by Joel Rich
Etzion Foundation’s Jubilee Conference Panel, April 7, 2019, NYC
Very thought-provoking!. I think the answers/approaches provided are less important than getting the general community involved in thinking about these issues and how to address them.
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Rabbi Dr. Michael Berger,Dr. Tamara Morsel-Eisenberg ,Professor Chaim Saiman, Dr. Yael Landman Wermuth-FROM THE YESHIVA TO THE ACADEMY; OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ACADEMIC JEWISH STUDIES
How do the Academy and Yeshiva interact both on a personal and philosophical basis? Between them, what are the areas of tension and conflict vs. benefit and support? It seems to differ by field of interest (e.g., Tanach vs. law).
Touches on my favorite question but gives no real answer—how much should knowledge of realia affect psak? Interesting point that one could study basically the same rules of damages in both settings but in one case it’s limud torah but in the other it isn’t.
Rabbi Zvi Engel,Rabbi Menachem Penner ,Rabbi Dr. Michael Rosensweig,Rabbi Moshe Taragin-IS THE WORLD TOO MUCH WITH US? THE DEVAR HASHEM IN THE DIGITAL AGE
Are the changes wrought by technologies today any different than those of the past (e.g., printing presses)? (Me – Is it the complete truth to say that the writing down of the oral Torah was driven by internal needs [and not external trends]?) Do millennials have shorter attention spans? (Me – we said that about the Sesame Street generation). Are we enabling this trend (or creating a self-fulfilling one) with all the 5-minute halacha shiurim? (Me – Audio Roundup is preponderantly longer shiurim). It’s good to maximize your every minute (me – that’s what speed player on your phone is for). Chanoch lanaar al pi darco but what’s our aspiration for them?
Some interesting thoughts on maintaining the rebbi/talmid relationship (me – probably unrealistic to expect a deep relationship with hundreds of online talmidim).
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Sarah Robinson,Shiffy Friedman,Rabbi Dr. Gil Perl,Rabbi Joe Wolfson -PASSING TORAH FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION: ENGAGING POST-MILLENNIALS IN A 2020 JEWISH WORLD
Depressing (to me) description of the student class today (but then again they said many things about the children of the 60s back in the day). Some traits include: Individualism, lack of reverence, lack of notion of commandedness, post-modern sense of truth, lack of intrinsic motivations to outdo their parents, mental stress and belief in moralistic, therapeutic deism (HKB”H just wants me to be good/nice and be happy). What tactics can educators apply? Examples provided but perhaps an overall strategic review is needed?
Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot,Rabbi Shlomo Brin ,Rabbi Yitzchak Etshalom ,Dr. Shalom Holtz,Mrs. Yael Goldfischer-TEACHING MORALLY DIFFICULT SECTIONS OF TANAKH IN OUR DAY AND AGE
It’s important to understand the society/culture of Tanach in order to understand the messages of Tanach. We need to reach students who are both scoffers and true believers to prepare them for future challenges. Strategies in dealing with problematic texts include 1.) Rely on how Torah shebeal peh understood them 2.) Contextualize them 3.) See as purposeful for our revulsion. We should see the overall beauty of Tanach and realize we won’t necessarily understand everything.