Friday, October 18, 2013

Happenings at the Yeshiva

I hope you all are well.   This week has been an exciting one at the yeshiva, as we had our Community Beit Midrash kickoff event on Tuesday night at Hadar.   I, together with Rabbi Ethan Tucker and Erin Leib-Smokler engaged in a panel discussion on the Akeida, addressing the questions: Is true service to God achieved through submission? What is God trying to communicate in asking Abraham to sacrifice his son? And what is achieved when God cancels that command?   After we each presented our individual takes on the akeida, we shifted into a chavruta-mode discussion, challenging one another and learning from each other.   The evening ended with response to questions from the audience, which numbered close to 150 people.  Everyone left with a tremendous high, enriched with new insights into this challenging story, and inspired by the very experience of our sharing and learning Torah with one another. 

To see the full schedule for coming Tuesday nights, and to hear the audio of the event, please visit our website page, here.  The Community Beit Midrash is sponsored by YCT, Hadar and Maharat, with the participation of JTS, HUC and Drisha, and approximately 45 of our students, in addition to any interested community members, come together each Tuesday night to learn bi’chavruta and to hear a shiur.   The learning will continue at Hadar through Tuesday, Nov. 5, and will then take place at YCT starting Tuesday, Nov. 12. Come and join the learning!

We also had the special privilege of having Rabbi Dr. Daniel Sperber visit our yeshiva on Wednesday.  Rabbi Sperber spoke on his experiences in India and encounter with Hinduism and Hindu religious leaders and raised the question as to its halakhic categorization as avoda zara, and the presentation ended with a lively exchange between Rabbi Sperber and myself regarding what that halakhic categorization is and how to create the proper balance between inclusion and setting boundaries.

Finally, we are sad to announce the passing of the father of our student, Joel Dinin (YCT 2015), this last Shabbat in Los Angeles.  We are also sad to announce the passing of the grandmother of Daniel Millner (YCT 2014).  Our wishes of nechama to Joel and his family and to Daniel and his family.  HaMakom Yinachem etchem bi’tokh she’ar avalei Tzion vi’Yerushalayim.

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