Rabbi Aaron Panken, Dean of the New York campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), will offer a fascinating presentation on " Myth, Magic and Mysticism: Judaism Beyond the Rational," at Temple Beth El of Boca Raton, Florida on Tuesday evening, October 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the sanctuary.
Judaism is a religion most often associated with law. Our most sacred books (the Torah, Mishnah and Talmud, to name a few) are filled with regulations that dictate each area of life in specific terms. Few realize that there is another aspect of Judaism, just as powerful and just as wonderful as the legal side, where feelings, superstitions, and belief form an intricate web that teaches us incredible lessons and helps us confront life's most important questions.
This presentation will introduce what lies beyond the rational in Judaism, defining the myth, magic and mysticism that have informed our people's lives in every generation, and the meaning we can derive from it in our own modern context.
Rabbi Panken teaches Rabbinic Literature at HUC-JIR, serves on the faculty of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program, is involved in a number of leadership roles within the Reform movement, and travels widely as a speaker and teacher in congregations throughout the United States.
A graduate of the John Hopkins University in electrical engineering, Rabbi Panken will complete his Ph.D. in Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University this year. His current research involves the change and growth of nascent Jewish law during the Rabbinic Period, 70-500 CE. Other interests include aviation, the intersection of science and religion, hiking, and travel. Prior to joining the faculty and administration at HUC-JIR, Rabbi Panken served as Assistant and Associate Rabbi of Congregation Rodeph Shalom in Manhattan.
Founded in 1875, HUC-JIR is the nation's oldest institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional development center of Reform Judaism.
HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and communal service professionals and offers graduate and post-graduate degree programs for scholars of all faiths.
With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise renowned library, archive, and museum collections, biblical archeology excavations, and academic publications.