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Bay Area Leaders Join Hartman Institute to Explore Engagement with Israel

Shalom Hartman Institute Research Fellow Dr. Micah Goodman will lead Nov. 18 community-wide roundtable event

Shalom Hartman Institute is pleased to announce the launch of a Bay Area iEngage program this fall involving more than 20 synagogues and Jewish institutions. The program aims to engage the North American Jewish community in discussions on the critical questions facing World Jewry with regard to Israel.

The program focuses on the need to establish a new Jewish values- and ideas-based narrative that advances the crucial discussion of how Jews can engage with Israel, and how to act on a vision of what they believe can and ought to shape the modern Jewish nation and its policies.

Supported by the Koret Foundation’s Initiative on Jewish Peoplehood, with additional co-sponsorship from the Northern California Board of Rabbis , the new Bay Area program uses on the comprehensive Engaging Israel: Foundations for a New Relationship curriculum, developed by the Hartman Institute iEngage Project team of scholars and public intellectuals, whose members are specialists in Jewish thought, political theory, and international law. The iEngage Project and its ensuing curricula have already reached thousands across North America.

Bay Area rabbis and educators, taught by iEngage scholars, will lead the program in nearly two dozen communities. These group leaders will be invited to attend special Beit Midrash study sessions with Hartman scholars to further explore methods for engendering broader and deeper engagement with Israel in their communities and for bringing congregants of different perspectives into productive dialogue with each other about what it means to support and be in a relationship with Israel.

“Being able to offer iEngage is central to our effort this year at Temple Beth Torah to deepen the connection of adult members to the land, people, and state of Israel,” said Rabbi Avi Schulman of Temple Beth Torah in Fremont, CA. “In doing so, it can only enrich as well their connection to our community.”

A highlight of the program will be two community-wide roundtable events to which adult learners from all the participating Bay Area institutions will come together for study in conversation with major Jewish thought-leaders to articulate the big questions confronting the Jewish people and to envision future directions. The first community-wide roundtable will be held on November 18 (5:30-9:00 pm) at the Contemporary Jewish Museum with Hartman Institute Research Fellow Dr. Micah Goodman. Click here for more information or to register.

For more information on the Bay Area iEngage program, please contact Jamie Hyams, Shalom Hartman Institute of North America Associate Director, West Coast, at [email protected] or 510-207-0748. For more information on the Hartman Institute iEngage Project, please contact David Levy at [email protected] or visit iengage.org.il .

About Dr. Micah Goodman

A Research Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, Micah Goodman has a doctorate in Jewish thought from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he teaches. He is the director of Ein Prat – The Academy for Leadership , and he lectures throughout Israel on contemporary Judaism and Israeli culture. Micah has published articles in a number of journals on the philosophy of Maimonides and Nahmanides. His book on Maimonides’ Guide for the Perplexed was published in 2010, and his second book, The Dream of the Kuzari, was published in 2012. Both books are bestsellers in Israel.

About the iEngage Project and Engaging Israel Foundations for a New Relationship

The goal of the iEngage Project is to respond to growing feelings of disenchantment and disinterest toward Israel among an ever-increasing number of Jews worldwide by creating a new narrative regarding the significance of Israel for Jewish life. This narrative will serve as a foundation for a new covenant between Israel and world Jewry, elevating the existing discourse from one with a crisis-based focus to one rooted in Jewish values and ideas. Led by a team of internationally renowned scholars in the fields of Jewish studies, Middle East politics, and history, the iEngage Project is committed to addressing core questions pertaining to the necessity and significance of the Jewish national enterprise; how a Jewish state should exercise power; why a Jew who lives outside of Israel should care about Israel; and what the State of Israel can offer the world.

Engaging Israel: Foundations for a New Relationship is a series of nine video-based lectures and conversations with Hartman Institute scholars led by SHI President Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman. Lecture and discussion participants include Dr. Tal Becker, Yossi Klein-Halevi, Rabbi Dr. Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Prof. Gil Troy and others. Click here for more information on the series or to order Engaging Israel: Foundations for a New Relationship.

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