Donniel Hartman 
Yehuda Kurtzer 
Yossi Klein Halevi 
David Hartman 
Our Scholars 
Torah Commentary 
Call & Responsa 
Our Participants 
Vayeitzei: From Dream to Prayer: When God Asked Not To Be Affected
11.11.2018, 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>
Anti-Semitism, and the Inconvenience of Collective Identity
08.11.2018, by Yehuda Kurtzer
read more>
Toldot: From Isaac to Esau
08.11.2018, 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>
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>
Chayyei Sarah: When Did Humanity Begin to Age and What is the Value of Aging?
01.11.2018, 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>
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>
Vayera: Parents, Children, and Obedience in the Story of the Binding of Yitzhak
24.10.2018, 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>
Lekh Lekha: Betwen Seeing and Hearing in the Meeting of Hagar and the Angel
18.10.2018, 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>
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>
Noah: The First Covenant in Tanakh
09.10.2018, 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>
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 Dr. 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>
1947: The UN Partition Plan - The Jews and the World
03.06.2018, by Elana Stein Hain
From the 2017 Community Leadership Program Summer Retreat 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>
Auschwitz or Sinai: Metaphor and the Meaning of Modern Israel
10.04.2018, 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>
From Freedom to Purpose
01.04.2018, 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>
Pesach is Literally the Story of a People’s Birth
20.03.2018, by Orit Avnery
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>
Esther’s Not-So-Fairy-Tale Ending
08.02.2018, by Dr. 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>
The Little-known Christian, Nebraskan roots of Tu B’Shvat
31.01.2018, 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>
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>
On Citizenship and Soda Cans
21.12.2017, by Rivka Press Schwartz
We as an American Jewish community, and we as a society, haven’t invested enough in recent decades in teaching toward those values, and discussing those questions. The evidence of the fraying of the fabric of our civic society reminds us that we must read more>
In Colorado Cake Case, Religious Values Clash With Discrimination
13.12.2017, by Michael (Avi) Helfand
Jews have been on both sides; can Jews be a bridge on religious liberty? read more>
What Trump Said in his Jerusalem Address that Should Appeal to Muslims
10.12.2017, by Tomer Persico
Trump’s words are the first such spoken from the president of the United States. They promise the Muslim world, and especially the Palestinians, that what is most important for them will be protected. For Israel, they represent a blow to any attempt to open the conditions of the arrangement on the Temple Mount. It seems that in exchange for a symbolic declaration concerning Israel’s capital, Trump has given the Palestinians an actual achievement on al-Aqsa read more>
A Government Has No Right to Bestow Power Over Jewish Identity
03.12.2017, by Avi Sagi
When it comes to conversion, the Jewish people must decide whether and how it wishes to exist, and what its ties are to Jewish tradition read more>
Israel’s Breaking the Silence Dybbuk
26.11.2017, by Tomer Persico
One little demon can drive an entire village - or a country’s political right wing - crazy, and the damage isn’t done by him but by those trying to expel him read more>
Enemies: A Love Story
23.11.2017, by Yossi Klein Halevi and Imam Abdullah Antepli
read more>
The Debate Over Postmortem Sperm Retrieval of Fallen Soldiers
23.11.2017, by Avishalom Westreich
Whether to provide the deceased’s parents with this right is a question of boundaries and limits. In this author’s opinion – the answer should be positive read more>
A Rabbi, an Imam, and a Pastor Walked into a Moroccan Bazaar
14.11.2017, by Lauren Berkun
My experience in Morocco surprised me. It opened my eyes to significant efforts in the Muslim world to combat religious extremism, intolerance and violence. It opened my eyes to genuine efforts in the Evangelical Christian community to combat Islamophobia and anti-Semitism read more>
Democracy and The Jewish People: What’s Next?
07.11.2017, by Donniel Hartman
Democracy and the Jewish People: What`s Next? Recorded live during Zionism 3.0: Democracy in the Spotlight, October 15, 2017, at Oshman Family JCC, Palo Alto, CA read more>
Inglorious Mamzers - Israel’s Bastardy Dilemma
31.10.2017, by Shraga Bar-On
Should national law in Israel, the same law that gave the Orthodox the monopoly on marriage and divorce, consider halakhic principles in proving fatherhood? Would opening the discussion worsen or improve the mamzer problem? read more>
Kiddush Levana: ‘Of What Use is a Candle in Broad Daylight?’ The Reinvention of a Myth
29.10.2017, by Melila Hellner-Eshed
Has the sun always been large and dazzling and the moon smaller, waxing and waning each month? Or were the cosmos different at the dawn of Creation? The Jewish view of the luminaries ranges beyond the skies, to the biblical text and its interpretive tradition. For us, the story of the sun and moon speaks of our lives and experiences as humans read more>
‘And He Shall Rule Over You’: The Genesis of #MeToo
22.10.2017, by Mijal Bitton
Bereshit, in the Beginning, we must have the moral clarity to yearn for Genesis 1, to commit to seeing “and he shall rule over you,” as a curse, fighting it with all our might read more>
How the New Israel Litmus Test Turns Jews Into Christian Zionists
18.10.2017, by Shaul Magid
read more>
From the Zohar: When We Repent, We Return to our Supreme Mother, the Sephira
03.10.2017, by Ruth Kara-Ivanov Kaniel
According to the Zohar, the place we return to when we repent is our supreme mother, the Sephira, and we receive understanding from the Tree of the Ten Sephirot. Returning to our mother means to be gathered to the mother`s womb, a sort of death in order to be reborn, a self-nullification for gaining a new life read more>
Simcha in Torah
01.10.2017, by Donniel Hartman
Simchat Torah is not merely the day where we celebrate our own joy in Torah, but commit ourselves to empowering it and allowing all Jews to find their own personal Simcha in Torah. read more>
For Yom Kippur: A Jealous or Compassionate God?
01.10.2017, by Shraga Bar-On
By changing His mind and forgiving, God proves that He puts compassion over anger read more>
Why You Should Sneak-Read In Shul on Yom Kippur
01.10.2017, by Yehuda Kurtzer
There is nothing better than showing up at shul having forgotten your book at home, only to discover a rich body of reading material left behind. But don’t start discussion groups in the pews of the reading material. Remember, this is all in service of your and the community’s spiritual experience, and not a competing performance read more>
For the Sin of Certainty
28.09.2017, by Donniel Hartman
Which difference do we tolerate, and which do we not, is the question. The sin of certainty both blinds us to this question and renders us incapable of such discernment. The price? The price is the dysfunctional harmful social discourse and behavior dominating our lives today read more>
The Settler Nakba and the Rise of Post-Modern Post-Zionist Religious Ideology on the West Bank
24.09.2017, by Shaul Magid
To better understand the settler movement today, look to new thinkers like Rav Shagar, not the foundational minds of Ravs Kook, Amital, and Lichtenstein read more>
My Week as a Miami ‘Refugee’
19.09.2017, by Lauren Berkun
I know that my privileges obligate me to take responsibility for those who are not as fortunate read more>
The Jewish Homeland Must not Seek Political Gain from Populist Aggression Against Refugees
19.09.2017, by Donniel Hartman
What is it about Israel as the home of the Jewish people that Netanyahu and his ministers believe to be so endangered? read more>
A Day School Educator’s Confession
19.09.2017, by Joshua Ladon
For me, the moment that epitomizes true learning, is when a student is able to read a text and then says what it means read more>
Ha’azinu: Human Existence in an Age of Divine Concealment
19.09.2017, by Avital Hochstein
We must view our characteristic, as Jews, as "children with no loyalty in them," as both a result and a possibility - and therefore as a reality which is not a necessary one read more>
Messianic Politics
17.09.2017, by Yehuda Kurtzer
This year, there is a lot I want to see change in the world. I am mindful of what I want to see change quickly here in America, in Israel, in Jewish communal life, and in my own soul. I am tempted to find the reset button or a genie with infinite wishes. But in the meantime, I am taking on this challenge differently by saying to myself: Think big! And also, plant seeds read more>
Nitzavim-VaYelekh: The Value of Forgetfulness in a Culture of Tradition
14.09.2017, by Avital Hochstein
No halakhah can be introduced by prophecy, but the tools of Torah study are granted as ways of learning new halakhot throughout the ages read more>
On the Threshold of a New Year
07.09.2017, by Tamar Elad-Appelbaum
Shalom Hartman Institute Holiday Webinar from Jerusalem with Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum: On the Threshold of a New Year. Aug. 29, 2017. Rabbinic Holiday Webinar Series 5778 read more>
Ki Tavo: ‘When You Enter the Land’: Land as a Place, Aspiration, or Outcome
07.09.2017, 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>
Ki Teitzei: Were It Not Written, It Would Not Have Been Thinkable
31.08.2017, by Avital Hochstein
We are confronted with a surprising, complex and multifaceted Torah that challenges the reader at every turn and in every generation. This is a Torah that demands the attention and sensitivity of its readers as well as the constant search for hidden meanings, even those embedded between the words and the verses read more>
None of Us Should Feel We Sit Alone
28.08.2017, by Sarah Mulhern
I especially hope you will see me as a resource as you implement our wonderful new iEngage curriculum focusing on the meaning of the milestone events in Israel`s modern history which we mark this year read more>
Shoftim: Where are the Orphans, Widows and Strangers? On the Audible Silence in the Parasha
24.08.2017, 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>
The Rise of Virtue Signaling: The New Put-down Hijacking Public Discourse
21.08.2017, by Rachel Jacoby Rosenfield
Keep signaling your outrage. And others should not accuse you of mounting your high horse read more>
Re’eh: A Place of Their Own - A Place of His Own
17.08.2017, by Avital Hochstein
read more>
Eikev: What the Manna Teaches about Life in the Land of Canaan
09.08.2017, 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
03.08.2017, 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>
Minding the Gap: A Primer for Jewish Professionals and Philanthropy
The recent crises afflicting the already-teetering relationship between Diaspora and Israeli Jewry could offer a moment for Jewish communal opportunism read more>
Devarim: Beginning the Jewish Interpretive Tradition
30.07.2017, by Avital Hochstein
A Torah interpreter must not only go over and repeat, and not only hear that which has not yet been heard, but must also try to answer the questions which the Torah and its previous interpreters have left unanswered read more>
The Impact of 1967 on the Identity of Israeli Jews
25.07.2017, by Yossi Klein Halevi
2017 Robert P. Kogod Annual Lecture read more>
Pinchas: Regarding Leadership and Spirit
13.07.2017, 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>
Mr. Netanyahu, Tear Down the Wall Dividing Our People
10.07.2017, by Donniel Hartman
For world Jewry in 2017, a speech about your commitment to religious pluralism is no longer sufficient read more>
The Tragedy of the Wall
09.07.2017, by Yossi Klein Halevi
The haredi community must not be allowed to sabotage the essence of Zionism in our time – which is to uphold the integrity of Jewish peoplehood read more>
Suspending the Kotel Agreement: An Affront to Zionism
09.07.2017, by Donniel Hartman
The Kotel agreement is not solely a Diaspora Jewry concern, but rather an Israeli concern read more>
Balak: Between Pinhas and Balaam
05.07.2017, 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>
1917 - The Idea of a Homeland for the Jewish People
28.06.2017, by Donniel Hartman
Lecture at 2017 Community Leadership Program Summer Retreat, June 21, 2017, Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem. The Summer program was titled, ‘1917, 1947, 1967: The Legacy of The Past and the Future of Modern Israel,’ and ran from June 21–28, 2017. read more>
Chukkat: Death, Impurity, and the Pursuit of Life
28.06.2017, 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>
The Rise and Fall of Zionism as a Religion
25.06.2017, by Tomer Persico
The religious Zionist movement saw Israeli settlements as redemption for Jews and the world read more>
Korah - On Illness: A Natural and Unnatural Phenomenon
22.06.2017, 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>
Shelah: The Story of a Developing Community - From Exodus to Exoneration
15.06.2017, 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>
BeHa’alotkha: Walking in the Footsteps of the Rearguard
08.06.2017, by Avital Hochstein
Boundaries exist not only for the sake of keeping foreignness out, but also for the sake of helping those who are internal to stay within read more>
Still Stuck Between May and June of 1967
07.06.2017, by Yossi Klein Halevi
This is an essay in a series of articles in the New York Times in June 2017 that examined the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict, a half-century since the Six Day War read more>
Power, God, and Land
06.06.2017, by Donniel Hartman
From one of four iEngage conferences on the same theme from the dates May 17-24, 2017, in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Toronto read more>
Unsettled: On 6-Day War Anniversary, Pondering the Myth-making Stories that Define Judaism
05.06.2017, by Yehuda Kurtzer
‘I wouldn’t trade the Zionism that comes with winning the war for the nostalgia of the older and better Jewish story, but I worry that this new story which has replaced the old mythology of journey is deeply lacking’ read more>
Why May 1967 Matters As Much As June 1967
01.06.2017, by Yossi Klein Halevi
From one of the four ‘Six Days That Shaped 50 Years’ in May 2017 in Toronto, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles read more>
Naso: What Unites the People of Israel - Thoughts on Family and Otherness
01.06.2017, 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>
26.05.2017, by Avital Hochstein
Reading this week`s parashah raises a number of complex questions regarding how to navigate the tension between the values set forth in the text and our present-day worldview in the context of women`s involvement in civil society. It is at this sensitive juncture that I would like to propose a few principles and methodologies for approaching traditional texts that seek to interpret the Torah. read more>
Why Religious Zionism Is Growing Darker
22.05.2017, by Tomer Persico
Under the plan, the Palestinians will be given three choices – to leave the country; to live in Israel with the status of “resident alien,” because, as Smotrich made sure to note, “according to Jewish law there must always be some inferiority,” or to resist, “and then the Israel Defense Forces will know what to do.” When the deputy Knesset speaker was asked if he intended to wipe out whole families, including women and children, Smotrich replied, “In war, as in war.” read more>
Jewish Identity, Belonging, and Community in the 21st Century
18.05.2017, by Donniel Hartman
Jewish Identity, Belonging, and Community in the 21st Century, May 10, 2017, Bnai Jeshurun, New York City. Concluding lecture in the Jewish Identity lecture series of 2016-2017 read more>
BeHar-BeChukotai: The Seventh Year: Sabbatical or Shemittah?
18.05.2017, 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>
Emor: Building Mutuality and Covenant Between People and their Leaders
11.05.2017, 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>
Acharei Mot - Kedoshim
05.05.2017, 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>
Tazria-Metzora: Subject, Object, and Reader
27.04.2017, 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>
The Israeli Identity Challenge: The Public Sphere in a Jewish Democratic State
25.04.2017, by Dr. Ruth Calderon
Dr. Ruth Calderon, former Israeli Knesset Member, conducted a live webinar on April 25, 2017, in honor of Israeli Independence Day read more>
What We Can Learn from Holy Sepulchre Renovations
20.04.2017, by Marcie Lenk
The Edicule is an 18th century shrine inside of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Edicule encloses the empty tomb where Jesus is believed to have been buried and resurrected. After years of decay, renovations were completed in March 2017. Dr. Marcie Lenk, Director of Christian Leadership Programs at the Shalom Hartman Institute, and Bishop Peter Eaton of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida, and a Fellow of the Hartman Institute`s Christian Leadership Initiative, discuss the meaning and significance of the Edicule’s restoration for Christians, Jews and Israel read more>
Shemini: Regarding Mistaken Stringencies and Humanity that is Good in the Eyes of God
20.04.2017, 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>
A Jubilee For Our Political Certainties
18.04.2017, by Yossi Klein Halevi
The debate over the future of the liberated/occupied/administered territories began in the summer of 1967, immediately after the Six-Day War. It was, initially, an argument among writers, in part a linguistic debate over how to refer to the lands Israel had just won. read more>
Why Conversion Lite Won’t Fix the Intermarriage Problem
18.04.2017, by Shaul Magid
If someone deeply wants to convert to Judaism, if someone feels that Judaism is their path as an act of conviction I am in favor of lowering the standards to make it as easy as possible. Like the late Rabbi Harold Shulweiss I believe Judaism has a lot to offer and should be presented as an option in America’s spiritual marketplace. But not only for non-Jews who are planning to marry Jews. There is no conviction in that. read more>
The Answer Does Not Appease the Question
12.04.2017, by Joshua Ladon
I am uncomfortable navigating the subject of poverty, because I am not ready to seriously tackle my own privilege or change the behaviors that allow me to ignore this ever-present and growing problem read more>
The Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto
09.04.2017, by Shaul Magid
How Kalonymous Kalman Shapira`s ‘Holy Fire’ spread out of the Holocaust and into the non-Hasidic world read more>
Tzav: Turning Over a New Leaf? Two Models of Atonement
06.04.2017, 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>
Passover: The Irony of Celebrating Liberty While the Israeli Occupation Persists
06.04.2017, by Tomer Persico
Jewish history will be forever stained by the occupation, and it will retroactively color the Jewish tradition. Passover, our celebration of liberty, will acquire an ironic, rancorous twist read more>
Plenary Session: 2017 Jewish Funders Network International Conference
03.04.2017, by Yehuda Kurtzer
Yehuda Kurtzer leads a discussion touching on the transformative state of the Jewish community over the past 30 years and what the response should be today read more>
The Tribes of Israel
03.04.2017, by Elana Stein Hain
Elana Stein Hain discusses the different "tribes" in Israel at Temple Beth Am as part of the Los Angeles Synagogue Collaborative Series read more>
On the Relationship between the American and Israeli Tribes
03.04.2017, by Micah Goodman
Micah Goodman discusses the makeup and relationship between American and Israeli Jews as part of the San Diego community iEngage lecture series. read more>
Passover Through Contemporary Israeli Poems
02.04.2017, by Rachel Korazim
Rachel Korazim presents six Israeli poems that speak to different aspects of Passover read more>
‘My Prayer for Jerusalem’
02.04.2017, 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>
Pesach: Adults Contending with Contradictions
30.03.2017, by Noam Zion
The significance of the Four Questions should not be confined to being a concrete educational tool for the purpose of teaching historical information to children having a limited sense of abstraction and who bore easily. The questions are a characteristic of the adult intellectual culture during the time of the Rabbis read more>
Vayikra: ‘If He Does Not Give Information’
30.03.2017, 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>
Anti-Semitism Can’t Define American Jews’ Identity
29.03.2017, by Leon Morris
We are diminished Jews if we perpetuate a tribal identity primarily fueled by anti-Semitism rather than a Jewishness rich in content and creativity. read more>
VaYakhel-Pekudei: Bezalel’s Leadership an Additional Step in Leaving Egypt
22.03.2017, 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>
Pesach’s ‘Wicked Child’ Shows Removing Oneself from Community is Judaism’s True Heresy
21.03.2017, by Donniel Hartman
‘In our tradition, heresy is to separate yourself from the community, because that’s what our tradition is. Our tradition is a religion for a people.’ read more>
Ki Tissa: From the Burning Bush to Sinai
15.03.2017, 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>
Jewish Identity, Belonging, and Community
12.03.2017, by Yedidah Koren
Yedidah Koren: Jewish Identity, Belonging, and Community. Third lecture in lLecture and study series on intermarriage created by Shalom Hartman Institute of North America and B`nai Jeshurun Congregation. B`nai Jeshurun Congregation, New York City, 2016-2017 read more>
Tetsaveh: Discourses in Clothing: From Priestly Garments to Common Garb
08.03.2017, by Avital Hochstein
Clothing is about honoring and marking people, drawing attention to them, having their ‘sound heard’ when they ‘come and go’ read more>
27 Years Ago, My Synagogue Was Vandalized By Skinheads - Here’s what I’ve Learned Since Then
07.03.2017, by Philip Graubart
The telephone woke me at 5:00 a.m. It was the police - never a good omen. But this wasn’t about family or property, it was my synagogue read more>
Three Ways We Change: What Works and What Doesn’t
06.03.2017, by Call & Responsa
Vol. 3, No. 1, Elana Stein Hain, The Call
The pluses and minuses of three methods of change: three models of change: radical, social conditioning, and adaptive
read more>
Does Outrage Change Others or Solidify our Position?
05.03.2017, by Steven Moskowitz
Vol. 3, No. 1, Steve Moskowitz, The Response
‘From the perspective of justice, small, tedious, and layered changes appear incidental.’
read more>
Sometimes Competing Strategies are Symbiotic
05.03.2017, by Shalom Hartman Institute
Vol. 3, No. 1, David Wolkenfeld, The Response
‘Deeply personal and ingrained components of our identity lead us to one change strategy or another.’
read more>
America 2017: We Have Entered a Time of Great Change
05.03.2017, by Judith HaLevy
Vol. 3, No. 1, Judith HaLevy, The Response
‘A moral imperative for change brings clarity, but also incites immediate polarization.’
read more>
Capitulations are not Viewed Kindly by History
05.03.2017, by Mari Chernow
Vol. 3, No. 1, Mari Chernow, The Response
‘Lasting change often comes because of the passionate work of people inside and outside of the system.’
read more>
Visions for a Shared Society
02.03.2017, by Micah Goodman
Micah Goodman: Visions for a Shared Society: The Tribes of Israel, Valley Beth Shalom, Encino, California, Sunday, January 22, 2017, part of the 2016-2017 Los Angeles Synagogue Collaborative Lecture Series read more>
Terumah: The Receiving Giver
01.03.2017, 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>
Arguing for the Sake of Heaven?
23.02.2017, by Elana Stein Hain
Elana Stein Hain: Arguing for the Sake of Heaven: A Vision for Modern Orthodoxy? Webinar lecture, February 21, 2017, New York read more>
Mishpatim: Does the Majority Rule?
22.02.2017, 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>
For Israeli-Palestinian Peace, We Need to Count to 3
21.02.2017, by Donniel Hartman
The problem with Netanyahu’s math is that he seems to be able to count only up to two. I believe there is a third: “What is hateful unto you, do not do unto others.” read more>
How Trump Pleased Bibi Netanyahu and David Duke Alike
19.02.2017, by Shaul Magid
The fact that Trump refused to answer a reasonable question squares nicely with the White House’s removal of the word “Jews” from the U.S. State Department’s draft of the Holocaust Remembrance Day document. Anti-Semites have long wanted to “universalize” the Holocaust, which is what the White House statement actually did read more>
Yitro: Reflections on Divine and Human Voices at Sinai
15.02.2017, 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>
Video: Were We Like Dreamers?
15.02.2017, by Yossi Klein Halevi
Were We Like Dreamers? From Six Days to Fifty Years. Award-winning author and Shalom Hartman Institute senior fellow, did a live broadcast on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, about the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Six Day War, and what it has meant for Israeli and Jewish society worldwide. Yossi answered questions during the program. The program was part of the Hartman Institute David Hartman Annual Conference for a Jewish-Democratic Israel. read more>
Is Activism Always the Answer?
14.02.2017, by Philip Graubart
Crisis times also call for study and contemplation. Nothing in Trump’s America negates those healing realms that exist in spaces beyond partisan politics - music, friendship, prayer read more>
Beshallach: Let Us Not Long for the Desert: Reflections on the Pillar of Cloud
08.02.2017, 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 Tragedy of Amona
06.02.2017, by Donniel Hartman
If Amona stays, and with it the other settlements outside of the settlement blocs, we certainly will not have the peace we are praying for. We will not have a State of Israel living in peace and security, but rather an Israel engaged in ongoing conflict, alienated from Palestinians and our Arab neighbors, and a pariah in the international community read more>
Linda Sarsour and American Jewish Politics
05.02.2017, by Yehuda Kurtzer
We find more effective common cause than is possible in the inherently constricting litmus test approach, which not only closes off a wider network of allies that we all desperately need, but which also creates a culture of suspicion even toward those with whom we are close. The litmus test approach is a negative structure toward cultivating loyalty; “two-thirds and 51 percent” tilts toward creating cultures of broad assent read more>
Bo: On Belonging and Otherness in Parashat Bo
01.02.2017, 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
28.01.2017, 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>
Obama, Trump and the Dangers of a ‘Jewish’ President
23.01.2017, by Yossi Klein Halevi
For American Jews, all the guidelines that once helped define their community have eroded. American Jews need to resist the temptation of totally identifying their preferred president with Jewish interests and values read more>
(((As Dreamers)))
23.01.2017, by Leon Wiener Dow
With Donald J. Trump as President of the United States, Leon Wiener Dow says, American Jews ‘find themselves in a moment of profound, and I would assert, unprecedented significance’ read more>
Shemot: The Slippery Slope from Fear to Evil
21.01.2017, 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>
It is Time to Reclaim Religion
15.01.2017, by Sharon Brous
From a TedWomen video talk: ‘Social change only happens when we are awake enough to see that the house is on fire’ read more>
Vayechi: Seeing in Genesis
14.01.2017, 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>
To Pardon the Rebellious Son?
08.01.2017, by Donniel Hartman
It would be sinful to revoke punishment for a soldier convicted of breaking our moral code read more>
Vayigash: Yosef’s Cry of Disappointment
07.01.2017, 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>
Philosophies of Three Israeli Tribes
04.01.2017, by Micah Goodman
Video Lecture: Three Philosophies of Three Israeli Tribes: Secular Israel, Religious Zionist Israel, and Ultra-Orthodox Israel, Temple De Hirsch Sinai, Seattle, Dec. 6, 2016 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

Sign up to receive updates