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Beit Midrash [clear filter]
Sunday, March 6
 

10:00am

Tales of The Inverted Nuns (Numbers 10:35-36)
In the Torah, the text of Numbers 10:35-­36 is surrounded by two unique characters called 'inverted nuns' in Rabbinic literature. These markings are unique to this and no other Torah text. The history of the various graphic representations of these marks and how their inclusion in the torah has been rationalized, interpreted designed and explained over several thousand years is an intriguing tale of Jewish history and creative rabbinic interpretation. While we've been taught to believe that our Torah scroll has never changed, the history of the graphic design of these 'inverted nuns' tells us that with Rabbinic approval and participation it has changed and evolved.

Speakers
avatar for Sholom Eisenstat

Sholom Eisenstat

Sholom is retired from a career in Jewish and public education. He began his career teaching Tanach and Jewish Studies in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Upon return to Toronto, he taught at USDS, CHAT and the Harbourfront Computer Centre. After some years in business he returned to teaching... Read More →


Sunday March 6, 2016 10:00am - 10:50am
L3

10:00am

The Source of Greatness is Greatness Itself
Using Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein's essay "The Source of Faith is Faith Itself," we will examine how our relationship to our teachers is both about learned skills and substance but also about shared identity. How do we come to see ourselves as links in the chain of the mesorah? How does this metaphor both limit and strengthen us?

Speakers
avatar for Chaim Strauchler

Chaim Strauchler

Chaim Strauchler is the rabbi of Shaarei Shomayim Congregation in Toronto. He received his ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University. Rabbi Strauchler earned a Diploma in Theology and a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies from Oxford University... Read More →


Sunday March 6, 2016 10:00am - 10:50am
S1

11:00am

Halachic Creativity: Moroccan Thought, Maimonidean Thought and Beyond

The present understanding of Halakha (Jewish Law) has been shaped by the phenomenon of "Ashkenormitivity", where the Ashkenazi Halakhic methodologies have been accepted as the norm. 

What happens when the focus turns to Halakhic ideas and positions from different parts of the world? Can the way in which Halakha has been conceptualized be maintained, or are the assumptions which are made specific to a particular Ashkenazi Jewish milieu?

The source material for this presentation will be based in the writings and ideas of Rav Yuval Cherlow, Rabbi Marc Angel, Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo, and others who push the distinction between Jewish philosophy and Jewish law. 


Speakers
avatar for Chaim Grafstein

Chaim Grafstein

I am currently a PhD Student in the Near and Middle Eastern Civilization Dept. at University of Toronto. I study Moroccan Jewish texts, Semitic languages, the Jewish legal tradition, and Sephardic studies. My current research centres on Moroccan Rabbinic figures in the 20th Cent... Read More →


Sunday March 6, 2016 11:00am - 11:50am
S5

12:00pm

The Jewish Warrior: Battlefield Morality in Jewish Scripture
Does the Torah's text present war as an ideal, or a concession to reality? How are these two possibilities reflected in the Torah's rules of morality on the battlefield?

Speakers
avatar for Mordechai Torczyner

Mordechai Torczyner

Rosh Beit Midrash, YU Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner is the Rosh Beit Midrash (dean) of Yeshiva University Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov, a resource for community education which offers a broad range of classes, but specializes in programs for local university students, women and professionals. Nearly... Read More →


Sunday March 6, 2016 12:00pm - 12:50pm
S5

12:00pm

War and Conflict (Limmud International Chevruta)
In this interactive session, we will explore, debate, and discuss what is conflict between people, family members, and nations from a Jewish perspective. When is conflict justified? Under what circumstances are we allowed to go to war? Ancient sources, modern scholarship, song lyrics, and more will be used. All are welcome; prior knowledge of Jewish texts or Hebrew is not required. Part of the new Limmud Chavruta series on war and peace.

Speakers
avatar for Ellen Flax

Ellen Flax

Ellen Flax is a longtime member of Limmud's International Chavruta team and directs the Hadassah Foundation, which invests in social change for girls and women in Israel and the US. She received her rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.


Sunday March 6, 2016 12:00pm - 12:50pm
S2

1:00pm

Clocks and Jewish Law
Modern timekeeping devices, like atomic clocks and quartz watches, are the end product of a long series of groundbreaking innovations, beginning with the invention of the mechanical clock in the 13th century. Jews, of course, needed to keep track of time long before that. In this class, we'll look at the long, tangled history of Jews and timekeeping, from the age of sundials through modern era.

Speakers
avatar for David Zvi Kalman

David Zvi Kalman

David Zvi Kalman is a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in Jewish law, Islamic law, and the history of technology. He is the owner and operator of Print-O-Craft LLC, an independent Jewish publishing house. He is co-founder and executive director of Jewish... Read More →


Sunday March 6, 2016 1:00pm - 1:50pm
L1

1:00pm

What's on Your Seder Plate? Contemporary, Environmental, Egyptian, and Feminist ideas
The humble seder plate with its ceremonial foods. We will look at a variety of seder plate designs and the foods we display on them as a way to look at the Passover story through different lenses. We think we know what each object represents, but might be surprised by the fascinating history of the foods and the changes that have occurred. And we'll consider some new ideas of what might be put on a contemporary seder plate. Your seder will never be the same. 

Speakers
avatar for Baruch Sienna

Baruch Sienna

Designer/Educator
Baruch Sienna is a master Jewish educator with a special interest in the environment. He is the author of The Natural Bible, an encyclopedia on Judaism and the environment. He now works as a visual digital artist and graphic designer with a focus on Jewish texts and letters. He has... Read More →


Sunday March 6, 2016 1:00pm - 1:50pm
S5

2:00pm

Biblia Erotica -- Sexy Passages in the Bible
Biblical personalities are presented as flesh-and-blood people – which includes sexual desires. We’ll study a few narratives that reveal the foibles of some of our ancestors, including: Judah and Tamar, David and Batsheva – and more.

Speakers
avatar for Lawrence Englander

Lawrence Englander

Rabbi Lawrence A. Englander is the founding Rabbi of Solel Congregation, Mississauga, serving there since its inception in 1973 until his retirement in June 2014; he now serves Solel as Rabbi Emeritus.  He is also Adjunct Rabbi at Temple Sinai in Toronto.Rabbi Englander received... Read More →


Sunday March 6, 2016 2:00pm - 2:50pm
S2

2:00pm

Echad Mi Yodeiah? Who Knows One
We all say the Shm'a and ponder the meaning of God. But do we ask about the meaning of "one"? From before Plato through to John Conway, the question of one means by "one". I wish to look at this through a Jewish lens, trying to see what these various ideas of "one" do to our Jewish understandings of one and of God. As no one seems to have tackled this before I expect the discussion to be quite freewheeling. 

Speakers
avatar for Eric Mendelsohn

Eric Mendelsohn

Eric Mendelsohn has been profoundly influenced by the teachings of R’Zalman Schacter Shalom. Mendelsohn is a founder of Congregation Darchei Noam and was a commentator for the Reconstructionist Siddur "Kol Haneshama". He is a professor emeritus in both the departments of Mathematics... Read More →


Sunday March 6, 2016 2:00pm - 2:50pm
S3/S4

3:00pm

The Lines that Exclude: The Contours of our Jewish Community
A presentation and discussion on the power of lines to create a Jewish community, and what happens when those lines erode. We will look at rabbinic texts both ancient and modern to get a feeling of what challenges community leaders feel has putting our community at risk. In the end we will have an guided discussion on what lines are making our community and what likes are breaking our community today.

Speakers
avatar for Jordan Helfman

Jordan Helfman

Rabbi, Holy Blossom Temple
Rabbi Helfman is the Assistant Rabbi at Holy Blossom Temple, and on the board of the World Union of Progressive Judaism. He is doing research on late 18th / early 19th century Reform rabbis and their unique Torah interpretations, recently edited a multi-lingual siddur for use around... Read More →


Sunday March 6, 2016 3:00pm - 3:50pm
L3

4:00pm

From Aging to Saging - V'hadarta P'nei Zakein
The presentation will focus on a significant element of respect for the Elderly, namely ensuring that they receive proper care when they can no longer care for themselves. We are informed by examples in the Torah from Noah to Miriam. The presentation will review Jewish imperatives for caring for the Elderly and their practical application. We will discuss the overlap between the mitzvot of Kibud Av v'Eim (honouring one's parents) and Bikur Cholim (visiting the sick) and how they can be fulfilled on both an personal and communal basis.In this regard we will consider government policies regarding regulated long term care homes and home care and how we can make individual and systemic improvements.

Speakers
avatar for Shalom Schachter

Shalom Schachter

Rabbi Shalom Schachter’s experience uniquely bridges the biblical imperative to treat workers with respect together with practical support from his 35 years as a labour lawyer representing precarious workers. Shalom received his ordination from ALEPH the Alliance for Jewish Renewal... Read More →


Sunday March 6, 2016 4:00pm - 4:50pm
L3

5:00pm

Exploring Religious Identity: A Hands-On Creative Workshop
This session revolves around having participants discuss and debate their understanding of the word religious and consider a broader, and potentially more nuanced, definition of the word as a way to strengthen the religiosity of one's own Jewish identity, regardless of practice. The session will be conducted as a workshop in which participants will have time to draw and illustrate, to reflect and share, and to discuss the complicated nature of defining the word "religious". Through conversation and art, participants will (hopefully) leave with a new way of thinking about their own Jewish identity.

Speakers
avatar for Matt Reingold

Matt Reingold

Dr. Matt Reingold completed his PhD in Jewish Education from York University in 2015. A Wexner Fellow, Matt researches the intersection between the fine arts and Jewish identity and how learning through the arts can lead to new ways about thinking about ones Jewishness. Matt has been... Read More →


Sunday March 6, 2016 5:00pm - 5:50pm
S2