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October 13 2021, 8:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Once again, BZBI is sponsoring ScholarStream, a collaboration of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), Rabbinical Assembly (RA), the Schechter Institutes and Ziegler, in which teachers representing each institution will examine some of Judaism’s key ideas, moments, and challenges. This year ScholarStream is divided into eight series of lectures, spanning October 2021 to May 2022.

To join the classes, click on this registration link

You can register for each series of three or four classes at $10 per series. Register using the link above and you will receive an immediate acknowledgement.  You will be sent the Zoom link for each series in an email about a week before the start, and again on the morning of each session. The deadline to register for a given session is one day before the session.


ScholarStream Series 1 is Torah Relationships.  All 4 classes take place on Wednesday evenings at 8:00 PM

  • October 6: Dr. Alan Cooper, God, Abraham and Isaac: Who is the ‘Hero’ of the `Aqeda?  The story of the “binding of Isaac” (`aqeda) in Genesis 22 is a tale of problematic relationships, those among the characters as well as the reader’s relationship with a troubling and alienating story.  How can God issue such a shocking and callous command to Abraham, a faithful follower?  Why does Abraham comply without objection, in contrast to previous interactions with God?  And why does Isaac remain passive and apparently acquiescent with his life at stake?  Is there a hero in this story, in the sense of a character who is to be celebrated for his actions, and what are we supposed to learn from him?  We will take up those questions in the light of both traditional and modern Jewish commentary.
  • October 13: Liza Bernstein, Gendered Gaps: Remembering Sarah Where She is Most Erased. When we study the Akeidah, the binding of Isaac, we often focus on the dynamics between Abraham, Isaac, and God. We rarely ask: where was Sarah? In this class, we will use traditional sources and gender theory to open up questions of gender, community, and parenting. Through our questioning, we will remember Sarah’s story and re-member Sarah, in all her complexities, as a full part of our tradition.
  • October 20: Rabbi Bradley Artson, Loving Peace, One Person at a Time. We often think of the pursuit of peace as a task for nations, communities, and public figures. And it is all that. But the work of peace is also private and individual. In the person of Aaron, first High Priest and brother to Moses, the ancient sages imagine what an integrated approach to making peace might look like.
  • October 27: Rabbi Elliot Dorff, The Dysfunctional Families of Genesis: What They — and Later Jewish Law — Tell Us About How *Not* to Treat Our Parents, Siblings, and Children. We have all read the stories of Genesis many times over and have interpreted them in sermons and lessons. The goal of this session is to examine them in the context of family ethics.  What bad practices do they exemplify, and what does Jewish law tell us about how to form better family relationships and avoid family violence?


ScholarStream Series 2 is Ethics.  All 4 classes take place on Tuesday afternoons at 1:00 PM

  • November 2: Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin, President, Schechter Institutes, Risking One’s Life to Save Another: Required or Forbidden by Jewish Law? If you see someone drowning in a raging river – are you required or forbidden to try to save that person? If a mountain climber sees another climber lying in the snow – how far must he go to save the other climber? Must a doctor endanger her life to save another, or is this forbidden? In this session we shall study the main rabbinic sources regarding these moral dilemmas, which have been debated by rabbis for the past 2,000 years.
  • November 9: Rabbi Avi Novis Deutsch, Dean, Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, Can a Halakha be Immoral? In this session, we will try to define the relationship and the tensions between “halakha” and “ethics” as concepts, and examine how different rabbis dealt with this dilemma. We will also see how this dilemma still plays a major role in many contemporary Jewish debates, both in Israel and the Diaspora.
  • November 16: Rabbi Dr. Reb Mimi Feigelson, Senior Lecturer and Mashpiah Ruhanit, Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, Moral Dilemmas in the Teachings of the Mei Hashiloah, Reb Mordechai Yosef Lainer of Ishbitza. What does it mean that halakha is not one and the same for all? Was it ever meant to be? And can we wrap our minds around a situation in which our moral sensibilities are challenged “in God’s name”? Challenged in the name of what is presented as “God’s Will”? Join me in debating some of the more controversial teachings of the Ishbitzer Rebbe.
  • November 23: Rabbi Chaya Rowen Baker, Lecturer in Practical Rabbinics, Schechter Rabbinical Seminary: Leshon Hara” (Gossip and Slander): an age-old ethical challenge. The prohibition of Leshon Hara is one of the most difficult mitzvot to observe. How can we “guard our tongues from evil” in our personal and professional lives? What can we learn from the Biblical stories of Joseph, Miriam and the Spies? Are there ever occasions when it’s permissible to speak Leshon Hara?


Other series this year include:

  • Series #3: The Roots of Conservative Judaism, Tuesdays, December 7, 14 & 21 at 8:00 PM
  • Series #4: The Other Within – Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in a Pluralistic Movement, Wednesdays, January 19, 26 and February 2, 9 at 8:00 PM
  • Series #5: Halakha – The Process Moving Forward & the Forward-Moving Process, Wednesdays, February 16, 23 and March 2, 9 at 8:00 PM
  • Series #6: The Power of the Prophets, Tuesdays, March 22, 29 and April 5, 12 at 8:00 PM
  • Series #7: Liturgy of Miracles – Hanukkah, Purim, and Yom Haatzmaut, Tuesdays, May 3, 10, 17 & 24 at 8:00 PM
  • Series #8: Israel – Models of Resilience, Wednesdays, May 11, 18, 25 and June 1 at 1:00 PM

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