Mechon Hadar, in conjunction with the Charles R. Bronfman Chair in Jewish Communal Innovation at Brandeis University, and with the support of a grant from the Samuel Bronfman Foundation, conducted a daylong mini-conference on Independent Minyanim and Contemporary Jewish Life. Below you can find audio files of the sessions, as well as some written pieces of the presenters.
9am Welcome and Introduction
Yehuda Kurtzer, Brandeis University/Washington Square Minyan
Opening Plenary: Creation Myths: Reflections of Minyan Founders & Leaders
* Yair Furstenberg, Hebrew University/Shalom Hartman Institute/Minyan Shivyoni Baka
* Amanda Milstein, Kol Zimrah
* Erin Thaler, Atlanta Chevre Minyan
10am Institutional Frameworks
• Tribes, Networks and Cohorts
* Tobin Belzer, USC
* Beth Cousens, Hillel International
* Nicole Samuel, Brandeis University/Cambridge Minyan
Respondent: Shawn Landres, Jumpstart
• Rabbis, Leadership and Questions of Authority: A Rabbinic Roundtable
Moderator: Elizabeth Kessler Sacks, Mechon Hadar
* Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, Hebrew College
* Marc Baker, Gann Academy/Washington Square Minyan
* Yehuda Kurtzer, Brandeis University/Washington Square Minyan
* Ethan Tucker, Drisha Institute/Mechon Hadar
11:30am Ideological Frameworks
• Minyanim and Jewish Communal Relationships: A Roundtable
Moderator: Jon Levisohn, Brandeis University/Yedid Nefesh
* Suzanne Kling, PEJE/Washington Square Minyan
* Felicia Herman, Natan
* Carrie Bornstein, Mayyim Hayyim/Washington Square Minyan
* Bernie Steinberg, Harvard Hillel/Kennedy School of Government
• Minyanim, Halacha, and Modern Orthodoxy
* Elitzur Bar-Asher, Harvard University/Minyan Urim: "Taking Halakhic Responsibility: A Case-Study"
* Michal Bar-Asher Siegal, Yale University/Minyan Urim: "Women's Involvement in the Halakhic Process"
* Shira Zeliger, Brandeis University/Minyan Tehillah: "Educating an Orthodox Feminist: Male and Female"
Respondent: Jeffrey S. Gurock, Yeshiva University
1pm Lunch and Keynote Address
Moderator: Michelle Shain, Brandeis University
"The Groomed and the Bloomed: Varied Paths to Engagement in Independent Minyanim" Steven M. Cohen, HUC
Click here to see Steven Cohen's powerpoint presentation.
2pm Program Sessions 3: Leaders and Followers
• Independent Minyanim and Havurot: A Dialogue on Precedents and Parallels
Click here to read Joe Reimer's presentation.
Moderator: Deborah Skolnick Einhorn, Brandeis University/Washington Square Minyan/Minyan Shaleym
* Sherry Israel, National Havurah Committee/Newton Centre Minyan
* Joe Reimer, Brandeis University
* Elie Kaunfer, Mechon Hadar
• Independent Minyanim and Synagogues: Partnerships and Divergences
Moderator: Dan Werlin, Forest Hills Minyan
* Bill Hamilton, Kehillath Israel
* Judith Hauptman, JTS/Ohel Ayalah
* Hayim Herring, STAR: Synagogue Transformation and Renewal/Darchei Noam (MN)
* Jaime Goldberg, PicoEgal
3:15pm Closing Plenary: Minyanim and the Contexts of Contemporary Jewish Life
Moderator: Emily Shapiro Katz, Tauber Jewish Studies Program/Mission Minyan
* Jonathan Sarna, Brandeis University
* Art Green, Hebrew College
* Sylvia Barack Fishman, Brandeis University
* Elie Kaunfer, Mechon Hadar
Read about the conference in the JTA.