First Independent Minyan Conference, 2008 First Independent Minyan Conference, 2008


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.

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