As hundreds of rabbis already know, there is no better way to enrich yourself intellectually and personally as a rabbi than to participate in a Hartman rabbinic program. There is no better way to study classical and contemporary texts with colleagues across the denominational spectrum, engage with leading scholars, prepare for High Holiday sermons and a year of adult education classes, and reconnect with the people and the Land of Israel than the Hartman Rabbinic Torah Study Seminar
Together with Donniel Hartman , David Hartman , Yehuda Kurtzer , all of whom are scheduled to be teaching this year, and the faculty and staff of the Hartman Institute, I invite you to join us in the Hartman Beit Midrash this summer. Our annual Rabbinic Torah Study Seminar, which will take place July 4-14, 2011, will focus on the theme, “Jewish Peoplehood: The Meaning of the Collective in Modern Jewish Life.”
We will engage in broad and deep study of some of the many tensions that Peoplehood raises, both in classical Jewish tradition and in contemporary Jewish thought and life. We will explore the fundamental texts that frame so much of what we teach, and seek to achieve in our work to build community, strengthen Jewish identity, and deepen the individual and collective experience of holidays and ritual.
As individual Jews, we are as human selves in search of meaning. As members and leaders 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. Furthermore, the meanings and implications of Jewish Peoplehood directly impact on nearly all of the central questions and tensions of Judaism and modern life.
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. A dwindling sense of Peoplehood is increasingly defining the agenda for Israeli agencies and many Jewish institutions, synagogues, foundations, and federations. Several 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?
Please address administrative or logistical questions to Marlene Houri
and if you have any programmatic or content questions, please be in touch with me
I am already looking forward to welcoming you to the Hartman Beit Midrash this summer. May we have many opportunities to learn much Torah together.