More than 70 Jewish community leaders from North America are arriving this week at Shalom Hartman Institute for the Lay Leaders annual retreat – two weeks packed with learning, lectures, excursions and experiences.
This year the lay leaders are divided into an advanced alumni group, which will be focusing on Great Books, and the main group, which will explore Sacred Jewish Narratives & Collective Memory.
From the course materials: What kind of human being do our narratives seek to create? How do our shared texts and rituals create a unique Jewish identity? What are the core Jewish narratives that we all share? How do our shared texts and rituals create a unique Jewish identity? What kind of human being do our narratives seek to create? How do different interpretations of core narratives influence Jewish life today?
The narratives we tell about our history, our beliefs and our values shape who we are as a people. Creation stories tell us what it means to be a human being, the Passover Seder teaches us the responsibilities of freedom, and the recounting of the revelation at Sinai reminds us of the significance of law and duty. Yet while these narratives and others serve as common foundations of Jewish life, their varying interpretations have given rise to great diversity within the Jewish community.
We may celebrate Passover and Hanukkah but we very likely have different interpretations of such stories and their meaning for our lives.
Theme: Through a close study of significant rabbinic texts, major holidays, lifecycle rituals and historical events, we will explore the varieties, meanings and roles of Jewish narratives, addressing some of the following questions:from a variety of fields, serve as community leaders who shape a common vision and promote Jewish communal values, such as pluralism and continuity, beyond the walls of any particular institution.
The Institute’s top scholars, as well as external lecturers, will be presenting a wide array of sessions, including:
- Moshe Halbertal: "Jewish Narratives & the Ethics of Memory"
- Micah Goodman: "On the Complexity of Jewish Identity"
- Knesset Member Avishai Braverman: "Israel’s New Challenges"
- David Hartman: "The Rabbinic Narratives About God"
- Donniel Hartman: "The Rabbinic Narratives of Religious Leaders"
Shabbat will be spent learning at the Hartman Institute, but excursions also are on the agenda, including trips to the City of David, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem neighborhoods.
Israel’s 60th birthday will be celebrated on the retreat’s penultimate evening with a special appearance by Shlomo Gronich, who will perform "Israel’s Musical-Textual Renaissance: Journey to the Sources."
For more information on the Lay Leadership Retreat, and for information on registering for Summer 2009, click here.