Torah from Around the World Study Sessions


Shabbat Beit Midrash Study


Torah from Around the World Study Sessions [Beit Shmuel] | 09:00 – 10:15 

Spend your Shabbat morning learning with Progressive rabbis from around the world in a variety of languages. Choose from a range of topics to learn more about regional issues and engage in new ideas.


Study Session A: Reform Judaism. Nothing Bothers You with this Title? Реформистский иудаизм – вам ничего не мешает в этом словосочетании? [BS, 1st Floor, Patio]

Rabbi Helena Rubinstein [Russia | Russian language]

In this introduction to Jewish history, discover how Judaism was always Reform and will stay Reform always.


Study Session B: Tochachah: bullying or “tough love” to the other? Tochechá: bullying ou “amor duro” em favor do outro? [BS, 1st Floor, Patio Meeting Room]

Rabbi Uri Lam [Brazil | Portuguese language]

This week we read the Parshiot Mechubarot Behar-Bechukotai. The first Parashah, Behar, focuses primarily on the Mitzvot concerning the Land of Israel. The second Parashah, Bechukotai, the last of Sefer Vayikrah, briefly lists some blessings and rewards that the People of Israel will receive by following the Torah and performing Mitzvot. The portion then shifts to the theme of the Tochachah, the hard warnings of God if the People of Israel abandon Torah and Mitzvot. In our study we will approach some Mekorot (Jewish sources) that refer to the concept of Tochachah, and we will see together if – and how – we can create “good warnings” in order to help others to perfect themselves, rather than threatening to destroy them.


Study Session C: Towards a More Inclusive Reading of the Book of Ruth [BS, 1st Floor, Big Hall]

Rabbi Dr. Deborah Kahn Harris [UK | English language]

With Shavuot less than a fortnight away, now is the perfect time for some new thinking on how to read the Book of Ruth. In this session we will study the ways in which Ruth can be used to think about gender and sexual diversity in our communities. We will consider how the act of reading can help create communal spaces that are more reflective of  of the diversity of our members.


Study Session D: Prayer as a Call for Community Renewal [BS, 3rd Floor, Classroom 300]

Rabbi Ofek Meir [Israel | Hebrew language]

In this session we will study the formative tensions that have shaped the world of prayer from the Talmudic Period through to today. We will explore the tensions between tradition and innovation and those between community and individual. We will study the possibilities for t’fila to be an exciting means for building our communities.


Study Session E: A Spiritual Exploration of Torah [BS, 1st Floor, Small Hall]

Rabbi Steven A. Fox [USA | English language]

In this session, we will delve into the Torah portion guided by spiritual masters in our tradition, along with contemplative and meditative practices.


Study Session F: “And the tree of the field will give forth its fruit“ (Leviticus 26:4): The Revival of Czech Progressive Judaism [BS, 3rd Floor, Classroom 301]

Maciej Kirschenbaum [Germany], David Maxa [Czech Republic] [English language]

During our session, we will then examine the question of how we can reconnect Polish and Czech Jews today with their heritage and create Progressive Judaism for the new millennium. We will look at the history of Jewish life in Poland and the Czech Republic through today. We will then focus on exciting new projects that are striving to revive Jewish religious, social and cultural life in Poland and the Czech Republic.


Study Session G: Just Tabernacles: A Living Talmud [BS, 3rd Floor, Classroom 302]

Rabbi Marla Feldman [USA | English language]

Our text study will utilize a Talmudic-style page with both modern and ancient sources, including a central text from the week’s Torah portion. We will discuss how we can create modern tabernacles built on a foundation of justice. The specific focus of these texts will be equality for women and fairness for our own congregational employees.


Study Session H: How the Land Can Change the Soul: the Sabbatical Year [BS, 1st Floor, Music Room]

Rabbi Lawrence A. Englander [Canada | English language]

Passages of Torah take on special significance when we read them upon the soil of Israel, and Parshat Behar is an excellent example. We shall study how the “Shabbat of the Land” affected our ancestors spiritually. We shall also discuss how we can carry this connection between land and soul back to our own homes.

spiritually. We shall also discuss how we can carry this connection between land and soul back to our own homes.