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Tzeniut: Can We Talk About It?

Tova Hartman, Shira Hecht-Koller, Rabbi Jon Kelsen, Rabbi David Silber / November 1, 2016


“כִּי אִם עֲשׂוֹת מִשְׁפָּט וְאַהֲבַת חֶסֶד וְהַצְנֵעַ לֶכֶת עִם אֱ-לֹהֶיךָ
“do justice and love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)


What does tzeniut really mean? What does it mean to walk humbly in this world? What implications does Micah’s call have for how we dress, how we conduct ourselves, and other personal and communal choices that we make?

MONDAY, OCTOBER 31 – Tzeniut: The Missing Discourse of Modesty
Tova Hartman will present a critique of the ways in which tzeniut is often deployed in our communities and a challenge to reclaim a broader vision of tzeniut.

MONDAY NOVEMBER 7 – Walking Humbly: Personal Decisions
Shira Hecht-Koller, Celene Ibrahim, Jon Kelsen, and Aviva Richman will offer personal reflections about their own choices in relation to the call to walk humbly.

MONDAY NOVEMBER 14 – Values Lived: Tzeniut in Our Personal and Communal Spheres
David Silber will lead an inquiry into texts and ideas about tzeniut and invite us to consider how to actualize this value across the many domains of our lives.


Tova Hartman

Tova Hartman is Dean of Humanities at Ono Academic College, the largest private college in Israel, established to foster inclusiveness and multicultural education. She is the author of Are You Not a Man of God?: Devotion, Betrayal, and Social Criticism in Jewish Tradition; Feminism Encounters Jewish Tradition: Resistance and Accommodation; and Appropriately Subversive: Modern Mothers in Traditional Religions as well as of numerous articles. She is currently finishing a  book on male trauma and shame.  Dr. Hartman is a founder of Congregation Shira Hadasha in Jerusalem.


Shira Hecht-Koller

Shira Hecht-Koller is the Director of the Dr. Beth Samuels Summer High School Program at Drisha and Director of Education for 929 English.  She teaches Talmud and Jewish identity to a wide variety of audiences, and writes and speaks on topics of education, creative living and family life. She was a Fellow at the Paideia Institute of Jewish Studies in Stockholm, where she continues to serve as a consultant. She holds a certificate in Experiential Jewish Education from M²: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education, where she is adjunct faculty. She is a graduate of the Beruria Scholars program at Midreshet Lindenbaum and holds a JD from Cardozo School of Law. Prior to embarking on a career in Jewish Education, she was an associate in the Intellectual Property department at Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP.  She is an avid tennis fan, amateur photographer and loves to hike and explore the world with her partner Aaron and children Dalya, Shachar, Amitai and Aiden. Click here to access podcasts recorded by Shira Hecht-Koller.


Rabbi Jon Kelsen

Jon Kelsen is the Interim Dean at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. He was Rosh Kollel of the Drisha Kollel and adjunct faculty at the Pardes Institute. He received ordination from Rabbis Daniel Landes and Zalman Nehemiah Goldberg, holds an MA in Jewish Civilization from Hebrew University, and is currently pursuing doctoral studies in Education and Jewish Studies at New York University as a Wexner Graduate Fellow. Click here to access podcasts recorded by Jon Kelsen.


Rabbi David Silber

David Silber is the founder and dean of Drisha Institute for Jewish Education in New York and Israel. Rabbi Silber received ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He is a recipient of the Covenant Award, for excellence in innovative Jewish education, and is the author of A Passover Haggadah: Go Forth and Learn (Jewish Publication Society 2011) and For Such a Time as This: Biblical Reflections in the Book of Esther (Koren Publishers 2017). He is also a nationally acclaimed lecturer on the Bible. Rabbi Silber is married to Dr. Devora Steinmetz. They have eight children and live in New York City. Click here to access other recorded classes by David Silber.


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