Symposium One: Crafting Jewish Life in a Complex Religious Landscape, a thought leadership event that attracted over 200 participants to an extraordinary two days of learning on HUC-JIR’s New York campus, focused on countering fundamentalism and enhancing progressive Jewish culture. Led ably by the team of Professors David Aaron and Alyssa Gray, and Vice President Liz Squadron, the event attracted alumni, lay leaders, and academics to grapple with some of the core questions of Jewish life in America.
Speakers included a broad range of fascinating individuals who lead their fields in creative, forward-looking ways. From Jewish halakhic and sociological thinkers to Muslim theologians, from experts on worship, music, and art to designers of sophisticated online Jewish gaming, and from thinkers who link poetry to social justice and covenant to the self, the two days were filled with deep thinking about the vital possibilities for progressive Judaism in the years ahead. The broad range of contemporary issues included:
Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D., HUC-JIR President, noted, “Since 1875, HUC-JIR has stood for the Jewish and human values that have helped form open and meaningful communities over the centuries: inclusiveness, egalitarianism, respect for each and every human being, and helping those in need, all in the service of making the world a better place. As we apply the wisdom, creativity, and new ideas generated by the Symposium in communities far and wide, let us work together to further develop the innovative methods, platforms, and techniques that will have a meaningful impact. Together, let us apply our shared optimism towards strengthening progressive religious engagement today and for future.”
The presentations of HUC-JIR faculty and visiting scholars, and the active participation of clergy, lay leaders, and students energized all those who attended the Symposium to work toward positive action that can effect change. All of the talks will be available in future months to our community, with the hope that Symposium One will continue to have an important impact on congregations, organizations, and thinkers in the time ahead.
Read more in The Jewish Week: Gaming Maimonides at HUC-JIR