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Symposium One: Video Archive

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:

  • Welcome by President Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D., HUC-JIR
  • Introduction of Theme One by Dr. Alyssa M. Gray, J.D., HUC-JIR
  • Presentation and Discussion with Dr. Marcia Pally, New York University
  • Presentation and Discussion with Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., Brandeis University, HUC-JIR
  • Presentation and Discussion with Dr. Jerusha Tanner Lamptey, Union Theological Seminary
  • Presentation and Discussion with Professor Eric Segall, Georgia State University
  • Introduction of Theme Two by Rabbi David H. Aaron, Ph.D, HUC-JIR
  • Presentation and Discussion with Cantor Elizabeth Sacks, Temple Emanuel Denver, and Dr. Janet Walton, Union Theological Seminary
  • Presentation and Discussion with Dr. Rachel Tzvia Back, Oranim College
  • Presentation and Discussion with Rabbi Mark Washofsky, Ph.D., HUC-JIR
  • Presentation and Discussion with Rabbi Owen Gottlieb, Ph.D., Rochester Institute of Technology
 

Additional videos will be made available over the coming weeks.

For additional details about Symposium One, such as speaker and moderator biographies, please click here or contact us at symposium1@huc.edu

 

Day One: Sunday, November 13, 2016

Welcome by President Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D. 

Click here to listen to the podcast version of President Panken's Welcome.

 

Introduction of Theme One: The Role of Progressive Religion in an Increasingly Fundamentalist World

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.

 

Against the "Selfish Gene": Covenant and Relationality as a Framework for Public Policy

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

Discussion

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. 

Click here to listen to podcast versions of the Presentation and Discussion.

 

Prospects and Challenges for Liberal Judaism in a World of “Resacralization”

By Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D.

Acting Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies; Visiting Professor in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies of Brandeis University
Chancellor-Emeritus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
 
Prospects and Challenges for Liberal Judaism in a World of “Resacralization”
Liberal Judaisms emerged in a 19th century crucible of Enlightenment thought. Confidence in the power of reason was unbounded and the forces of secularization appeared triumphant over the forces of traditional religion. The 20th century witnessed countless events and schools of thought that shook this confidence in reason, and the power of traditional religion to withstand and even triumph over the challenges the forces of secularization posed to such forms of traditional religion. Indeed, this has led the famed social commentator Peter Berger to label ours as an age of "resacralization." This lecture will describe these processes and markers of the modern world and will reflect upon the ongoing vitality and relevance of liberal expressions of Judaism now and in the future.
 
Presentation
 
 
Discussion
 
 

Click here to listen to podcast versions of the Presentation and Discussion.

 

Feminism and Pluralism in Islam: A Muslima Theological Approach

Dr. Jerusha Tanner Lamptey
 
Assistant Professor of Islam and Ministry; Advisor of the Islam, Social Justice, and Interreligious Engagement Program (ISJIE)
Union Theological Seminary
 
In this session, Dr. Lamptey will discuss aspects of my approach—Muslima Theology—to interpreting of the Qur’an and Islamic tradition. In particular, she will focus on overlaps within discussions of feminism and religious diversity; new ways of engaging productively and substantially across religious communities; and the importance of paying attention to methods of interpretation as well as conclusions of interpretation.
 

Presentation

Discussion

Presentation Outline - Click here to access an outline of Dr. Lamptey's presentation.

PowerPoint Presentation - Click here to access the PowerPoint slides from Dr. Lamptey's presentation. 

Click here to listen to podcast versions of the Presentation and Discussion.

 

Religion, Contraception & Supreme Court Explained

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.

Presentation

Discussion

PowerPoint Presentation - Click here to access the PowerPoint slides from Professor Segall's presentation. 

Click here to listen to podcast versions of the Presentation and Discussion.

 

Day Two: Monday, November 14, 2016

Introduction of Theme Two: Fostering a Vigorous Progressive Jewish Culture

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.

 

Praying for our Lives: The Power of Particularity Amidst the Collective

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

Discussion

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.

Click here to listen to podcast versions of the Presentation and Discussion.

 

"A Measure of Splendor": Teaching Poetry for Social Change

By Dr. Rachel Tzvia Back
Senior Lecturer of English Literature
Oranim College

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.

Presentation

Discussion

PowerPoint Presentation - Click here to access the PowerPoint slides from Dr. Back's presentation.

Click here to listen to podcast versions of the Presentation and Discussion.

 

Halakhah as a Language for Liberal Jewish Life

 
Rabbi Mark Washofsky, Ph.D.
Solomon B. Freehof Professor of Jewish Law and Practice
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
 
Halakhah, the Jewish legal tradition, is often defined as a set of rules and restrictions. Rabbi Washofsky will argue that we ought rather to think of halakhah as a language, a text-based discourse of argument through which Jews make meaning and construct their religious universe. Halakhah has always functioned in this way - as a language - within the various streams of liberal Judaism. And that language will continue to be essential to liberal Jews as we seek to create a distinctively Jewish life and culture in the 21st century.
 
Presentation
 
 
Discussion
 
 
Presentation Outline - Click here to access the PowerPoint slides from Rabbi Washofsky's presentation.
 
Click here to listen to podcast versions of the Presentation and Discussion.
 
 

Playing with Judaism in the Digital Age

 
Rabbi Owen Gottlieb, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Interactive Games and Media
Rochester Institute of Technology
 
Gottlieb explores implications of contemporary and near-future digital and analog technologies for the rediscovery, transformation, and extension of various pathways for Jewish learning.
 
Click here to listen to podcast versions of the Presentation and Discussion.