As a retired lawyer, the Talmud has attracted me, spoken to me, for decades. When I was in the ALEPH Rabbinic Program, I took as many Talmud and Codes courses that I could. The methodology of decision-making was just so familiar. There I found Sages trying to make sense of their paradigm-shifted world, after the destruction of the Second Temple. Their former world was no longer and they had to figure out how to carry their tradition forward in a way relevant to their new reality. I found that so much wisdom and creativity could be taken from this text and applied to our lives today.
I believe that the only way to change the world is through the serious study of Talmud as a spiritual practice. In past classes we have struggled with the issue of ona’ah, oppression or wrongdoing, in personal and professional relationships and in business. We learned the importance of integrity and honesty and of putting the feelings of others first. We learned about the dangers of being unwilling to yield. We learned about the difference between how the Torah and the Talmud introduce themselves in their opening chapters which tells us everything about them: the Torah is about God’s creation while the Talmud is about human interpretation. And now, we are learning about the Women of Talmud.
I facilitate a monthly Talmud class hosted by Or Shalom Synagogue. Serious, eager learners join me to grapple with the text and join the Jewish communal conversation to bring our voices to the renewal of Judaism. For information about upcoming classes, click here. Newcomers are always welcome.
Beginning April 30, 2019 I am excited to be teaching a five part course on Magic in the Talmud as part of Or Shalom Synagogue's new house of study - Zusia: The Bet Midrash. Click here for more information and to register.
I love Shabbat. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel describes it beautifully as a Palace in Time. We gather with a group of friends and give ourselves permission to engage in a Shabbat of pleasure, of rejuvenation, and of delight. From the sweetness of the moment of Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday night, when we welcome in the Shabbat Bride, to the powerful prayer and Torah learning on Shabbat morning, to the melancholy time at Seudah Shlishit, the third meal on Shabbat afternoon when we linger as long as we can in this little bit of heaven on earth.
Do you live in a small community without a resident rabbi or spiritual leader? Or in a larger community with many? Would you like to deepen your connection with Shabbat and each other? I would be honoured to be your Shabbat guest bringing engaging and inspiring dynamic experiences of Jewish prayer and learning to your community. Together we will create a unique, full, and meaningful Shabbat experience.
I love to teach and give talks. I love to engage with and soak up the wisdom of our Jewish tradition and bring the texts alive, making them meaningful and relevant to our lives and our world today. (I also love telling people what I really think!) I love to help people discover their own voices within Judaism. There is such richness in our past, such possibility for our future.
I enjoy teaching adults and college or university students. I teach in classrooms, on retreats, on panels, and in casual settings. My goal is for students and audience members to leave feeling nourished, enlivened, inspired, and eager for more.
I would love to visit your community, chavurah, gathering or classroom whether for an engaging keynote address, as a member of an interfaith panel, to give Words of Torah, teach classes, or make presentations. Let us celebrate together the rich beauty and immediacy of our tradition!
I am happy to address a wide range of Jewish topics. I also have some special areas of expertise that might be exciting to you: The Beauty of Shabbat, The Power of Blessings, Torah Texts, Issues in the Talmud, Women’s Voices, The Book of Job, The Niggun (wordless melody) as Spiritual Practice, A Taste of Piyyut (prayer poem), and Reb Zalman on “Rebbe-craft”.
Please contact me directly to discuss compensation for these services.