Announcing The Institute for Jewish Learning at JTS
The Jewish Theological Seminary is pleased to announce the creation of The Institute for Jewish Learning at JTS. Its two-year flagship program, titled ConText, is designedto reach Jews interested in high-level, engaging Jewish learning that represents the depth of wisdom and scholarship at JTS and in the world of Jewish studies. The Institute and its programs are concrete expressions of the vision of the new JTS as set forth in the strategic plan passed by the Board of Trustees in April.
JTS justly enjoys an outstanding reputation for excellence in the transmission of Jewish learning to educational and religious leaders at various stages in their careers, as well as to lay audiences throughout the United States and Canada. Developing and implementing a broader array of adult learning opportunities has long been our vision, and we are delighted that this is now a reality.
The Institute for Jewish Learning at JTS and the ConText program will be directed by Moshe Margolin, who comes to us after years of demonstrated excellence in the field of Adult Jewish Learning. He is joined by Dr. Alisa Braun as academic director. A diverse faculty of dedicated scholar-teachers from JTS and other prominent academic institutions is the cornerstone of the program.
Year one of the new program focuses on Jewish texts and their interpretations, and year two examines Jewish communities and cultures. ConText will provide sophisticated adult learners with a framework for understanding the Jewish past, refining their personal approach to the challenges of contemporary Jewish life, and a basis for developing a unique and informed outlook toward the Jewish future. In many instances, classes will be hosted by multicongregational collaboratives that transcend denominational boundaries.
A committed and passionate group of lay leaders has played a key role in establishing The Institute and launching ConText. Their excitement for the potential this holds for Jewish communities has been instrumental in undertaking this initiative. We look forward to their continued engagement and know that the success of The Institute will, in no small measure, be due to their enthusiasm for making it a reality.
This is an important moment for JTS. The Institute for Jewish Learning and its flagship program are a reflection of our academic mission, leadership in providing innovative educational programs to the Jewish community, and traditional emphasis on close readings of texts that are central to the development of Jewish civilization.
ConText will launch this fall—initially in the New York metropolitan area—and we anticipate its expansion to additional locations. We hope you will participate in one of the inaugural classes and join the intellectual journey that is ConText. If your synagogue or community center is interested in becoming a host site for ConText, contact Moshe Margolin at email@example.com or (212) 280-8020.
I had a beautiful day today. I stood with my sister, a passionate rabbi serving the U.S. Navy as a chaplain, at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. We remembered our grandfather of blessed memory, who fought for America and shared hard-earned wisdom with his children and grandchildren.
I looked to my right and saw the Washington Monument. Looked to my left at the Lincoln Memorial. I read quotes engraved on massive stones. And I felt, to my core, one sad feeling: too much war.
Too. Much. War.
The quotes and certain retellings of history would have me believe that we fought for pure purposes: we fought for religious freedom, we fought to end slavery, we fought for freedom for all humanity, we fought to end tyranny. But it's also true that we fought (and fight) for economic interests. It&…