Description:

In 1644, Antonio de Montezinos claimed to have discovered one of the Lost Tribes of Israel in the Colombian Andes. To his audience, this discovery could herald the End of Days. To historians, it would influence the course of Jewish history in Britain. To Progressive Jews today, it provides an insight into the long history of Jews grappling with their identity in the modern age.

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Copyrights – 2024 – Osian Evans Sharma  – All Rights Reserved

Biography: 

Osian Evans Sharma is a freelance tutor of Yiddish, cinema enthusiast and occasional creator of marionettes. He has a bachelor’s degree in theology from King’s College London, and a master’s degree in Jewish Studies from University College London where he started learning Yiddish. He teaches at the annual immersive course Ot Azoy in London, and has tutored with Leo Baeck College, Babel’s Blessing and the Liberal Jewish Synagogue.

Frederic Edwin Church, Heart of the Andes (1857)

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Description:

The process by which the laws of the Torah make their way down to contemporary Jewish practice is a long and complex one. In this two-part series, Dr Simon Holloway seeks to outline the process by which the Jewish legal system has developed. In the first section, he will address the means by which the laws found within the Torah were refined, in a process that ultimately concluded with the compilation of the Talmud. In the second section, he will chart the means by which the Talmud’s laws were synthesised and redacted, and the process by which the major Jewish codes of law were formed. This was a period that culminated with the printing of the Shulchan Arukh in the 16th century.

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Copyrights – 2024 – Dr Simon Holloway – All Rights Reserved

Biography: 

Dr Simon Holloway is the Manager of Adult Education and Academic Engagement at the Melbourne Holocaust Museum. He holds a PhD in Classical Hebrew and Biblical Studies and a Masters in Ancient History. Simon delivers lectures on the history of the Holocaust, Nazi racial science and Jewish resistance, while his research interests involve the identification of biblical and rabbinic allusions in Jewish documents produced during the Shoah.

 

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Description:

When there is so much in the Torah that is violent, misogynistic and seemingly out of touch with our values, why continue to study the Torah?  When we struggle to find our own voices in this ancient text why persist in holding it aloft, kissing it and parading it around our synagogues?

In this article we’ll explore where the authority of the Torah and its words lies.  Using the Psalms as a guide we’ll chart our way forward – through outwardly objectionable verses towards a more inclusive, liberative reading.  Through this exploration we will explore why feminist biblical scholarship is so necessary and why this Rabbi believes Torah study needs to be at the heart of all we do as a community.

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Copyrights – 2022 – Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen – All Rights Reserved

Biography: 

From October 2023 Rabbi Robyn will be studying for a PhD in Rabbinic Leadership and Biblical Studies with the University of Leeds under a AHRC scholarship.  Since her undergraduate degree in Theology and Religious Studies at Newnham College, Cambridge, Robyn worked as a Human Rights lawyer and then began training for the rabbinate at Leo Baeck College.  Upon ordination she worked as Manchester’s first female rabbi at Manchester Reform Synagogue, for a number of years.  Robyn is currently co-chair of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis and Cantors in the UK.  Robyn regularly appears in UK media,  is a Pause for Thought contributor and her work has been published in various books and journal.  Robyn is interested in creating safe, anti-oppressive, relational, textured, activist communities built by individuals who are enabled to step into their own power and collectively organise for a more just world.

 

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Description: Noting that there does not seem to be a visitable heritage and category of Jewish gardens equivalent to those of other world faiths, this writing suggests that the essentially literary nature of the Jewish garden far from prevents its theological re-imagination for the contemporary age.  Where modernity’s desolation of the earth has banished even God from Eden’s sanctuary, gardening that offers a horticultural space of refuge and refreshment for God’s creation to flourish in safety and peace is not just a hobby but a messianic vocation.

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Copyrights – 2022 – Professor Melissa Raphael – All Rights Reserved

Biography: 

As well as teaching at Leo Baeck College in the areas of modern Jewish thought and Jewish responses to evil and suffering, Melissa Raphael is Professor Emerita (Jewish Theology) at the University of Gloucestershire and an Associate Lecturer at the University of Chichester. She has been the Sherman Lecturer in Jewish Studies at the University of Manchester; the Hussey Lecturer in the Church and the Arts at the University of Oxford, and the British Government’s Foreign Office delegate to the International Task Force on Holocaust Remembrance and Research.
Professor Raphael is the author of numerous articles and books. Her books include Thealogy and Embodiment: The Post-Patriarchal Reconstruction of Female Sacrality (Sheffield Academic Press, 1996); Rudolf Otto and the Concept of Holiness (Oxford University Press, 1997); The Female Face of God in Auschwitz: A Jewish Feminist Theology of the Holocaust (Routledge, 2003); Judaism and the Visual Image: A Jewish Theology of Art (Continuum, 2009), and Religion, Feminism and Idoloclasm: Being and Becoming in the Women’s Liberation Movement (Routledge, 2019).

 

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Description:

Dr Jo-Ann Myers writes about her Doctoral Research on Hebrew Pedagogy, on the subject of integrating Biblical and Modern Hebrew as a way to enhance the Teaching and learning of Hebrew.

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Copyrights – 2022 – Dr Jo-Ann Myers – All Rights Reserved

Biography: 

Dr Jo-Ann Myers is Director of Jewish Education at Leo Baeck College. Jo-Ann is the Course Team Leader for the MA in Jewish Educational Leadership and is also responsible for the Certificate in Jewish Education. She teaches on both the MA programme and a module in Jewish Education on the rabbinic programme. She is also responsible for the Lehrhaus, the Leo Baeck College adult learning programme. Jo-Ann is also a Hebrew language specialist and has developed the Eizeh Kef Hebrew programme which is now used in over twenty different communities and schools in the UK, Europe and abroad. She also teaches and conducts Hebrew teacher training in a wide range of contexts. Her Doctorate in Professional Studies focuses on Hebrew pedagogy and the linking between Biblical and Modern Hebrew in teaching and learning.

 

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Description: In this article Dr Norman Berdichevsky writes that in order to learn from history, we have an obligation to ensure that it is accurate and does not unilaterally glorify or vilify entire nationalities. Read this fascinating story of two kings, one of Denmark, the other of Bulgaria, which gives us an understanding of the actual events.

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Copyrights – 2022 –Dr Norman Berdichevsky – All Rights Reserved

Biography: 

Norman has 45+ years professional experience as a teacher (Hebrew, English and Geography) at University and secondary school level. He has been lecturer, translator, writer, Jewish educator and community centre events director in U.S., U.K., Denmark and Israel. His 11 years of living in Israel on kibbutzim and in cities has given him much familiarity with Israeli society and culture, and great knowledge of Hebrew. He is the author of 6 books and 350 articles. He and his wife met in Israel as Hebrew translators and interpreters.

 

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Description: Dr Norman Berdichevsky writes about the Story of Modern Hebrew (Ivrit): How a dormant liturgical language of prayer became a vibrant national vernacular.

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Copyrights – 2022 –Dr Norman Berdichevsky – All Rights Reserved

Biography: 

Norman has 45+ years professional experience as a teacher (Hebrew, English and Geography) at University and secondary school level. He has been lecturer, translator, writer, Jewish educator and community centre events director in U.S., U.K., Denmark and Israel. His 11 years of living in Israel on kibbutzim and in cities has given him much familiarity with Israeli society and culture, and great knowledge of Hebrew. He is the author of 6 books and 350 articles. He and his wife met in Israel as Hebrew translators and interpreters.

 

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