Clearly one of the highlights of the past week was Jessica Barnoy’s Bat Mitzvah aliyah at the kotel. Jessica was outstanding – she led the davening and chanted beautifully from the Torah. Those of you who traveled with me to Israel may remember the spot that we had our Service at what is being called Hakotel Hamesorati that is located at Robinson’s Arch – it was a wonderful Service and a wonderful simcha.
The program at Hartman continues to occupy ALL of my time. The subject for this past week has been “Pluralism and Diversity and their Limits”. We have studied Jewish sources and had many extensive conversations on the subject of Boundaries and the Limits of Tolerance. Our readings have been as diverse as the Tamlud and Tosefta and of course of the Bible, to contemporary Israeli poets, William James, Charles Taylor and Erich Fromm.
Our faculty is equally diverse. We have studied with Dr. Noam Zohar a professor of Jewish Philosophy at Bar-Ilan University, Rabbi Dov Linzer the Rosh Yeshiva and Den of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, Rachel Korazim a Jewish educational consultant and one of the leading educator on Israeli literature, Ori Goldberg who recently received his PhD from Tel Aviv University School of History – he is interested in religious thought and it role in shaping global culture and politics. With Ori we studied Shia texts on diversity. And the list goes on and on.
Of course all of this is going on against the backdrop of what is happening here in Israel. I don’t know how much the media has been covering it in the states but here in Israel there has been a lot of tension between the very right wing segment off the Hareidi Ultra-Orthodox community in Mea Shearim who have been rioting and demonstrating against the police and local government.
If you want to read more about it you can take a look here:
http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/ ... 48,00.html
Last Thursday night we were invited to the home of Professor Jacob Milgrom who is a scholar and professor emeritus in the field of Biblical Studies at the University of California. He is most known for his research on the book of Leviticus and the purity regulations of the Torah. He is also the father of fellow Hartman Rabbinic Fellow Rabbi Shira Milgrom. Prof Milgrom who is now 86 years old and his wife Jo who is an accomplished artist live in a remarkable home in Jerusalem. We were invited into their home for a lovely evening.
You can see Prof Milgrom addressing us in his living room and his wife's artwork on the walls. She is quite a controversial artist using religious artifacts in very provocative ways.
We had a wonderful conversation on the subject of "how do you lead a life of faith and combine it with a critical understanding of Judaism?"
His wife has been involved in a wonderful project of collecting artistic representations of Biblical themes and making them available for educational purposes on the internet -- you can check out her work at:
http://www.tali-virtualmidrash.org.il/A ... px?art=497
Friday was a day to get ready for Shabbat. There is nothing better than Shabbat in Jerusalem - the sounds and smells. We visited our favorite bakery to buy challot and rugelach:
We went to our favorite place to buy ready made foods for Shabbat. The owner Eli makes you taste everything before he lets you buy so by the time you leave you not only have purchased food for Shabbat but taken care of lunch on Friday!
I davened in no less than 5! shuls during the course of Shabbat. Friday night we davened at Shira Hadasha with its wonderfully spirited davening, Saturday morning we davened at the Hildesheimer Shul -- a local small shul in the neighborhood that I have been attending daily at 5 PM we attended a lecture at the Ramban synagogue at 7:20 we went to Mincha back at the Hildesheimer Synagogue and at 8:30 I went to Ma'ariv at the Yehuda HaLevi Synagogue right near our apartment. None of these were more than a 10-15 minute walk.
There is so much more to tell you -- but the hour is late and tomorrow is another full day -- but I did want to try and keep you informed of what was happening here.
I understand that things have been going beautifully back home and I have gotten great reports about the davening on Shabbat. Yashar Koach to Norma Grill and David Rosenthal for leading Services this past Shabbat as well as Moshe Ostad reading Torah and Warren Rubin doing the Haftarah and to Beatrice Karten and Saul Waxman the week before with Madeline Yousefzadeh reading Torah and David Wasserman doing Haftarah -- it is great to know that the shul is in such good hands while I am away!
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