, we will study these talmudic texts to illuminate our own encounter with the darkness and with the holiday of Chanuka.
Click here to register for this class. Click here to register for the full program.

11:30-12:30 – Chanuka and Sukkot – David Silber
We will conduct a detailed analysis of the significance of the commonalities the festivals of Chanuka and Sukkot.
Click here to register for this class. Click here to register for the full program.

1:30-4 – What Did Chanuka Stand For in Ancient Times? – Malka Simkovich
We will explore the earliest sources that retold the dramatic story of Chanuka, and will consider how ancient retellings of Chanuka changed over time – and why.
Click here to register for this class. Click here to register for the full program.

MONDAY, DECEMBER 26
10-12:30 – 
Maccabees and Martyrdom – Aaron Koller
Dying for a cause is considered by many the most noble form of death, and dying for one’s faith has a long and complicated history. The first Jewish martyrdom stories are from the books of Maccabees, and we will look at how this idea is used in that context, and then how it evolved and developed over the following centuries, in early Christianity and into rabbinic Judaism.
Click here to register for this class. Click here to register for the full program.

1:30-4 – The Jews of Diaspora in the Hasmonean Period – Malka Simkovich
When the Hasmoneans ruled Judea in the second and first centuries BCE, hundreds of thousands of  pious Jews were comfortably settled in Egypt – with no plans to return to their homeland. We will discuss what these Jews practiced, how they related to the land of Israel and the Jerusalem Temple, and what it meant to assimilate into the Greco-Roman world and still identify as a Jew.
Click here to register for this class. Click here to register for the full program.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 27
10-12:30 – How the Hasmoneans Reacted to the Book of Esther – Aaron Koller
The Hasmoneans – militaristic, independence-minded, fiercely anti-assimilationist – would not have much cared for the book of Esther, with its intermarried hero and diaspora setting. So how did they grapple with it? We will look at texts from the Hasmonean era where Esther is “corrected”, explicitly or implicitly, to accord better with the ideals of the time.
Click here to register for this class. Click here to register for the full program.

1:30-4 – Purim and Chanuka: Text and Temple – David Silber
The observance of Purim centers around the Megillah, which becomes part of the canon. Chanuka, by contrast, focuses on the lighting of the candles, a Temple ritual. We will discuss the implications of each.
Click here to register for this class. Click here to register for the full program.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28
10-12:30 – Purim and Chanuka: Megillah and Hallel – David Silber
A central observance of Chanuka is the recitation of Hallel on all eight days; on Purim Hallel is not recited. We will study the significance of this distinction.
Click here to register for this class. Click here to register for the full program.

1:30-4 – “It is forbidden to light with an old candle” – Chanuka and the Oral Torah – Miriam Gedwiser
What does it mean for Chanuka to be the only major holiday invented in the post-biblical era?  Through hassidic sources, we will explore Chanuka’s message regarding novelty and creativity in our Torah and in our lives.
Click here to register for this class. Click here to register for the full program.

 

TEACHERS
Miriam Gedwiser is a faculty member at Drisha. She has a BA from the University of Chicago in the History and Philosophy of Science and a JD from NYU School of Law. She studied in the Drisha Scholars Circle as well as at other programs in Israel and Boston, and has taught at several New York area synagogues and Hillels. She practiced commercial litigation at a large law firm, and completed a judicial clerkship in the Southern District of New York.

Aaron Koller is an associate professor of Near Eastern and Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University, where he studies the ancient world of the eastern Mediterranean and Near East. His most recent book is Esther in Ancient Jewish Thought (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Aaron has served as a visiting professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and held research fellowships at the Albright Institute for Archaeological Research and the Hartman Institute.

David Silber is Drisha’s Founder and Dean. He received ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He 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. 

Malka Simkovich is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Jewish Studies at the Catholic Theological Union. She earned a PhD in Second Temple Judaism from Brandeis University and has an MA in Hebrew Bible from Harvard University and a BA in Bible Studies and Music Theory from Stern College of Yeshiva University. Her research focuses on universalist Jewish literature that was written in the late Second Temple period. Malka has published articles in the Journal for the Study of Judaism and Harvard Theological Review, and is also a regular contributor to TheTorah.com.  She is currently completing a book on Second Temple Judaism that will be published by the Jewish Publication Society in 2017.

Devora Steinmetz serves on the leadership team for special programs at Drisha in the United States and Israel. She has taught Talmud and Rabbinics at Drisha, the Jewish Theological Seminary, Yeshivat Hadar, and Havruta: a Beit Midrash at Hebrew University. Dr. Steinmetz is the founder of Beit Rabban, a day school profiled in Daniel Pekarsky’s Vision at Work: The Theory and Practice of Beit Rabban. She is the author of From Father to Son: Kinship, Conflict, and Continuity in Genesis and Punishment and Freedom: The Rabbinic Construction of Criminal Law. Dr. Steinmetz consults for the Mandel Foundation and works at Gould Farm, a therapeutic community for individuals struggling with mental illness.