Shabbaton Saturday Classes

SESSION 1—Choose from A-D (1:30-2:15 PM)

  •  Session 1 Class A—Lenny Picker: Was Sherlock Holmes Jewish? A Look At The Evolution Of Jewish Detective Fiction – Not everyone is aware of the rich history of Jews who have written in the genre, including an early cultural Zionist, and a contemporary rabbi who has made Jewish literacy widely-accessible, or their characters, who pit their brains against clever criminals hoping to get away with murder. Lenny Picker, who has read, at a conservative estimate, over 5000 mystery novels, and who has written about them since the Jimmy Carter era, will offer a comprehensive survey.
  • Session 1 Class B—Nora Mandel: Toward An Iconography Of Anti-Semitic Images Of Jewish Women – Think of anti-Semitic images of Jews in Western culture: Shylocks with hook noses looms large.  Male!  Of course there is anti-Semitism against Jewish women, but what do their stereotypes look like?  In my reviews and monitoring of film and television over the past 20 years, I’ve looked for anti-Semitic images of women and have been surprised not only at the lack of research on the subject (both journalistic and academic), but that to understand the assumptions, one has to go back to the Middle Ages.  My talk will be an exploratory survey of popular culture, from the Middle Ages, through the Nazis (then and now), and recent entertainment media, in the U.S. and beyond. Nora Lee Mandel has reviewed documentaries, independent, and foreign-language films, particularly of Jewish interest, for websites and publications over a dozen years.  Her ongoing Critical Guide to Jewish Women in Movies, TV, and Pop Music [] has been the basis for her previous Shabbaton talks.
  • Session 1 Class C—Jay Luger: There once was a chief rabbi of Rome, The Eternal City was his congregation’s home, He abandoned his old boss, As he bowed to the cross, So his congregation never ever bade him shalom. Tse u lemad (come and learn) why Rabbi Israel Zolli converted as WW2 was winding down. Jay has an MA in Jewish History from YU and many additional years of study at JTS. He is a feline veterinarian.
  • Session 1 Class DRabbi David Cavill: God of Fire – The Torah contains recurring elements in which the Divine manifests through expressions of fire.   Fire continues to be important to Jewish religious imagination beyond the bible. Drawing on his rabbinical school thesis, Rabbi Cavill will present several texts in which the Divine appears through imagery and practices connected to fire. David Cavill was ordained as a rabbi in April 2017 at the Academy for Jewish Religion. He earned the degree of Master of Divinity at Yale University and completed the Jewish Theological Seminary’s undergraduate Joint Program with Columbia University.  David currently works as the Controller of New York City Audubon Society and has a background in nonprofit management

SESSION 2—Choose from E-H (3:00-3:45 PM)

  •  Session 2 Class ERabbi Chana Thompson Shor: When David Slew Goliath: What You Thought You Knew! ””David and Goliath” is often used as to describe a power struggle where the weaker party triumphs, as we (in the West) nearly all know the “Bible Stories” version of David slaying the giant. Our understanding is challenged, though, by a careful reading of the biblical account and the other Ancient Near Eastern evidence.  You may never use that metaphor the same way again! Rabbi Chana Thompson Shor was ordained from JTS, in 1995, where she also studied Hebrew Bible in the graduate school.  She completed “about half” of a Ph.D., which was interrupted by the (joyful!) arrival of a second set of twins.  Among other activities, Chana keeps her Bible skills sharp with an obsessive interest in the Exodus narrative, and an ongoing study of the Book of Samuel.
  • Session 2 Class FMitchell Frank: We Were As Dreamers – There was a Zionist movement 2,500 years ago, when exiles to Babylonia returned to the land of Israel after Babylon was conquered by Persia. Who were these Shavei Tzion, these returners to Zion? Who was their Ben Gurion? Their Rav Kook? What did they dream? What were their obstacles? How did Judaism become transformed in their era? In this presentation we will review selected readings from the later Biblical writings to get a sense of the period, its all-too-human heroes, its crises and triumphs. Mitchell is a clinical psychologist who holds graduate degrees from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and YU.
  • Session 2 Class GDr. Stephen Teitelbaum: Posthumous Sperm Retrieval: Mechanics, Ethics, and Halacha, and The Socioeconomic Implications for The Fallen IDF Soldier– Posthumous sperm retrieval is a procedure performed to extract spermatozoa from a recently deceased man.  The sperm would then be available for fertilization.  We will explore the mechanics of the procedure as well as the ethical and halachic considerations surrounding the use of such sperm for posthumous conception.  I also hope to touch on the issue of survivor benefits for the posthumously conceived offspring of fallen IDF soldiers. Open discussion is encouraged. Stephen practices urology in Brooklyn, NY.
  • Session 2 Class HAdam Monaco – With Great “Koach” Comes Great Responsibility, Volume 2 – Superman is a character with a long history of being one of the world’s most famous superheroes. Created by two Jews in Cleveland, he represented something amazing for all people; young and old. In this session, we will discuss the Man of Steel’s roots and connections to Judaism. Adam Monaco is a middle school English teacher, with nearly two decades of teaching in both public schools and yeshivas. He holds an MS in English/Secondary Education. He also runs the FHJC Kadima group. Adam has been keeping comic book stores in business for almost 30 years.

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