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: 8:00 PM

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: 11:30 PM

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: 11:00 PM

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: 6:00 PM

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: 11:30 PM

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: 5:00 PM

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: 2:30 PM

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: 7:00 PM

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: 4:00 PM

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: 5:00 PM

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: 2:00 PM

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: 9:00 PM

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: 5:00 PM

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


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


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: 11:30 PM

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: 11:30 PM

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: 10:00 PM

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


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


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


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


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: 10:00 PM



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