JTS-Tampa Bay Outreach Lecture Series to Focus on “Bringing the Torah to Life”

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950
Email: nijacobson@jtsa.edu

December 15, 2009, Tampa, FL

A Shabbat scholar-in-residence weekend, as well as six separate lectures, will highlight “Bringing the Torah to Life: Rabbinic Ideas That Transformed Judaism,” The Jewish Theological Seminary’s (JTS) 25th annual Outreach Tampa Bay Lecture Series, which will take place Monday–Thursday, January 18–21, 2010.

Each lecture will be hosted by one of the Conservative synagogues on Florida’s West Coast and combine dynamic presentations with expert teaching by Rabbi David Hoffman, scholar-in-residence in the Development Department of JTS. The series is being made possible in part through a grant from the Curtis & Gaby Hereld Educational Foundation.

Open to the community at no charge, all lectures will begin at 7:30 p.m. and be followed by a dessert reception. A certificate of merit will be presented to all persons who attend the complete series (January 19–22).

A lecturer in the Department of Talmud and Rabbinics, Rabbi Hoffman is completing his PhD in Talmud, writing on notions of honor and anger in rabbinic literature. Rabbi Hoffman’s research also explores the development of early Rabbinic Judaism in the first centuries after the year zero. He was recently appointed by JTS Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen to serve on the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly.

Rabbi Hoffman is a dynamic and engaging teacher and has taught widely in synagogues across North America; for institutions such as the 92nd St Y, the Meah Program and Graduate Institute, the Skirball Center at Temple Emanu-El, and Limmud-England; and as a core faculty member of JTS’s Rabbinic Training Institute. For many years, he served as the director of the Eisenfeld-Duker Beit Midrash at JTS and as religious and academic adviser to the Mekhinah program of The Rabbinical School of JTS. He has just completed serving as rabbi-in-residence of Sha’arei Kodesh, a newly formed egalitarian synagogue in Boca Raton, Florida. Rabbi Hoffman was ordained by JTS, where he was a Wexner Fellow.

The schedule of lectures is as follows:

Friday–Saturday, January 15–16, 2010: Scholar-in-Residence Shabbat, Temple Beth Sholom, Sarasota

Sunday, January 17, at 10:00 a.m.: Temple Judea, Fort Myers

Monday, January 18, 2010: “Passion in the Religious Life—A Double-Edged Sword,”
Congregation Beth Shalom, Clearwater

Tuesday, January 19, 2010: “The Spirituality of Learning Torah,” Congregation Kol Ami, Tampa

Wednesday, January 20, 2010: “Spiritual Audacity: The Thought of Abraham Joshua Heschel,”
St. Petersburg

Thursday, January 21, 2010: “Creation, Dignity, and Obedience—The Theology of Joseph Soleveitchik,” Congregation Rodeph Sholom, Tampa

Cosponsors of the JTS 25th annual Outreach Tampa Bay Lecture Series include: Congregation Beth Shalom; Congregation B’nai Israel; Congregation Kol Ami; Congregation Rodeph Sholom; JTS; Rabbinical Assembly Southeast Region; Temple Beth Sholom; Temple Judea; and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Southeast Region.

Please call the participating synagogues for transportation and to RSVP. For further information and a brochure, please contact Carolyn Kantor, Director, JTS Florida Region, at (561) 852-3454.