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Community Beit Midrash

Co-Sponsored by Drisha, Mechon Hadar, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, Yeshivat Maharat, and The Jewish Theological Seminary with support of the Wexner Foundation Graduate Alumni Collaboration Grant.

Tuesday, March 6 at 7:30pm
at Hadar (190 Amsterdam Avenue, between 68th and 69th Streets)

Choice of Sessions:

~Miriam Gedwiser (Drisha) – A Rabbinic History of the Moon
In Bereshit 1:16, God creates the two “great lights” but then immediately dubs the moon the “lesser light.”  We will explore a family of Rabbinic readings that understand the moon to have been diminished from its initial state, as well as the metaphorical life those midrashim took on in the middle ages and today.

~Will Friedman (Pardes) – The Nearest vs. the Neediest: Setting Communal and Individual Priorities in Social Justice
At the end of every year, Americans are bombarded by charitable solicitations from multiple worthy organizations, and it can be hard to figure out whether to give to the local homeless shelter or the international distribution of malaria nets. Classic Jewish texts have long struggled with the dilemma of proximity and need, and we’ll try to bring their wisdom to bear on a sometimes fraught conversation.

~Walter Herzberg (JTS) – Theologies of Mitzvot in Parashat Hahodesh (Exodus 12 and 13)
Dr. Herzberg will lead us in a close reading of Exodus 12 and 13, along with many traditional commentaries, focusing on the verses related to the observance of mitzvot.  Through an interactive discussion, we will explore some of the various approaches to why we observe mitzvot, and reflect on their implications for how we observe mitzvot today.

~Jon Kelsen (YCT) – Talmudio-Drama: An Experiential Workshop
In this interactive workshop, we will experiment with applying bibliodrama techniques to study of rabbinic aggadic and halakhic texts. Open to those with or without experience with bibliodrama.

~Ethan Tucker (Hadar) – Tainted Mitzvot: When You Sin in Order to Serve God
We will explore the rabbinic discussion of commandments that are performed with the aid of a sin—mitzvah haba’ah ba’aveirah.  Are good deeds negated by evil means?  Must we look at the full genealogy of an action in order to determine its worthiness?  We will endeavor to answer these questions from classical texts and to apply our insights to contemporary questions.

Click here to register.