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November 11-12, 2018
Stephen Wise Temple, Los Angeles

Watch the recordings!

Nowadays, there is my news and your news, your truth and my truth, and consensus about facts is increasingly elusive. Even the university, once the place where young minds pursued “veritas,” is more likely today to teach its students the postmodern prioritization of subjectivity over objectivity, discourse over reality, perspective over universal truth. Against this backdrop, HUC-JIR Symposium 2 explored the various ways in which contemporary Jews–especially liberal Jews–grapple with the concept of the truth.

Table of Contents

Topics and Speakers
Speaker Biographies


On October 17, 2005, comedian Stephen Colbert famously offered up the term “truthiness” to satirically expose attempts, especially by politicians, to pass off assertions as true despite their patent falseness. “Who’s Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was finished in 1914?” his conservative persona quipped. “If I want to say it happened in 1941, that’s my right!” Colbert specifically targeted certain unsubstantiated claims about the war in Iraq, but the “truthiness” term spoke to a broader anxiety among American viewers about the status of truth in contemporary society that speaks even louder today.  What was emerging as a problem in 2005 has now become a full-blown epistemological crisis. A nation founded on self-evident truths seems now to esteem truth less and less with each passing day. Politics today is more about crafting narratives or enacting spin than wrestling with facts. News media of all stripes slant and package party arguments, in some cases even propagating so-called fake news for financial gain. Nowadays, there is my news and your news, your truth and my truth, and consensus about facts is increasingly elusive. Even the university, once the place where young minds pursued “veritas,” is more likely today to teach its students the postmodern prioritization of subjectivity over objectivity, discourse over reality, perspective over universal truth.

Against this backdrop, HUC-JIR Symposium 2 explored the various ways in which contemporary Jews—especially liberal Jews—grapple with the concept of the truth. Historically, of course, Judaism presented itself as a possessor of the truth revealed to the Israelites at Mt. Sinai and preserved for posterity in torat emet, the Torah of truth. Jews prayed daily to a God of emet (truth) as well of emunah (faith). Liberal Jews, however, no longer seem so sure of these truths and assertions of faith. A revised understanding of Judaism, its history and its texts, has led many liberal Jews to interrogate particular religious truths and convictions in the light of competing values of pluralism, universalism, and personal conviction.

The symposium therefore posed challenging questions, asking first and foremost whether the truth, in any universal sense, remains a worthwhile concept in America, in general, and in liberal Judaism, in particular. If so, on what grounds might liberal Jews lay claim to the truth? Is the Torah still a source of truth? If so, in what sense? Does our prayer book speak the truth, and by extension, our theology? What role does the truth play when liberal Jews engage with more traditional Jews or with practitioners of other faith traditions and their competing claims about issues of ultimate concern?  How does one reconcile pluralistic commitments and the ideal of freedom of speech with a desire to maintain integrity and morality in public discourse? As leaders in the Jewish community, engaged with matters of current events and communal concern, are there absolute truths or inviolable standards upon which we can agree? Together we mined the resources of our tradition and of current thinking to address this pressing current concern--to cut through the truthiness and take hold of some real, enduring values.

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Topics and Speakers:

Topic I: Torat Emet – a) Biblical and Talmudic Conceptions of Truth and b) Revelation and Truth in Modernity

Watch the recordings: Introduction; Torat Emet (a); Torat Emet (b)


Topic II: Sefat Emet – Fake News: Past, Present, Future

Watch the recording: Sefat Emet


Topic III: Emet ve’omanut  – Art and Literature and the Truth

Watch the recording: Emet ve'omanut

Topic IV: Tefilat Emet  –  Liturgical Truths

Watch the recording: Tefilat Emet


Topic V: Emet Umada – Truth & Science 

Watch the recording: Emet Umada


Topic: VI: Dabru Emet  –  Competing Truths in a) Interfaith and b) Pluralistic Dialogue

Watch the recordings: Dabru Emet (a); Dabru Emet (b)


HUC-JIR Faculty

*List subject to change.

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Speaker Biographies

Asaf Beiser is a screenwriter based in Tel Aviv. For the past 15 years, Beiser has been a writer and showrunner in Israel’s highest-rated comedy, satire and drama shows. Beiser is the co-creator and head writer of Israeli Academy of Film and Television award winning show (best satire and entertainment show) The Jews are Coming,  and a  writer in the acclaimed Israeli Academy of Film and Television award winning show (best drama) Fauda, currently airing on Netflix. The children’s sitcom Beiser created, Elisha, has won The Israeli Academy of Film and Television award for best children's program for three years in a row.    

Beiser had a writing role in many other acclaimed shows, including The Good Cop, a comedy recently remade by Netflix, and the psychological thriller The Gordin Cell (titled "Allegiance" in the NBC remake). He also was a staff writer in ERETZ NEHEDERRET ("What a Wonderful Country", the Israeli version of SNL), and the co-creator and showrunner of the sitcom Crowded.

A recipient of a personal Israeli Academy award for best screenplay, Beiser was also awarded the generous British BI-Arts scholarship, with a winning script for a 40-minute comedy film.  

A Captain (ret.) in the Israeli Defense Forces, Beiser served as a military attorney in the IDF Military Advocate General’s Unit, and holds an LLB degree from Tel Aviv University.

Dr. Marc Brettler is the Bernice and Morton Lerner Professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at Duke University.  He has also taught at Brandeis University, Yale University, Brown University, Wellesley College and Middlebury College. 

His has written God is King, The Creation of History in Ancient Israel, The Book of Judges, and Biblical Hebrew for Students of Modern Israeli Hebrew.  He is co-author of The Bible and the Believer, and co-editor of the New Oxford Annotated Bible, The Jewish Study Bible, and The Jewish Annotated New Testament, and has contributed to all ten volumes of My People’s Prayer Book.  In 2017, he was one of 100 scholars and leaders asked to participate in the “American Values Religious Voices” project.  He is currently at work on part of Psalms commentary for JPS, a book on the Jewish reception of critical biblical scholarship, and a co-authored volume with Amy-Jill Levine on passages from the Hebrew Bible that are prominent in early Christianity.

He has published and lectured widely on metaphor and the Bible, the nature of biblical historical texts, Psalms, and gender issues and the Bible.  He is a member of the American Academy for Jewish Research and the Council of the Society of Biblical Literature, and has written for The Forward and The Jerusalem Report, has appeared on the Television series “Mysteries of the Bible,” was heard on the National Public Radio show “All Things Considered,” and was interviewed on “Fresh Air” by Terry Gross. 

Rabbi Sharon Brous, is a leading voice in reanimating religious life in America, working to develop a spiritual roadmap for soulful, multi-faith justice work in Los Angeles and around the country.

Brous is the senior and founding rabbi of IKAR which was started in 2004 and has become a model for Jewish revitalization in the US and beyond. With the goal of reinvigorating Jewish practice and inspiring people of faith to reclaim a moral and prophetic voice, with IKAR quickly became one of the fastest growing and most influential Jewish congregations in the country. Today it is widely credited with sparking a rethinking of religious life in a time of unprecedented disaffection and declining affiliation.

Brous’s 2016 TED talk, “Reclaiming Religion,” has been viewed by more than 1.2 million people and translated into 20 languages. In 2013, she blessed President Obama and Vice President Biden at the Inaugural National Prayer Service, and at the inauguration of Mayor Eric Garcetti in LA in 2017. She spoke at the Women’s March in Washington, DC in 2017, and at the national launch of the Poor People’s Campaign in 2018. Brous was named #1 on the Newsweek/The Daily Beast list of the most influential Rabbis in America, and has been recognized numerous times by The Forward and the Jerusalem Post as one of the fifty most influential Jews.

She is in the first cohort of Auburn Seminary's Senior Fellows program, which unites top faith leaders working on the frontlines for justice. Brous also sits on Mayor’s Interfaith Collective and on the faculty of the Shalom Hartman Institute-North America and REBOOT, and serves on the International Council of the New Israel Fund and the national steering committee for the Poor People’s Campaign.

She received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Columbia University, was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.

Rabbi Mark Diamond teaches a core curriculum course in Interreligious Experience and Engagement at Loyola Marymount University. In addition, he is a Professor of Practical Rabbinics at the Academy for Jewish Religion CA. Previously, he served as Executive Vice President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California and Director of the Los Angeles region of the American Jewish Committee. Rabbi Diamond is a past president of the Los Angeles Council of Religious Leaders and has led interfaith study tours of clergy, diplomats and community leaders, including a mission to the Vatican and Jerusalem highlighted by an audience with Pope Benedict XVI. He delivered the commencement address at the 2013 doctoral graduation ceremony of the University of the Incarnate Word, and has taught and lectured at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Pepperdine University, Baylor University, Fuller Theological Seminary and Claremont School of Theology.

His articles have appeared in Conversations: The Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals, e-Jewish Philanthropy, the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, the Interfaith Observer, and the Shalom Hartman Institute. He received his B.A. in Liberal Arts from Carleton College and M.A. in Jewish Studies, rabbinic ordination and

Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa) from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

Dr. Michael Fishbane is the Nathan Cummings Distinguished Service Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Chicago.  The author or editor of over two dozen books and hundreds of articles in scholarly journals and encyclopedias, Fishbane’s areas of research include Biblical Studies, Midrash, Medieval Bible Commentaries, Jewish Mysticism, and Modern Jewish Thought.  Among his many works are: Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel; The Garments of Torah. Essays in Biblical Hermeneutics; The Kiss of God: Spiritual and Mystical Death in Judaism; and The Exegetical Imagination. Jewish Thought and Theology.  Both Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel and The Kiss of God won the National Jewish Book Award.  Other books include Haftarot (A Commentary on the Prophetic Lectionaries for Sabbaths and Festivals); Biblical Myth and Rabbinic Mythmaking; and Sacred Attunement. A Jewish Theology.  His Song of Songs. The JPS Bible Commentary (2015) draws on the full range of traditional Jewish and modern commentaries.  A collection and analysis of his theology is in: Michael Fishbane. Jewish Hermeneutical Theology, H. Tirosh Samuelson and A. Hughes, edd. (2015).

An article on Fishbane’s scholarship appears in the 2nd edition of The Encyclopedia Judaica.  Recipient of many awards, he was a  Guggenheim Fellow and three times a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University.  In 2005 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to Jewish Scholarship from The National Foundation for Jewish Culture.  Recipient of several honorary doctorates, Fishbane is a Fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research and a Fellow of the  American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Christine Hayes, the Weis Professor of Religious Studies in Classical Judaica at Yale University, specializes in talmudic-midrashic studies. Her most recent book, What’s Divine about Divine Law? Early Perspectives, received the 2015 National Jewish Book Award in Scholarship, a 2016 PROSE award in Theology and Religious Studies from the American Publishers Association, and a 2016 Jordan Schnitzer Award from the Association of Jewish Studies.  Her other scholarly monographs are Between the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds (1997 Salo Baron prize) and Gentile Impurities and Jewish Identities (2003 National Jewish Book Award finalist). She has authored two introductory volumes (The Emergence of Judaism and Introduction to the Bible). Edited works include Jewish Law and its Interactions with other Legal Systems (2014), the Cambridge Companion toJudaism and Law (2017) and Classic Essays in Rabbinic Culture and History (2018). She held a faculty position at Princeton University, visiting faculty positions at Tel Aviv University Law School and the University of Pennsylvania law school, and was a 2018 fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Hayes is active in professional and academic organizations, serving for 4 years as co-editor of the Association for Jewish Studies Review. She is currently the President of the Association for Jewish Studies.

Melvin Konner, MD, Ph.D. is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor at Emory University, where he teaches Anthropology, Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology, and Jewish Studies. He went to Brooklyn College, CUNY; his MD and PhD are from Harvard. He did two years of research among San (Bushman) hunter-gatherers of Botswana. His books include Unsettled: An Anthropology of the Jews and The Jewish Body (Nextbook “Jewish Encounters”; An American Library Association Brody Award “Honor Book”), The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit; Becoming a Doctor; The Evolution of Childhood (one of The Atlantic’s Five Best Books of 2010), Women After All: Sex, Evolution, and the End of Male Supremacy, and other books. He has had regular columns in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and has written for Newsweek, The Forward, Nature, Science and The New England Journal of Medicine. He has translated the African poems of the great Yiddish poet Avraham Sutzkever. He testified at U.S. Senate hearings on health reform and end-of-life issues. He has visited Israel 13 times and lectured around the country as a Fulbright Senior Specialist for six weeks in 2011. In 2016 he was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and past fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He has three grown children, a stepdaughter, and two grandchildren. For more, see www.jewsandothers.com and http://www.melvinkonner.com/.

Dr. Marcie Lenk has devoted her intellectual life and career to organizing educational programs and teaching Jews and Christians (and people of other faiths) to understand and appreciate the basic texts, ideas, history and faith of the other.  She lives in Jerusalem, where she currently serves as the Academic Director of Bat Kol: Christian Institute for Jewish Studies. She teaches patristics at the Studium Theologicum Salesianum at Ratisbonne Monastery, and Jewish and Christian texts at Ecce Homo Convent, and the Tantur Ecumenical Institute. For the last six years she served as director of Christian leadership programs at the Shalom Hartman Institute. 

She received her Ph.D. at Harvard University in 2010 with a dissertation entitled, The Apostolic Constitutions: Judaism and Anti-Judaism in the Construction of Christianity, and earned an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, as well as an M.A. in Bible and B.A. in Mathematics and Jewish Studies from Yeshiva University.  Dr. Lenk has lectured in Europe, Israel, and the United States, and has taught Early Christianity, Hebrew Bible, and Rabbinic Literature at institutions such as Boston University and City College of New York, as well as at Jewish and Christian seminaries in Israel and the United States.

Dahlia Lithwick is a senior editor at Slate and has been writing their "Supreme Court Dispatches" and "Jurisprudence" columns since 1999. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The New Republic, and Commentary. She is host of Amicus, Slate’s award-winning biweekly podcast about the law and the Supreme Court and was Newsweek’s legal columnist.

Lithwick has been the recipient of several honors, including the American Constitution Society’s Progressive Champion Award; Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis; Golden Pen Award from the Legal Writing Institute; Virginia Bar Association’s award for Excellence in Legal Journalism; Award for Outstanding Journalist in Law from the Burton Foundation; National Magazine Award for her columns on the Affordable Care Act; two Online Journalism Awards; and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Lithwick has held visiting faculty positions at the law schools of the University of Georgia, the University of Virginia, and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She has appeared on CNN, ABC, The Colbert Report, the Daily Show and is a frequent guest on The Rachel Maddow Show.

Ms. Lithwick earned her BA in English from Yale University and her JD degree from Stanford University. She is currently working on a new book, Lady Justice, for Penguin Press. She is co-author of Me Versus Everybody (Workman Press, 2006) (with Brandt Goldstein) and of I Will Sing Life (Little, Brown 1992) (with Larry Berger). Her work has been featured in numerous anthologies including Jewish Jocks (2012), What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-one Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most (2013), About What was Lost (2006); A Good Quarrel (2009); Going Rouge: Sarah Palin, An American Nightmare (2009); and Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary (2008). 

David Makovsky is the Ziegler distinguished fellow at The Washington Institute and director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process. He is also an adjunct professor in Middle East studies at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). In 2013-2014, he worked in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of State, serving as a senior advisor to the Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations.

Author of numerous Washington Institute monographs and essays on issues related to the Middle East Peace Process and the Arab-Israeli conflict, he is also coauthor, with Dennis Ross, of the 2009 Washington Post bestseller Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East (Viking/Penguin). His 2011 maps on alternative territorial solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were reprinted by the New York Times in the paper's first interactive treatment of an op-ed. His widely acclaimed September 2012 New Yorker essay, "The Silent Strike," focused on the U.S.-Israel dynamics leading up to the 2007 Israeli attack on Syrian nuclear facilities.

Before joining The Washington Institute, Mr. Makovsky was an award-winning journalist who covered the peace process from 1989 to 2000. He is the former executive editor of the Jerusalem Post, was diplomatic correspondent for Israel's leading daily, Haaretz, and is a former contributing editor to U.S. News and World Report. He was awarded the National Press Club's 1994 Edwin M. Hood Award for Diplomatic Correspondence for a cover story on PLO finances that he co-wrote for the magazine.

Natalie Marcus is a highly-acclaimed, award-winning, screenwriter based in Tel Aviv. For the past 10 years, Marcus has been in charge of some of Israel's top-rated shows. She is the creator and head writer of the acclaimed historically-themed sketch show, The Jews are Coming, winner of the Israeli Academy Award for the best entertainment show. Marcus is also the creator and head writer of the TV show, Crowded, that won the "Best Kids' Comedy" award in the Israeli Kid's Choice Awards and a special award for contribution to the public discussion from the Minister of Communication. 

Marcus is currently writing and show running a new comedy called The Estate for Keshet 12, due to air in 2019, as well as writing a new fourth season of The Jews are Coming.

Marcus teaches comedy writing and lectures about writing and Jewish history all over the world.  She lives in Tel Aviv with her husband and two kids.

Rabbi Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman is the Founding Director of Sinai and Synapses, an organization that bridges the scientific and religious worlds, and is being incubated at Clal – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.

His work has been supported by the John Templeton FoundationEmanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies, and the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, and his writings about the intersection of religion and science have appeared on the homepages of several sites, including The Huffington PostNautilusScience and Religion TodayJewish Telegraphic Agency, and My Jewish Learning. He has been an adjunct professor at both the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion and the Academy for Jewish Religion, and is a sought-out teacher, presenter, and scholar-in-residence throughout the country.

He was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where he received the Cora Kahn Prize from the Cincinnati faculty for the most outstanding sermon delivery and oratory. An alumnus of Princeton University, he received multiple prizes for outstanding scholarship in Biblical and Judaic studies.

He was selected to be a member of the first cohort of Clal’s prestigious Rabbis Without Borders fellowship, a national program that seeks to position rabbis as American religious leaders and spiritual innovators who contribute Jewish wisdom to the American spiritual landscape. Additionally, he was chosen to be in the first group of the Balfour Brickner Rabbinic Fellowship, a joint program with Clal and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism that aims to integrate Jewish textual tradition with modern social and political issues. He is on the advisory board of several organizations, including the 92nd St. Y’s “7 Days of Genius” Festival, as well as the URJ’s 6-Points Sci-Tech Academy.

From 2007 to 2014, he served as Assistant and then Associate Rabbi of Temple Beth El of Northern Westchester, and he appeared on Jeopardy! in March 2016. He lives in Westchester County with his wife Heather Stoltz, a fiber artist, with their daughter and son.

Dr. Gregory Mobley is a Professor of Hebrew Bible and Congregational Studies at Yale Divinity School. Mobley came to Yale in 2017 after twenty years of teaching Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at Andover Newton Theological School (1997-2017) and at Union Theological Seminary in New York (1996-97). He is the author of three books: The Return of the Chaos Monsters—and Other Backstories of the Bible (Eerdmans, 2012), Samson and the Liminal Hero in the Ancient Near East (T & T Clark, 2006), and The Empty Men: The Heroic Tradition in Ancient Israel (Doubleday, 2005). He co-authored with T. J. Wray The Birth of Satan: Tracing the Devil’s Biblical Roots (Palgrave, 2005) and co-edited the award-winning anthology of essays on interfaith learning, My Neighbor’s Faith: Stories of Interfaith Encounter, Growth, and Transformation (with J. Peace and O. Rose; Orbis, 2012).

Mobley’s primary interest is in uncovering the stirring stories under the surface of the over-edited moralistic and priestly layers of the Bible, and he is currently writing a commentary on Judges for the Illuminations series. 

Mobley’s teaching interests include Judges, the stories in the Bible and the Bible itself as a story, prophetic literature, Job, and reading the Bible in the light of contemporary sensibilities toward environmental sustainability. Mobley, an ordained American Baptist minister, also teaches Baptist Polity. 

Active in Interfaith work, Mobley at Andover Newton was a co-founder of the CIRCLE interfaith program with Rabbi Or Rose and Jennifer Peace. Mobley is part of AJC's Christian Leadership Initiative hosted by the Shalom Hartmann Institute in Jerusalem. He also teaches courses at YDS on interfaith learning, most recently a course in Life Cycle Rituals from an Interreligious Perspective.

Mobley has written articles and book reviews in journals such as the Journal of Biblical LiteratureCatholic Biblical Quarterly,Association of Jewish Studies ReviewInterpretation, and Biblische Notizen, and has contributed to a number of Bible handbooks, including the New Oxford Annotated Bible.

Mobley has done archaeological fieldwork in Israel and served as an editorial assistant on the Dead Sea Scrolls project. He is an ordained American Baptist pastor.

Dr. Benjamin Sommer is Professor of Bible at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Previously he was Director of the Crown Family Center for Jewish Studies at Northwestern University. He has been a visiting faculty member at Hebrew University, the Shalom Hartman Institute, the University of Chicago, and Brite Divinity School of Texas Christian University, and a Fellow of the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, the Tikvah Center for Law and Jewish Civilization at the New York University Law School, the Yad Hanadiv Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies. He frequently teaches rabbinic and lay groups in the United States and Israel. His most recent book, Revelation and Authority: Sinai in Jewish Scripture and Tradition, was awarded the Goldstein-Goren Prize in Jewish thought for 2014–2016 and was named a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award and the Jordan Schnitzer Prize. Publishers Weekly selected it as a recommended book in religion, describing it as a “groundbreaking work . . . clearly written and broad in application." The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz has described Sommer as “a traditionalist and yet an iconoclast – he shatters idols and prejudices in order to nurture Jewish tradition and its applicability today” and characterized his thought as “a synthesis of intellectual acuity, clarity, deep knowledge of classical Jewish texts throughout the generations along with contemporary Christian theology and ancient Near Eastern literature.” His earlier books, The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel, and A Prophet Reads Scripture: Allusion in Isaiah 40–66 also received multiple awards.

Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz is the President & Dean of Valley Beit Midrash, Founder & President of Uri L’Tzedek, Founder & CEO of The Shamayim V'Aretz Institute, and Founder & President of YATOM: The Jewish Foster & Adoption Network.

Rabbi Yanklowitz’s writings have appeared in outlets as diverse as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Guardian, and the Atlantic among many other secular and religious publications. Rabbi Yanklowitz is a sought-after educator, social justice activist, and motivational speaker as well as the author of fourteen books on Jewish spirituality, social justice, and ethics.

As a global social justice activist and educator, Rabbi Yanklowitz has volunteered, staffed trips, and taught across the world. Rabbi Dr. Yanklowitz has also served as a rabbinic representative, facilitator, and speaker at the World Economic Forum in Geneva and Davos. Rabbi Shmuly's religious journey was filmed in the Independent Lens/PBS documentary "The Calling."

Rabbi Shmuly earned a masters degree from Harvard University in Leadership and Psychology, another masters from Yeshiva University in Jewish Philosophy, and a doctorate from Columbia University in Moral Development and Epistemology. He obtained rabbinical ordination from the Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School and two additional, private ordinations in Israel. He has twice been named one of America's Top Rabbis by Newsweek. In 2016, The Forward named Rabbi Shmuly one of The Most Inspiring Rabbis in America. In 2016, the Forward named Rav Shmuly one of the 50 most influential Jews. In the same year, Yanklowitz was selected for the Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship in Cross-Cultural Leadership and Innovative Entrepreneurship at the University of Cambridge. Rabbi Shmuly, his wife Shoshana, and their three children live in Scottsdale, Arizona. They are also foster parents.

Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. He graduated from Princeton University in 1991 and was ordained as a Rabbi by the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion in 1998. He trained as a Jewish Educator at HUC’s Los Angeles campus, where he received a M.A. in Jewish Education.

He served Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, California, as Rabbi and educator for eleven years, until moving to Israel with his family in 2009 to become the Director of HUC’s Year-in-Israel program. In addition to overall management of the graduate level program, he served as an instructor in Jewish Liturgy.

Rabbi Zweiback is a lecturer at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, and a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. He is also the volunteer Executive Director and Founder of Kavod, a non-profit tzedakah collective which is dedicated to protecting human dignity.

Rabbi Zweiback is also an author, musician and composer. His publications include the teacher’s guide to Shalom Ivrit IIDay of Days; and Days of Wonder, Nights of Peace: Family Prayers in Song for Morning and Bedtime. As part of Mah Tovu, he has released three albums, published two books, and performed across the United States.

He is married to Jacqueline Hantgan and, together, they are the proud parents of three daughters

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*Times and details subject to change.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

8:00am to 9:00amBREAKFAST

8:00am to 9:00am - Service

8:30am - Registration Opens

9:00am to 9:45am - Welcome

9:45am to 12:30pm - Torat Emet

12:30pm to 1:30pm - LUNCH

1:30pm to 3:15pm - Torat Emet

3:15pm to 3:45pm - BREAK

3:45pm to 5:45pm - Sefat Emet

5:45pm to 6:45pm - DINNER

6:45pm to 8:15pm - Emet v’omanut


Monday, November 12, 2018

8:00am to 8:30amBREAKFAST

8:00am to 8:30am - Registration

8:30am to 11:15am - Tefilat Emet

11:15am to 11:30am - LUNCH

11:30am to 12:45pm - Emet u’mada / Working Lunch

12:45pm to 2:00pm - Dabru Emet

2:00pm to 2:15pm - BREAK

2:15pm to 3:30pm - Dabru Emet

3:30pm to 4:00pm - Conclusion

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