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Sunday Seminars Who Is God? Dr. Judith Plaskow 10:00am–2:00pm | Apr 22

Even Jews interested in developing a personal spirituality often find it difficult to talk about God. Come get comfortable with the subject and clarify your own perspective by exploring a variety of ways of thinking about, imagining and communicating with God. What different conceptions of God emerge from new Jewish liturgies? Is belief in a personal God the only possible foundation for meaningful prayer? On what basis dare one say anything about God?

Narratives and Symbols: Interfaith Conversations in Art Dr. Ena Heller, Dr. Patricia Pongracz and Elka Deitsch 10:00am–2:00pm | Apr 29

Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife, from the Vienna Genesis, 6th century In partnership with

It is a well-known fact that Christianity incorporated the Hebrew Bible into its tradition with the stories, images and symbols contained in its pages. Less known is that the ongoing exchange between the artistic traditions of Judaism and Christianity actually went both ways. Learn how Christian artists borrowed from the existing Jewish tradition, and how Jewish artists sometimes used Christian models for artistic embellishment in architecture and books, using examples from early centuries of the Common Era, medieval Europe and today. Note: This seminar will include a visit to the sanctuary of Temple Emanu-El to explore its own unexpected cultural exchanges. Interested in this course? See also “Jewish Art and Archaeology in the Age of Transition,” p. 9.

A Hebrew “Marathon” Michal Nachmany 10:00am–2:00pm | May 6

Want to feel more comfortable in the prayer service but feel inhibited because you can’t read Hebrew? Have you been meaning to learn the language but somehow never seemed to have the time? This unique seminar is perfect for you. Come for an intensive Hebrew marathon that will leave you wanting more. Learn the letters and vowels, and by the end of the day you will be reading Hebrew.

Kabbalah of Jerusalem: Mystical Readings on the Sacred City Rabbi David Ingber 10:00am–2:00pm | May 20

Map of Jerusalem in mosaic, Cardo, Jerusalem, Israel In partnership with

“Everywhere I go, I am going to Jerusalem,” said Rav Nachman of Breslav. For many, Jerusalem is the holiest place in the world, locus of religious and spiritual yearnings. For others, it is the emblem of idolatry—elevating a piece of land to sacred status. Is Jerusalem the physical beloved City, or is it the ephemeral place where we find God/Spirit, wherever we might be? According to the Chassidic Masters, the answer is both. Discover their teachings and grapple with notions of exile and redemption, as we delve into an exploration of how space is made holy and how we might discover “holy ground.”

COVER ART: Creation Day 2, mosaic by Hildreth Meière; Copyright © 2012 Hildreth Meière Dunn;

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JUDAISM Start where you are. Get anywhere you want to go.

All of Jewish Literature in Seven Sessions

An Introduction to Modern Jewish Philosophy

Dr. Regina Stein

Dr. Daniel Rynhold

The William Rosenwald and Ruth Israels Rosenwald Course in Contemporary Jewish History

Wednesday | 2:00–3:30pm Apr 18, 25 May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Wednesday | 12:30–2:00pm Apr 18, 25 May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Who wrote the Bible? What’s the difference between the Torah and the Talmud, or between the Midrash and the Mishnah? Who created the earliest Jewish prayer books, and why have they continued to change over the centuries? Join this fast-paced exploration of Jewish literature in historical context throughout the ages and get these questions answered, and more. Discover when and where Jews first composed Hebrew poetry with meter and rhyme and why Maimonides’ writings were burnt. Find out how medieval Jews defended themselves against verbal attacks by Christians and Muslims. Learn who the Maskilim were and how they influenced modern Yiddish and Hebrew literature. Most importantly, gain the skills to never again feel lost in the vast array of Jewish literature.

In the modern world many of the old certainties appear far less certain. While the medievals were certain that the Torah was written by God, its laws were eternal, and they were meant for His chosen people, all of these are far less obvious to modern thinkers. So what, if anything, is it that modern Jewish philosophers do? How did the advent of modernity change the way philosophy was done? Baruch Spinoza’s excommunication might not sound like the most auspicious beginning, but modern Jewish philosophy has not looked back since. Find out what got Spinoza in trouble, and what thinkers like Moses Mendelssohn, Hermann Cohen, Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig have been doing about it ever since.


4 | Spring Courses

Through the Looking Glass: Women and Redemption With Dr. Aviva Gottlieb Zornberg A pre-lecture hour of text preparation begins at 7:00pm 8:00pm | Thursday | May 17 | $20

Dr. Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, an internationally renowned Bible interpreter and teacher, draws extensively on classical commentaries, Midrash, and modern insights from literature and philosophy. Her widely read and studied books, Genesis: The Beginning of Desire (Jewish Publication Society), The Particulars of Rapture (Doubleday) and The Murmuring Deep: Reflections on the Biblical Unconscious (Schocken), have become classics among readers of all religions.

Dr. Zornberg is considered one of today’s most original and compelling interpreters of biblical and rabbinic traditions. Illustration reproduced by kind permission of the Mervyn Peake Estate.





Summer Courses


Jewish Masters of the Short Story: Readings by Malamud, Roth, Bellow, Ozick and Paley Diane Cole 12:30–2:00pm | Wednesday | Aug 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

Simply Mordecai M. Kaplan: From Heretic to Prophet of American Judaism Rabbi Alfredo F. Borodowski, PhD 2:30–4:00pm | Wednesday | Aug 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

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PASSOVER, The Festival of Four:

4 4 4




and now…


Live Online Classes with Dr. David Kraemer

Tuesdays | 11:00am–12:30pm (EST) | Mar 13, 20, 27 Apr 3 | Online | Free PLEASE NOTE The course will be taught in Hebrew. Attendance is limited to Rabbis only; space is limited. TO REGISTER Send an email to Rabbi Sarina Vitas (Latin American Rabbinical Assembly VP):

A joint project of the Latin American Rabbinical Assembly and the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning

Dr. David Kraemer 6:30–8:00pm | Apr 16, 23, 30 May 7, 14, 21 June 4

The question has often been articulated: How is it that the Jews, a people small in number, scattered and oppressed, have survived for so long while great and mighty civilizations have disappeared? Well, the answer is no mystery—it is preserved in the texts of our tradition. Our survival is largely due to our diversity and flexibility in the past, and, we will argue, into the future. Explore the historical record as it sheds light on this crucial question, and come to your own conclusions.

Judaism and Early Christianity: Intersections and Divergences—Part 2 Dr. Mark Weisstuch The Jane Moyse Gilder Course in Jewish History 6:30–8:00pm | Apr 16, 23, 30 May 7, 14, 21 June 4

The roots of Christianity are embedded in the Judaism of the Second Temple period. Through an examination of core concepts and practices widespread in the Judaism of the time— resurrection, judgment, end time, Messiah, concepts of evil/sin and repentance/salvation, and the Chosenness of Israel—trace the way in which prevalent ideas of the period were adapted and transformed in the formation of early Christianity. NOTE: This is part two of the same-titled course offered in Fall 2011. Each part can be taken independently. New and returning students are welcome. Interested in this course? See also “Hebrew Bible and Christian Scriptures: Interpretation and Re-Interpretation,” p. 8.


Why Did the Jews Survive?

“But he was wounded because of our sins, crushed because of our iniquities. He bore the chastisement that made us whole, and by his bruises we were healed. We all went astray like sheep, each going his own way; and the Lord visited upon him the guilt of all of us.” Isaiah 53:5-6 “In two days He will make us whole again; on the third day He will raise us up, and we shall be whole by His favor.” Hosea 6:2

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The Maimonides Letters: Leadership at a Time of Crisis Rabbi Alfredo F. Borodowski, PhD The Harrison S. Kravis Course in Jewish Studies 6:30–8:00pm | Apr 16, 23, 30 May 7, 14, 21 June 4

(See p. 8 for alternative dates) How did Maimonides apply his great mind to actual real-life challenges? How did he translate his philosophy into practice? In the many letters he wrote to various Jewish communities, Maimonides vehemently fights against false Messiahs, astrologers and mystics. Why? Explore, among other topics, his views of the end of days, resurrection, evil, free will and repentance, and become deeply engaged with the thoughts and arguments of this greatest Jewish leader and thinker of his generation. NOTE: This is part two of the Maimonides course offered in Fall 2011. Each part can be taken independently. New and returning students are welcome.

Maimonides wrote in Judeo-Arabic: classical Arabic written in Hebrew script.

Writers’ Beit Midrash Shelly Fredman 7:00–9:00pm | Apr 16, 23, 30 May 7, 14, 21 June 5* Join a group of creative non-fiction and memoir writers to explore texts that inspire and amaze us, encourage us to wrestle with meaning, and stimulate the connections between our writing and our lives. Engage in discussions that will spur creativity and spark imaginative exchange : He and She.” on the theme “ NOTE: No professional writing experience is required.

Artists’ Beit Midrash Rabbi Yael Shmilovitz and Tobi Kahn 7:00–9:00pm | Apr 16, 23, 30 May 7, 14, 21 June 5* Apply your artistic talents to the theme “ : He and She” as you explore Jewish sources, inspiring you to create new visual commentaries on the ancient texts of our tradition. Now in its tenth year, the Artists’ Beit Midrash is co-facilitated by a rabbi and a renowned artist whose own work blends modern art with the life of the spirit. *Tuesday, June 5: Exhibition and Reception 6pm Reading of works by students of the Writers’ Beit Midrash 7pm Exhibition of works by students of the Artists’ Beit Midrash The art show will remain open June 5-14.

Ish and Isha. Man and Woman. Strength, wisdom, bravery, beauty, love, vanity, ugliness, holiness—often gendered; often in surprising ways—all hold the key to the riddle of who we are, to the mystery of being human. In our collective imagination “male” and “female” hold typically unique qualities, but what is “gender” in Torah? Is there such a thing as feminine violence? What does masculine tenderness look like? Is there more to “her” and “him,” hee and hu, than meets the eye? Is there an in-between?

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6:30–8:00pm | Apr 16, 23, 30 May 7, 14, 21 June 4

Did you know that Torah has a musical language all of its own? Indeed, chanting the Bible is an ancient art that probably dates back to the days of the Second Temple, when hand-signs were used to indicate different melodies. This chanting system, known as “trop,” is in fact a midrash, adding layers of depth to the biblical text. Learn how to chant as you delve into this ancient grammatical system, guaranteed to add new layers of meaning and beauty to your relationship with Torah.

Rabbi Shefatiah further said in the name of Rabbi Johanan: “If one reads the Scripture without a melody…of him the Scripture says (Ezekiel 20:25), ‘Moreover, I gave them laws that were not good…’” Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Megillah 32a

Bible: Learning to Love Leviticus, Week by Week Arlene Agus The Robert S. and Kimberly R. Kravis Course in Jewish Studies

12:30–2:00pm | Apr 17, 24 May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

Sacrifice by Joyce Silver Skirball’s Artists’ Beit Midrash 56” x 36’’ pastel collage

 eard any rumors about mind-numbing Levitical laws? Lists H of sacrifices, leprous diseases? Look harder. At the heart of “Book of Holiness” is a manifesto for revolutionary change: on Wall Street, in health care, civil rights and human rights, judicial reform and “green” technology. Leviticus opposes religious extremists, narcissists and hedonists. It struggles for human dignity, even as we struggle with those it leaves behind. Join our journey as we tackle the weekly portions of this, the third book of the Torah.

The Prophets: An Anthology Dr. Neil Gillman The Hortense Jordan Course in Ethics

4:30–6:00pm | Apr 17, 24 May 1, 8, 15, 29 June 5 The writings of the classical prophets form a major portion of Hebrew Scriptures, but in contrast to the Five Books, they are relatively unfamiliar. Fortunately, we have been given a selected anthology of these texts (called “Haftarot”) which are appended to the weekly and festival Torah readings. When was this selection made? Who made it? Why? Study these general issues by focusing on texts from the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Samuel, as we search for their relationship to their respective Torah readings.

The Biblical Jacob: Our Dubious Patriarch Dr. Neil Gillman 6:30–8:00pm | Apr 17, 24 May 1, 8, 15, 29 June 5 Of the three patriarchs, Jacob is the most complex. Abraham was a giant and Isaac fades away in a narrative that devotes more space to Jacob than both together. Yet Jacob’s career raises serious moral and characterological issues. He is a deceiver. He deceives his brother, his father and his uncle. But again and again, this deceiver is himself deceived. Join us in studying Jacob’s deceptions, as well as the transformation that occurs when later teachings gild the portrait of the biblical Jacob, bequeathing us a “good” Jacob for posterity. Jacob and the Angel, Reuven Rubin


Cantor Lori A. Corrsin


Chanting of the Torah: A Workshop


8 | Spring Courses

The Maimonides Letters: Leadership at a Time of Crisis Rabbi Alfredo F. Borodowski, PhD The Harrison S. Kravis Course in Jewish Studies

4:30–6:00pm | Apr 18, 25 May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 See page 6 for course description and alternative dates. NOTE: This is part two of the Maimonides course offered in the Fall. Each part can be taken independently. New and returning students are welcome.

Hebrew Bible and Christian Scriptures: Interpretation and Re-Interpretation

DETAIL: Maimonides wrote in Judeo-Arabic: classical Arabic written in Hebrew script.

Dr. Diane M. Sharon The Leon Finley Course in Jewish Studies

6:30–8:00pm | Apr 18, 25 May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 The earliest writers of Christian Scriptures had only one Bible to use as a model for their new message, the Hebrew Tanakh. How are concepts of sacrifice and resurrection in the Tanakh re-used and reinterpreted in the Gospels? Why are episodes in the ministry of Jesus so similar to those of Elijah and Elisha? How do Jews and Christians read the prophecies of Isaiah differently? Focus on concepts that are established, elaborated and transformed within the Hebrew Bible, and the ways they are re-used and transformed in the Christian Scriptures. Interested in this course? See also “Judaism and Early Christianity: Intersections and Divergences—Part 2,” p. 5. Elisha Reawakens the Son of the Shunammite woman from the Grave by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld

Judaism and the American Legal Tradition Dr. Daniel Rynhold The Pincus Family Course in Jewish Studies

6:30–8:00pm | Apr 18, 25 May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 American jurisprudence has provided a number of competing models for understanding the nature of American law, under such titles as legal realism, legal positivism, natural law theory, interpretivism and critical theory, which address the relationship between law and morality, and such questions as whether there is always a uniquely correct answer to a legal question. What on earth are all of these theories— and what do they have to do with Judaism? In this class, we will find out.

Short Cuts, the Next Generation: Great Contemporary Jewish American Short Stories

“The Jewish day begins in the calm of the evening, when it won’t shock the system with its arrival. It was then, three stars visible in the Manhattan sky and a new day fallen, that Charles Morton Luger understood he was the bearer of a Jewish soul. Ping! Like that it came. Like a knife against a glass.” From The Gilgul of Park Avenue by Nathan Englander

Ruby Namdar 6:30–8:00pm | Apr 18, 25 May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 Dense, intense and precise—the short story, often declared dead and as often miraculously resurrected, is still savored by literary connoisseurs as an artistic delicacy. Get acquainted with a wide spectrum of signature pieces written by famous Jewish American authors of the young generation: Michael Chabon, Allegra Goodman, Jonathan Safran Foer, Nicole Krauss, Nathan Englander, Dara Horn and others. Explore not only the wonderful artistic traits of the short story but also the changing faces of Jewish American self-conception and identity.


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Jewish Art and Archaeology in the Age of Transition Dr. Steven Fine The Hans A. Vogelstein Course in Jewish Studies

6:30–8:00pm | Apr 18, 25 May 2, 9, 16, 23 June 3 (Sunday) The great transition from Byzantine Christian control of the eastern Mediterranean to the world of Islam in the 6th-9th centuries CE affected human history, and particularly Judaism, in ways that could never have been anticipated. Explore Jewish art, archaeology and literature from this little-known period and discover ways that Jewish culture was challenged, transformed and maintained its integrity as the world of Rome receded, and the new age of Islam unfolded.

Daniel in the Lion’s Den, from the base of a Torah ark, Golan Heights

Early Morning Talmud Rabbi Ysoscher Katz 7:15–8:45am | Apr 19 May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 June 7 Always wondered what that Talmud thing is all about, but haven’t found the serious context to uncover it? Love Talmud and want to return to that counterintuitive discourse? Join an intimate group of dedicated Talmud students of all levels for a foray into the mind of the Talmud. Halakhah (Jewish law) is liturgically referred to as Torat Chaim, a Torah that is alive. Like every organism, it needs to be nourished and pruned so that its healthy roots flourish and its unhealthy ones are eliminated. We will be studying the first chapter of tractate Bava Metzia, which charts the development of the Jewish legal system. As the Jewish community evolved, the halakhah had to develop along with it. The Sages’ task was to shepherd this process. In this course, we will explore the following fundamental questions: how did the Rabbis decide which laws should remain intact, which to modify and which to discard?


Interested in this course? See also “Narratives and Symbols: Interfaith Conversations in Art,“ p. 2. Note: This course will culminate in a “behind the scenes” tour of “Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition,” a special exhibition at Metropolitan Museum of Art, led by Professor Fine on June 3.

10 | Spring Courses


Pictured left to right, beginning with top row

ARLENE AGUS is Jewish Resource Advisor to Jewish Child Care Association and an executive consultant to Jewish family foundations. She is a contributing author to Beginning Anew: A Woman’s Companion to the High Holidays and What Happens After I Die? RABBI ALFREDO BORODOWSKI is the Executive Director of The Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning. Previously, he served as Executive Director of The Hartman Institute—North America. Alfredo was ordained as a rabbi by the Seminario Rabinico Latino Americano and received an MA in Rabbinic Literature and a doctorate in Jewish Philosophy from JTS. He also holds a law degree from the University of Buenos Aires. He published Isaac Abravanel on Miracles, Creation, Prophecy, and Evil in 2003 (Peter Lang Press). CANTOR LORI A. CORRSIN has been cantor and music director of Temple Emanu-El since 2004. Born in Detroit, Cantor Corrsin received a bachelor’s in music from the University of Michigan and a master’s in sacred music from Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion. She was invested as a cantor in 1992. A soprano, Cantor Corrsin has sung throughout North America, Europe and Israel. She is a published composer and recording artist with Transcontinental Music Press.

Academy of Religion’s “Religion and the Arts” Award for 2010. DR. STEVEN FINE, professor of Jewish history at Yeshiva University and director of the YU Center for Israel Studies, is a cultural historian who specializes in Jewish history in the Greco-Roman period. His work focuses on the literature, art and archaeology of Judaism during the Talmudic period, and the ways that modern scholars have interpreted the Jewish past. Steven is a contributor to Byzantium and Islam: An Age of Transition, a Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition (opening March, 2012). SHELLY R. FREDMAN teaches writing at Barnard College. She received an MFA from Washington University and has taught at the University of Missouri–St. Louis Honors College. Her work has appeared in Best Jewish Writing 2002, First Harvest, the Chicago Tribune Magazine, Lilith and a number of anthologies and literary magazines. DR. NEIL GILLMAN is Professor Emeritus of Jewish Philosophy at JTS. A world-renowned thinker and teacher, Neil is the author of several seminal books on Jewish theology, most recently Doing Jewish Theology: God, Torah and Israel in Modern Judaism (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2008).

ELKA DEITSCH is the Senior Curator of the Herbert & Eileen Bernard Museum of Judaica at Temple Emanu-El. She is a graduate of Barnard College with a master’s from the Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts, Design History and Material Culture. Elka has created numerous exhibitions and catalogues on a wide range of subjects related to Jewish history, art and culture, including the upcoming exhibition Bezalel: Art, Craft and Jewish National Identity, which will open at the Bernard Museum this spring.

RABBI DAVID INGBER is the founder and spiritual director of Romemu on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He is a sought-after national and international leader and educator because of his unique, open-hearted and embodied approach to Jewish teaching. David studied Philosophy and Psychology at NYU, and has learned at a wide range of yeshivot in Jerusalem and New York, including Yeshivat Chovovei Torah. David received his smicha from Reb Zalman SchachterShalomi in 2004.

DR. ENA HELLER is Director of MOBIA (Museum of Biblical Art) in New York City. Dr. Heller has also taught art history at the College of the Holy Cross, and worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her books include Reluctant Partners: Art and Religion in Dialogue and Tobi Kahn: Sacred Spaces for the 21st Century; she has contributed to collective volumes and lectured nationwide. Dr. Heller was the recipient of the American

TOBI KAHN is an internationally acclaimed painter and sculptor whose work has been shown in over 40 solo exhibitions and over 60 museum and group shows. He is the cofounder of Avoda Arts and has taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York since 1985. RABBI YSOSCHER KATZ is the Director of the Beit Midrash Program at Yeshivat Chovevi Torah and the Director of Judaic Studies at the

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Luria Academy. He received ordination in 1986 from Rabbi Roth, dayan of UTA Satmer. Rabbi Katz studied at Brisk and at Yeshivat Beis Yosef, Navaradok and is a graduate of the HaSha’ar Program for Jewish Educators. He lectures widely and teaches adult education classes in numerous venues. He was a leading teacher of a daf yomi class in Borough Park for over eight years. DR. DAVID KRAEMER is Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at JTS, where he is also Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian, overseeing the greatest collection of Judaica in the Western world. Among his many publications is his recently published Jewish Eating and Identity Through the Ages (Routledge, 2008). MICHAL NACHMANY is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Michal has taught liturgical, biblical and modern Hebrew for more than 20 years at synagogues and other institutions throughout New York City. RUBY NAMDAR was born and raised in Jerusalem and is a graduate of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His first book, Haviv (a collection of short stories), was published in 2000 and won the Ministry of Culture award for the best first publication of the year. The manuscript also won the Jerusalem Fiction award for 1998. Ruby is currently living in New York and teaches Jewish and Israeli literature in various Jewish learning centers around the city. His new novel will be published by Kinneret-Zmorah-Bitan in 2012. DR. JUDITH PLASKOW is professor of religious studies at Manhattan College and a Jewish feminist theologian who has been teaching, writing and speaking about Jewish feminism and women’s studies in religion for over forty years. Co-founder and co-editor of the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, she is author or editor of several works in feminist theology, including Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective and The Coming of Lilith: Essays on Feminism, Judaism, and Sexual Ethics 1972–2003. DR. PATRICIA PONGRACZ is Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Museum of Biblical Art. Her books include The Word on the Street: The Photographs of Larry Racioppo and Printing the Word: The Art of

Watanabe Sadao. She has taught at the College of Saint Elizabeth and at Bethel University’s New York Center for Arts and Media Studies, and has lectured at Parsons, the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, The Cloisters and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. DR. DANIEL RYNHOLD serves as Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Philosophy at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, Yeshiva University, having previously held a post at King’s College London since 2001. Educated at the universities of Cambridge and London, Daniel was a fixture on the adult education circuit in the United Kingdom, and is the author of Two Models of Jewish Philosophy: Justifying One’s Practices and An Introduction to Medieval Jewish Philosophy (2009). DR. DIANE M. SHARON is a member of the faculty in Bible at the Academy for Jewish Religion. She has taught at JTS, Fordham University, General Theological Seminary (Episcopal) and other institutions of higher learning. Her area of expertise is the Hebrew Bible in its context in the ancient Near East, comparative religion and women’s studies. RABBI YAEL SHMILOVITZ is the Program Director of the Skirball Center. She is a graduate of the University of Haifa and was ordained by HUCJIR, where she also received a master of arts in Religious Education. A native Israeli, Yael is co-author of Resilience of the Soul: Developing Emotional and Spiritual Resilience in Adolescents and Their Families (URJ Press). DR. REGINA STEIN has taught for the Wexner Heritage Foundation, CLAL and the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel, as well as the Academy for Jewish Religion, JTS, Temple University and the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. She is formerly the National Director of the Hadassah Leadership Academy. DR. MARK WEISSTUCH received his doctorate in Theater History from the City University of New York. He has taught courses on the Second Temple, general Jewish history, the history of the Jews in Poland and Eastern Europe, and various subjects related to the Holocaust. Mark is Administrative Vice President of Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York.

12 | Spring Courses

Letter from the Executive Director

Beauty at Home


his Spring course guide is the final chapter of a wonderful calendar year of study and growth, as individuals and as part of the Skirball community. In the Fall we featured the stunning and mysterious zodiac mosaic crafted for a 6th-century synagogue in Beit Alpha in Northern Israel, and in the Winter guide we were transported to Har Karkom (Mountain of Saffron) in the southwest Negev Desert, considered by some archaeologists to be the real Mount Sinai. The question was, where should we go next to complete the cycle? The answer was literally in front of our eyes, in the magnificent sanctuary at Temple Emanu-El, home to Skirball. Completed in 1929, Temple Emanu-El is one of the largest synagogues in the world. Among other magnificent artifacts, mosaics by the artist Hildreth Meière majestically adorn Temple Emanu-El’s eight-story-high arch in the main sanctuary and the ark on the Eastern wall behind it, which holds the Torah scrolls. Of Meière’s many beautiful mosaics, on the cover page of our course guide we chose to zoom in on a small section representing Creation—more specifically, day two of Creation, when the waters were separated, uncovering the land. The task of learning mimics the Divine act of Creation. Through interpretation and analysis we shape the challenges of life, represented as formless and turbulent waters, by endowing them with meaning. Through learning we establish places of understanding—“solid land”—where we can find repose during the journey of life. Regardless of your personal belief system, your serious learning has contributed to the covenant of maintaining a vibrant and meaningful Judaism and to fostering a world of individuals who are carriers of dialogue and mutual respect. May the Spring guide challenge you by opening new doors of learning and discovery. Finally, the next time you come to Skirball, give yourself the gift of entering Temple Emanul-El’s sanctuary, to be engulfed with beauty that will touch your soul. — Rabbi Alfredo F. Borodowski, PhD Executive Director

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he Skirball Center links people to Jewish study that is relevant and meaningful. For many, Jewish study is the primary way of expressing their Jewishness. At Skirball we are creating a Jewish home for adults of all ages and backgrounds who share in Judaism’s passion and enthusiasm for learning.

General Information TO CONTACT US Phone 212.507.9580 Fax 212.570.0826 Email Web YOU MAY REGISTER BY Phone, fax or online. Registration form and payment can also be sent to: Skirball Center One East 65th Street New York, NY 10065 PAYMENT INFORMATION Checks should be made payable to: Skirball Center We accept: MasterCard VISA American Express Discover

Getting There By Bus: M1, M2, M3, M4, M18, M66, M72 By Subway: N/R/Q 5th Ave./59th St. 4/5/6 59th St. or 68th St./Hunter College F Lexington Ave./63rd St. Scholarships Limited scholarships are available. Contact The Skirball Center to inquire. All inquiries remain strictly confidential. If you would like to contribute to our scholarship fund, please indicate so when you register. Refund Policy For ongoing classes, a full refund may be requested after the first Spring class meeting. After the second class, a credit of 75% will be given that may be used towards any course and is good for one year. No credit will be given after the third class. No refunds will be given for Sunday Seminars. All classes take place at 10 East 66th Street, except for Sunday Seminars, special lectures and “Early Morning Talmud,” which take place around the corner, at One East 65th Street.

Cancellation Policy and Missed Classes The Skirball Center reserves the right to cancel courses for insufficient enrollment. Tuition cannot be pro-rated if you cannot attend all class sessions. The Skirball Center is unable to record class sessions that you miss. Please arrange to borrow notes or have a classmate record the class for you, instead. Photocopies of hand-outs from missed classes will be provided in person or via mail, upon request, and without charge. Library Privileges All students enrolled in a 7-week Skirball Center course have borrowing privileges for one year at the Ivan M. Stettenheim Library, Congregation Emanu-El’s own extensive collection. For information including hours call 212.744.1400, ext. 361, or visit For the Visually Impaired The Jewish Braille Institute can make it possible for any visually impaired or blind person to participate in courses at The Skirball Center. Given reasonable lead time, JBI can prepare relevant reading materials in the appropriate format. For more information or to volunteer in the JBI studios call 800.433.1531. Administration Rabbi Alfredo F. Borodowski, PhD, Executive Director Rabbi Yael Shmilovitz, Program Director Michele Davison, Office Manager/Registrar Rachel Honeyman, Director of Communications Advisory Council Dr. Steven Bayme Roger Bennett Dr. David Gordis Dr. Frances Gottfried Dr. Lisa Grant Dr. Michelle Lynn-Sachs Dr. Kerry Olitzky Dr. David M. Posner Fred Rosenbaum Dr. Robert Seltzer Barry Shrage Dr. Ronald B. Sobel Leah Strigler Marcia Waxman

Leadership Circle Vicki Abrams Robert Baum Sonia Simon Cummings Sheila Foster Barbara C. Freedman Dr. Neil Gillman Marc Haves Edward Kerson Lori Perlow Robert Schwalbe Marcia Waxman



Discounted early registration fees are highlighted below. Early registration must be received BY MARCH 26.




class title








PAYMENT METHOD Check off payment method. Send form to: Skirball Center One East 65th Street New York, NY 10065 Check made payable to Skirball Center Credit Card: MasterCard Visa American Express Discover card number


Who Is God? (April 22)



Narratives and Symbols: Interfaith Heller/Pongracz/ Conversations in Art (April 29) Deitsch




A Hebrew “Marathon” (May 6)




Kabbalah of Jerusalem: Mystical Ingber Readings on the Sacred City (May 20)









Why Did the Jews Survive?



$270 S201


Judaism and Early Christianity: Intersections and Divergences—Part 2



$270 S202


The Maimonides Letters: Leadership at a Time of Crisis



$270 S203


Writers’ Beit Midrash



$325 S204


Artists’ Beit Midrash



$325 S205


Chanting of the Torah: A Workshop Corrsin


$270 S206


expiration date


Bible: Learning to Love Leviticus, Week by Week



$270 S301



The Prophets: An Anthology



$270 S302

Tuition reductions may not be combined. Discounts do not apply to 1-day events. Please indicate which discount, if any, applies.


The Biblical Jacob: Our Dubious Patriarch



$270 S303

An individual registering for more than one full-semester course: take 20% off each additional course


All of Jewish Literature in Seven Sessions



$270 S401


An Introduction to Modern Jewish Philosophy



$270 S402

Members of Temple Emanu-El: take 15% off each course


The Maimonides Letters: Leadership at a Time of Crisis



$270 S403

Senior citizen (age 65 and older): take 10% off each course

8 Hebrew Bible and Christian Scriptures: Interpretation and Re-Interpretation



$270 S404


Judaism and the American Legal Tradition



$270 S405


Short Cuts, the Next Generation: Great Contemporary Jewish American Short Stories



$270 S406


Jewish Art and Archaeology in the Age of Transition



$270 S407



$270 S501


Age 30 and below: take 10% off each course


(discounts do not apply to 1-day events)

Yes, I want to support Jewish learning at The Skirball Center. Enclosed is my tax-deductible contribution in the amount of



Early Morning Talmud

Sign up TODAY for a special lecture by Avivah Zornberg:

$ TOTAL ENCLOSED Cost of classes (above) PLUS contribution: $

May 17: Through the Looking Glass: Women and Redemption


I want to make it possible for students with financial need to attend The Skirball Center. Enclosed is my contribution to the Scholarship Fund in the amount of $ _____________. My gift is in memory/in honor of _____________________________________________ Please notify _____________________________________________________________ name _____________________________________________________________ address

Thank you!

These friends and students have made generous contributions to The Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning. Endowment for Our Future

Annual Support for Our Program


Contributions made between February 1, 2011, and January 31, 2012

Thomas Epstein* Leon Finley* For the Leon Finley Course in Jewish Studies Richard Gilder For the Jane Moyse Gilder Course in Jewish History Charles and Carol Grossman Family Fund—NYCT* Josephine C.S. Jordan* For the Hortense Jordan Course in Ethics Henry Kravis For the Robert S. and Kimberly R. Kravis Course in Jewish Studies; and the Harrison S. Kravis Course in Jewish Studies Lionel I. Pincus* For the Pincus Family Course in Jewish Studies William Rosenwald* For the William Rosenwald and Ruth Israels Rosenwald Course in Contemporary Jewish History The Skirball Foundation John Vogelstein For the Hans A. Vogelstein Course in Jewish Studies The Women’s Auxiliary of Temple Emanu-El In honor of Dr. Ronald B. Sobel * of blessed memory

Leaders ($50,000–$100,000) Anonymous The Skirball Foundation Benefactors ($10,000–$49,999) Anonymous The Nathan Cummings Foundation The Charles and Carol Grossman Family Fund Sustainers ($1000–$9999) Steve and Jo Chaleff Neil and Juliet Cooper Bettijane Eisenpreis Irwin Hochberg Paul J. Isaac, Esq. Edward W. Kerson Elliot Leibowitz and Jody Merl Ted and Carol Levy Michael and Anita Malina Maytex Mills, Inc. Painted Flower Fund Ethel Romm Dr. Robert and Janie Schwalbe The Julius Stulman Foundation Supporters ($500–$999) Stephen Dubner Frank and Karel Greenberg Frances A. Hess Dr. Ralph and Jessica Kaslick Rosalind Pretzfelder Howard and Phyllis Schwartz Dr. Ronald and Joanne Sobel Robert and Marcia Waxman

Friends ($100–$499) Anonymous Harold Anfang Dr. Michelle Ashley Robert and Jane Baum Michael Blumenstein Murry and Leona Brochin Andrew J. Ely and Rachel Kanter Beth Flusser Deborah Fogarty Malcolm and Sheila Foster Ellen French Richard and Barbara Glickman Judith Hannan Mark H. Heutlinger and Bonnie Cutler Henry and Terri Jasen Saul Kaiserman and Elizabeth A. Freirich Earle and Judith Kazis Barak Klein Patrick Moriarty Rabbi Leon A. Morris and Dasee Berkowitz Maxwell and Dorothy Moss Edgar and Ruth Nathan Nancy Olnick Judith Princz David Rheingold Dr. Lee R. Robbins Norma Rosen David and Charlotte Rosensweig Dr. Jill Salberg Viviane Sallay Alan R. Samuels Dr. Arthur and Myrna Schore Ellie Silk Arlene Sokolow Ronnie Steinkoler Marian Warden Rona E. Weinstein Alvin Weiss Skirball students (between 2011 and 2012)

Because ideas can transform us. Because Jewish texts belong to each and every one of us. Because we need not take our texts literally in order to take them seriously. We need your support. Please use this form to send a contribution to The Skirball Center. One East 65th Street, New York, NY 10065 | Or donate online at

Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York One East 65th Street | New York, NY 10065

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Who studies at Skirball? Women and men.

“I’m just a Jew” Jews.

Non-Jews. Secular Jews. Twenty-five

year olds, eighty-five year olds. Forty year olds and

sixty year olds. Straight Jews and gay Jews. Atheists, theists, agnostics.

Manhattanites and Brooklynites.

“I’m from Queens.” “The Bronx.” “Long Island.” “Jersey.”


Canadians, Germans, Brits. Hebrew-speaking Jews, Russian-speaking Jews, Yiddish-speaking Jews. Seasoned

learners. “I haven’t…since my Bar Mitzvah!”

Jews who say: “I want to learn.”

Spring 2012 Course Guide  
Spring 2012 Course Guide  

Latest Course Guide (no longer current) task/254/2