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SICHA: Delving into the Heart of the Torah
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SICHA: Delving into the Heart of the Torah

Rabbi Shai Held in conversation with Elsie Stern, Ph.D.

October 9 2017, 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM

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In The Heart of the Torah, Rabbi Shai Held offers deeply insightful, original, and creative interpretation of the text. Drawing on ancient and modern Jewish thought, as well as commentators of other religious backgrounds, Held explores the fundamental questions of the Torah. The two volume set of essays, with two for each weekly Torah portion, illuminates the centrality of empathy in Jewish ethics, the predominance of divine love in Jewish theology, and the dignity inherent in a covenantal relationship with God.

We will have Rabbi Shai Held discuss Jewish theology with Elsie Stern, Ph.D., of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Stay after the conversation for a book signing and light dessert reception.

Rabbi Shai Held
–theologian, scholar, and educator—is President, Dean and Chair in Jewish Thought at Mechon Hadar, where he also directs the Center for Jewish Leadership and Ideas. Mechon Hadar is an educational institution that empowers Jews to create and sustain vibrant, practicing, egalitarian communities of Torah learning, prayer, and service.    Previously, he served for six years as Scholar-in-Residence at Kehilat Hadar in New York City, and taught both theology and Halakha at the Jewish Theological Seminary.  He also served as Director of Education at Harvard Hillel.  A 2011 recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education, Rabbi Held has been named multiple times to Newsweek’s list of the 50 most influential rabbis in America.  He holds a doctorate in religion from Harvard; his main academic interests are in modern Jewish and Christian thought, in biblical theology, and in the history of Zionism.

Elsie Stern, Ph.D., is the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and a vibrant biblical scholar whose teaching, often focused on social justice issues, is prized by many students. She moved into the vice presidency having served as associate professor of Bible at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) since 2012. She was an assistant professor in the Department of Theology at Fordham University, where she taught Bible and Jewish studies, and she served as the assistant director for public programs at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. She has taught widely in both formal and informal educational settings in the United States and abroad and has written curricula on a wide range of topics. Her current research focuses on the transmission and reception of biblical texts in early Jewish settings. She is particularly interested in the ways in which the Torah that is transmitted by rabbis and teachers, and received by Jewish audiences, is and always has been far more expansive and variegated than the written texts themselves.

Co-sponsored by the Jewish Publication Society, The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education of The Jewish Theological Seminary, and Mechon Hadar. All RRC & JTS staff, faculty, and students, as well as Mechon Hadar alumni and JPS staff, enjoy BZBI member pricing.


This event is part of our SICHA programming. Learn more here.

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