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Vayishlach: The Ability to Prevail Through Struggle
10.12.2019, by Avital Hochstein
At the heart of our parashah we are presented with the arresting scene of Ya’akov wrestling with an unidentified ‘man.’ This puzzling scene is understood by Ya’akov in hindsight as an encounter with God: So Ya’akov named the place Peniel, meaning, ‘I have seen a divine being face to face, yet my life has been preserved’ (v. 31) read more>
What the Talmud Taught Me About Christmas
08.12.2019, by Avital Hochstein
Or: The Hanukkah Candles’ Criticism of Particularism and Universalism read more>
Video: Religious Tolerance, Real Pluralism and ’Holy Envy‘
01.12.2019, by Prof. Menachem Fisch
In opening remarks at a recent public forum during the Shalom Hartman Institute annual Theology Conference, Prof. Menachem Fisch discussed the difference between tolerance and religious pluralism read more>
Vayeitzei: From Dream to Prayer: When God Asked Not To Be Affected
01.12.2019, by Avital Hochstein
Yaakov chooses to encounter God through prayer and allows prayer to set the frame for meaning. Yaakov could have "just stumbled upon a place," but instead he meaningfully encounters the Makom, the Omnipresent read more>
Hanukkah: Uncovering the Hidden Divine Light
28.11.2019, by Shira Koch Epstein
In these next dark days until we illuminate the hanukkiah, I am asking us to please share the light: where are you finding, and uncovering, Or Ha-Ganuz, the hidden divine light? read more>
Miracles Aren’t What They Used to Be – If They Ever Were
28.11.2019, by Alan D. Abbey
I believe in the miracles we create through our kindness, our goodness, and our hard work read more>
Toledot: From Isaac to Esau
24.11.2019, by Avital Hochstein
Yitzhak is a complex figure: at times motivated by inter-personal ties and connected, and at times both an isolated and an isolating personality. I would like to explore the expression of both these aspects of Yitzhak in our parashah. read more>
Chayyei Sarah: When Did Humanity Begin to Age and What is the Value of Aging?
17.11.2019, by Avital Hochstein
It seems that in the Bavli, Avraham’s request is not a request solely for self respect, as apparent in Bereishit Rabbah, but rather it has a philanthropic side. The request for dissimilarity is not only a request for oneself but also for one’s offspring. It is in fact a universal request regarding progress. Avraham is asking to be able to change the future, a future he will not be a part of, and God’s response is to bless Avraham ‘with everything’ read more>
Vayera: Parents, Children, and Obedience in the Story of the Binding of Yitzhak
11.11.2019, by Avital Hochstein
This week, I would like to discuss two readings-essentially two interpretations-of the story of the Akeidah, the binding of Yitzhak. One of them emphasizes making the ultimate sacrifice for God, while the other sees the central moral of the story as focused on the value of relationships. read more>
The Cross and the ‘Mechitza’: Thoughts on Ritual Pluralism
06.11.2019, by Shaul Magid
What must Orthodox Jews give up to share prayer space with the non-Orthodox—and vice versa? read more>
Lekh Lekha: Betwen Seeing and Hearing in the Meeting of Hagar and the Angel
05.11.2019, by Avital Hochstein
Hagar teaches us that vision has tremendous power in relationships. Seeing causes the one being seen to feel that their existence has been acknowledged and accepted. This can lead those who are seen to become seers themselves, thus creating a kind of reciprocal seeing that is the key to deep knowledge of the others with whom we share our lives. read more>
Noah: The Great Confusion of Miscommunication
03.11.2019, by Jennifer Raskas
After the flood, all of humanity joined together to build a tower to the sky and revealed that unity isn`t all it`s cracked up to be (Parshat Noah) read more>
Politicians Must Stop Asking `What Can The Country Do For Me?`
31.10.2019, by Donniel Hartman
Before we can coalesce around a unity government, and even more significantly, before we embark on yet a third round of election campaigning, every single one of us must engage in a serious process of self-reflection and stop asking how the country can serve you and instead ask, “What are the consequences of our responsibility to serve our country?” read more>
Noah: The First Covenant in Tanakh
31.10.2019, by Avital Hochstein
In Parashat Noah, God shows us that being in relationship with other people requires deep knowledge of ourselves and our own weaknesses, and a strong commitment to controlling our own impulses and our own behavior. God does not try to change the nature of humanity, to change the “inclination of man to good.” Instead God talks to Himself, talks to humanity, puts restrictions on Himself, and becomes able, thereby, to be bound to us. read more>
Must We Be Scared?
30.10.2019, by Yehuda Kurtzer
The great paradox of antisemitism is that it may ultimately be a hatred which so defies easy explanation that it can never be fully defeated, and that it is such that we are not allowed to succumb to it shaping who we are read more>
Bereishit: Two Models of Partnership and Marriage
27.10.2019, by Avital Hochstein
Parashat Bereishit raises fundamental questions about the nature, characteristics, and essence of humanity’s existence. Also find links to more content on Bereishit by Hartman scholars read more>
How Did the Word “Jew” Become the Name Most Identified with the Jewish People?
22.10.2019, by Orit Avnery
The first appearance of the word “Jew” in the Bible is in Kings II 16:6. Its connotation there is identical to that of “men of Yehuda”: “and drove the Jews from Eilat.” Over time, this name replaced the earlier ones, though the meaning remained unchanged. In other words, the term Jew in this period was a person who originated from the Kingdom of Yehuda. read more>
Keep Jews Interesting: It’s Time to Stop Being Defined by Anti-Semitism
16.10.2019, by Shaul Magid
Acting from self-hatred by focusing on anti-Semitism may enable Jews to survive but they will cease to be an interesting people. Let’s try to keep Jews an interesting people read more>
Between the Torah and Its Giver: Shemini Atzeret and Simḥat Torah
15.10.2019, by Renana Ravitsky Pilzer
On this combined holiday, which concludes the Tishrei holidays, we are asked to swing back and forth like a pendulum – to express our love and rejoice in the Torah by dancing hakafot and completing the Torah-reading cycle, and to display our direct connection with God through the festival prayers and our petitioning Him for a good rainy season read more>
For Sukkot: A Theology of Rain
10.10.2019, by Lauren Berkun
In Florida, I have reflected often on the ways in which Judaism invests rain with religious meaning. Prayers for rain mark the culmination of the High Holiday season read more>
On the Liminality of Kol Nidrei
26.09.2019, by Channa Pinchasi
Each of us can be righteous, as is stated in “Or zaru’a la-tzadik,” and if we choose to be upright, we will be blessed with joy. read more>
The Fall of Netanyahu
26.09.2019, by Yossi Klein Halevi
On the overdue fall of a leader who turned power for his people into his only real ideal and who confused their well-being with his own read more>
Nitzavim-VaYelekh: The Value of Forgetfulness in a Culture of Tradition
24.09.2019, by Avital Hochstein
No halakha can be introduced by prophecy, but the tools of Torah study are granted as ways of learning new halakhot throughout the ages read more>
Ki Tavo: ‘When You Enter the Land’: Land as a Place, Aspiration, or Outcome
19.09.2019, by Avital Hochstein
We, who live in a time of Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel, are now faced with a great challenge: How do we live now? read more>
Israel’s Close Netanyahu-Gantz Vote is a Victory for Democracy
19.09.2019, by Yossi Klein Halevi
Israelis and their friends abroad deserve a moment of celebration. This election was good news for Israel and good news for the future of embattled democracies everywhere read more>
Shoftim: Where are the Orphans, Widows and Strangers? On the Audible Silence in the Parasha
04.09.2019, by Avital Hochstein
The absence of weakened members of society, alongside the persistent cautions regarding the need to stay on the path, are positioned as warning signs: when a society`s focus is on comparisons with the exterior and on fortifying borders, it is liable to replace concern for charity and justice, raising the danger of inner blindness which itself may lead off the path of righteousness read more>
Re’eh: A Place of Their Own - A Place of His Own
29.08.2019, by Avital Hochstein
God is the one who chooses God`s place, while in the midrash Israel choose a place for God. Perhaps Israel has a responsibility to find and keep not only the place of their own cultic ritual, but the ritual places of others as well read more>
On Disloyalty and Dual Loyalty: Is President Trump a Brandeisean Zionist?
29.08.2019, by Shaul Magid
Trump’s inversion of the “dual loyalty” equation does not erase its anti-Semitic connotations; it merely recalibrates its implications. Watching white supremacists waving an Israeli flag, as jarring as it may look, is therefore not dissonant at all read more>
The Day Israel Humiliated its US Friends in Congress
25.08.2019, by Yossi Klein Halevi
The 40+ freshman Democrats who are committed to the Israeli-American relationship showed the fringe anti-Israel element to be just that - but how do they feel now? read more>
Half a Century After His Suicide, We Remember a Jewish Mystical Master
25.08.2019, by Shaul Magid
Fifty years after Joseph Weiss’ death, it’s time we grapple with his dark, gorgeous vision read more>
Eikev: What the Manna Teaches about Life in the Land of Canaan
19.08.2019, by Avital Hochstein
Living in response to what comes forth from God’s mouth creates a reality of independence and maturity read more>
Va’Etchanan - Mapping a Relationship: Chapter 4 of Devarim
14.08.2019, by Avital Hochstein
This is the Torah: The exclusivity of the relationship with God, which includes a past, a particular place and particular behaviors, an understanding of the ramifications of betrayal, the possibility of teshuvah and the ability to hold those who sin and make mistakes read more>
Straight Talk on Teen Sexuality and Halakha
07.08.2019, by Rivka Press Schwartz
As urgently needed as these conversations are, having them opens institutions up to external criticism that we are sanctioning non-halachic behavior and internal soul-searching about whether we’re achieving the correct balance and conveying the right message read more>
Pinchas: Regarding Leadership and Spirit
21.07.2019, by Avital Hochstein
It is Moshe’s experience of God here that inspires him to turn to God as the God of spirits" read more>
Balak: Between Pinhas and Balaam
11.07.2019, by Avital Hochstein
We too learn of the simple nature of the relationship between God and his creatures; the relationship is a mutual one, one who chooses it is a part of it, whereas one who scorns the choice remains external to it read more>
The Rebbe of the Jewish People
07.07.2019, by Yossi Klein Halevi
Menachem Mendel Schneerson`s cosmic task continues 25 years after his death: spreading boundless and irrational love for every Jew read more>
An Israeli Cop Shot an Unarmed Ethiopian Teen: Here’s Why American Jews Should Care
07.07.2019, by Mijal Bitton
Solomon Tekah’s killing is a tragedy that should matter to all good people who care about questions of racism, discrimination, police brutality and inequity. But it should especially matter to Zionist Jews around the world, whose moral imagination and responsibility would expand in a deeply ethical way if confronted with his death read more>
Another Side of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
04.07.2019, by Shaul Magid
A new book gives us Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson as social reformer read more>
Chukat: Death, Impurity, and the Pursuit of Life
04.07.2019, by Avital Hochstein
The demand to move on from death and to purify oneself transforms the encounter with death into one that affirms life through a dynamic commitment to act, to move forward, to become pure again read more>
Korah - On Illness: A Natural and Unnatural Phenomenon
27.06.2019, by Avital Hochstein
The Talmud ends up offering not just a fascinating reading of the Korah tale, but also a worldview regarding death that is the culmination of illness read more>
“The Establishment” Has No Clothes: The New Jewish ‘Influence Economy’
27.06.2019, by Yehuda Kurtzer
The persistence of an outdated narrative of Jewish communal life – and its use to litigate political battles – is inaccurate and ineffective. American Jewish communal life has changed faster than our categories, and in more exciting and entropic ways than our rhetoric understands. We absolutely should be interrogating how power, authority, and influence work in our community, and creating accountability. But to do so, we need a better map. read more>
‘To Greet the Sabbath’
20.06.2019, by Channa Pinchasi
It is precisely because Shabbat permeates every level of our culture – our schools, our families, the public square, personal observance, and spiritual experience – and that we have access to the riches of Jewish culture, that we, men and women alike, are privileged to play a role in shaping the personal and familial, communal and national Shabbat of our day. read more>
Graceful Masculinity
17.06.2019, by Shalom Hartman Institute
G-d, the source of all genders, has many male attributes and is also the source of all good. The humility and respect that G-d has for the space that we take up in this world, despite the actual power differential that exists between the Creator and Their creations, provides an important template for our interpersonal interactions where the power differences are only a social construction read more>
Shelah: The Story of a Developing Community - From Exodus to Exoneration
16.06.2019, by Avital Hochstein
The sin of the spies is also a milestone not only in the unfolding character of the Jewish people, but also in God’s willingness to grant them the tools to find atonement for the future sins both He and they know they will commit read more>
One Mount, Two Religions, Three Proposals
16.06.2019, by Israel Knohl
Three Israeli and Jewish viewpoints suggest a different perspective on the holiness of the site and the meaning of sovereignty over the Temple Mount read more>
The Book of Ruth: Between Acceptance and Alienation (Shavuot)
05.06.2019, by Orit Avnery
read more>
Naso: What Unites the People of Israel - Thoughts on Family and Otherness
04.06.2019, by Avital Hochstein
The Sages chose to read many verses in such a way as to place the kohen and God’s home on the side of the converts read more>
Consumed by Fire: Remembering Life in Carlebach’s Israeli Moshav, Now Felled by Flames
27.05.2019, by Shaul Magid
Thankfully, there was no loss of life. But as my mother so aptly put it, there was a loss of “a way of life.” May the ner timidi of “the moshav,” its inextinguishable flame, continue to burn in the hearts of those who were warmed by its light, inspired by its vision, and embraced by its love read more>
It is Possible to be Moved by the Flag of Zion Waving
23.05.2019, by Shalom Hartman Institute
Emuna Elon: The religious-Zionist public views Jerusalem Day as a true holiday, rejoicing in flag waving and parades, and hoping that other audiences will join in. The enthusiastic grasp of these values by the religious part of the public creates the impression that these ideals are their monopoly read more>
BeHar-BeChukotai: The Seventh Year: Sabbatical or Shemittah?
23.05.2019, by Avital Hochstein
Though, modern people in the Western world are, for the most part, removed from the land, we control so much property. Vayikra’s vision of the seventh year demands that we recognize the dependence in our lives. Yet Shemot’s paradigm of the seventh year also commands us to remove ourselves from ownership, to experience living without, perhaps as a basis from which to experience equality. read more>
Relationship, Memory are Principles of Jewish Common Destiny, Interdependence
23.05.2019, by Rabbi Prof. David Hartman
Despite the varieties of lifestyles and outlooks among Jews today, there are certain organizing principles that cut across many of these differences and underlie the sense of common destiny and interdependence that so many Jews feel. From ‘I Am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl’ read more>
‘My Prayer for Jerusalem’
23.05.2019, by Yossi Klein Halevi
On the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem, Yossi Klein Halevi says: ‘My prayer for Jerusalem, my city, our city, is that the international community will recognize the Jewish people as the legitimate custodian of Jerusalem and that we will see ourselves as the custodians of Jerusalem for humanity’ read more>
Jerusalem Day is a Day of Prayer for the Future
21.05.2019, by Shalom Hartman Institute
Muki Tzur: I’m not willing to say that I’m giving up the holiday, because I’m in another political camp. For me, Jerusalem Day is a day of prayer for the future. Not a day of victory in the war, but a holiday of commitment to peace. I am not naive and do not hold on to an illusion. It is clear to me that this is a painful process, but I do not give up hope read more>
The Exquisite Challenge of Care (Shavuot)
13.05.2019, by Tamara Mann Tweel
What do you do? From Ruth we learn to pause before the logistics, to face our elders, to see them as God sees them, and to proclaim that they are not alone. read more>
Emor: Building Mutuality and Covenant Between People and their Leaders
13.05.2019, by Avital Hochstein
We envision a public sphere in which the leadership depends on the people-for nourishment, light, and even the organization and flow of time. In this way, God, the people, and their representatives construct, reflect, and preserve their joint covenant through their respective public roles and responsibilities read more>
1947: The UN Partition Plan - The Jews and the World
13.05.2019, by Elana Stein Hain
From the 2017 Community Leadership Program Summer Retreat read more>
From Yom Hashoah to Yom Ha’atzmaut - the New ‘High Holidays’ of Israel
05.05.2019, by Donniel Hartman
Israel must be that which remembers, and through that memory constantly commands itself to be worthy of the price paid, to embrace life, and to live it to the fullest read more>
Fallen Soldiers and the Shekhina’s Wings
05.05.2019, by Channa Pinchasi
Will IDF rabbis put fallen soldiers who converted to Judaism into a diminished category? read more>
Hans Jonas: Technology, Kabbalah, and the Holocaust
30.04.2019, by Ron Margolin
Few people in Israel remember Hans Jonas, one of the most important and fascinating of the Jewish philosophers. Jonas was a student of Martin Heidegger who fled to Israel when the Nazis came to power. He fought in the Jewish Brigade and in the War of Independence and became one of the leading thinkers behind the growth of the European Green movement. read more>
One People, Two Resurrections
30.04.2019, by Donniel Hartman
The Zionist narrative of Holocaust and resurrection has never been able to appreciate and recognize Jewish resurrection beyond the national home’s borders; when Zionism looks at the Diaspora, it still sees it as the European Jewry in the early 20th century, which is still exposed to an inevitable and imminent holocaust, either as the result of anti-Semitism or as the result of assimilation read more>
Auschwitz or Sinai: Metaphor and the Meaning of Modern Israel
29.04.2019, by Yehuda Kurtzer
David Hartman wrote in 1982 of two metaphors for how we are to relate to Israel: Auschwitz demands vigilance against external threats, prioritizing the value of Jewish survival; Sinai sees Jewish sovereignty guided by the aspiration to achieve the covenant with God. Three decades later, this tension remains in our communal conversation. Which metaphor is more accurate in understanding the state of Israel, and what does it mean to hold onto such metaphors in our relationship to it? read more>
Honoring Heroes on Holocaust Remembrance Day
29.04.2019, by Donniel Hartman
Today’s Jews, who walk in the world with pride and dignity, are standing on the shoulders of giants who led the way. We must not merely remember their suffering but be worthy of the inheritance of their heroism read more>
Kedoshim: Keeping Holy in the Land
29.04.2019, by Avital Hochstein
Jewish sovereignty is a new phenomenon in the Jewish world; it reflects circumstances that we have not experienced in two-thousand years. These circumstances might shed light or reflect darkness, might clarify some things and call others into question. Regardless, they are significant. The Jewish conversation must consider the ways in which these circumstances matter, how the fact of a "post-inheritance and post-sovereignty" reality color the lives of Jews wherever they live. read more>
Pesach: From Freedom to Purpose
18.04.2019, by Donniel Hartman
We now need Jewish moral values to help heal our divides and unite us under a common purpose. We may disagree on the facts, but we need not disagree on our purpose read more>
The Politics of Miracle (Pesach Commentary)
14.04.2019, by Shaul Magid
The Exodus Miracle as Revolution according to Rabbi Ya’akov Moshe Charlap read more>
How Women Can Make the Seder their Own
08.04.2019, by Channa Pinchasi
This Pesach, I want women everywhere to be a real part of the seder. I look at Hanna Rubina and I recognize the new, yet ancient way in which women can and should lead the seder read more>
Tazria-Metzora: Subject, Object, and Reader
04.04.2019, by Avital Hochstein
The thirteenth chapter of Sefer Vayikra talks about tzara’at, among other surface afflictions of the human body and of physical property. read more>
Shemini: Regarding Mistaken Stringencies and Humanity that is Good in the Eyes of God
28.03.2019, by Avital Hochstein
Stringencies are not infrequently mistakes, and often gateways to them. People must confront and be present with what happens to them, even when they are engaged in ‘sanctifying through closeness,’ and despite an intuition that the way of the stoic is the pathway to intimacy with God read more>
Pesach is Literally the Story of a People’s Birth
28.03.2019, by Orit Avnery
Every participant at the Seder must think of something that happened to them during the year, something that, because the individual was part of it, he “only saw the sweaty back of the one in front of him.” read more>
Purim: When the Sin Becomes the Mitzvah
24.03.2019, by Shaul Magid
We are commanded on Purim to engage in transgressive acts, even, or precisely because, our inclination would be against doing them. But it is only through such transgressions that Purim can achieve its purpose: to enable us to believe evil can be destroyed through inversion read more>
Tzav: Turning Over a New Leaf? Two Models of Atonement
20.03.2019, by Avital Hochstein
Atonement is straightening that which was crooked and is a process of renewal, but there is no such thing as new beginning without a past read more>
How Purim Came to Symbolize the New Culture of Pre-State Israel
19.03.2019, by Hizky Shoham
One of the most widely discussed questions in the literature about modern urban festivals is the question of originality: to what extent can a festival that has been reproduced from abroad for economic and political purposes construct a unique local identity? read more>
Jewish Meditation Tradition: Past and Present
17.03.2019, by Tomer Persico
The Jewish meditative tradition is a diverse collection of techniques and practices, originating at different eras and exhibiting varying characteristics. In this presentation, Tomer Persico offers a summation of the major trends of Jewish meditation following a chronological scheme, and aiming to underline the shifts in emphasis displayed by different Jewish Meditative paths, from Merkabah literature, through Kabbalah, Hasidism and ending with contemporary spirituality circles. Special consideration will be given to an evaluation of the similarities and differences between Jewish and Buddhist meditation. The presentation will be followed by a discussion with Jack Petranker, director of the Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages. read more>
Rise in Kahanism a Response to Crisis in Religious Zionism in Israel
17.03.2019, by Shaul Magid
The radical rabbi’s ideas and disciples are now in Israeli politics read more>
Vayikra: ‘If He Does Not Give Information’
14.03.2019, by Avital Hochstein
Even if we have not willingly chosen the circumstances that turned us into people who know, our obligation to fix, to purify, and to alert is not dependent on those circumstances read more>
Esther’s Not-So-Fairy-Tale Ending
10.03.2019, by Channa Pinchasi
This year when we fast on the Fast of Esther and when we read in the Scroll, ‘and if I perish, I perish,’ let us think about Esther and the sacrifice she made for all of us read more>
Netanyahu Is Fighting Ghosts
10.03.2019, by Yossi Klein Halevi
The Israeli prime minister is running against a left that no longer exists read more>
David Hartman: Israel is the Most Pluralistic Country
07.03.2019, by David Hartman Video
Adapted from a lecture by David Hartman in Toronto in 1987 read more>
Nationalism, Marginalization, and Jewish Peoplehood
07.03.2019, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Video conversation between Yehuda Kurtzer and Micah Goodman at the 2019 Hartman Conference for a Jewish-Democratic Israel read more>
VaYakhel-Pekudei: Bezalel’s Leadership an Additional Step in Leaving Egypt
07.03.2019, by Avital Hochstein
The leadership model that Bezalel presents is an added step in the distancing from Egypt, a step from a reality in which Moshe the man of God is the leader, toward the possibility of human leadership of a different kind read more>
From Independence to the Nation-State Law
04.03.2019, by Ariel Picard
2019 annual Hartman Conference will explore what it is that creates the tension between “Jewish” and “democratic” read more>
Which Torah Shall Emanate Out of Zion?
27.02.2019, by Donniel Hartman
Mr. Prime Minister, because of your actions, it is no longer clear whether it will be a Torah of hatred and injustice or a Torah of kindness and gentleness, a Torah of darkness or of light. Israel and the Jewish people need a leader for whom the answer is clear read more>
Ki Tissa: From the Burning Bush to Sinai
20.02.2019, by Avital Hochstein
At the sneh, God presented himself as one who sees suffering and is moved by it, but at Sinai Moshe asks not only to be seen but also to see God read more>
How Jews Became ‘Too White, Too Powerful’ for US Progressive Activism
12.02.2019, by Sara Yael Hirschhorn
The responsibility of Jewish power and progressive activism today must be twofold: to recognize both the privilege and powerlessness of our past and present, while fiercely protecting the Jewish present and future read more>
Pesach Jews V. Purim Jews: The Agony of our Dilemma
10.02.2019, by Yossi Klein Halevi
“Passover Jews” are motivated by empathy with the oppressed; “Purim Jews” are motivated by by alertness to threat. One without the other creates an unbalanced Jewish personality and a distortion of Jewish history and values read more>
Terumah: The Receiving Giver
05.02.2019, by Avital Hochstein
God here is giving us one possible way of dealing with this danger, and that is to turn the tables by recognizing them and naming the need of the giver read more>
Zionism’s Race from the Bottom
04.02.2019, by Yehuda Kurtzer
The depravity of using a convicted killer in an election campaign must spur articulation of a morally better Zionism read more>
Mishpatim: Does the Majority Rule?
30.01.2019, by Avital Hochstein
The emphasis at the center of the story on this principle shifts from being a simple positive statement of following the majority, to one that carries with it echoes of the warning that sometimes one cannot and may not do or say what the majority determines. Even though it can be especially hard to stand up for your own opinion, stand up in the breach for what is right read more>
Yitro: Reflections on Divine and Human Voices at Sinai
23.01.2019, by Avital Hochstein
As long as in the formation of the covenant or relationship only one real actor is involved, it will be difficult for the other partner to feel whole in entering into the covenant, and to really hear it and respond to it read more>
The Two Worlds of ‘Mrs. Maisel’
23.01.2019, by Shaul Magid
Midge is not rebelling for the reasons everybody else does. She doesn’t have the self-esteem problem Joan Rivers had. She just wants an activity. And it is that banality that makes her so interesting and often quite funny, because she seems as confused as we are. read more>
Don’t Be Put Off by Israel’s Messy Politics. They are a Sign of a Functioning Democracy
23.01.2019, by Ariel Picard
read more>
Beshallach: Let Us Not Long for the Desert: Reflections on the Pillar of Cloud
17.01.2019, by Avital Hochstein
We need to grab the golden opportunity that leaving the desert awards us and demands from us as Jews, as a sovereign people, and as global citizens read more>
The Little-known Christian, Nebraskan roots of Tu B’Shvat
16.01.2019, by Hizky Shoham
Tu B’Shvat owes its rapid canonization in the Yishuv era, and thereafter in the entire Jewish world, to the strong desire that many Jewish urbanites - regardless of their affiliations - felt for village and rural life, and for their hope that the new Jewish agriculture would give rise to a more authentic Jewish culture read more>
I’m a Sephardic Latina With an Intersectional Identity. That’s Why I Oppose the Women’s March
16.01.2019, by Mijal Bitton
read more>
‘Judaism Shouldn’t Have to Stay Alive Only Because Jews Are Afraid of Everything Else’
16.01.2019, by Yair Ettinger
Groundbreaking U.S. Rabbi Angela Buchdahl explains why she changed her mind on Jewish intermarriage, and what it`s like to be the face of Judaism for many Americans, while not being kosher enough for Israel read more>
Parashat Bo: On Belonging and Otherness
10.01.2019, by Avital Hochstein
It’s not enough to expand or to include. We have an obligation to look at the way we go about including, how do we invite other people to join us, how we behave toward them when they do read more>
Vaera: On the Value of Stubbornness
03.01.2019, by Avital Hochstein
Stubbornness is a complex and harsh characteristic. It is no surprise, then, that Pharaoh who is considered to be one of the most wicked characters in the Torah is shown as being very stubborn. We see Pharaoh repeatedly refusing to engage with the reality that he is faced with, and stubbornly, over and over, refusing to send the Israelites out of Egypt. Pharaoh is the paradigmatic stubborn person in the Exodus story, yet Parashat Va’Era also points to other characters in the story who are not considered wicked in any way who are nevertheless portrayed with this characteristic of stubbornness. This implies that perhaps stubbornness is not all bad. What can we learn about this character trait from our parashah and when it might make sense to employ it? read more>
Shemot: The Slippery Slope from Fear to Evil
27.12.2018, by Avital Hochstein
The first chapter of Sefer Shemot contains an important lesson for society: Evil can be perpetrated more easily by a group than by an individual. The chapter sounds this warning: The evil of a decree doesn’t keep people from obeying it. To the contrary, a blanket permission to be evil is a lot easier to implement than one single point of evil. Moreover, an all-encompassing license is, by its very nature, difficult to control once it is released. On top of that, it often returns to visit itself on the people who unleashed it. read more>
Vayechi: Seeing in Genesis
17.12.2018, by Avital Hochstein
In the journey of seeing in the book of Genesis, God is not described as satisfied when He sees, He is described as longing and wanting mutuality, mutuality which is enabled when He is also being seen. The peak expression of this seeing is when it gives birth to a name, a name that is given to the divine from the one seeing Him. read more>
Jerusalem Mayoral Race Opens First Cracks in Haredi “Black Wall”
17.12.2018, by Tomer Persico
The election in Jerusalem was the only the most significant sign that the long-term coordination among Haredim has shattered read more>
Zionism, Pan-Africanism, and White Nationalism
13.12.2018, by Shaul Magid
What we learn about Israel’s ethnocentrism by looking at groups inspired by Zionism read more>
Vayigash: Yosef’s Cry of Disappointment
12.12.2018, by Avital Hochstein
Yosef teaches us that relationships require exposure. As long as we maintain our covers and masks, our relationships remain unsatisfying. An act of exposure requires courage, a courage which is necessary in order for relationships to become fulfilling and to bring us peace of mind. read more>
Mikeitz: On the Power and Danger of Groups
04.12.2018, by Avital Hochstein
One of the givens of Jewish tradition is that matters of holiness require ten people, as we see in the context of the minyan of prayer. Different Rabbinic sources try to locate the basis for this demand and many sources in the Rabbinic tradition of Israel connect the ten people needed for a minyan to the original, literal Sons of Israel, the ten of Ya’akov’s sons who went down to Egypt to get food due to the famine plaguing Canaan at the time. We will examine one midrash in Bereishit Rabbah and the way that it grounds the requirement for a minyan from the verses about the journey of Ya’akov’s ten sons in our parashah. read more>
The Dire Effects of Playing the Fear Card
04.12.2018, by Donniel Hartman
The government’s false claims of ‘threats from within’ unravel Israel’s social cohesion and degrade its moral bedrock read more>
Our Country Is Burning, It’s Time to Act
04.12.2018, by Rachel Jacoby Rosenfield
The urgency of the moment demands much greater involvement by us all individually and by the Jewish community as a whole read more>
Vayeishev: Different Models of Loyalty
25.11.2018, by Avital Hochstein
We often think of the story of Yehudah and Tamar as being about Yehudah and Tamar, but a closer reading yields that there is a third figure in the story, Hirah the man from Adulam. read more>
Anti-Semitism, Assimilation and the Paradox of Jewish Survival
18.11.2018, by Yair Ettinger
A self-proclaimed ‘tribal Jew,’ historian David Myers explains why he‘d be sad if his daughters married a gentile, and how anti-Semitism could end up fortifying the Jewish collective identity. First in a series of interviews with North American Jewish leaders and thinkers. read more>
Thanksgiving: Religion, Otherness, and At-Homeness in America
14.11.2018, by Rivka Press Schwartz
Video panel featuring Rivka Press Schwarz, Rev. Mario E. Milian, Suhail Khan, Yehuda Kurtzer, and Lauren Berkun read more>
Anti-Semitism, and the Inconvenience of Collective Identity
08.11.2018, by Yehuda Kurtzer
read more>
The Courage to Defy Mass Culture: Reflections on the Lights of Hanukkah
07.11.2018, by Rabbi Prof. David Hartman
Hanukkah challenges us to build an identity that accepts philosophical awareness and a critical appreciation of outside cultures, but while maintaining loyalty to our own history and culture read more>
Hanukkah: Reflections on Courage and Particularity
06.11.2018, by Rabbi Prof. David Hartman
Newly available: 1980 Essay on Hanukkah from David Hartman. Jewish chauvinism and mistrust of the world is lessened when we experience the joy of mitzvah. Intense Judaic learning in the spirit of Maimonides and Soloveitchik is the key to integrating Jewish particularism with modernity. Israel`s great gift to the Jewish world is that it enables us to realize that ghettoization or assimilation is not the only choice possible in the modern world. read more>
‘Who is a Jew’ in Light of the Hanukkah Experience
06.11.2018, by Rabbi Prof. David Hartman
Newly available: 1984 Essay on Hanukkah from David Hartman. For Jews who live in the different areas of the globe, the memory of the Maccabees can be an inspiration to persevere and believe that ultimately, they will be victorious in their struggle read more>
Hanukkah Offers Israeli Jews a Concept of Jewish Survival in Modern History
06.11.2018, by Rabbi Prof. David Hartman
Newly available: Essay on Hanukkah from David Hartman. Hanukkah challenges us to build an identity that accepts philosophical awareness and a critical appreciation of outside cultures, but while maintaining loyalty to our own history and culture read more>
Social Gospel or Prosperity Gospel? At the Crossroads (Al Parshat Derakhim) of American Judaism
06.11.2018, by Shaul Magid
The work is to construct a new Jewish Social Gospel that will check Jews against our privilege, that will fight against the natural tendency to use religion to justify, and not criticize, our lives. With responses from four scholars read more>
Agency in the #MeToo Moment
25.10.2018, by Sarah Wolf
Instead of a Jonah narrative, in which we insist that everything is happening to us by those in power, and we can’t or don’t want to have a real conversation about how to work on our own relationships to sexuality and power, we can start talking about agency as something more complicated read more>
Bridging the Atlantic: Relationship between Israel and North American Jewry
11.10.2018, by Shraga Bar-On
We have much to learn from the Jewish intellectuals who lead American neo-conservatism—who combine liberal excellence with conservatism read more>
On Religious Materialism: Part 2
09.10.2018, by Elana Stein Hain
These questions are not meant to be quickly asked and answered, raised and resolved. We must continually resurface them for reflection and discussion read more>
The Hebrew Rhythm and the Challenge of Israeli-American Identity
03.10.2018, by Dr. Ruth Calderon
read more>
On Religious Materialism: Part I
25.09.2018, by Elana Stein Hain
Torah itself expresses concern for protecting the hard-earned money of the worshippers. It is not that those who have less to spend should be viewed as cheap or somehow missing the mark read more>
Yom Kippur: Why Doesn’t It Work Outside of the Synagogue?
16.09.2018, by Donniel Hartman
It is deeply troubling to recognize the profound failure of Yom Kippur as a force for change. If Yom Kippur is to be the force that our tradition aspires it to be, it must cease to be the end and culmination of the process, and instead serve as its beginning. read more>
The Deep Sources of a Great Divide
12.09.2018, by Yehuda Kurtzer
The contemporary moment offers unparalleled possibilities for a rich Jewish future offered by two thriving Jewish civilizations read more>
The Son, the King, and the Corrupt Torah (Rosh Hashana)
05.09.2018, by Shaul Magid
The son must stay in the world and continue his attempt to enlighten it, even, or precisely, as the world’s darkness diminishes his ability to so read more>
To Be Known and Loved Anyway (High Holidays)
05.09.2018, by Lauren Berkun
God knows us, and God loves us anyway. That is the whole essence of the Torah. God knows human limitation and the human propensity for failure, yet God loves us anyway and longs to be in relationship with us read more>
Julia Salazar’s Defenders Reveal the Limits of Identity Politics
02.09.2018, by Mijal Bitton
Salazar’s story demands that we explore the way in which we approach identity. Is it malleable, individual and pro-choice, or it is essential, exclusive and inherited? read more>
Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor
02.09.2018, by Yossi Klein Halevi
Yossi Klein Halevi: Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor, in conversation with Yehuda Kurtzer, July 11, 2018. The annual Bronfman Family Foundation lecture at the Shalom Hartman Institute during the 2018 Rabbinic Torah Study Seminar in Jerusalem, Israel read more>
Praying with Sinners, Religious Pluralism Revisited (High Holidays)
30.08.2018, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Yehuda Kurtzer, Praying with Sinners, Religious Pluralism Revisited, High Holidays 5779, Rabbinic Holiday Webinar, August 27, 2018, New York read more>
Israel’s Nation-State Law and Declaration of Independence
28.08.2018, by Yossi Klein Halevi
I need a Jewish state not only as a refuge for Jews but for Judaism read more>
Reflections on Summer 2018: Becoming an Expert Questioner
21.08.2018, by Shalom Hartman Institute
RLI challenges us to see strength, wisdom and insight in complexity, and view layers of meaning as sacred and valuable in the development of purpose, mission and growth. read more>
Bougie, See Beyond the Israeli Perspective to All the Jewish People
01.08.2018, by Shraga Bar-On
What you need to show both sides is how they can and should create together a Judaism that both will be able to share and will be proud of read more>
Israel’s Nationality Law Will Humiliate the Jews of the Diaspora
01.08.2018, by Ariel Picard
this action, however symbolic, is a symbol that neither Israeli Arabs nor the Diaspora need or want to hear read more>
Sinai-Auschwitz: Building Character in Modern Israeli Poetry
01.08.2018, by Rachel Korazim
read more>
The Dilemma of Jewish Privilege
29.07.2018, by Joshua Ladon
Jews can certainly be racist, yet some of us want to investigate our role in the structures of injustice that define our world. The question is whether non-Jews on the left and right will help or hinder that effort read more>
The Sages, Tisha B’Av, Self-Correction and Salvation
19.07.2018, by Channa Pinchasi
Our sages were able to point out their deficiencies, thus showing us the way to self-correction and salvation read more>
Living in the Diaspora as Home: From the 1885 Pittsburgh Platform to Judith Butler
16.07.2018, by Shaul Magid
Shaul Magid, faculty member and Senior Research Fellow at Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, gave the 2018 Robert P. Kogod Annual Lectureat the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, Israel, on June 5, 2018. The title of his talk was “From the 1885 Pittsburgh Platform to Judith Butler: Living in the Diaspora as Home” read more>
I Am the Egg (Wo)Man: Reflections on Rosh Chodesh Av & Tisha B’Av
15.07.2018, by Shalom Hartman Institute
For the sake of Jerusalem I will not, I cannot, I must not be silent read more>
Yom HaKippurim and Tisha B’Av: The Commonality of Opposites
15.07.2018, by Shaul Magid
Without Tisha B’Av, Yom ha-Kippurim is not necessary; without Yom ha-Kippurim, Tisha B’Av is all there is read more>
At Home In That Other Promised Land: Does Zionism Ask Too Much of the American Jewish Community?
03.06.2018, by Yehuda Kurtzer
My dream for Israel as it marks 70 is the same for American Jews marking the parallel milestones of our at-homeness, and they are the gifts of the household: to feel comfortable, to feel proud and to feel responsible read more>
From “Peoplehood” to Family: On the Relationship between American and Israeli Jews Today
29.05.2018, by Rani Jaeger
A family that excels only at diplomatic language and apologetics will not preserve a relationship only growing colder read more>
The Moral Challenge of Gaza
27.05.2018, by Donniel Hartman
We may not be principally responsible for the reality which is Gaza, but like all moral human beings, we must constantly ask ourselves whether and how we can be part of the solution read more>
Moses at Sinai: God’s Partner or Adversary?
15.05.2018, by Christine Hayes
Final lecture in the Shalom Hartman Institute 5776 Rabbinic Webinar Series - Yale and SHI-North America scholar Christine Hayes: Moses at Sinai - God’s Partner or Adversary? (Shavuot 5776). June 1, 2016. read more>
The Politics of Jewish Power
08.05.2018, by Donniel Hartman
The two centers of Jewish life, Israel and Diaspora, have introduced complicated expressions of Jewish power in the modern era. Both communities and their use of power are responses to and byproducts of recent history read more>
The Call to Create Torah for a Democratic State Tears Me in Two
01.05.2018, by Sarah Mulhern
Call & Responsa 7: Like any good rabbi, I have better questions than answers. But I have deep faith in the resourcefulness of Am Yisrael and the endlessly relevant power of the wellspring of Torah as we begin to write this new Talmud together read more>
Israeli and Diaspora Jews are Siblings Living in Different Homes
26.04.2018, by Avital Hochstein
Being the majority and having Jewish sovereignty are new experiences for Jews, even after 70 years of having a state. read more>
Torah Corrects Slavery’s Suppressions By Putting Color Back on our Palette
24.04.2018, by Shalom Hartman Institute
Call & Responsa 7: The ultimate tragedy would be if, after finally being seen for all our multi-colored beauty, we settled in the land and chose to enslave ourselves by requiring uniformity of identity and practice under the black and white banner of one chieftain read more>
Toward a Torah for a Democratic Israel
24.04.2018, by Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Call & Responsa 7: It is imperative to restore issues of respect for religious diversity to a common public agenda for the long-term benefit of the growing diversity of Israeli society read more>
Religious Freedom in a Jewish and Democratic State
24.04.2018, by Shraga Bar-On
Call & Responsa 7: Israel is a collective project of all the Jewish people. The legal system is not just secular but also Jewish and cannot be privatized. The IDF is a Jewish army which belongs to all Israelis and cannot be privatized. The Western Wall belongs to all Jews and cannot be privatized read more>
Mr. Prime Minister, I am Ashamed of You
12.04.2018, by Donniel Hartman
Israel and Zionism transcend our political leaders and are not defined even by the current will of the majority. Israel embodies the mission to build a safe and secure homeland for the Jewish people which is committed to the noblest of Jewish, moral, and democratic principles read more>
1947 - Judaism and the World
11.04.2018, by Elana Stein Hain
The lecture was part of a Summer program, titled, 1917, 1947, 1967: The Legacy of The Past and the Future of Modern Israel, and ran from June 21–28, 2017 read more>
At Pesach, We Cannot Ignore Those in the US and Israel Whose Stories Could Be Ours
19.03.2018, by Denise L. Eger
We can be that outstretched arm, that helping hand for the undocumented, the dreamers and the African refugees in Israel, so that we can join with them in the redemptive hope and taste the sweetness of freedom obtained read more>
On Friends and Farrakhan: A Plea to Progressives
12.03.2018, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Sometimes the work of coalition-building will be complicated, and I will support you in resisting the narrow narratives of loyalties and litmus tests your critics demand of you. This moment is not so complicated read more>
The Law of the Land is Binding
12.03.2018, by Elana Stein Hain
Dina D’Malchuta Dina: Considering the Relationship between Interests and Values. Jewish Futures Conference, Dec. 13, 2017 read more>
RLI Reflections - Winter 2018 in Jerusalem
21.02.2018, by Shalom Hartman Institute
Rabbis in the Rabbinic Leadership Inititiative VI cohort wrote about their Winter 2018 retreat in Jerusalem. read more>
14.02.2018, by Yossi Klein Halevi
state of Israel is about to commit a crime against itself. The imminent mass deportation of African asylum seekers will be a devastating blow to our moral credibility read more>
The Biggest Threat To The Jews? The Partisan Divide
23.01.2018, by Yehuda Kurtzer
No one now really questions whether American Jews can be at home. Now we are left to ask: Who indeed, collectively speaking, are American Jews? read more>
The Leftist, Anti-Humanist New Right – Notes on the (Confusing) Present Political Moment
23.01.2018, by Tomer Persico
Power is not just brute force, and it is certainly not unjustified aggression, but a plain and accepted way to start change in society. And change will come. The question is in what direction. We must take care that it takes the best direction possible read more>
#YouToo: A Jewish Man’s Accounting
21.01.2018, by Leon Wiener Dow
I confess my guilt, responsibility, and complicity as an aider and abettor of the perpetrators, in entertaining their basic male defense of division, which allows a sliver of light to separate them from their actions. And I declare my commitment to demanding of myself - and of them - a uniformity of excellence and sensitivity read more>

Celebrate and learn about the annual Jewish holiday cycle with these special content collections from the Shalom Hartman Institute.

Video Series

Rabbinic Holiday Webinars

All holiday videos from Shalom Hartman Institute

Article Collections

High Holidays: The Days of Awe

Exploring Hanukkah

Exploring Purim: The "Strangest" Holiday

Pesach's Many Questions

From Yom Hashoah to Yom Ha'atzmaut: Israel's "High Holidays"

Shavuot: Revelation and Modernity

Tisha B'Av

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