The Shabbat Shalem program is an in-town Shabbaton held several times per year, aimed at Jewish educational growth and community building. It offers a complete Shabbat experience, including communal learning and meal, activities for children and joyful Shabbat celebration. Following Friday night services, the Kabalat Shabbat dinner draws up to 80 people for a communal meal before people re-gather in the sanctuary for learning. The Scholar in Residence presides over a combination lecture/torah study session. Classes reconvene the next day, following Saturday morning services. Exposure to such a variety of amazing torah scholars has ignited and deepened the passion for learning in our community. It can transform the way that people become lifelong learners.
To see a list of past visiting scholars, click here.
On the Shoulders of Giants
Tuesday, November 10 // 7:30pm
Moses Received the Oral Torah at Sinai: The Oral Torah in Rashi’s Torah Commentary
Dr. Yedida Eisenstat
Dr. Yedida Eisenstat is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion and the program in Jewish Studies at Colgate University. She holds an M.A. in Religion, Culture, & Values from York University and a Ph.D. from the Kekst Graduate School of the Jewish Theological Seminary where she studied Midrash & Scriptural Interpretation. Eisenstat is the author of “Taking Stock of the Text(s) of Rashi’s Torah Commentary: Some 21st Century Considerations,” and “Sanctification and Shame: Bialik’s In the City of Slaughter in Light of Leviticus and Ezekiel,” and her current book project explores Rashi’s use of midrash in his Torah commentary.
Dr. Michelle Levine is a tenured Associate Professor of Bible at Stern College for Women, where she has been teaching courses on Tanach and medieval biblical commentaries since 2001. She was awarded Jewish Studies Professor of the Year in 2011. She has also been teaching a women’s Tanach class in her Queens, NY community for 21 years. She lectures extensively for shuls and for Jewish organizations, nationally and in Israel.
Dr. Levine has an MS degree in Bible from the Bernard Revel Graduate School, Yeshiva University, and a Ph.D in medieval biblical exegesis from New York University. Her book, “Nahmanides on Genesis: The Art of Biblical Portraiture,” has been published by Brown University Press (2010). She has also published academic articles and delivered papers at academic conferences on topics related to Tanach and especially on Ramban’s literary approach to biblical narrative and poetry. She is currently working on two research projects on Ramban’s literary analysis of the wilderness narratives in Shemot and Bamidbar and on his poetic readings of biblical songs, with an article on his commentary to the Song of the Sea soon to be published in the upcoming Torah U-Madda Journal. Dr. Levine has recently published essays with the Mesorah Matrix series on varied topics such as Havdalah and the mitzvah of Ve-Shamru on Shabbat. She is also an upcoming contributor to an online Jewish encyclopedia, the DeGruyter Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception.
Tuesday, January 5 // 7:30pm
Abraham Ibn Ezra: A Careful Reader of Secrets
Dr. Sarah Labaton
Dr. Sara Labaton is Director of Teaching and Learning at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. Sara received a B.A. in Religious Studies from Columbia University and a doctorate in Medieval Jewish Thought from the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at NYU. Sara was a founding faculty member of Yeshivat Hadar, where she developed a Bible and Exegesis curriculum.
Thursday, February 4 // 7:00pm
Mystical, Cyclical, Celestial, Profane: the Poetry
of Solomon Ibn Gabirol
Dr. Peter Cole
Peter Cole is the author of five books of poems—most recently Hymns & Qualms: New and Selected Poems and Translations (FSG, 2017)—and many volumes of translation from Hebrew and Arabic, medieval and modern. Cole has created a body of work that defies traditional distinctions between old and new, foreign and familiar, translation and original. Among his many honors are an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a Jewish National Book Award, the PEN Prize in Translation, and a MacArthur Fellowship. He divides his time between Jerusalem and New Haven, where he teaches at Yale.
Tuesday, March 2 // 8:00pm
A Table with Many Settings: Law and Mysticism
in the Writings of Rabbi Yosef Karo
Rabbi Ariel Mayse
Ariel Evan Mayse joined the faculty of Stanford University in 2017 as an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies, after previously serving as the Director of Jewish Studies and Visiting Assistant Professor of Modern Jewish Thought at Hebrew College in Newton, Massachusetts, and a research fellow at the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies of the University of Michigan. He holds a Ph.D. in Jewish Studies from Harvard University and rabbinic ordination from Beit Midrash Har’el in Israel.
Tuesday, March 16 // 8:00pm
Chayei Adam — the Life of Man: Rabbi Danzig
(1748–1820) and His User–friendly Literary Revolution
Dashiell Ferguson was born in Berkeley and raised in Oakland. He is happy to be back in the East Bay after living many years in Washington Heights on Manhattan Island. He’s been a fan of the Chayei Adam for almost twenty years, was moved to index the book, and is sometimes working on an English translation
Sunday, April 25
Honest to God: Truth and Faith in the Writings
of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
Rabbi Ami Silver
Rabbi Ami Silver, MSW is a teacher, psychotherapist and writer based in Jerusalem. His work focuses on the interface between text, spiritual practice and personal transformation. He leads groups in experiential study and practice in Jerusalem and online, maintains a private therapy practice and is a content writer for alephbeta.org. You can hear more of his Torah on the “Awakening” podcast, from the Shefa podcast network.
Sunday, May 2
Prof. Nehama Leibowitz: Twentieth Century Torah Giant
Yael Unterman is an international lecturer, bibliodrama facilitator, and author. She holds a BA in Psychology and MAs in Jewish History and Creative Writing respectively. Her books are Nehama Leibowitz: Teacher and Bible Scholar (2009 finalist, National Jewish Book Awards 2009) and The Hidden of Things: Twelve Stories of Love & Longing (2015 finalist, USA Best Book Awards). She has published numerous essays, stories, and reviews, and also created and performed a biblical solo show named “After Eden”.
Sunday, June 6
A Tsaddik in the Shadows: The Radical Piety of Rav Shagar
Rabbi Levi Morrow
Born and raised in Southern California, Levi Morrow moved to Israel when he was 18. After studying at Yeshivat Orayta and Har Etzion, Levi received semikhah from the Shehebar Sephardic Center in the Old City of Jerusalem and an MA in Jewish Philosophy from Tel Aviv University. He wrote his thesis on Rav Shagar’s use of Franz Rosenzweig’s theology, and has also translated a forthcoming volume of Rav Shagar’s derashot for the holidays. Levi teaches Jewish Philosophy in Jerusalem, where he lives with his wife and their two daughters.
Halacha & Mental Health
3 Part Series // January–February
Rabbi Yoni Rosensweig
Rav Yoni is rabbi of the Netzach Menashe community in Beit Shemesh and is a renowned teacher of Halakha, Gemara and Jewish thought. From 2006-2009 he served as Rosh Kollel of the Mizrahi community in Melbourne, Australia. Upon his return, he headed Yeshivat Hamivtar, and then became Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Shevut Yisrael in Efrat, a post which he held until 2016. He currently teaches at Midreshet Lindenbaum. Rav Yoni has semikha from Rav Nachum Eliezer Rabinovitch and from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, and degrees in education, philosophy and history. He is the author of “Yishrei Lev,” a three-volume responsa on different halakhic questions, and of “Conversations in Essence,” in which he engages in imaginary dialogue with great Jewish thinkers from the past.