I also plan to update this blog frequently during the course of my studies and I hope it will serve as a good way to keep you posted on my experiences so we can share this exciting adventure together. So, feel free to check back often and I look forward to giving you a taste of what I will be experiencing!
The Shalom Hartman Institute, where I will be studying, is a research and leadership training institute located in Jerusalem. Their mission is to revitalize Judaism, strengthen Jewish identity and foster religious pluralism by providing scholars, rabbis, educators, and lay leaders of all denominations with tools to address the central challenges facing Judaism today. Serving Israeli and world Jewry, SHI’s faculty and graduates are forces of change creating a new dialogue between Jews of diverse backgrounds, between classic Judaic sources and modernity, and between Judaism and other faiths. To read more about the Hartman Institute and see some pictures of where I will be spending my time – check their web site at: http://www.hartmaninstitute.com
The particular program I am involved with is called the Rabbinic Leadership Initiative or RLI. Some 25 rabbis from around the world – Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist and Reform - are selected to participate in this very special program and I am proud to be one of them. To read more about this program go to:
http://www.hartmaninstitute.com/ShowCon ... mp;isSub=1
I will be leaving New York on Wednesday June 27 and returning on Thursday July 26.
I also hope to use my time in Israel to search out some mitzvah opportunities where I can serve as your shaliach – your agent, to bring tzedakah to various causes in Israel. Many of you have already generously contributed to the Rabbi’s Fund at TBS through the annual Passover Appeal or your contributions in appreciation for my participation at a Wedding or Unveiling or the like – I will be using some of those funds and seeking ways to put them to good use during my stay in Israel. I will report on my experiences seeking out these mitzvah opportunities in this blog.
The main thing is that I hope that by means of this blog you will feel that you are part of my experience. As I mentioned on the bema on Shabbat – A Sabbatical is an investment on both of our parts in keeping my rabbinate fresh and dynamic. It is not unusual in the course of a normal week for me to address more than a thousand people! From Shabbat sermons to Machon Beth Sholom High School classes; from Sisterhood classes to the Herbert Tarr Adult Education Institute; from sitting on the floor with our tots in our Early Childhood Center preparing for Shabbat, to the hospital visits where I sit with our most elderly members; from Divrei Torah at Board Meetings to counseling sessions in my office; from meeting to meeting to meeting – week after week, year after year - I am called upon to teach and share my insights applying the teachings of our sacred tradition to modern day situations. The challenge is to constantly renew myself and to keep fresh the wells of Torah that nourish me and therefore nourish you my community.
I believe that this opportunity that you have wisely afforded me, to study at the Hartman Institute will be an investment that will pay dividends beyond measure in the months and years to come.
In the meantime, I leave you in the capable hands of Rabbi Jeni Friedman and while I will be checking my email ( email@example.com) it won’t be all that often – so feel free to check in with Rabbi Friedman or the office. God willing my next entry will be from Yerushalayim Ir Hakodesh – from the Holy Land!! L’hitraot!!
Rabbi Alan Lucas
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