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Hartman Institute Summer 2011 Programs to Draw Record Number

The theme is: “Jewish Peoplehood: The Meaning of the Collective in Modern Jewish Life.”

More than 200 rabbis and community leaders from North America and Israel are expected at SHI in Jerusalem this summer at the Community Leadership Summer Retreat and Rabbinic Torah Study Seminar, both of which will take place at the Institute’s campus in Jerusalem, and which focus on the theme: “Jewish Peoplehood: The Meaning of the Collective in Modern Jewish Life.”  
As Jews we see ourselves as individuals in search of meaning, as members of religious communities, as shareholders in a covenant, and perhaps most vexingly as part of “a People.” The idea of Jewish Peoplehood – its complex origins, its implications and how it might be sustained – is an issue of wide concern in the Jewish community today. The idea of a collective appears at odds with the “sovereign self,” and is challenged by the growing divide between the Jewish experience of nationhood in Israel and a growing Jewish ethnic and behavioral diversity elsewhere in the Jewish world.
Meantime, anxiety about a dwindling sense of Peoplehood is increasingly defining the agenda for Israeli agencies and many Jewish institutions, synagogues, foundations and federations. The meanings and implications of Jewish Peoplehood have a direct impact on nearly all of the central questions and tensions of Judaism and modern life.
This summer we will engage in a broad and deep study of some of the many tensions that arise regarding Peoplehood, both in classical Jewish tradition as well as in contemporary Jewish thought and life.
These key questions will frame our summer study: 
  • How do the different names for the Jewish collective–Am Yisrael, Klal Yisrael, or B’nai Yisrael–reflect different aspects and ideals of Jewish Peoplehood?
  • What are the core values of Judaism expressed through the collective as refracted through our sacred texts?
  • How does the value of Peoplehood conflict with or complement other claims of the individual or of the family?
  • What responsibility do Jews have for one another across social, political, and national lines?
  • What obligations does Peoplehood create both in its particularist and universalist expressions?
  • How have vibrant "Diaspora" communities reshaped our understanding of Peoplehood?
  • How do land and nationhood inform and complicate our picture of the Jewish collective?
  • What are the central rituals that create and define Peoplehood, and what values do they teach?
  • What is the relationship between the Jewish People and its sacred texts?
  • How do myths and stories sustain collectivity? 
Community Leadership Summer Retreat
June 29-July 6, 2011
Rabbinic Torah Study Seminar
July 4-14, 2011

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