It’s not every day that the likes of Yossi Klein Halevi, noted author, columnist and expert on Israel and the Middle East, drops by to do a workshop for a small group of New Jersey rabbis. It would have to be for something very special – and indeed it is. On Monday, I will be part of a small group of rabbinic colleagues to study with Professor Halevi to help prepare us to teach the participants in our iEngage, the “Engaging Israel Project” of the Shalom Hartman Institute. Halevi is one of the scholars who designed the curriculum and who are continuing to produce cutting-edge new material as part of the Engaging Israel Project. At the center of curriculum are 9 recorded video lectures by Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman, president of the Hartman Institute. The lectures also include the teaching of other esteemed professors and experts on Israel, the Middle East and world Jewry, e.g. Professor Shlomo Avineri of Hebrew University, Professor Moshe Halbertal of Hebrew University and NYU Law School and Dr. Yehuda Kertzer of Brandeis, among others.
Nineteen students have already signed up to participate in the iEngage program, which will meet on 18 Monday nights this fall and winter, from 8:00 – 9:30 p.m. at Temple Sinai. Our opening session will take place on Monday evening, October 29th at 8:00 p.m. (It was originally scheduled to begin this Monday, October 22, but we moved it back one week so as not to conflict with the last presidential election debate.) It is not too late to sign up but we need you to do so ASAP so we can order the source materials for you from the Hartman Institute. The cost is $36 total for members of Temple Sinai and $50 for non-members. The program is subsidized by the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey and the Adler Family Innovation Fund, as well as Temple Sinai. Please contact Sage Aidekman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 201-568-3075 by Tuesday to register.
And there is one more special treat: On Thursday evening, November 1st at 7:30 Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman will be delivering the keynote lecture for the iEngage series at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades. The lecture is entitled, ‘The “Tribes” of Israel’. Rabbi Hartman will discuss the perception that Jewish life in Israel and North America reflect radically different Judaisms and “tribal” affiliations, and the challenge that this presents to a more unified Jewish world.
I am very excited to study with Yossi Klein Halevi and Rabbi Donniel Hartman, as I was privileged to do several summers ago when I attended the Shalom Hartman Institute summer program for rabbis. I would be even more excited to have you join me on the iEngage journey with me.
Rabbi Jordan Millstein
Rabbi Jordan Millstein
p.s. Some of you who have been following my email blasts and blogs over the years may have expected me to write about the ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York yesterday, which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, the law that prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage. So here it is: hooray for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals! Stay tuned for the big moment when this issue finally goes to the Supreme Court.