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December 25 - 27, 2017

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Winter Week of Learning

Judaism and Christianity
Monday, December 25 – Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Jews and Christians have lived together for 2000 years, through theological tension, cooperation, polemics, and violence. What are the theological issues that have defined each group’s identity over the course of time? How did each community read the Bible? Are there commonalities to be found between the kabbalistic and Hasidic traditions and Christianity?

These are some of the questions to be explored in this three-day program.

Click here to register for the full program. Click on any title below to register for the individual session.

Mon, Dec 25 Tues, Dec 26 Wed, Dec 27
The Divine Human: Incarnational Thinking in Kabbalah and Hasidism

Eitan Fishbane

Jews and Christians in Rabbinic Sources: Christian Monks and the Talmud

Michal Bar-Asher Siegal

Confronting Christianity: Rabbinic Responses to the New Interfaith Reality

Rori Picker Neiss

1:15 Mincha Mincha Mincha
1:30-4 Jews and Christians in Rabbinic Sources: Jesus in the Talmud

Michal Bar-Asher Siegal

Has God Moved On? Jewish Responses to Medieval Christian Polemics

Chaviva Levin

Love of Neighbor, Love of God: The Two that are One in Jewish Mystical Source

Eitan Fishbane

An Evening of Reflection and Celebration
Screening of “Winter Light” 

Thursday, December 28, 1:30-4pm – Devora Steinmetz on “And live by them”- Makkot, Paul, and the Problem of Sin

Faculty Bios

Michal Bar Asher SiegalMichal Bar-Asher Siegal is a scholar of rabbinic Judaism. Her work focuses on aspects of Jewish-Christian interactions in the ancient world, and compares between Early Christian and rabbinic sources. Her book, Early Christian Monastic Literature and the Babylonian Talmud (Cambridge University Press, 2013, winner of the 2014 Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award) compared between Christian monastic and rabbinic sources. Her upcoming book Jewish – Christian Dialogues on Scripture in Late Antiquity: Heretics Narratives of the Babylonian Talmud, will focus on heretics’ stories in the Babylonian Talmud. She is an elected member of the Israel Young Academy of Sciences and holds the Rosen Family Career Development Chair in Judaic Studies at The Goldstein-Goren Department of Jewish Thought, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

eitan fishbaneEitan Fishbane serves on the faculty of the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he teaches students in the Rabbinical, Graduate, and Undergraduate schools. A scholar of Jewish mysticism and spirituality, he is the author of three books, including As Light Before Dawn: The Inner World of a Medieval Kabbalist, on the mystical thought of Isaac ben Samuel of Akko, and the forthcoming The Poetics of the Zohar; the editor of two others, and the recipient of numerous awards and honors. Professor Fishbane has lectured and taught at more than thirty synagogues across North America.

Chaviva LevinChaviva Levin received her doctorate in Jewish studies and history from New York University and holds bachelors and masters degrees from Yeshiva University. She is an alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship program. Her research interests center on the experiences of Medieval Ashkenazic (Northern European) Jewry and on Medieval Jewish-Christian relations, with specific focus on her dissertation topic, Jewish conversion to Christianity in Medieval Northern Europe, and on medieval Jewish historiography. Her current work concentrates on Sefer Zekhira, Ephraim of Bonn’s twelfth-century Hebrew narrative of the Second Crusade. She is a member of the steering committee for the “Study of Religious Conversions” Consultation at the American Academy of Religion and is a 2010-2011 adjunct fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to giving papers at scholarly conferences, she has presented on topics related to the medieval Jewish experience to synagogue and other adult education audiences throughout the tri-state area.

Rori Picker NeissRori Picker Neiss serves as the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St Louis. Prior to that she was the Director of Programming, Education and Community Engagement at Bais Abraham Congregation, a Modern Orthodox Jewish synagogue in University City, MO. She is one of the first graduates of Yeshivat Maharat, a pioneering institution training Orthodox Jewish women to be spiritual leaders and halakhic (Jewish legal) authorities. She previously served as Acting Executive Director for Religions for Peace-USA, Program Coordinator for the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, Assistant Director of Interreligious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee, and Secretariat for the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, the formal Jewish representative in international, interreligious dialogue. Rori is the co-chair of the North American Interfaith Youth Network of Religions for Peace, a CLAL Rabbis Without Borders fellow, and co-editor of “InterActive Faith: The Essential Interreligious Community-Building Handbook.” She is married to Russel Neiss, a Software Engineer for Sefaria, and they have two daughters and a son: Daria, Susanna, and Shmaya.