A Certain Amount of Harmony: The Life and Learning of David Weiss Halivni
Marc Ashley’s Adult Education Course Between Pesah and Shavuot
Three Sundays on Zoom: April 23, April 30 & May 7, at 10:00 AM
The sporadic tension between tradition and truth has always represented a challenge for the committed Jew. In the modern period, advances in critical scholarship about classical Jewish texts have greatly exacerbated that friction, posing formidable threats to traditional religious beliefs, observance and community.
No individual in contemporary times has more poignantly and brilliantly embodied that tension than the recently deceased David Weiss Halivni z”l, perhaps the greatest Talmudic scholar of the last 100 years.
Halivni was identified as an illui (child prodigy) growing up in Sighet, Romania in his grandfather’s home as a childhood friend of Elie Wiesel. He arrived in New York in early 1947 as an orphaned teenage rabbinic scholar. After a stint at an ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn yeshiva, he quickly learned English and attended Brooklyn College, earned a master’s degree in philosophy from NYU, and then went on to become a longtime professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at JTS and subsequently, following JTS’s contested decision to ordain female rabbis, at Columbia University.
In 2008, Halivni was awarded the Israel Prize, the state’s highest cultural honor, for his groundbreaking Talmudic scholarship. At his passing last year in Israel at age 94, Halivni was regarded in both academic and many religious circles as arguably the world’s foremost Talmudic scholar.
Please join us on Zoom as we honor Halivni’s blessed memory by exploring his trailblazing thought in three Sunday morning sessions between Pesah and Shavuot. From Halivni’s inspiring life and learning, we can gain insight and guidance into navigating the daunting clash between tradition and truth in the modern world.