Jews in Muslim and Christian Spain and Portugal - A New Home in Portugal: Haven and Horror

Speaker: Professor Marc Saperstein, the Horace W. Goldsmith Visiting Professor at Yale University and previously the Charles E. Smith Professor of Jewish History at George Washington University for 9 years

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

A New Home in Portugal: Haven and Horror: Refugees in 1492; the mass forced conversion of 1492; The Lisbon Massacre of 1506; David Reubeni, Solomon Molkho and Messianic hopes; The Portuguese Inquisition; Onward to Amsterdam

The Lenell G. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2013_02_18_Saperstein_New_Home_in_Portugal.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 8:30am EST

Jews in Muslim and Christian Spain and Portugal - 1391-1492: the Last Tragic Century

Speaker: Professor Marc Saperstein, the Horace W. Goldsmith Visiting Professor at Yale University and previously the Charles E. Smith Professor of Jewish History at George Washington University for 9 years

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

1391-1492: the Last Tragic Century: Anti-Jewish Riots of 1391; Identity and status of the new converso class; Establishment of the Spanish Inquisition; Expulsion; Don Isaac Abravanel

The Lenell G. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat


Charlatans and Criminals, Businessmen and Rabbis: Networking in the Venetian Ghetto

Speaker: Dr. Bernard Dov Cooperman, Louis L. Kaplan Chair and Associate Professor of Jewish History at the University of Maryland

Location: Magen David Sephardic Congregation; Rockville, MD

The Venice ghetto, like the city itself, is now largely the property of tourists. Just as picturesque Venice seems to travelers to float miraculously on islands surrounded by the sea, so too the ghetto seems a Jewish world of elegance and piety, flourishing remarkably behind locked gates in a hostile world. But tourist images can be deceiving. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Venice was a living port, a thriving metropolis, a city devoted above all to trade, commerce, and making money. And like all commercial ports, alongside its wealthy powerbrokers and scholarly humanists, there were inevitably also sailors and thieves, hustlers and con men. The Jews who flocked to the city reflected that same diversity as they competed and interacted with each other and with everyone else amid the bustle on the Rialto. During this lecture we "meet" some of Venice's Jews in those centuries and get a feel for the range of Jewish culture and the possibilities of Jewish life in the crowded streets of the world's most famous ghetto.


Gender & Jewish History

Speaker: Dr. Deborah Dash Moore, Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of History at the University of Michigan and Director of the Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies

Location: Temple Sinai; Washington, DC

This lecture reveals the importance of gender in interpreting the modern Jewish past. It highlights the profound influence of feminist scholarship by considering the impact of gender on Jewish religious practices and political behavior, educational accomplishments and communal structures, patterns of acculturation, and choice of occupations. The lecture aims to stimulate conversations on Jewish women's creativity and spirituality, as well as explore such difficult issues as violence against women and Jews' reactions to persecution in the Holocaust.

This program is sponsored by Gary and Bernice Lebbin in honor of their family

Direct download: 2012_05_10_Moore_Gender_and_Jewish_History.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

Hawks and Doves: The Complexities of Religious Zionism

Speaker: Dr. Robert Eisen, Professor of Religion and Judaic Studies and Chair of the Department of Religion at George Washington University in Washington, DC

Location: Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington; Rockville, MD

In modern times, religious Zionism is often perceived as the most violent branch of Zionism on account of its association with the settler movement on the West Bank and its extremist elements. This lecture examines the veracity of this perception. While religious Zionism can certainly be violent, the reality is more complex. Professor Eisen explores that complexity and analyzes religious Zionism within the context of recent research on the relationship between religion and violence in general.


Being a Jew in Nazi Germany: Nazi Oppression & the Jewish Response

Speaker: Dr. Michael A. Meyer, Adolph S. Ochs Professor of Jewish History Emeritus at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati and international president of the Leo Baeck Institute, a scholarly organization devoted to the historical study of German Jewry

Location: Temple Shalom; Chevy Chase, MD

How did the Jews of Germany respond to the rise of Hitler, which put an end to their dreams of political equality in a liberal state and cultural integration into a civilized society? This lecture deals with the radically changed circumstances and the remarkable moral resistance that rabbis and laity displayed in the face of ever increasing oppression.

Supported by Gary and Bernice Lebbin as part of a series on German-Jewish Cultural Heritage

Direct download: 2012_03_29_Meyer_Being_a_Jew_in_Nazi_Germany.mp3
Category:German Jewish Heritage -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

The Sabbath Soul: Mystical Reflections on the Transformative Power of Holy Time
Speaker: Dr. Eitan Fishbane, Assistant Professor of Jewish Thought at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York

Location: Congregation Olam Tikvah; Fairfax, VA

Explore the spiritual texture of Shabbat and its meaning for our lives today through the writings of mystical masters from the history of Hasidism. In this lecture, Dr. Eitan Fishbane speaks about the ways in which Sabbath holiness has been understood in the history of Jewish mysticism, with special attention to the core rituals and symbols of the Sabbath day. Reflecting on his recently published book, The Sabbath Soul (Jewish Lights), Dr. Fishbane will present these sources as inspiration for our contemporary experience of Shabbat.

In honor of Dorothy G. and Robert H. Rumizen - Endowed by Dr. Bruce and Joy Ammerman through the Ammerman Foundation

Also co-sponsored by Agudas Achim Congregation, Beth El Hebrew Congregation, Congregation Etz Hayim, and Temple Rodef Shalom

Direct download: 2012_03_15_Fishbane_The_Sabbath_Soul.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 2:30am EST

Rethinking Jewish Beliefs in the Aftermath of the Holocaust: Part V

Speaker: Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman, Founding Chairman of the Foundation for Jewish Studies and Rabbi Emeritus of Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington, DC

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Fifth in a series of five lectures.

The Lenell G. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat


Rethinking Jewish Beliefs in the Aftermath of the Holocaust: Part IV

Speaker: Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman, Founding Chairman of the Foundation for Jewish Studies and Rabbi Emeritus of Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington, DC

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Fourth in a series of five lectures.

The Lenell G. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat


Rethinking Jewish Beliefs in the Aftermath of the Holocaust: Part III

Speaker: Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman, Founding Chairman of the Foundation for Jewish Studies and Rabbi Emeritus of Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington, DC

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Third in a series of five lectures.

The Lenell G. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat


Rethinking Jewish Beliefs in the Aftermath of the Holocaust: Part II

Speaker: Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman, Founding Chairman of the Foundation for Jewish Studies and Rabbi Emeritus of Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington, DC

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Second in a series of five lectures.

The Lenell G. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat


Rethinking Jewish Beliefs in the Aftermath of the Holocaust: Part I

Speaker: Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman, Founding Chairman of the Foundation for Jewish Studies and Rabbi Emeritus of Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington, DC

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

First in a series of five lectures.

The Lenell G. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat


Survivors of the Inquisition: Faith & Perserverance among the B'nei Anousim of Lisbon

Speakers: Rabbi Jules Harlow, served on the staff of the Rabbinical Assembly, most notably as Director of Publications, where he specialized in editing and translating the liturgy

Navah Harlow, founding director of the Center for Ethics in Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.

Location: B'nai Israel Congregation; Rockville, MD

The lecture begins with an overview of the Inquisition as it affected Jews in Portugal, within an historical context. The Harlows present their experiences in teaching and meeting with b'nei anousim (descendants of Jews who were forcibly baptized centuries ago), the process of preparing them for coming before the Masorti Beit Din (religious court) in London for examination, and their acceptance as converts according to the requirements of Jewish law. The presentation includes details from the lives and family histories of those whom the Harlows have taught.

In memory of Renee and Frank Schick - Endowed by the Schick Family

Direct download: 2012_02_13_Survivors_of_the_Inquisition__Faith.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 2:30am EST

Kabbalah, Science, and Universal Ethics

Speaker: Dr. David Ruderman, Joseph Meyerhoff Professor of Modern Jewish History and the Ella Darivoff Director of the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania

Location: B'nai Israel Congregation; Rockville, MD

"The Book of the Covenant" (Sefer ha-Brit), first published by a relatively unknown Eastern European Jew named Phinehas Elijah Hurwitz, in Brunn, Moravia in 1797, was one of the most popular Hebrew books read by Jews in the Modern Era. In this massive volume - purported to be a commentary of a popular 16th century mystical work - Hurwitz presented his understanding of the sciences of the day - cosmology, astronomy, geography, botany, zoology, and medicine. In a commentary on the injunction to "Love thy neighbor as thyself," Hurwitz insisted that the commandment requires every Jew to love all human beings, not only their own co-religionists, and not merely as a political concession but as an inherent value of Judaism itself. The complex mixture of science, kabbalistic piety, and universal ethics mark the special quality of this work and underscore its uniqueness in an era of cultural debate and polarization. Hurwitz's attempt to balance the secular and Jewish worlds in which he lived offers insight into our own struggle to live as committed Jews in the modern world.

This program is made possible by the generosity of K. Peter & Yvonne Wagner

Direct download: 2011_12_11_Kabbalah_Science_Ethics.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

Maharal: The Mystic as Legal Scholar

Speaker: Rabbi Dr. Levi Cooper, professor at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem and spiritual leader of Kehillat HaTzur VeHaTzohar in Tzur Hadassah

Location: Temple Shalom; Chevy Chase, MD

The Maharal is celebrated as a mystic, but he was also a legal authority. To be sure, only a few of his halakhic writings survived, and most of his decisions did not become accepted law. Nevertheless, we would be remiss to ignore that he was also a jurisprudent.

In addition to exhibiting this lesser-known aspect of his personality, this lecture discusses how he and other scholars of Prague reacted to the codification of Jewish law. It explores the intended goals of codification, why scholars were against it, and how that issue is reflected today in our complicated and diverse relationships with Halakhah.

Rabbi Cooper's three-part lecture series is supported by the generosity of Gerald and Dina Leener

This lecture was made possible by the generosity of Dr. Anita O. Solomon, in memory of her beloved husband, Frederic, and her father, Arthur Ostrin

Direct download: 2011_11_22_Maharal_Mystic_as_Legal_Scholar.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

Rabbi Akiva: The Mystical Prayer of a Legal Authority

Speaker: Rabbi Dr. Levi Cooper, professor at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem and spiritual leader of Kehillat HaTzur VeHaTzohar in Tzur Hadassah

Location: Ohr Kodesh Congregation; Chevy Chase, MD

Rabbi Akiva is generally seen as the central legal authority in the Mishna; much of Jewish law, both civiland ritual, can be traced to him and his students. Yet Rabbi Akiva's prayer indicates that he may have also been a mystic. Certainly the Hasidic masters saw Rabbi Akiva as the paradigm for mystical prayer.

This lecture also discusses different types of mystical experiences that are recognized in the Hasidic tradition.

Rabbi Cooper's three-part lecture series is supported by the generosity of Gerald and Dina Leener

Direct download: 2011_11_20_Rabbi_Akiva_Mystical_Prayer.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

The Villager and the Flute: Hasidic Tales that Contravene Jewish Law

Speaker: Rabbi Dr. Levi Cooper, professor at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem and spiritual leader of Kehillat HaTzur VeHaTzohar in Tzur Hadassah

Location: Washington DC JCC; Washington, DC

This lecture looks at the famous Hasidic tale and how it has been retold so that it conforms to the norms of Jewish Law. What is the price paid by such revisions? Is the story enhanced or does it lose some of its original flavor?

Rabbi Cooper's three-part lecture series is supported by the generosity of Gerald and Dina Leener

Direct download: 2011_11_17_The_Villager_and_the_Flute.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

Looking in on Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden

Speaker: Dr. Ziony Zevit, Distinguished Professor of Biblical Literature and Northwest Semitic Languages at American Jewish University

Location: Agudas Achim Congregation; Alexandria, VA

The idea of  "the Fall" of humanity from divine grace as a result of original sin is deeply ingrained in both Jewish and Christian religious consciousness. Although the idea of the Fall is attested in Jewish writings of the first century BCE, the New Testament, and in Rabbinic texts, it is unknown in the Hebrew Bible.

This lecture looks in on Adam and Eve as they walk through the garden, eavesdrops on their reported conversations, and watches as God drives them out from Eden. Following in their footsteps, as portrayed in Genesis 2 - 4, and reading the biblical text very closely, it undertakes to respond to the following questions and discover why what we think we know is wrong: Why does the Hebrew Bible not consider what happened in the garden a Fall? Why did later thinkers come to think of what happened there as the Fall? And if not a Fall, what did happen there?

Also co-sponsored by Beth El Hebrew Congregation, Congregation Olam Tikvah, Congregation Etz Hayim, and Temple Rodef Shalom

Direct download: 2011_11_10_Adam__and_Eve_in_the_Garden_of_Eden.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

Did Women Study Torah in the Talmudic Period?

Speaker: Dr. Judith Hauptman, The E. Billi Ivry Professor of Talmud and Rabbinic Culture at the Jewish Theological Seminary

Location: Temple Shalom; Chevy Chase, MD

For years, scholars and laypeople alike have asserted that women in the talmudic period were relegated to housework and did not study Torah. New research about the study house (bet midrash) argues that it was not a free-standing building. Instead, a rabbi and a circle of students would discuss Torah in the rabbi’s home, courtyard, and at his table. It follows that women would overhear Torah talk. Small anecdotes appearing in the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds show that occasionally women actually participated in Torah discussions, contributing comments that reflected deep knowledge of the subject at hand. Other anecdotes show that some rabbis taught Torah to their wives and daughters. In short, as patriarchal as ancient rabbinic society surely was, women were not excluded from Torah study. They learned far more than we have generally thought possible, although not as much as men.

Also co-sponsored by the Georgetown University Program for Jewish Civilization


Between History and Memory: Rethinking the American Jewish Past

Speaker: Dr. Hasia Diner, Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University

Location: JCC of Greater Washington; Rockville, MD

From the idea that the eighteenth century constituted a "sephardi era" in American Jewish history through the decades following World War II in which American Jews shunned talking about and memorializing the Holocaust, the history of the Jews of the United States has been laced throughout with myths which do not stand up to the test of historical evidence. This lecture examines a number of those ideas about the American Jewish past which have dominated popular memory. It juxtaposes them against the actual historical data and explores why such renditions of the past have held on so long and so tenaciously.

Also co-sponsored by Georgetown University Program for Jewish Civilization and the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington

Direct download: 2011_10_27_Rethinking_the_American_Jewish_Past.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

Three German Jews Rediscover Their Judaism

Speaker: Dr. Michael Berenbaum, writer, lecturer, and teacher consulting in the conceptual development of museums and the development of historical films

Location: Ohr Kodesh Congregation; Chevy Chase, MD

Dr. Berenbaum speaks about the lives of Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, and Gershom Scholem. Their different but intersecting journeys back toward Judaism had an incredible impact on Jewish life and secured places for Buber, Rosenzweig, and Scholem as three of the most influential Jews of the 20th century.

This program is the annual Abraham S. Kay lecture, made possible by the generosity of Jack Kay.

Also co-sponsored by the Georgetown University Program for Jewish Civilization

Direct download: 2011_10_17_Three_German_Jews_Rediscover_Judaism.mp3
Category:German Jewish Heritage -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

Speaker: Dr. Leora Batnitzky, Professor and Chair in the Department of Religion at Princeton University, where she also directs Princeton’s Tikvah Project on Jewish Thought.

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Revelation as Ethics: Emil Fackenheim, Emmanuel Levinas, and Post-Holocaust Jewish Thought.

The Dr. Harvey H. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat


Speaker: Dr. Leora Batnitzky, Professor and Chair in the Department of Religion at Princeton University, where she also directs Princeton’s Tikvah Project on Jewish Thought.

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Revelation as Reason: Hermann Cohen, Joseph Soloveitchik, and Yeshayahu Leibowitz.

The Dr. Harvey H. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat


Speaker: Dr. Leora Batnitzky, Professor and Chair in the Department of Religion at Princeton University, where she also directs Princeton’s Tikvah Project on Jewish Thought.

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Revelation as Law: Baruch Spinoza, Moses Mendelssohn, and the Birth of the Jewish Religion.

The Dr. Harvey H. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat


Open to Interpretation: Defining Modern Orthodoxy

Speaker: Rabbi Avi Weiss, founder and president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, the Modern and Open Orthodox Rabbinical School in New York

Location: Sixth & I Historic Synagogue; Washington, DC

Rabbi Avi Weiss, one of Newsweek’s “50 Most Influential Rabbis in America,” discusses his philosophy on an Orthodoxy that is both open and inclusive.

Also co-sponsored by Ohev Sholom - The National Synagogue and Beth Sholom Congregation & Talmud Torah

Direct download: 2011_06_27_Defining_Modern_Orthodoxy.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 2:00pm EST

Rereading Jacob and Joseph: The Dream and the Pit: Part IV

Speaker: Dr. Avivah Zornberg, is the author of Genesis: The Beginning of Desire, for which she won the National Jewish Book Award, The Particulars of Rapture: Reflections on Exodus, and The Murmuring Deep: Reflections on the Biblical Unconscious.

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

The Pit and the Rope: Joseph and Judah, Continued.

The Lenell G. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2011_05_30_Rereading_Jacob_and_Joseph_Part_4.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 8:00am EST

Rereading Jacob and Joseph: The Dream and the Pit: Part III

Speaker: Dr. Avivah Zornberg, is the author of Genesis: The Beginning of Desire, for which she won the National Jewish Book Award, The Particulars of Rapture: Reflections on Exodus, and The Murmuring Deep: Reflections on the Biblical Unconscious.

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

The Pit and the Rope: Joseph and Judah.

The Lenell G. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2011_05_30_Rereading_Jacob_and_Joseph_Part_3.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 5:00am EST

Rereading Jacob and Joseph: The Dream and the Pit: Part II

Speaker: Dr. Avivah Zornberg, is the author of Genesis: The Beginning of Desire, for which she won the National Jewish Book Award, The Particulars of Rapture: Reflections on Exodus, and The Murmuring Deep: Reflections on the Biblical Unconscious.

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Letter From an Unknown Woman: Joseph's Dream, Continued.

The Lenell G. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2011_05_29_Rereading_Jacob_and_Joseph_Part_2.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

Rereading Jacob and Joseph: The Dream and the Pit: Part I

Speaker: Dr. Avivah Zornberg, is the author of Genesis: The Beginning of Desire, for which she won the National Jewish Book Award, The Particulars of Rapture: Reflections on Exodus, and The Murmuring Deep: Reflections on the Biblical Unconscious.

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Letter From an Unknown Woman: Joseph's Dream.

The Lenell G. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2011_05_29_Rereading_Jacob_and_Joseph_Part_1.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 10:00am EST

Romancing the Stone: America's Embrace of the Ten Commandments

Speaker: Prof. Jenna Weissman Joselit, Charles E. Smith Professor of Judaic Studies & Professor of History at The George Washington University

Location: Beth Sholom Congregation & Talmud Torah; Potomac, MD

This age-old compilation of dos and don'ts has become an American article of faith and, in some quarters, even America's "rightful heritage." The most richly imagined of all Biblical texts, the Ten Commandments loom large in American culture, where they figure in art, literature, politics, and the law. The cultural and historical processes by which a covenant with the ancient Israelites became a covenant with America lies at the heart of this encounter in both American history and Jewish history.

In memory of Renee and Frank Schick – Endowed by the Schick Family

Also co-sponsored by the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington

Direct download: 2011_05_17_Romancing_the_Stone.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

Do We Mean What We Pray, Do We Pray What We Mean?

Speaker: Dr. Eliezer Diamond, Rabbi Judah Nadich Associate Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at The Jewish Theological Seminary

Location: Congregation Beth El; Bethesda, MD

The traditional liturgy of the Siddur was composed in a time and place quite different from our own. Moreover, the theological assumptions that animate this liturgy are not necessarily shared by many of us. Given this ideological and experiential disparity, how can we not simply recite the words of the Siddur but actually turn them into a meaningful prayer experience? This issue was addressed both by drawing upon a number of rabbinic texts and by utilizing the midrashic methodologies that are central to rabbinic discourse.

In honor of Dorothy G. and Robert H. Rumizen - Endowed by Dr. Bruce and Joy Ammerman through the Ammerman Foundation

Direct download: 2011_05_10_Do_We_Mean_What_We_Pray.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

Jabotinsky: Enduring Insights

Speaker: Douglas J. Feith, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, where he heads the Center for National Security Strategies

Location: B'nai Israel Congregation; Rockville, MD

There are few men or women who are remembered, let alone honored, 70 years after they’ve died. But we do remember Vladimir “Ze’ev” Jabotinsky – and for good reason. Or, I should say, for good reasons. First, he played an instrumental role in the success of a great cause -- the reconstitution of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel. Second, in addition to his remarkable accomplishments, he was a man of remarkable character and ideas. And third, Jabotinsky’s thoughts on the Arab-Jewish conflict over Palestine are not merely of historical interest; they contain insights applicable today.

Also cosponsored by Ohr Kodesh Congregation as part of its Pledge 30 program

Direct download: 2011_05_03_Jabotinsky.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

What's Portnoy Complaining About Lately? New Voices and Themes in Contemporary Jewish-American Literature

Speaker: Prof. Faye Moskowtiz, Professor of English at The George Washington University in Washington, DC

Location: Washington Hebrew Congregation; Washington, DC

Professor Faye Moskowitz as discussed the state of contemporary Jewish American Literature. What is happening to the narrative now that the last of the Holocaust witnesses are dying and divisive opinions on the state of Israel rock Jewish and American societies? Why are so many Jewish writers reaching back to a history they never experienced personally? Should writers like Jonathan Franzen and Peter Manseau who appropriate the Jewish experience be called "Jewish writers," and conversely, why do so many Jewish American writers disdain the label? Can anyone replace the generation of giants that includes Bellow, Roth, Malamud, Ozick, and Salinger?

Direct download: 2011_04_12_Whats_Portnoy_Complaining_About.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

Identity, Conflict, and International Interest in the Middle East: Part III

Speaker: Prof. Fred Lazin, Professor of Local Government at Ben Gurion University of the Negev and the Visiting Professor of Israel Studies at American University

Location: B'nai Israel Congregation; Rockville, MD

This session began with an examination of the social vision for Israel as first laid out by David Ben Gurion and then compared it with what Israeli society looks like today. Dr. Lazin examined many identity forces, with special emphasis on the role of religion, religious political parties, and the quest for religious pluralism.

Also co-sponsored by American Associates Ben-Gurion University of the Negev


Identity, Conflict, and International Interest in the Middle East: Part II

Speaker: Prof. Fred Lazin, Professor of Local Government at Ben Gurion University of the Negev and the Visiting Professor of Israel Studies at American University

Location: B'nai Israel Congregation; Rockville, MD

President Harry Truman famously became the first head of state to recognize the new State of Israel in 1948, but the attitude of subsequent administrations to Israel was far from clear cut. This session examined the causes of changes in the relationship over time, up to and including the elections of President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu. It also explored the impact of groups like AIPAC, both from the American and Israeli perspectives.

Also co-sponsored by American Associates Ben-Gurion University of the Negev


Identity, Conflict, and International Interest in the Middle East: Part I

Speaker: Prof. Fred Lazin, Professor of Local Government at Ben Gurion University of the Negev and the Visiting Professor of Israel Studies at American University

Location: B'nai Israel Congregation; Rockville, MD

This session explored the major conflicts that ignite passions in the Middle East, only one of which is the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Others include the interests of the great powers for influence and hegemony, conflicts both within and between the major religions, and issues of national identity and pride.

Also co-sponsored by American Associates Ben-Gurion University of the Negev


Lubavitchers: What Do They Want, and Who Sent Them?

Speaker: Dr. Samuel Heilman, Harold Proshansky Chair in Jewish Studies at the Graduate Center and is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Queens College of the City University of New York

Location: Ohev Sholom - The National Synagogue; Washington, DC

This lecture discussed a worldwide movement of Jewish Outreach and the Rebbe who sent them on their mission. It is a story of personal change and an effort to make sense out of history, a story of transformation and how a sect of Hasidim could make themselves and their leader into a force that could make claims about their ability to control history and Jewish destiny.

Also cosponsored by the Georgetown University Program for Jewish Civilization

Direct download: 2011_03_15_Lubavitchers_What_They_Want.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

Equality, Family, and Holidays in the Mishnah

Speaker: Prof. Calvin Goldscheider, Ungerleider Professor Emeritus of Judaic Studies and Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

Location: Sixth & I Historic Synagogue; Washington, DC

The Mishnah is a third century set of Jewish texts consisting of 63 volumes organized around an imagined and constructed community. It is sub-divided into several themes that form the basis of understanding Rabbinic Judaism. Assuming that we have only the Mishnaic text as our source of evidence, we ask, what emerges inductively from the text that informs us about the Mishnaic notion of community? It is a social science question asked not of contemporary societies but of canonized texts in the Judaic tradition for a world that is past. By studying the Mishnah, we are able to clarify how society is conceptualized in the Mishnah and in the process gain some new insights into the Mishnah itself.

In this lecture Professor Goldscheider illustrated this approach by highlighting several critical social themes portrayed in the Mishnah: (1) Inequality and exclusion--Does the Mishnah have a utopian ideal of a classless Jewish society? How does the Mishnah characterize the relationship to Non-Jews? (2) Family and gender--What types of family relationships emerge in the Mishnah and how are family transitions described? How are the roles of men and women, boys and girls, differentiated in the Mishnah? (3) Holidays and rituals--How do holidays and religious rituals convey the meanings of Judaism in the Mishnah?

Also cosponsored by the Georgetown University Program for Jewish Civilization

Direct download: 2011_03_01_Equality_Family_Holidays_in_Mishnah.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

From Kabbalah to the Big Bang: Part V

Speaker: Dr. Daniel C. Matt, translator and annotator of the Pritzker edition of the Zohar

Location: Capital Camps and Retreat Center; Waynesboro, PA

God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony Between Science and Spirituality.

The Josephine F. and H. Max Ammerman Study Retreat

Direct download: 2011_02_21_Kabbalah_to_the_Big_Bang_Part_5.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 8:00am EST

From Kabbalah to the Big Bang: Part IV

Speaker: Dr. Daniel C. Matt, translator and annotator of the Pritzker edition of the Zohar

Location: Capital Camps and Retreat Center; Waynesboro, PA

Raising the Sparks: Finding God in the Material World.

The Josephine F. and H. Max Ammerman Study Retreat

Direct download: 2011_02_21_Kabbalah_to_the_Big_Bang_Part_4.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 5:00am EST

From Kabbalah to the Big Bang: Part III

Speaker: Dr. Daniel C. Matt, translator and annotator of the Pritzker edition of the Zohar

Location: Capital Camps and Retreat Center; Waynesboro, PA

Shekhinah: The Feminine Half of God.

The Josephine F. and H. Max Ammerman Study Retreat

Direct download: 2011_02_20_Kabbalah_to_the_Big_Bang_Part_3.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

From Kabbalah to the Big Bang: Part II

Speaker: Dr. Daniel C. Matt, translator and annotator of the Pritzker edition of the Zohar

Location: Capital Camps and Retreat Center; Waynesboro, PA

Discussion on Dr. Matt's current project.

The Josephine F. and H. Max Ammerman Study Retreat

Direct download: 2011_02_20_Kabbalah_to_the_Big_Bang_Part_2.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 11:00am EST

From Kabbalah to the Big Bang: Part I

Speaker: Dr. Daniel C. Matt, translator and annotator of the Pritzker edition of the Zohar

Location: Capital Camps and Retreat Center; Waynesboro, PA

The Zohar: Masterpiece of Kabbalah.

The Josephine F. and H. Max Ammerman Study Retreat

Direct download: 2011_02_20_Kabbalah_to_the_Big_Bang_Part_1.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 8:00am EST

On the Eve of Destruction: Jewish Life in Germany Before Hitler

Speaker: Dr. Michael Brenner, Chair of Jewish History and Culture at the University of Munich in Germany

Location: JCC of Greater Washington; Rockville, MD

Contrary to common belief, Jewish life in Germany before the rise of the Nazis was culturally thriving. While one segment of the Jewish community was assimilated, there was a tendency, especially among the younger generation, to show renewed interest in Jewish matters. German Jewry in the 1920s was perhaps the first Jewish community that lived in a relatively open and democratic society and began at the same time to look for modern expressions of its Jewish identity. In many respects it serves as an example for modern American Jews, even though the circumstances of its existence were quite different. Dr. Brenner discussed everyday life among German Jews, their religious expressions, and some of their important intellectuals, like Franz Rosenzweig, Gershom Scholem, and Leo Baeck.

This program was made possible by the generosity of Gary and Bernice Lebbin as part of a series of programs on German-Jewish Cultural Heritage.

Direct download: 2011_02_08_Jewish_Life_in_Germany_before_Hitler.mp3
Category:German Jewish Heritage -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

Can the Jewish People Survive as Secularists?

Speaker: Dr. Jacques Berlinerblau, Associate Professor and Director of the Program for Jewish Civilization at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University

Location: Adas Israel Congregation; Washington, DC

What is "Secular Judaism?" The term "secular Jew" is used by those who claim to be secular Jews and those who see secular Jews as part of a malaise afflicting Judaism. But what is it and why does there seem to be an affinity between secularism and the deeply held beliefs of the American Jewish community? Dr. Berlinerblau will look at the history of Judaism with an eye towards understanding the factors which may predispose Jews to become the secular people par excellence.

Direct download: 2010_11_30_Jewish_People_as_Secularists.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

A Creation Theology for the Post-Darwinian Age

Speaker: Rabbi Arthur Green, Professor and Rector of the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College

Location: Temple Shalom; Chevy Chase, MD

Rabbi Green will seek to ask how one who accepts the evidence of Darwinism, in its broadest sense, may still speak in religious terms about the natural universe and its evolution.

Direct download: 2010_10_26_Creation_Theology.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 7:30pm EST

Prophets of the Past: Interpreters of Jewish History

Speaker: Dr. Michael Brenner, Chair of Jewish History and Culture at the University of Munich in Germany

Location: Georgetown University; Washington, DC

Professor Michael Brenner examines in depth how modern Jewish historians have interpreted Jewish history, beginning with nineteenth-century Germany. History proved to be a uniquely powerful weapon for modern Jewish scholars during a period when they had no nation or army to fight for their ideological and political objectives, whether the goal was Jewish emancipation, diasporic autonomy or the creation of a Jewish state.

Direct download: 2010_10_12_Prophets_of_the_Past.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 7:00pm EST

Recent Controversies Concerning the Dead Sea Scrolls

Speaker: Hershel Shanks, Founding Editor of Biblical Archaeology Review

Location: JCC of Greater Washington; Rockville, MD

Herschel Shanks will speak about recent developments and controversies regarding the Dead Sea Scrolls..

Direct download: 2010_10_03_Controversies_Dead_Sea_Scrolls.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 2:00pm EST

Improving Christian Attitudes Toward Judaism

Speaker: Father Leo D. Lefebure, Professor of Theology and the Matteo Ricci Chair at Georgetown University and priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago

Location: Ohr Kodesh Congregation; Chevy Chase, MD

In recent decades many Christian leaders have sought to overcome the age-old tradition of hostility to Judaism. At the center of these efforts are revised theological understandings of Christian origins, of the New Testament, and of relations between Jews and Christians from antiquity to the present. This lecture will focus on the theological dimensions both of the traditional conflict and of recent efforts to move beyond it and to shape healthy relations for the present and future.

Direct download: 2010_09_28_Christian_Attitudes_Toward_Judaism.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 7:30pm EST

The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel: Part IV

Speaker: Dr. Benjamin D. Sommer, Professor of Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages at the Jewish Theological Seminary

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

God's Body and Our Own Judaism: Part four will utilize selected New Testament texts, kabbalistic texts, the Anim Zemirot, and the Yigdal.

The Dr. Harvey H. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2010_09_06_Bodies_of_God_Part_4.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 1:00pm EST

The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel: Part III

Speaker: Dr. Benjamin D. Sommer, Professor of Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages at the Jewish Theological Seminary

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Just One! Just One! Part three will examine The Shem and the Kavod: the Shema, Solomon’s Prayer, other deuteronomic texts, Exodus 39-40, and Ezekiel 8-10.

The Dr. Harvey H. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2010_09_06_Bodies_of_God_Part_3.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 10:30am EST

The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel: Part II

Speaker: Dr. Benjamin D. Sommer, Professor of Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages at the Jewish Theological Seminary

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

How Many Bodies Does God Have? Part two will utilize selected Babylonian and Canaanite texts and selections from Genesis, Exodus, and Hosea to explore this question.

The Dr. Harvey H. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: The_Bodies_of_God_and_the_World_of_II.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel: Part I

Speaker: Dr. Benjamin D. Sommer, Professor of Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages at the Jewish Theological Seminary

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Yesh Lo Demut Ha-Guf? Does the Bible’s God Have a Body? Can a human see God? Part one will utilize texts from Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 1-3, Exodus 33-34, Jeremiah 1, Genesis 1, Genesis 3, Exodus 24, and Amos 9 to explore these questions.

The Dr. Harvey H. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: The_Bodies_of_God_and_the_World_of_I.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Spiritual Friendship in Jewish Mystical Tradition: Part IV

Speaker: Dr. Lawrence Fine, Irene Kaplan Lewiant Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor of Religion at Mount Holyoke College

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Love and interpersonal relations were central to Eastern European Hasidism. According to one Hasidic teacher, Reb Arele Roth, individuals are encouraged to associate with others who can help "wake" them up spiritually. The teachings of R. Avraham Kalisker, who wrote about “cleaving to our fellows” when we are in need of personal inspiration, will also be discussed.

The Lenell G. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2010_05_31_Spiritual_Friendship_Part_4.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 1:00pm EST

Spiritual Friendship in Jewish Mystical Tradition: Part III

Speaker: Dr. Lawrence Fine, Irene Kaplan Lewiant Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor of Religion at Mount Holyoke College

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

In the seventeenth century, a kabbalistic community developed in Jerusalem, known as Bet El. Inspired by Lurianic mysticism, the Bet El community fashioned an intimate group of individuals who believed that they should love one another as if they were a single organism.

The Lenell G. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2010_05_31_Spiritual_Friendship_Part_3.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 10:00am EST

Spiritual Friendship in Jewish Mystical Tradition: Part II

Speaker: Dr. Lawrence Fine, Irene Kaplan Lewiant Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor of Religion at Mount Holyoke College

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

The small village of Safed was the site of a great renaissance of kabbalistic life in the sixteenth century. What was the nature of the several kabbalistic fellowships (havurot) that flourished there?

The Lenell G. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2010_05_30_Spiritual_Friendship_Part_2.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 5:00pm EST

Spiritual Friendship in Jewish Mystical Tradition: Part I

Speaker: Dr. Lawrence Fine, Irene Kaplan Lewiant Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor of Religion at Mount Holyoke College

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

The Zohar, the great kabbalistic literature of thirteenth-century Spain, depicts Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his circle of disciples/companions travelling the Land of Israel and engaging in mystical discourse. Why does Shimon bar Yochai insist on their loving one another? In what sense is the well being of the world, indeed the cosmos, dependent upon their loving relations?

The Lenell G. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2010_05_30_Spiritual_Friendship_Part_1.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 1:00pm EST

Arab and Islamic Anti-Semitism Today

Speaker: Professor Menahem Milson, Professor of Arabic Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Co-founder of The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)

Location: Sixth & I Historic Synagogue; Washington, DC

Antisemitism has become a pervasive feature of public discourse in the Arab and Islamic world. This lecture explores the various components of present day Islamic and Arab antisemitism, both indigenous (of Islamic provenance) and imported. The special role played by the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” will be assessed, and attention will be drawn to the upsurge in the use of Islamic religious traditions in the antisemitic propaganda, a phenomenon concurrent with the rise of Islamism.

Cosponsored by Sixth & I Historic Synagogue

Direct download: 2010_05_27_Arab_and_Islamic_Anti-Semitism_Today.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 5:00pm EST

The People And The Book: The Invention of Printing And The Transformation of Jewish Culture

Speaker: Professor David B. Ruderman, Joseph Meyerhoff Professor of Modern Jewish History and the Ella Darivoff Director of the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania

Location: JCC of Greater Washington; Rockville, MD

The development of the printing press resulted in the emergence of a unique Jewish culture in the 16th century, an age when the Talmud and the Bible where printed and when Jews discovered a new world of medicine, science, and philosophy. It was a time in which books of a less formal and intellectual nature emerged in Yiddish and Ladino, as well as for women. This new technology transformed the way Jews thought and processed information about the world, as the internet and technology transformed the way we think and live today.

In honor of Dorothy G. and Robert H. Rumizen, endowed by Dr. Bruce and Joy Ammerman through the Ammerman Foundation


Renaissance England's Chief Rabbi: John Selden

Speaker: Professor Jason Rosenblatt, Professor of English at Georgetown University

Location: Washington DCJCC

John Selden; a non-Jew, was an English jurist, legal antiquarian, politician, and a leading figure of English historical research during the 17th century. He was also considered an expert scholar on Jewish law.

In the midst of an age of prejudice when all Jews had been expelled from England, Selden wrote his most immense work, containing magnificent Hebrew scholarship that reflects—to an extent remarkable for the times—a respectful understanding of Judaism. The history of the religious toleration of Jews in England is incomplete without acknowledgment of the impact of this non-Jew’s uncommonly generous Hebrew scholarship.

In memory of Frank Schick, endowed by Renee Schick

Direct download: 2010_04_22_Renaissance_England_and_John_Selden.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 7:30pm EST

Are the Holidays Late This Year? Judaism and the Lessons of Modern Biblical Scholarship

Speaker: Professor James Kugel, Director of the Institute for the History of the Jewish Bible, Bar Ilan University

Location: Temple Shalom; Chevy Chase, MD

Some of the most familiar holidays in the Jewish calendar look very different in the light of biblical research. What is more, the Dead Sea Scrolls have revealed that, compared with the "Jewish calendar" we use today, Jews in late biblical times used an entirely different calendar—one in which the holidays were never "late this year.” What are Jews today to make of these findings?

Direct download: 2010_03_18_Are_the_Holidays_Late_this_Year.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 7:30pm EST

What Our Rabbis Tell Us About The World To Come

Speaker: Professor David Kraemer, Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary

Location: B'nai Israel Congregation; Rockville, MD

Jews understand life, death, and everything in between. This lecture explores past Jewish beliefs about what comes after this life, correcting many misconceptions and asking what differences changes in these beliefs might make.

Cosponsored by B'nai Israel Congregation

Direct download: 2010_03_11_The_World_to_Come.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 5:00pm EST

The Rise and Fall of Ancient Israel: Part IV

Speaker: Eric H. Cline, Chair of the Department of Classical and Semitic Languages and Literatures at The George Washington University

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Part four discusses how Nebuchadnezzar and the Neo-Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem not once but twice, burned the Temple of Solomon to the ground, and exiled the leading citizens of Jerusalem and Judah to the far-away city of Babylon. It also provides an in-depth look at Jewish history during the Babylonian period.

The Josephine F. and H. Max Ammerman Study Retreat


The Rise and Fall of Ancient Israel: Part III

Speaker: Eric H. Cline, Chair of the Department of Classical and Semitic Languages and Literatures at The George Washington University

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Part three discusses how the expansionist ambitions of the Neo-Assyrians from Mesopotamia in the eighth century BCE spelled an end to the kingdom of Israel and gave rise to the tradition of the Ten Lost Tribes. The question of where the exiled members of these tribes ended up continues to be debated.

The Josephine F. and H. Max Ammerman Study Retreat


The Rise and Fall of Ancient Israel: Part II

Speaker: Eric H. Cline, Chair of the Department of Classical and Semitic Languages and Literatures at The George Washington University

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Part two discusses David and Solomon. Both kings have been the subject of controversies and debates. A reference to the "House of David" was found in 1993 on an inscription in the north of Israel — the first extra-biblical mention of David yet discovered — allowing us to reconsider the evidence for David and Solomon.

The Josephine F. and H. Max Ammerman Study Retreat


The Rise and Fall of Ancient Israel: Part I

Speaker: Eric H. Cline, Chair of the Department of Classical and Semitic Languages and Literatures at The George Washington University

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Part one discusses the account of the Exodus and the conquest of Canaan.

The Josephine F. and H. Max Ammerman Study Retreat


Judaism: It's All About Love

Speaker: Professor Naftali Rothenberg, Senior Research Fellow and Jewish Culture and Identity chair at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute; Rabbi of Har Adar, Israel.

Location: Sixth & I Historic Synagogue; Washington, DC

Most people are familiar with two possible approaches to love: the puritanical, which they ascribe to religion, Scripture and “spirituality;” and the permissive, which they generally consider to be materialistic and anti-spiritual. According to the rabbis, love exists within the harmony of spirit and matter, mind and body. The Jewish sources promote just such a relationship between man and woman - on the cognitive-intellectual, spiritual-emotional and physical planes.

Cosponsored by Sixth & I Historic Synagogue

Direct download: 2010_01_21_Judaism_Its_All_About_Love.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 5:00pm EST

Vienna, Prague and Budapest: Austro-German Jewry in Central Europe

Speaker: Professor Marsha Rozenblitz, Harvey M. Meyerhoff Professor of Jewish History at the University of Maryland,College Park

Location: Temple Shalom; Chevy Chase, MD

What has life historically been like for Jews in these bastions of Jewish culture? In this lecture, Dr. Rozenblit provides an understanding of Austro-German Jewry by exploring the place of Jews in these regions.

Direct download: 2009_11_03_Jews_of_Vienna_Prague_and_Budapest.mp3
Category:German Jewish Heritage -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

The Turbulent History of Jewish Life in Italy - Audio

Speaker: Rabbi Barbara Aiello, Director, Jewish Culture and Hebrew Language Institute (Calabria, Italy) and first woman Rabbi in Italy

Location: Temple Shalom; Silver Spring, MD

Jewish life in Italy has a history that dates back to the time of the Maccabees when Jews settled in Southern Italy 300 years before the Common Era. In this lecture, Rabbi Barbara Aiello shares fascinating stories of Italy’s rich Jewish history; from ancient times through WW II.

Direct download: 2009_10_13_History_of_Jewish_Life_in_Italy.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 3:30pm EST

The Turbulent History of Jewish Life in Italy - Video

Speaker: Rabbi Barbara Aiello, Director, Jewish Culture and Hebrew Language Institute (Calabria, Italy) and first woman Rabbi in Italy

Location: Temple Shalom; Silver Spring, MD

Jewish life in Italy has a history that dates back to the time of the Maccabees when Jews settled in Southern Italy 300 years before the Common Era. In this lecture, Rabbi Barbara Aiello shares fascinating stories of Italy’s rich Jewish history; from ancient times through WW II.


How Twentieth Century Rabbinic Figures Use and Misuse Maimonides - Video

Speaker: Professor Menachem Kellner, Professor of Jewish Thought at the University of Haifa

Location: Ohr Kodesh Congregation; Chevy Chase, MD

This lecture discusses the use, misuse, and possible abuse of this famed Jewish philosopher by such people as Rav Soloveitchik, Yeshayahu and Nechama Leibowitz, R. Abraham Joshua Heschel, R. Kotler, and R. Yizhak Hunter.

Cosponsored by Ohr Kodesh Congregation

Direct download: FJS-100709.m4v
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 5:00pm EST

How Twentieth Century Rabbinic Figures Use and Misuse Maimonides - Audio

Speaker: Professor Menachem Kellner, Professor of Jewish Thought at the University of Haifa

Location: Ohr Kodesh Congregation; Chevy Chase, MD

This lecture discusses the use, misuse, and possible abuse of this famed Jewish philosopher by such people as Rav Soloveitchik, Yeshayahu and Nechama Leibowitz, R. Abraham Joshua Heschel, R. Kotler, and R. Yizhak Hunter.

Cosponsored by Ohr Kodesh Congregation

Direct download: 2009_10_07_Maimonides.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 5:00pm EST

The State of Jews in Europe and Israel

Speaker: Professor Walter Laqueur in conversation with Rabbi Joshua Haberman

Location: Temple Shalom; Silver Spring, MD

In this lecture, Professor Laqueur and Rabbi Haberman discuss the New Germany and its Jews, the rise of anti-Semitism, and Israel and the Jewish Future.

Direct download: 2009_09_15_Conversation_with_Walter_Laqueur.mp3
Category:German Jewish Heritage -- posted at: 3:30pm EST

Baruch Spinoza, The Radicalism of his Philosophy and his Excommunication: Part IV

Speaker: Professor Raphael Jospe, Philosophy Department, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Part four discusses how pluralism can be found - even within the texts of Judaism.

The Dr. Harvey H. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2009_09_07_Baruch_Spinoza_Part_4.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

Baruch Spinoza, The Radicalism of his Philosophy and his Excommunication: Part III

Speaker: Professor Raphael Jospe, Philosophy Department, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Part three discusses how Spinoza's life and beliefs were interpreted by Moses Mendelssohn.

The Dr. Harvey H. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2009_09_07_Baruch_Spinoza_Part_3.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 10:00am EST

Baruch Spinoza, The Radicalism of his Philosophy and his Excommunication: Part II

Speaker: Professor Raphael Jospe, Philosophy Department, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Part two discusses the life of Baruch Spinoza, who is known as the first person to voluntarily live outside any religious fold.

The Dr. Harvey H. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2009_09_06_Baruch_Spinoza_Part_2.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 5:00pm EST

Baruch Spinoza, The Radicalism of his Philosophy and his Excommunication: Part I

Speaker: Professor Raphael Jospe, Philosophy Department, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Part one sets the stage for the life of Baruch Spinoza by discussing the controversies over philosophy in the middle ages.

The Dr. Harvey H. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2009_09_06_Baruch_Spinoza_Part_1.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Understanding and Interacting with Islam: Part IV

Speaker: Professor Charles Butterworth, Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Part four returns to the topic of the Quran and discusses its teachings in greater detail.

The Lenell G. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2009_05_25_Understanding_Islam_Part_4.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 1:00pm EST

Understanding and Interacting with Islam: Part III

Speaker: Professor Charles Butterworth, Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Part three discusses why, from the perspective of Islam, a new revelation was needed to supersede those provided by Judaism and Christianity.

The Lenell G. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2009_05_25_Understanding_Islam_Part_3.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 10:00am EST

Understanding and Interacting with Islam: Part II

Speaker: Professor Charles Butterworth, Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Part two discusses how certain Quranic dictums might be problematic today and how the Quran should be understood.

The Lenell G. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2009_05_24_Understanding_Islam_Part_2.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

Understanding and Interacting with Islam: Part I

Speaker: Professor Charles Butterworth, Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Part one discusses the origins of Islam and the history of its development.

The Lenell G. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2009_05_24_Understanding_Islam_Part_1.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 1:00pm EST

The Challenge of Translating the Bible

Speaker: Professor Robert Alter, Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley

Location: Washington DCJCC

In this lecture, Professor Alter discusses the challenges faced by those who wish to translate the Bible.

Co-sponsored by Adas Israel Congregation; Washington, DC

Direct download: 2009_05_14_Translating_the_Bible.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 3:30pm EST

Speaker: Dr. Mark N. Ozer, author of "The Litvak Legacy"

Location: Kehilat Shalom Congregation; Gaithersburg, MD

Charges of Nazi collaboration, accusations regarding complicity, defensiveness and mutual mistrust appear to be the hallmarks of Lithuanian Jewish relations, but has it always been this way? What are roots of anti-Semitism in Lithuania and how has anti-Semitism waxed, waned and evolved? What is the state of this relationship today and its outlook for the future? These questions and many others are addressed in the discussion of the progression of Lithuanian Jewish relations.

Sponsored by the Ammerman Foundation in honor of Dorothy G. and Robert H. Rumizen

Direct download: 2009_03_31_Lithuanian_Jewish_Relations.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 3:30pm EST

How Assimilated were German Jews Prior to the Holocaust?

Speaker: Dr. Steven Lowenstein, Isadore Levine Professor of Jewish History, American University

Location: B'nai Israel Congregation; Rockville, MD

"Tumultuous" is an understatement in describing the historic relationship between Jews and the rest of the German state. Jews have been in Germany since the early fourth century, and German-Jewish relations have fluctuated between tolerance and violence. This lecture treats the topic of assimilation and strives to enrich our understanding of how woven into (or excluded from) the fabric of the nation Jews in Germany were before the Holocaust.

Endowed by of K. Peter & Yvonne Wagner as a part of a series of programs on German-Jewish Cultural Heritage

Direct download: 2009_03_24_German_Jews_Before_the_Holocaust.mp3
Category:German Jewish Heritage -- posted at: 3:30pm EST

What the Dead Sea Scrolls Really Say: Part II

Speaker: Hershel Shanks, Founder & Editor of Biblical Archaeology Review

Location: Washington DCJCC

Why are the Dead Sea Scrolls important for understanding the origins of Christianity as a Jewish movement? What does "Son of God" mean in Judaism? In Christianity? To what extent is Christian doctrine anticipated in the scrolls? Part two also examines the so-called "Dead Sea Scroll in Stone" and whether it relates to a messiah. Finally, this lecture explores the mysterious Copper Scroll which describes 64 sites with buried treasure, possibly from the Jerusalem Temple.

Direct download: 2009_03_19_Dead_Sea_Scrolls_Part_2.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 3:30pm EST

What the Dead Sea Scrolls Really Say: Part I

Speaker: Hershel Shanks, Founder & Editor of Biblical Archaeology Review

Location: Washington DCJCC

Part one discusses the ruins of Qumran near the 11 caves in the Judean Desert where more than 900 scrolls were found, comprising what has been called the greatest archaeological discovery of the 20th century. This lecture considers whether the people living at Qumran were a strange sect of Jews called Essenes, what the scrolls tell us about the development of the Hebrew Bible, and how the scrolls also help to elucidate Judaism in the crucial period before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem.

Direct download: 2009_03_17_Dead_Sea_Scrolls_Part_1.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 3:30pm EST

Revisiting Memory: Facts and Myths about the Jews in Russia and Poland

Speaker: Dr. Antony Polonsky, Albert Abramson Professor of Holocaust Studies, Brandeis University

Location: Sixth & I Historic Synagogue; Washington, DC

This lecture discusses the often confusing history of Jews in Poland and Russia.

Direct download: 2009_02_17_Jews_in_Poland_and_Russia.mp3
Category:Community Lectures -- posted at: 1:30pm EST

Abraham Joshua Heschel, As Guide of the Perplexed: Part IV

Speaker: Professor Ed Kaplan, Department of Romance Studies, Brandeis University

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Part four dicusses Israel, the Holocaust, and spiritual radicalism in relation to how modern faith faces despair.

The Josephine F. and H. Max Ammerman Study Retreat

Direct download: 2009_02_16_Abraham_Joshua_Heschel_Part_4.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 1:00pm EST

Abraham Joshua Heschel, As Guide of the Perplexed: Part III

Speaker: Professor Ed Kaplan, Department of Romance Studies, Brandeis University

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Part three dicusses prayer, reverence, and social responsibility in relation to Heschel's involvement in and views on civil rights, Soviet Jewry, the Vietnam War.

The Josephine F. and H. Max Ammerman Study Retreat

Direct download: 2009_02_16_Abraham_Joshua_Heschel_Part_3.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 10:00am EST

Abraham Joshua Heschel, As Guide of the Perplexed: Part II

Speaker: Professor Ed Kaplan, Department of Romance Studies, Brandeis University

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Part two dicusses the Bible as holiness in words and how it can be an experience of G-d for today’s seekers.

The Josephine F. and H. Max Ammerman Study Retreat

Direct download: 2009_02_15_Abraham_Joshua_Heschel_Part_2.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Abraham Joshua Heschel, As Guide of the Perplexed: Part I

Speaker: Professor Ed Kaplan, Department of Romance Studies, Brandeis University

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Part one dicusses Heschel’s life and how his belief in sacred humanism resulted in his religious response to world events.

The Josephine F. and H. Max Ammerman Study Retreat

Direct download: 2009_02_15_Abraham_Joshua_Heschel_Part_1.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Memory and Truth: How Holocaust Deniers Distort History and Endanger Us All

Speaker: Warren L. Miller, Chairman of the United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad

Location: Sixth & I Historic Synagogue; Washington, DC

The Holocaust resulted in the annihilation of much of Eastern Europe’s Jewish population. In many countries, no Jews were left to care for the Jewish communal properties. This destruction, desecration, and deterioration of properties continued under Communist regimes. This lecture discusses the challenge of protecting these sites and the threat to Jews worldwide from the growing threat of Holocaust deniers.

Direct download: 2009_01_13_Preserving_Jewish_Heritage_Sites.mp3
Category:Community Lectures -- posted at: 1:30pm EST

Faith-Based Diplomacy:  Bridging the Religious Divide

Speaker: Dr. Douglas Johnston, International Center for Religion and Diplomacy

Location: Washington DCJCC

The most serious threat confronting the world today is the potential marriage of religious extremism with weapons of mass destruction. Dr. Johnston discusses how the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy serves as a bridge between religion and politics in preventing and resolving conflicts in various parts of the world.

Direct download: 2008_12_16_Faith_Based_Diplomacy.mp3
Category:Community Lectures -- posted at: 1:30pm EST

War and the Jewish Tradition

Speaker: Professor Michael Walzer, School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University

Location: Ohr Kodesh Congregation; Chevy Chase, MD

In this lecture, Prof. Walzer discusses how wars have been waged within the Jewish tradition.

Direct download: 2008_11_20_War_and_Jewish_Tradition.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 1:30pm EST

Yehuda Amichai: Love's Melancholy and the Poetry of History

Speaker: Rabbi Dr. William Cutter, Director of the Kalsman Institute on Judaism And Health, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles

Location: Sixth & I Historic Synagogue; Washington, DC

Yehudah Amichai was an Israeli poet and is considered by many to be Israel's greatest poet.

Direct download: 2008_11_13_Poetry_of_Yehuda_Amichai.mp3
Category:Distinguished Scholar Series -- posted at: 1:30pm EST

Studying Martin Buber: Part IV

Speaker: Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman, DHL, Founder and Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Jewish Studies, Rabbi Emeritus of Washington Hebrew Congregation

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Delivered in what would have been the 130th year of Buber's life, part four is a critical appraisal of his impact on today’s Judaism.

The Dr. Harvey H. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2008_09_1_Martin_Buber_Lecture_4.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 9:00am EST

Studying Martin Buber: Part III

Speaker: Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman, DHL, Founder and Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Jewish Studies, Rabbi Emeritus of Washington Hebrew Congregation

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Part three discusses how Buber discovered Hasidism and why he felt an attraction to that way of life.

The Dr. Harvey H. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2008_09_01_Martin_Buber_Part_3.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Studying Martin Buber: Part II

Speaker: Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman, DHL, Founder and Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Jewish Studies, Rabbi Emeritus of Washington Hebrew Congregation

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Part two describes Buber's struggle to come to terms with biblical beliefs in the aftermath of the Holocaust.

The Dr. Harvey H. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2008_08_31_Martin_Buber_Part_2.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

Studying Martin Buber: Part I

Speaker: Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman, DHL, Founder and Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Jewish Studies, Rabbi Emeritus of Washington Hebrew Congregation

Location: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center; Reisterstown, MD

Part one discusses how Buber was able to encounter God after the Holocaust.

The Dr. Harvey H. Ammerman Memorial Study Retreat

Direct download: 2008_08_31_Martin_Buber_Part_1.mp3
Category:Holiday Weekend Study Retreats -- posted at: 9:00am EST



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