Each summer, the Shalom Hartman Institute brings together a pluralistic group of rabbis from across North America with senior Hartman faculty members in Israel to address a major issue facing contemporary Jewish life. The 2012 Rabbinic Study Seminar in Jerusalem, July 2- 12, 2012, will explore the foundational Jewish issue of faith: its place in the landscape of Jewish values, and the challenges of modern life to that faith and in which faith plays a part.
In an age of radical polarization around religion in modern society, with a rise in fundamentalism on one hand, and atheism and secularism on the other, how does the Jewish tradition approach dilemmas of faith? Recent sociological research suggests that a growing number of North American Jews view their Jewishness solely as their religion, rather than as their “Peoplehood.” In such an environment, questions of faith and the nature of Jewish spirituality become pressing concerns for those interested in Jewish continuity and involvement.
This 11-day intensive study seminar will bring together leading scholars in Bible, Talmud, Jewish philosophy and theology, Jewish history and Jewish mysticism, to share texts and ideas from the Jewish tradition on the following dilemmas of faith:
- Is faith as essential component of Jewish life? What does it mean to be Jewishly committed without faith, and what does faith look like in the modern religious consciousness?
- What is “Jewish spirituality” and what role does it play in modern Jewish identity?
- Does faith provide certainty? How does the Jewish tradition respond to religious fundamentalism? How does the Jewish tradition respond to religious doubt?
- Is faith an individual journey or part of a collective enterprise? Can you have a Jewish Peoplehood without faith?
- Does faith require ritual practice, or can faith be predicated on belief alone? What does it mean to be in a relationship with God in the modern world?
- How can we reconcile faith and reason?
These and other questions will anchor the study program this summer. In addition, each week the program is made richer by the elective courses taught by Hartman Institute and visiting faculty, by encounters with major figures in Israeli life, and by excursions out into the Land of Israel itself.
Program and registration information is available here.