DC Lecture Series with Rabbi Yitz Greenberg
DC Lecture Series with Rabbi Yitz Greenberg

A 3-Part Lecture Series with Rabbi Yitz Greenberg

February 21 | February 28 | March 7 
10:00-11:15 AM Eastern

This series is presented thanks to The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington's support for "Hadar in Washington DC-Engaging Young Adults."

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Overview

 

Join Hadar and Adas Israel Congregation for a 3-part lecture series with Rabbi Yitz Greenberg on “The Triumph of Life: An Interpretation of Jewish Religion,” moderated by Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, Rabbi Aaron Alexander, and Rabbi Tali Adler.

Judaism's central value is life. In this series, we will explore how this value shapes the Torah's message - to both the Jewish people and the world at large - to transform nature and society in order to sustain life. This universal message, which expands beyond the confines of Judaism itself teaches that the purpose of all humanity is tikkun olam, to repair the world as a collective community and to protect and sustain the life of every single person.

 

 

Topic: The Triumph of Life

 

Session 1: Judaism as the Religion of Life

Sunday, February 21

10:00 AM-11:15 AM

Moderated by Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt

Fundamentally, Judaism is a religion of life. It envisions a world that God created and intended to be filled with life (Isaiah 45:18). To achieve that vision, humanity has a vital role to play in ensuring that life always wins out over its enemies. God has reached out to human beings and recruited them to join in a covenantal partnership to fill the world with life and protect the dignity of every single human being. In this session, we shall explore this vision, the Divine and human roles in that vision, and the method that Judaism offers to enable repair of the world.

Session 2: The Supremacy of Life in Judaism

Sunday, February 28

10:00 AM-11:15 AM

Moderated by Rabbi Aaron Alexander

There are many values and conflicting interests in human existence - but in all of them, Judaism prioritizes upholding life over all competing values. What does that look like in practice? These three key expressions of Jewish religion are: the dignities of the human being as the creature who is in the image of God and the mitzvah to develop that image; the commandment to have children; and the law of pikuah nefesh, the primacy of saving a life. While saving a life overrides almost all of the Torah's commandments, there are three exceptions, which we will discuss in detail.

Session 3: Choosing Life: Every Minute, Every Time

Sunday, March 7

10:00 AM-11:15 AM

Moderated by Rabbi Tali Adler

Judaism imagines a world in which, at every moment, there is a choice between life and death. The Torah commands that we “choose life,” that is, by doing good. In the Torah's view, good behavior maximizes and extends life and minimizes death and decay. As a result, the religious calling is to consider, in advance, every choice we face about how to act or behave and to make the choice that maximizes life.

 

 

Topic: The Triumph of Life

 

Session 1: Judaism as the Religion of Life

Sunday, February 21

10:00 AM-11:15 AM

Moderated by Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt

The core teaching of Judaism is on this planet that life will win out over all its enemies. Humans must play a key role in this achievement. This world is sustained by a Living God who loves life. This world is God’s Creation. It was created and intended to be filled with life (Isaiah 45:18). God has reached out to human beings and recruited them to join in a covenant partnership to fill Creation with life and to upgrade the world so it supports life at the fullest level of dignity that all life deserves. In this session we shall explore this vision, the Divine and human roles in that vision and the method that Judaism offers to enable repair of the world.

Session 2: The Supremacy of Life in Judaism

Sunday, February 28

10:00 AM-11:15 AM

Moderated by Rabbi Aaron Alexander

There are many values and conflicting interests in human existence. This session will describe three primary ways in which Judaism prioritizes upholding the quantity and quality of life over all competing values and interests. These three key expressions of Jewish religion are: the dignities of the human being as the creature who is in the image of God and the mitzvah to develop that image; the commandment to have children; and the law of pikuach nefesh, the primacy of life. Saving a life overrides all the commandments of the Torah with three exceptions, which we will analyze.

Session 3: Choosing Life: Every Minute, Every Time

Sunday, March 7

10:00 AM-11:15 AM

Moderated by Rabbi Tali Adler

The primary concept underlying Jewish ritual and ethics is that in every human behavior in life and at every moment, there is a choice between life and death. The Torah commands that we “choose life.” That is the meaning of doing good. The definition of good behavior is to maximize life elements and minimize death or decay outcomes in every action. The religious calling is to consider, in advance, every life action/behavior and shape it to this end.

 

 

Speakers

 

Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg serves as the President of the J.J. Greenberg Institute for the Advancement of Jewish Life (JJGI) and as Senior Scholar in Residence at Hadar. Rabbi Greenberg was ordained by Beth Joseph Rabbinical Seminary of Brooklyn, New York and has a PhD in history from Harvard University. He has had a long and notable career in the service of the Jewish people. He served in the rabbinate, notably at the Riverdale Jewish Center in the 1960s. He served as professor and chairman of the Department of Jewish Studies of City College of the City University of New York in the 1970s. Together with Elie Wiesel, he founded CLAL: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership and served as its president until 1997.CLAL offered pluralistic Jewish learning for Jewish communal leadership and programs of intra-faith dialogue for rabbis of every denominational background. From 1997 to 2008, he served as founding president of Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation which created such programs as birthright Israel and the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education.

Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary, is celebrated by the Forward as one of the 32 most inspiring rabbis in the country. Recently, she was named one of Jewish Women’s International’s (JWI) “Women to Watch,” and is a proud senior fellow of the coveted Schusterman Fellowship, a leadership development program for individuals who are committed to growing their leadership in the Jewish community (an honor rarely bestowed on rabbis). Rabbi Holtzblatt also gratefully serves on the national board of Avodah and on the joint steering committee of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ). Among Rabbi Holtzblatt’s many achievements here at Adas, she has completely revitalized our caretaking (Hesed) and bereavement efforts, co-created the acclaimed MakomDC adult learning curriculum, launched and leads our wildly successful “Return Again” worship services, and directs the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington, which has twice been recognized as one of America's top innovative Jewish projects by the annual Slingshot Guide for Jewish Innovation. Previously, Rabbi Holtzblatt served as the Hillel Foundation Director of Campus Initiatives and as Associate Rabbi at the Yale University Hillel. Rabbi Holtzblatt was also a rabbinic fellow at B’nai Jeshurun in New York.

Rabbi Aaron Alexander served for ten years as Associate Dean and Lecturer in Rabbinic and Jewish Law at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, where he also received his ordination. He has long sat on the prestigious Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS) for the Conservative movement, the governing body determining Jewish law and practice for our entire movement. He is widely regarded as one of the nation’s leading authorities on Halacha (Jewish law), also certified as a mashgiach (kosher supervisor) by the Conservative movement's Rav Hamachshir program. Rabbi Alexander was appointed as a Rabbi Samuel T. Lachs Fellow of LEAP, a joint program of the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and Clal-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. Rabbi Alexander serves on the Board of Jews United for Justice, the Leadership Circle of One America, the D.C. Attorney General’s Faith-Based Advisory Committee, and the City Council’s Interfaith Working Group. Among his achievements here at Adas, Rabbi Alexander has elevated our Social Action work to a high level of recognition throughout the Washington, DC community, and has reinvigorated our adult learning, bringing it to a level and quality that now serves as a model for synagogues across the country.

Rabbi Tali Adler, a musmekhet of Yeshivat Maharat, received her undergraduate degree from Stern College, where she majored in Political Science and Jewish Studies. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, during her time at Yeshivat Maharat, Tali served as the clergy intern at Kehilat Rayim Ahuvim and Harvard Hillel. Tali has studied in a number of Jewish institutions, including Drisha and Midreshet Harova.

 

 

Registration

 

 

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