Come to Hadar's Open Beit Midrash to engage first-hand with texts in havruta or in one of several learning groups. Choose from a number of sessions on different topics taught by enthusiastic teachers in an energetic atmosphere. Bring your own havruta or meet someone new!
Beit Midrash Open for Classes and Independent Study: 7:30 pm
Monday nights: February 25 - March 18
Cost: Free. Snacks provided.
Minhag and Halakha: Custom and Law in Conversation
Pesach generates many questions about the interplay of tradition, custom, and law in constructing our religious identity and experience. The biblical mitzvah for the head of each household to tell the children of the miracles of the Exodus lays the groundwork for an individual, family-centric celebration of Pesach, and our experience of the seder and the various preparations for the holiday is marked by varied family and community traditions. Not surprisingly, the Sages discuss the tensions between personal minhag and generalized halakhic practice in the Talmudic tractate about Pesach. In this course, we'll use Pesachim ch. 4 as a springboard for exploring these two central, but often opposing, components of religious life and experience.
Sara Tova Brody, a recent graduate of the M.A. program in Gender Studies in Bar Ilan University, has studied at various institutions of Torah learning in Jerusalem and elsewhere and has been on the staff of Beit Midrash Erev in Jerusalem for the past two years. She focuses on the relationships between men and women in medieval Europe, as it reveals itself in medieval Jewish literature.
The Highs and Lows of Hallel
Along with eating the Korban Pesach, Hallel was always a critical part of the Passover Seder. The words of Hallel express a wide range of emotions, sometimes seemingly antithetical emotions. In this class, we will study the text of Hallel with traditional commentaries and midrashim, and also explore the musical dimensions of the text with powerful and soulful melodies that often accompany it. This class will benefit shlichei tzibbur (prayer leaders), spiritual seekers, and devoted davenners alike, as we transform (and transpose) texts into songs.
Etta Abramson is pursuing MA degrees in Midrash and Jewish Education at JTS as Botwinick Graduate Fellow, awarded for her work in Jewish pluralism. Etta currently teaches at Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan and Drisha Institute. She is a Wexner Fellow and a trained vocalist.
From Mishnah to Shulhan Arukh: Major Codes of Jewish Law
Is the Mishnah a code of law? Why did the design of Maimonides’ legal masterpiece scandalize his contemporaries? How does R. Joseph Karo’s Shulhan Arukh symbolize the dawn of Jewish modernity? This course will survey several classic codes of Jewish law, focusing on their distinctiveness as a genre of legal writing. We will discuss the historical and cultural circumstances that gave rise to this form of halakhic literature and consider the value of legal texts as a lens into Jewish history. Sources will be provided in Hebrew and English; no prior familiarity with these texts is necessary.
Rachel Furst is a Ph.D. candidate in medieval Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a visiting doctoral scholar at the Tikvah Center for Law and Jewish Civilization at NYU Law School. She is a lecturer at Drisha Institute, Matan – Jerusalem, and other institutions in Israel and abroad.