Women of Torah Seminar Series - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Women of Torah Seminar Series

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Tuesday, February 1, 2005

The Spring 2005 semester of the New York Kollel at HUC-JIR in New York begins classes this week. 

Please visit our website www.huc.edu to see all of the the class offerings in PDF format. 

New York Kollel is inaugurating a special new series of individual classes, uniquely designed for small group learning with leading women faculty at HUC-JIR: 

Women of Torah Seminar Series 

The full list of seminars can also be viewed in the PDF brochure

Information: 212.824.2296 kollel@huc.edu 

Join HUC-JIR's leading women scholars and educators for a series of seminars exploring Jewish religious thought, text study, Jewish law, musicology, midrash, and modern Hebrew literature. 

Spinoza and the Quest for Meaning * Professor Carol Ochs
Wednesday, February 23 | 6:30-8:30 PM
Recognizing some truth in Ecclesiastes's statement "Vanity, vanity, all is vanity," Spinoza resolved to search for a good that would enable him to enjoy continuous, supreme, and enduring happiness. This quest would be dangerous because in order to seek the genuine good he would have to abandon the many goods society offered: fame, riches, and pleasures of the senses. Spinoza's search for the real good is one that challenges us in our own time. 

Dr. Carol Ochs is Director of the Graduate School and Adjunct Professor of Jewish Religious Thought at HUC-JIR where she also serves as spiritual mentor to its students. Her research and teaching deal with Jewish spirituality, comparative religion and Jewish feminism. Her most recent book is Our Lives as Torah: Finding God in Our Own Stories (Wiley/Jossey-Bass, 2001). 

The Rabbinic David * Rabbi Ruth Gais
Wednesday, March 2 | 6:30-8:30 PM
David-king, poet, renegade, lover-that's the familiar David of the Bible. But what did the rabbis of the Talmud make of the this fascinating character? We'll also consider how and why the David of the Jerusalem rabbis differed from the Babylonian rabbinic David. 

- Rabbi Ruth Gais, Ph.D., is Director of the New York Kollel. She was ordained by HUC-JIR in New York. She has a Ph.D from Princeton University in Classical Archaeology. For many years she taught about the ancient world at a variety of institutions. She is also rabbi of Chavurat Lamdeinu in Madison, NJ. 

Trends in Translation of the Torah * Professor Andrea Weiss
Wednesday, March 9 | 6:30-8:30 PM
The recent publication of Robert Alter's translation of the Torah adds yet another volume to the growing collection of Bible translations. How does his translation differ from others? What is at stake for the reader who relies on translation for understanding Scripture? We will compare several translations and explore the unique challenges that confront both reader and translator of a sacred text. 

Rabbi Andrea Weiss, Ph.D. teaches Bible at HUC -JIR where she was ordained. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Sibling Rivalry: The Emergence of Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity * 
Dr. Sharon Koren

Thursday, March 10 | 6:30-8:30 PM 

Scholars have often compared the relationship between Judaism and Christianity to that of parent and child. But a closer look reveals that the two are siblings, children of a common parent-Second Temple Judaism. Explore the birth and early childhood of rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity. 

Dr. Sharon Koren teaches at HUC-JIR. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University in Medieval Studies. Her research focuses primarily on Jewish women's spirituality and Jewish-Christian relations in the Middle Ages. 

Keep On Lifting Me Higher:
The Psalms of Ascent as a Shabbat Afternoon Delight * Professor Lisa Grant

Wednesday, March 23 | 6:30-8:30 PM
The ending of Shabbat is a bittersweet moment. Traditionally, Jews mark this transition through prayer. To lift our spirits just before we descend back into the work-a-day world, we linger to savor the peak experience of Sabbath peace and perfection by reciting a series of 15 psalms. In this session, we will closely study these "Psalms of Ascent" to uncover their ancient rhythms and meanings and how they still speak to and for us today. 

Dr. Lisa Grant is Associate Professor of Jewish Education at HUC-JIR. She received her doctorate in Jewish Education from The Jewish Theological Seminary. She is lead author of A Journey of Heart and Mind: Transformative Jewish Learning in Adulthood, (JTS Press, 2004). 

When Music Becomes Midrash * Cantor Josee Wolff
Thursday, March 31 | 6:30-8:30 PM
We will explore a prayer from the Friday night Shabbat liturgy, the familiar "V'shamru," and experience how different composers added their "commentary" to the text through their music. 

Cantor Josee Wolff is Director of Student Placement at the School of Sacred Music, HUC-JIR. She has served Reform congregations in the U.S. and Europe, and was Director of the Department of Synagogue Music at the Union for Reform Judaism. A native of The Netherlands, Wolff was the first European woman to be invested as a cantor. 

Law and Narrative In The Major Rabbinic Law Codes *
Professor Alyssa Gray

Thursday, April 7 | 6:30-8:30 PM
Going back to the Mishnah (and some would include the Bible), most Jewish sacred literature has intertwined law ("halakhah") with narrative ("aggada"). We will study a tiny slice of this phenomenon by examining the interpenetration of law and narrative in three of the principal Jewish law codes: Maimonides' Mishneh Torah, R. Jacob b. Asher's Arba'ah Turim, and R. Joseph Karo's Shulhan Arukh. We will study examples of narrative in these codes to assess what the codifier's purpose was in composing and including them in his code. Our discussion will also include reference to contemporary legal theorists and literary scholars. 

Dr. Alyssa Gray, J.D., is Assistant Professor of Codes and Responsa at HUC-JIR, She has also taught at The Jewish Theological Seminary From which she received her PH.D. in Talmud and Rabbinics. She received her J.D. from Columbia University and worked as a litigation associate at Davis Polk and Wardwell. Her book, A Talmud in Exile: The Influence of Yerushalmi Avodah Zarah on the Formation of Bavli Avodah Zarah, (Brown Judaic Studies) will be published in 2005. 

Feminist Midrash and Modern Hebrew Women's Writers *
Dr. Wendy Zierler

Wednesday, May 4 | 6:30-8:30 PM 

In Standing Again at Sinai, Judith Plaskow called for the writing of feminist midrash as a means of engendering the women's stories missing from our tradition. This seminar juxtaposes rabbinic and modern women's midrash and shows examples of feminist Hebrew midrash-making dating back to the 19th and early-twentieth century. 

Dr. Wendy Zierler is Assistant Professor of Feminist Studies and Modern Jewish Literature at HUC-JIR. She received her doctorate from Princeton University and was Research Fellow in the English Department of Hong Kong University. Her book, And Rachel Stole the Idols: The Emergence of Modern Hebrew Women's Writing, was published in 2004 by Wayne State University Press. 

Registration: please contact the New York Kollel at 212-824-2296 orkollel@huc.edu 

1 Seminar: $50
2 Seminars: $90 (save $10)
3 Seminars: $120 (save $30)
4 Seminars: $140 and $35 for each additional seminar up to 7 (save $60 and $15 for each additional seminar)
8 Seminars: $250 (save $150)
Make check payable to HUC-JIR. 

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates leaders to serve North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu