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A Talmudist and a Psychoanalyst Walk Into a Bar...
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A Talmudist and a Psychoanalyst Walk Into a Bar…

May 14 2018, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Join us in our fifth annual Jewish Thought and Psychoanalysis Lecture, as we welcome Dr. Ruth Calderon to share her unique perspective on Talmudic study in a conversation with psychoanalyst Dr. Harvey Schwartz.

Since it was written some 1,500 or so years ago, the Talmud and its stories have undergone numerous interpretations and reinterpretations. This process of repeated examination of fundamental texts, using varied analytical frameworks and literary perspectives, is central to Jewish thought. At this year’s Jewish Thought and Psychoanalysis Lecture, we will welcome Dr. Ruth Calderon, Talmudist and former member of the Knesset, to join Dr. Harvey Schwartz, psychoanalyst, in exploring the meanings behind some of Judaism’s most thought-provoking stories.

In her compilation of rewritten Talmudic stories, A Bride for One Night: Talmudic Tales, Dr. Calderon draws insight from the act of retelling these stories in a contemporary literary style. By framing Talmud as literature, Dr. Calderon brings to life the characters in these stories and re-imagines the meaning of their actions. In this conversation, Dr. Schwartz will apply psychoanalytic perspective to these same stories, similarly exploring the motivations of these characters.

Join us as we explore the space between literary analysis and the psychoanalytic approach. Where do these perspectives meet and where do they differ? And what do these differences in analysis add to our understanding of the timeless stories?

Dr. Ruth Calderon, former Member of Knesset and Deputy Speaker of the Knesset for the Yesh Atid party, is an educator and Talmud scholar. As part of her work promoting a Hebrew, Israeli, and Jewish culture that draws on traditional sources but looks to the future, she co-founded Elul (a pioneering pluralist beit midrash) with Moti Bar-Or, and founded and directed the Alma nonprofit for teaching and nurturing Hebrew culture. After eighteen years as director of Alma, Ruth was appointed head of the culture and education department at the National Library of Israel. She completed her master’s degree and her doctorate in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s department of Talmud. In recognition of her work, Ruth was awarded the AVI CHAI Prize for Jewish Education, and honorary doctorates from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, Hebrew College in Boston, and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. She studied at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, and is a graduate of Cohort 1 of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership.​


“A Talmudist and a Pyschonalyst Walk Into a Bar…” is part of our Jewish Thought and Psychoanylsis Lecture Series, which is devoted to the interface between Jewish and Psychoanalytic thinking. Psychoanalysis, established by Austrian-Jewish neurologist Sigmund Freud, studies the effects of the unconscious mind on behavior and mental health. By examining psychoanalysis through the lens of Jewish thinking, and vice-versa, these lectures can aid in enriching the discussion of psychology and Jewish history and culture.

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