On November 13 and 14, 2016, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion embarked upon two tremendous days of learning, reflection, creativity, and innovation. Throughout each presentation and conversation, our Symposium was imbued with the values of mutual respect, dialogue, and understanding that can serve as a model to the larger community. The presentations of our scholars, and the active participation of clergy, lay leaders, and students who attended the Symposium, have energized us to work toward positive action that can effect change. Today, it is ever more important that we be steadfast in creating a visionary, communal, and intellectual leadership that can help us face the challenges ahead with knowledge and skill.
Since 1875, HUC-JIR has stood for the Jewish and social values that have helped form open and meaningful communities over the centuries: inclusiveness, egalitarianism, respect, and outreach, all in the service of making the world a better place. As we apply the wisdom, creativity, and new ideas generated by the Symposium, may we work together to continue to making an impact on communities far and wide.
Below, please view a selection of videos and other materials from the Symposium:
Click here to listen to the podcast version of President Panken's Welcome.
By Dr. Alyssa M. Gray, J.D.
Emily S. and Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman Chair in Rabbinics
Professor of Codes and Responsa Literature
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
Click here to listen to the podcast version of Dr. Gray's Introduction to Theme One.
By Dr. Marcia Pally
Professor of Multilingual Multicultural Studies
New York University
What should we use to choose our political candidates and policies? This talk will look at covenant and theologies of relationality as a framework for economics and politics. Relational theologies move beyond the divisions of self-other, individualism-communalism, and hold instead to a worldview of the individual-amid-relation. We are each unique, singular persons b'tselem Elohim yet we become our distinct selves through layers of relations (to God, among persons). The theology for this understanding of society will be discussed along with implications for the public sphere today.
Presentation Outline - Click here to access an outline of Dr. Pally's presentation.
PowerPoint Presentation - Click here to access the PowerPoint slides from Dr. Pally's presentation.
By Professor Eric Segall
Kathy and Lawrence Ashe Professor of Law
Georgia State University
Professor Segall's talk discusses how special interest political and religious groups, with the assistance of the Supreme Court, have carved out new privileges for select religions in our civic, economic, and public lives. Instead of advocating for equality and neutrality, these groups have employed the tools of the law to exempt religious groups from complying with the law and gaining governmental endorsements of majoritarian religions and symbols. Segall will argue that the Court should reverse course and once again make government neutrality towards religion a hallmark of its jurisprudence in keeping with the two religion clauses of the First Amendment.
PowerPoint Presentation - Click here to access the PowerPoint slides from Professor Segall's presentation.
By Rabbi David H. Aaron, Ph.D.
Professor of Hebrew Bible and History of Interpretation
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
Click here to listen to the podcast version of Rabbi Aaron's Introduction to Theme Two.
By Cantor Elizabeth Sacks - Senior Cantor, Temple Emanuel Denver
By Dr. Janet Walton - Professor of Worship, Union Theological Seminary
Featuring Noah Aronson, Voice and Piano, and Linda Kent, Dancer
Worship and prayer have always been at the center of Jewish life, crystallizing and communicating our values and bringing the community together as one. As we move into new paradigms of Jewish life, how can we continue to create meaningful and transformative worship experiences? In this session, we will explore the purpose and the boundaries of Jewish worship. Questions to consider will include: Why explore new options? In trying to enlarge the Jewish tradition, what is the scope of our options? We will explore many different aspects of experience including, use of words, language, dance and sound.
Presentation Outline - Click here to access an outline of Cantor Sacks and Dr. Walton's presentation.
PowerPoint Presentation - Click here to access the PowerPoint slides from Cantor Sacks and Dr. Walton's presentation.
By Dr. Rachel Tzvia Back
Senior Lecturer of English Literature
This address will discuss the various attributes of poetry that make it a useful tool for promoting social change and progressive thought. In addition, Dr. Back will offer various strategies for integrating poetry into, and thereby enriching, one’s educational and religious communities.
PowerPoint Presentation - Click here to access the PowerPoint slides from Dr. Back's presentation.