Donniel Hartman can’t stand anything easy and quick; he might have lasted 30 seconds in an ad agency. He thinks in long form. His latest mastermind, called the Israel Engagement Project , includes a DVD set that features some of the top Zionist thinkers in Israel engaging the complex subject of Israel and Jewish values. He hopes it will become the basis for a national conversation in the American Jewish community….Donniel Hartman embodies things that are usually perceived as mutually exclusive: a charismatic speaker who shies away from sound bites; an Orthodox rabbi who legitimizes other branches of Judaism; a fervent Zionist who is deeply liberal; a centrist with passion; a theorist who is pragmatic; a thinker who can act.
Donniel Hartman Essay on Haredim Reposted on Ynet in English and Hebrew
Donniel Hartman’s essay on haredi bashing and on how mainstream Israelis must change their attitudes, Haredim and Mainstream Israelis Alike Must Rethink Their Roles , posted first on the Institute’s website, was reposted on Ynetnews and its parent site, Ynet , in Hebrew.
Resisting ‘Re-Ghettoization’: Lunch with Yossi Klein Halevi (Marc Tracy, Tablet, November 5, 2010)
Prominent Jerusalem rabbi warns of religion’s limits (CNN, November 1, 2010)
Rabbi Prof. David Hartman is featured in a video interview on CNN discussing the limits of religion. As CNN Producer Izzy Lemberg wrote in an explanatory note to the video, Rabbi Hartman "said he’s trying to understand if religion is in fact helpful to the human condition." Click here to view the CNN video on the SHI website.
…in an unprecedented move by the ministry, the Shalom Hartman Institute Midrashiya Girls’ High School has received a five-year mandate to develop an authentic and coherent educational vision that fuses respect for Jewish tradition and learning, obligation to Halacha and feminist ideology….The new curriculum, which the Midrashiya is in the first year of developing and hopes to have finished within four years, will first and foremost reflect the school’s ideology in that it will be open to questions, encourage respectful critical discussion, introduce textual female models and discuss topics from a feminist angle. It aims to create a religious and spiritual atmosphere bound by Halacha, which honors Jewish tradition and way of life but also enables women to play an active and leading role in the religious life, spiritual dialogue and the religious public sphere. It is already being implemented and tested in the school.
“We work with teachers in the field to develop this curriculum,” explains Renana Ravitsky Pilzer , head of the school’s beit midrash and one of three educators (the other two are from the Hartman Institute) writing the new Orthodox feminist curriculum for the Education Ministry. “No ivory tower here. We are interacting with the teachers and the girls as we go along. We write the curriculum, and then we check it out in the field and refine it. So that when it is ready, we know it will really work.”
The (Institute’s Charles E. Smith) Boys’ School was founded to create a new model of what it means to be an Orthodox Jew committed to Halacha yet embracing modernity and living within the modern world and a Jewish and democratic Israel.Our mission was to create a school built from the bottom up around the challenges facing young Orthodox women in the modern world,” he continues. “We did not want to use a male model but rather a structure that answers the fundamental questions of these young women – their status, finding a voice in Jewish tradition and feeling good about themselves. We wanted a holistic approach,” he explains “The Midrashiya is built around this concept."
Many girls and their parents eagerly awaited a school that not only offers academic excellence, is open to the wider world, encourages leadership and social awareness but also teaches girls to lead prayer, read from the Torah and be leaders not just in general society but also in Jewish life.
This was the first time I’d been invited to a dialogue with settlers. And not just "any" settlers, but the ideological hard core. The offer was made to me a year ago by the initiators and moderators of the project: Sharon Leshem-Zinger of Kibbutz Urim, head of the counseling school run by the Voices in the Negev organization at Sapir Academic College, and a teacher in the conflict management program at Ben-Gurion University; Dr. Avinoam Rosenak, head of the department of Jewish thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a research fellow at the Van Leer Institute; and Dr. Alick Isaacs of the Hartman Institute and the Hebrew University’s Melton Center for Jewish Education. Both of the latter are observant Jews.
Isaacs told how the idea of an internal Jewish dialogue on the religious meaning of the term "peace" began percolating in his mind following the crisis of the disengagement from Gush Katif and the Second Lebanon War, in which he took part as a reservist soldier."The standard peace dialogue in Western culture is based mainly on the conflict resolution by way of compromise and on the basis of hierarchies of interests," he explained. "In many circles in our region, compromise is perceived as a inferior cultural alternative; some even see it as a betrayal of their religious principles. Making peace in a religious dialogue means achieving an ideal that is connected to God’s name and presence. We believe that without broad public support that includes a religious – Jewish peace dialogue and Muslim salaam – there can be no peace and Israeli society will not be able to emerge
from the crisis it has fallen into."
In the conversation Sunday morning with four liberal rabbis, two journalists and the president of the North American division of the Shalom Hartman Institute, who convened the meeting, Livni stayed laser-focused on what she sees as one of the critical questions of our time.“What are the Jewish values that unite all Jews as a society, as a people?” she asked at the outset, assuring us that she was interested in an authentic and open dialogue.
Yehuda Kurtzer, the young scholar recently appointed president of the North American division of the Jerusalem-based Shalom Hartman Institute, later told me that the institute engaged dozens of academics in Israel to address the Israel-diaspora divide this year in the hopes of translating their ideas into educational projects throughout the country.Kurtzer, winner of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies’ “big idea” award several years ago, said his goal is to create a smaller version of that project here.“We can’t take for granted” that the Israel-diaspora relationship will endure without analyzing and nourishing it, he said.