Scholar in Residence Weekend: March 25-26
Scholar in Residence Weekend
co-sponsored by Yavneh
Rabbi Aryeh Klapper
Rabbi Aryeh Klapper is Dean of the Center for Modern Torah Leadership, Instructor of Rabbinics and Medical Ethics at Gann Academy, and a member of the Boston Beit Din. He previously served as Orthodox Adviser and Associate Director for Education at Harvard Hillel and as Talmud Curriculum Chair at Maimonides High School. Rabbi Klapper has published in Tradition, Meorot, Dinei Yisrael, Beit Yitzchak and other journals and has presented at numerous academic and community conferences. He is a popular lecturer who is consulted internationally on issues of Jewish law and whose work is cited regularly by both academic and traditional scholars.
"Sexuality, Sanctity, and Ethics: Towards a Definition of Terms"
Friday night following dinner at the CJL 8:45 - 9:45
Is there a difference between "kosher sex" and "ethical sex"? Can physical intimacy be unholy even if everyone has pleasure and no one suffers physical or emotional harm? Does "sexual morality" mean more than treating yourself and your partner with respect? Jewish tradition situates eroticism as profoundly human and as a fulfillment of the human capacities to imitate and symbolize G-d. How should this understanding shape our relationship to and decisions regarding sexuality?
How to Read the Torah: A New Look at P'shat and Midrash Between Yavneh Kiddush and Lunch 11:30 - 12:15
Most Tanakh education today assumes that ‘pshat’ is the result of an unmediated encounter with Scripture, what Martin Luther called “sola scriptura” – but when did Jews become Lutherans, as opposed to Masoretes? Furthermore, isn’t the whole notion of an unmediated encounter with a text antimodern, almost, well, medieval? On the other hand, midrash is often taught as consciously imposing meaning on the text, rather than deriving meaning from it. This is used to legitimate contemporary interpretations that are subjectively powerful but literarily and otherwise implausible. We will discuss these and other difficulties with standard presentations of pshat and midrash in an effort to recover the Rabbinic mode of reading.
Conversion, Controversy and Commitment: An Insider's Outside Perspective on the "Conversion Crisis" Between Mincha and Maariv on Saturday afternoon
If the Shulkhan Arukh says explicitly that conversion standards are up to the individual beit din’s discretion, why are Orthodox rabbis disqualifying each other’s converts en masse? What happens to past converts when the halakhic consensus moves toward stricter conversion standards over time? We will discuss these and other intersections of politics, policy, halakhah, and ethics in the current converson controversies in Israel and the Diaspora.