Episode 32: Islam, Feminism, and Interfaith Dialogue w/Dr. Celene Ibrahim

Episode 32: Islam, Feminism, and Interfaith Dialogue w/Dr. Celene Ibrahim

“Those who look for seashells will find seashells; those who open them will find pearls.”

— Al-Ghazali

Dr. Celene Ibrahim is an accomplished scholar, chaplain, and consultant. She has been published in numerous media outlets from The New York Times to BBC Persian. Her recently published book is One Nation, Indivisible: Seeking Liberty and Justice from the Pulpit to the Streets, an anthology of inter-religious voices on the transformative power of ecumenism in America. Her current book project examines female figures in the Qur’an (forthcoming in 2020 from Oxford University Press).  

Dr. Ibrahim is a public voice on issues of religious pluralism and civic engagement. She teaches religious studies and philosophy on the faculty of Groton School and served as the Muslim Chaplain at Tufts University. Previously, she held a joint faculty appointment as Islamic Studies Scholar-in-Residence at Hebrew College and Andover Newton Theological School where she co-directed the Center for Inter-Religious and Communal Leadership Education (CIRCLE).

Dr. Ibrahim earned a PhD in Arabic and Islamic Civilizations and a master’s degree in women’s and gender studies and Near Eastern and Judaic studies from Brandeis University. She earned an MDiv from Harvard Divinity School and completed her bachelor’s degree in Near Eastern studies with highest honors from Princeton University. She is a graduate of the United World College of the American West (a boarding high school for a diverse and international student body). Continue reading “Episode 32: Islam, Feminism, and Interfaith Dialogue w/Dr. Celene Ibrahim”

Episode 31: A Godly Bible Filled with Errors? w/Zev Farber

Episode 31: A Godly Bible Filled with Errors? w/Zev Farber

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson on the notion that a great person does not have to think consistently from one day to the next. This remark comes from the essay “Self-Reliance”.

Zev Farber writes, teaches and edits for a living. He holds an M.A. from Hebrew University (Jewish History), a Ph.D. from Emory University (Jewish Studies/Hebrew Bible), and ordination (yoreh yoreh) and advanced ordination (yadin yadin) from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT) Rabbinical School. He currently holds a fellowship at Project TABS and writes/edits for their website, TheTorah.com. He is a founding member of the International Rabbinic Fellowship (IRF), blogs actively at Morethodoxy, and answers questions for Jewish Values Online. He lives in Zikhron Yaakov with his wife, Channie, and their six children. Continue reading “Episode 31: A Godly Bible Filled with Errors? w/Zev Farber”

Episode 30: No Bad Jews, Keeping It Real w/Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek

Episode 30: No Bad Jews, Keeping It Real w/Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek

“Life is a garden, not a road. We enter and exit through the same gate. Wandering, where we go matters less than what we notice.”

— Kurt Vonnegut

Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek has been recognized by the Jewish Forward as one of the most inspiring rabbis in America, by Hudson Valley Magazine as a Person to Watch and by Newsweek as “a rabbi to watch.” He is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute and a Fellow of the Schusterman Foundation.

Before coming to Beacon Hebrew Alliance, he served as the Rabbi-in-Residence at American Jewish World Service and the Marshall T. Meyer Fellow at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York.

Rabbi Brent holds rabbinic ordination and a Masters in Philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), where he was the first recipient of the Neubauer Fellowship.

Prior to entering the rabbinate, he attended Wesleyan University and worked as a daily journalist in Durham, NC. He lives in Beacon with his wife Alison, a professor of environmental chemistry at Vassar College and their two children. Continue reading “Episode 30: No Bad Jews, Keeping It Real w/Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek”

Episode 29: Patience To Learn And Humility To Lead w/Dr. Erica Brown

Episode 29: Patience To Learn And Humility To Lead w/Dr. Erica Brown

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

— African Proverb

Dr. Erica Brown is an associate professor of curriculum and pedagogy at the George Washington University and the director of its Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership. She is the author of twelve books on the subjects of leadership, the Hebrew Bible and spirituality. Her forthcoming commentary is The Book of Esther: Power, Fate and Fragility in Exile.

She has been published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Tablet and The Jewish Review of Books and wrote a monthly column for the New York Jewish Week. She has blogged for Psychology Today, Newsweek & Washington Post’s “On Faith” and JTA. She tweets on one page of Talmud study a day at DrEricaBrown. Continue reading “Episode 29: Patience To Learn And Humility To Lead w/Dr. Erica Brown”

Episode 28: The Messy and Beautiful Truth Behind Philanthropy w/Charlene Seidle

Episode 28: The Messy and Beautiful Truth Behind Philanthropy w/Charlene Seidle

“A pious Jew is not one That worries about their neighbor’s soul and their own stomach; rather, a pious Jew is one that worries about their own soul and their neighbor’s stomach.”

— Rabbi Yisrael Salanter

Charlene is the Leichtag Foundation’s Executive Vice President. She has played a key leadership role in the development and implementation of Leichtag Foundation’s strategic framework and oversees grantmaking. She has designed innovative and creative programs such as funder partnerships and consortia, the Jerusalem Model, the International Office for Jerusalem Partnerships, the Hive at Leichtag Commons, and others; and provides overall management and strategy development.

Charlene won the 2013 JJ Greenberg Memorial Award, an international prize given to one outstanding philanthropic professional under the age of 40 each year. Continue reading “Episode 28: The Messy and Beautiful Truth Behind Philanthropy w/Charlene Seidle”

Episode 27: If I Show You The Real Me Will You Still Love Me? w/Elad Nehorai

Episode 27: If I Show You The Real Me Will You Still Love Me? w/Elad Nehorai

In this episode, I speak with Elad about a project that he helped launch called: Neshamas.

What is Neshamas?

“Neshamas was created because of a need we, the creators of Hevria, saw in the Jewish community: to share what’s deep, down in our souls without the added pressure of putting our names behind the work.

For reasons that vary, from communal pressure to internal shame, publicly published pieces about subjects like abuse, conversion, identity, and more can be incredibly intimidating, even dangerous.  But the value of sharing our souls, our true selves, is incalculable, and essential to the process of inner growth and acceptance.

And so we created Neshamas, a place where any Jewish person can share their souls absolutely anonymously.  In writing, art, or any other form.  There will be no judgments here. No determinations of quality of work, or whether you “deserve” to share what your soul is dying to express.  You are automatically accepted just by being here, whether you’re a reader, a sharer, or both.

Everyone here is judged as a neshama, in other words.  A soul, not a body.  Valuable simply for existing.  Names do not matter here.  Only souls.” Continue reading “Episode 27: If I Show You The Real Me Will You Still Love Me? w/Elad Nehorai”

Episode 26: Shavuot Special – The Gift of Receiving Stories w/Rav Mike Feuer

Episode 26: Shavuot Special – The Gift of Receiving Stories w/Rav Mike Feuer

The founder of hasidism, the Baal Shem Tov, “teaches that exile flows from forgetting, while memory is the key to redemption…

Rav Mike Feuer

Rav Mike Feuer is a teacher at the Pardes Institute for Jewish studies. He teaches “Striving for the Divine”, “Rav Kook”, and “Jewish History”. He has learned Torah in a number of Jerusalem area institutions, including Yeshivat HaMivtar, the Mir Yeshiva and Sulam Yaakov, where he studied for smikha (rabbinic ordination) and served as Educational Director. Rav Mike’s teaching is a mix of rigorous analysis and a passionate love of the poetry found in Torah. 

Since making aliyah in 2001, he has been the program director of a post-high school yeshiva, taught history, Jewish thought and Bible in several Jerusalem yeshivot and midrashot. Today, Rav Mike is driven by the power of story to shape our world. Continue reading “Episode 26: Shavuot Special – The Gift of Receiving Stories w/Rav Mike Feuer”

Episode 25: Finding Your Sacred Space. Thinking Outside Of The Hillel w/Rabbi Avram Mlotek

Episode 25: Finding Your Sacred Space. Thinking Outside Of The Hillel w/Rabbi Avram Mlotek

“Yet I know that there is a small but growing number of Orthodox rabbis from across the Modern Orthodox spectrum who believe that this is where we have to be moving. I hope that in doing so as a community, queer Jews will see themselves as valued in the community and see that their rabbis are ready to celebrate their life choices of sacred covenantal marriage as well. It is not only about upholding the dignity of the human being, but upholding the dignity of the Torah itself, which emphasizes the need for loving partnership.”

Rabbi Avram Mlotek, excerpt from a recent published article of his Continue reading “Episode 25: Finding Your Sacred Space. Thinking Outside Of The Hillel w/Rabbi Avram Mlotek”

Episode 24: Refua Shlema – A Complete Healing? The Medical Marijuana Episode w/Laurel Freedman

Episode 24: Refua Shlema – A Complete Healing? The Medical Marijuana Episode w/Laurel Freedman

“There are so many things that we, as jews, lift up and discuss… we really do often come together on things that can be dividing and controversial. this is one of those issues. this is one of those things that can be unifying. it can mean health.”

Laurel Freedman

Laurel Freedman became a cannabis professional in 2016 when Pennsylvania  legislation opted for a medical marijuana program that would impact health & sciences, job creation, the environment, incarceration rates, criminal records, the economy (and the list could go on). Continue reading “Episode 24: Refua Shlema – A Complete Healing? The Medical Marijuana Episode w/Laurel Freedman”

Episode 23: Is Instagram The New Go-To Jewish Space? With @Modern_Ritual cofounders Rabbi Samantha Frank and Rena Singer

Episode 23: Is Instagram The New Go-To Jewish Space? With @Modern_Ritual cofounders Rabbi Samantha Frank and Rena Singer

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

THE NOTORIOUS G-O-D 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉 … … … We want to talk about God a little more here at Modern Ritual because “God” is such a loaded word/concept/idea!!! … … … When we say that we “believe in God” we do so because we see God as a hugely expansive concept that could encompass all meaning/change/the universe. But also sometimes God feels very personal! Something we experience in the day to day in a hug or in the sunshine or after drinks with a friend. … … … Did you know that in Judaism there are around 100 names for God? That God is described in so many ways? … … … This is important because we want to make it clear that we do not believe that God is a man in the sky!!! 👨 + ⛅️ = 🤷‍♀️🤷🏽‍♀️🤷🏿‍♀️ … … … We do want to take ourselves theologically seriously though. This means that we are truly seeking wisdom in our lives, looking for greater meaning. We are open to evolving ideas of God and questions about God and feeling differently on different days. … … … We try to stay away from the binary of belief versus not belief. … … … So we want to know- how are you feeling about God? What are some of your questions? Does the word make you feel uncomfortable? Let’s talk! … #god #theology #feminism #judaism #ideas #questions #love #exploring #jewish #modernritual

A post shared by Modern_Ritual (@modern_ritual) on

Rabbi Samantha is the co-founder of Modern Ritual, an Instagram account claiming a space for feminist Jewish engagement in our modern world. Outside of social media, she received her ordination the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Samantha decided to become a rabbi because she saw the ways in which Judaism guided people through the most difficult and most joyous moments in life. Sam has worked as a student rabbi in Monessen, PA, Yale University and currently the rabbinic intern at Temple Micah in DC, working on the Haftarah Project. Continue reading “Episode 23: Is Instagram The New Go-To Jewish Space? With @Modern_Ritual cofounders Rabbi Samantha Frank and Rena Singer”