In the Belly of a Big Fish: Exploring the Book of Jonah
Wednesday, August 16, 7:00 pm
The Book of Jonah is chanted on Yom Kippur afternoon as the haftarah at
minhah. The basic story may be well known - a reluctant prophet, a storm at sea,
3 days in a whale, but important details about Jonah's refusal to be a prophet,
the sea voyage and his companions reactions, and his time in the belly of a big
fish (not a whale!) help us learn the lessons that stand at the center of this great
work. Among the themes we will explore are: Jonah's
relationship, and thus Jews' relationships, to the nations of the
world; Jonah's prayer life and the possibilities of prayer; linguistic
connections between Jonah and other important stories in the
Tanakh (Jewish Bible). We will also look at some art that relates
to the Jonah tale.
Annual Tshuvah Lecture: Rabbi Dr. Dov Weiss
Sunday, September 24, 6:00 pm
Rabbinic Irreverence: Imagining a Repentant God
Join us for a lecture, learning, questions & answers, Ma'ariv and a nosh to break the Fast of Gedaliah with Rabbi Dr. Dov Weiss.
Judaism is often described as a religion that tolerates, even celebrates, arguing with God. Unlike Christianity and Islam, it is said, Judaism endorses a tradition of protest as first expressed in the biblical stories of Abraham, Job, and Jeremiah. Less well known, however, are those Jewish texts that imagine God conceding error. Strikingly, in several of them, God even admits transgressing Torah law. In this lecture, Rabbi Weiss examines these Midrashim, and asks: Why would some Rabbis envision God as performing Tshuvah? Is God not perfect? What religious value or insight might be expressed in these radical texts? As we enter Yom Kippur, how could these images reinvigorate our own Tshuvah?
Rabbi Dr. Dov Weiss (son of Rabbi Avi Weiss) is Assistant Professor, Department of Religion, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Pious Irreverence: Confronting God in Rabbinic Judaism.
Jews and Genes: Editing, Ethics and New Frontiers
With Congregant Dr. Barry Coller and Rabbi Elliot Dorff
Advances in knowledge and technology have brought molecular and cellular biology to the point where genes can be sequenced and manipulated easily and rapidly. Such abilities have opened the door to a variety of approaches for the treatment of human disease. With that potential benefit, however, comes a variety of ethical concerns, which, given the history of eugenics and other nefarious approaches to control human biology, make many people wary of our biological future.
To help us understand the promises and ethical challenges of gene biology, Or Zarua invited congregant Dr. Barry Coller, the David Rockefeller Professor of Medicine and Physician-in-Chief at Rockefeller University Hospital, and Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Professor of Jewish Theology at the American Jewish University (California), to discuss this topic.
Dr. Coller recently co-authored a new report on human gene editing as part of the Committee on Human Gene Editing sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine. A past president of the American Society for Hematology and a leading researcher in platelet physiology, he has made significant contributions to the understanding and treatment of disorders of the blood. Among these contributions is the development of a monoclonal antibody that is used clinically to inhibit platelet function in order to prevent blood clots. He has received many awards and honors including the Stratton Medal (2005); Karl Landsteiner Award (2013) and The Gill Heart Institute Award (2006). He is a member of both the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences.
Rabbi Dorff is a leading thinker in the Conservative Movement on medical ethics. He has studied Judaism's approach to science. He is co-editor of a new book, "Jews and Genes," (2015; Jewish Publication Society) which contains three essays that suggest varying answers as to why Jewish input on genetic developments should matter to both Jews and non-Jews. He has served on the ethics committee of Hillary Clinton's Health Care Task Force, testified on ethical considerations for human cloning and stem cell research before the president's National Bioethics Advisory Commission, served on the National Human Resources Protections Advisory Commission, charged with reviewing and revising the federal guidelines on research on human beings. He is now on the California Ethics Advisory Commission for embryonic stem cell research done within the state.
Exploring the Siddur: History, Meaning and Commentaries on the Jewish Prayerbook
Thursday mornings, following minyan, from 8:40 - 9:40 am in the Library.
Explore the history of our prayer book, the meaning of the prayers, and Jewish law and teachings about prayer in a new class led by Rabbi Scott Bolton. Prior attendance is not required.
Registration is NOT required for this class.
Or Zarua History Wanted
Or Zarua is recording its oral history and creating an archive. If you have information, memorabilia, photos, or other material to be included, please contact the Oral History Committee by email to either Phyllis Solomon or Caroline Golden.
Refu'ah Shleymah, Comfort and Caring Calls
It's not always easy to reach out at times when we are ill or facing personal challenges. Nevertheless, our Hesed Committee and Hevra Kadisha Committee, as well as Rabbi Bolton, seek to extend our community's caring network. We would like all Congregants to know that if you are ailing or going through a particularly challenging time, our community would like to offer encouragement and words of support. For home-bound Congregants, or those with limited abilities to attend classes and programs at Or Zarua, let us help connect you, say hello, arrange a time for phone study, or set up visits. To get the connection started, call Deborah at 212.452.2310, Extension 12.
Rabbi Wechsler is on Sirius XM Stars Radio each Sunday.
Subscribers to Sirius Radio can access this program on Channel 102,
and XM subscribers can tune in to Channel 155 on XM Radio. Non-subscribers to
Sirius Radio can obtain a free three
day trial at www.sirius.com .
Songs and Niggunim -
Including Joey Weisenberg niggunim.