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Friday, February 12


When Christianity Defines Judaism: Martin Buber on Jesus and the Baal Shem Tov
We are often taught that Judaism precedes Christianity, yet scholars of ancient Judaism often argue that both religions emerge simultaneously. Some even suggest that Judaism as we know it arises in part as a response to Christianity. We will look at the writings of Martin Buber on Jesus and his work on Hasidism to suggest that Buber views Jesus as the true antecedent to the figure of the Baal Shem Tov, and Jesus helps us understand the religious critique that is embedded in the Hasidic movement.


Shaul Magid

Shaul Magid is the Jay and Jeanie Schotenstein Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor of Religion at Indiana University and rabbi of the Fire island Synagogue, Sea View New York.

Friday February 12, 2016 2:45pm - 4:00pm
Sunday, February 14


Jewish Women in Rashi's Community Were Way Ahead of Their Time
Maggie Anton will discuss the research behind her Rashi's Daughters historical novels, which take place in 11th century France in the household of the great Talmud scholar, who had no sons, but three daughters. Amazing as it may seem today, women in that Jewish community wore tzitzit (fringes), blew the shofar, performed ritual circumcisions, and had aliyot to the Torah. They also appear to have created or popularized the ritual of lighting Shabbat candles and saying a blessing, just as we do today.

avatar for Maggie Anton

Maggie Anton

Maggie Anton is the award-winning author of the historical fiction trilogy 'Rashi's Daughters' and new series 'Rav Hisda's Daughter.' The first volume, 'Apprentice,' was a National Jewish Book Award finalist. A Los Angeles native, Maggie worked for 33 years as a clinical chemist for... Read More →

Sunday February 14, 2016 1:45pm - 3:00pm
Monday, February 15


Yavneh: Hillel Zeitlin’s Dream, Then and Now
Hillel Zeitlin was the leading figure of what may be called philosophical neo-Hasidism. He was an activist in addition to a tireless author, and he issued calls for a new organization of Jewish life. In a series of articles published in the 1920s, he sought to form an elite Jewish spiritual fraternity to be called Yavneh. We will read a selection of these texts, including a newly discovered manuscript, and consider Yavneh as a possible model for a contemporary intentional community.


Ariel Mayse

Ariel Evan Mayse is a Research Fellow at the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and holds a Ph.D. in Jewish Studies from Harvard University and rabbinic ordination from Beit Midrash Har’el. He is a co-editor of the two-volume collection... Read More →

Monday February 15, 2016 12:00pm - 1:15pm