Hadar DC Yom Iyyun: Between Praise and Protest
Hadar DC Yom Iyyun: Between Praise and Protest

God's Will Our Relationships Lecture Series with Rabbi Ethan Tucker March 13, 20, 27 2023

Hadar DC Yom Iyyun

May 21, 2023
12:30 - 5:00 PM Eastern


Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School, North Campus
6045 16th Street, NW Washington, DC 20011

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Throughout the millennia, Jewish prayer has been a conduit between humans and God. It contains and expresses the passions, emotions, ideas, and spiritual yearnings of people longing for a connection with the divine. Exploring prayer is a unique way to understand our ancestors' relationship with God and to probe our tradition for guidance in our own spiritual journeys. At Hadar’s DC Yom Iyyun, we will uncover language for gratitude and anger, praise and protest, and the multitude of ways to imagine who God is.

Join us for a day of meaningful learning and deep conversation with Hadar faculty, including Rabbi Elie Kaunfer, Rabbi Avi Strausberg, and Dena Weiss. Throughout the Yom Iyyun, there will be learning activities and sessions for kids facilitated by Hadar’s Children & Families Division. Learning activities will be divided by grade (preschool - 1st grade, 2nd-4th grade, and middle school). High schoolers are invited to participate in adult learning and babysitters will be available to provide childcare for the youngest participants, ages 0-3. Children & Families programming will be facilitated by Hadar educators Chana Kupetz, Yitzhak Bronstein and Yeshivat Hadar Advanced Kollel members Miriam Lichtenberg and Jamie Weisbach.



12:30-1:00 PM: Registration, Shmoozing and Snacks

1:00-2:00 PM: Faculty Panel: Praying From the Heart
    Rabbi Elie Kaunfer, Rabbi Avi Strausberg, Dena Weiss

2:00-2:10 PM: Break

2:10-3:10 PM: Breakout Learning Sessions:

Manna and Manipulation: The Psychology of Prayer
Dena Weiss
In this class we'll look at different texts that hint to or explicitly address the psychological and emotional impacts of prayer. What does prayer mean to us and how does it affect us? Do we truly want our prayers to be answered or believe that they will be? If not, what is the value of an unanswered prayer? We'll explore how prayer can affect our hearts and our minds, in ways that can feel both sustaining and essential and in ways that can feel alienating and dangerous.

Torah of Faith and Protest
Rabbi Avi Strausberg
Writing from 1939-1942 from the Warsaw Ghetto, Rabbi Kalonymous Kalman Shapira, the Eish Kodesh, offers us a window into what it means to be a religious person of faith while experiencing and bearing witness to horror and devastation.  From within his Torah of trust, hope, and salvation, there are also moments in which his language of faith gives way to protest.  We'll look at several of these moments in our session to ask: how do we challenge God while still remaining people of faith?

3:10-3:25 PM: Break

3:25- 4:25 PM: Shiur Klali: Praying Anew: Unlocking Meaning in the Words of the Siddur
    Rabbi Elie Kaunfer
The Jewish prayerbook is a collage of texts that reflect our deepest emotions, longings and experiences. But sometimes it takes some work to unlock this meaning. Together we will interpret the texts of our prayers, uncovering new insights and learning a method of understanding the prayerbook in a new way.

4:25-5:00: Closing Session, Singing, Minhah


Children's Programming:

Age Groups:

  • Babies under the age of 3 will… 
    Spend the afternoon playing indoors and outdoors, reading books and making art with childcare providers. Note: they are not in charge of putting kids down for naps. 
  • Kids in Pre-K-1st grade will…
    Engage in a variety of hands-on activities where they will taste, touch, smell, feel and hear different materials , comparing them to Torah. This age group will also have story time, and several other age-appropriate activities related to Shavuot, as well as outdoor play time in the playground. 
  • Kids in 2nd-4th grade will…
    Learn about the origins of Shavuot, creating their own bikkurim. They will also dive into the story of Megilat Ruth, engaging with texts, and they will engage in a hands-on, sensory activity involving the comparison of Torah to different materials. They will also have time to play in the gym and the outdoor playground with their peers. 
  • Middle schoolers (5th-8th) grade will…
    Think deeply about the culture of social media and online shaming, using the format of Maimonides Moot Court Competition. They will learn about the origins of Shavuot, creating their own bikkurim to share with others, and engage in a hands-on, sensory activity involving the comparison of Torah to different materials.

Session Descriptions:

  • Torah is like… 
    What do fire, milk, and trees all have in common? In this class we will explore several comparisons of Torah to other materials using our senses and texts that discuss these ideas. Then we will make butter to be enjoyed on Shavuot. 
  • Bikkurim
    Are you surprised to know that Shavuot used to include parades, musical instruments and fruit baskets? ?!? Come learn how Shavuot, the holiday we consider connected to giving of Torah, was initially celebrated.  We will explore the origins of the holiday and engage with questions about the ways in which it carries meaning for our lives today, using a variety of materials to create our own bikkurim. 
  • Megilat Ruth
    This class will explore the story and main ideas of Megillat Ruth. Our youngest learners will act out the story, while older learners will do a deeper dive into the texts, commentaries and midrashim about Megilat Ruth. 



Tickets are free to attend. Register now at this link