Are There Boundaries To Jewish Practice?
Thursday, June 23 | 7 PM at Congregation Kol Emeth
With Pardes’s Rabba Yaffa Epstein & Rabbi David Levin-Kruss
Join us for two 30 minute lectures on the boundaries of Jewish practice, taught by visiting Pardes educators, Rabba Yaffa Epstein and Rabbi David Levin-Kruss. Rabba Epstein’s class will discuss “Red Lines and Red Strings: Are there boundaries to Jewish practice?” while Rabbi David Levin-Kruss class will cover “The Price of Pluralism.” These classes will be followed by an open discussion and Q&A with both teachers.
Rabba Yaffa Epstein serves as the Director of Education, North America for the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. She received Rabbinic Ordination from Yeshivat Maharat and holds a Law Degree from Bar-Ilan University. Yaffa has been a teacher of Talmud, Jewish law, and Liturgy at Pardes for over a decade, and has taught Talmud and Jewish Law at Yeshivat Maharat, The Drisha Institute, The Wexner Heritage Institute, Kayam Farm Kollel, Young Judaea, Limmud UK, the Dorot Fellowship and for Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.
Rabbi David Levin-Kruss teaches Talmud and Halacha at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Education where he is in charge of special programs. He directed the Pardes summer program for eight years and was also director of a winter program at the AJU in Los Angeles. David Levin-Kruss earned his rabbinic ordination from the Joseph and Gwendolyn Straus Rabbinical Seminary. David hails from South Africa, and sees himself as a bridge between Jewish heritage and those seeking to connect or reconnect to that tradition. In his spare time he directs “My Open Book Life Coaching” which uses general and Jewish texts as well as life coaching techniques to achieve personal breakthroughs.
– Past Events –
Saturday, February 20 | 7 PM at Congregation Beth Am
Designing Better Leaders – The Feast of Jewish Learning
With SVBM’s Shani Gross & Upstart Bay Area’s Taylor Epstein
How would things have played out if the leaders in the Torah had Design Thinking at their disposal? And, how might we learn from their experiences to inform modern day leadership challenges? This workshop will engage learners in havruta (paired) study and design thinking practices to examine these questions. SVBM Director, Shani Gross will be co-teaching this session with Upstart Bay Area’s Program Director Taylor Epstein at 7:30pm.
SVBM is delighted to be a partner in the upcoming Feast of Jewish Learning! Feed your mind and spirit at The Feast of Jewish Learning, the community-wide smorgasbord of all things Jewish, Saturday, February 20th at Congregation Beth Am. Select from a wide range of workshops and study sessions on Jewish music, tradition, movement, ethics and more, led by the best teachers and artists in the Bay Area. The Feast opens with Havdalah promptly at 7 pm, followed by two sessions of your choice, closing with an after party at 10 pm.
For more information on the Jewish Feast of Learning, click here.
Sunday, December 20 | 7 PM at Congregation Kol Emeth
The Power of Text: The Transformative Nature of Torah Study
With Rabba Yaffa Epstein
There are several stories in the Gemara where the Torah is seen as the antidote to the Human condition. Whether it’s revelation, Torah study, or just being the student of a Torah scholar – the Rabbis emphasize and re-emphasize the power of the Torah to transform our very nature. We’ll examine two of these stories, and attempt to understand just how we can use Torah to better ourselves.
Rabba Yaffa Epstein serves as the Director of Education, North America for the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. She received Rabbinic Ordination from Yeshivat Maharat and holds a Law Degree from Bar-Ilan University. She has studied at the Pardes Kollel, the Advanced Talmud Institute at Matan and the Talmud Department of Hebrew University. Yaffa has been a teacher of Talmud, Jewish law, and Liturgy at Pardes for over a decade, and has served as the Director of the Beit Midrash at the Dorot Fellowship in Israel. She has taught Talmud and Jewish Law at Yeshivat Maharat, The Drisha Institute, The Wexner Heritage New Member Institute, Kayam Farm Kollel and Young Judaea and at Limmud events around the world.
Thursday, October 22 | 6 PM at Taube Hillel at Stanford University
Sefaria: A Living Library of Jewish Texts
Join Sefaria’s co-founder and Stanford alum, Brett Lockspeiser, to learn about the future of Jewish texts. In an interactive demonstration, Brett will show how Sefaria is creating new opportunities for Jewish learning, and how this open source database of texts and its free API are making new educational apps easier to create.
At its core, Sefaria is about access. The goal is to lower the barriers of engagement with Jewish texts, create interactive opportunities for novel Jewish conversation and commentary, and provide educators, scholars, and technologists with an open source database of texts (with a free API) to make new educational applications simpler and more viable to develop.
About Brett Lockspeiser, Sefaria Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer
A graduate of Stanford University with a degree in Symbolic Systems, Brett has been designing and launching web applications since 2005, first as a product manager at Google and then with a number of startups and non-profits in San Francisco. At Google Brett led a team that collected hundreds of millions of historical newspaper and magazine articles to create the Google New Archive. He also worked directly with Google co-founder Larry Page to manage a company-wide process for setting and tracking high-level organizational goals. Brett developed his appreciation for the depth of Jewish texts while studying in Israel.
Tuesday, June 23 | 7:30 PM at Congregation Kol Emeth | Cost $5
Moonlight vs. Ma’ariv: When Immovable Halakha Meets Irresistible Natural Beauty
Rabbi David Levin-Kruss
One evening in Berlin, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was faced with a dilemma. Should he pray or should he enjoy the sunset? Find out what he did and what other great philosophers (Kaplan, Leibowitz, Soloveitchik) would do in this situation. This values clarification is used to examine how twentieth century Jewish thinkers have seen holiness, prayer and nature.