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Text and Thought [clear filter]
Saturday, March 17
 

12:45pm

The Incredible Og and Why You Can't Trust a Giant
There are a surprising number of giants mentioned in the Tanakh (bible). In this session we will focus on Og, king of Bashan. He is mentioned a few times and his presence has generated many fun/wild midrashim (for example, he helps Abraham but is killed by Moses). We will explore parallels with other stories of giants such as the Golem.

Speakers
avatar for Josh Lichtman

Josh Lichtman

At past LimmudFests, Josh Lichtman has led a pickling workshop and a session on the modern Jewish ecological movement. He is an alum of the Pardes year program and haa a background in law and urban planning. Currently Josh is an active member of Shir Chadash and on the boards of the... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 12:45pm - 1:45pm
Adult Lounge, Gates of Prayer

2:00pm

Ghosts & Shadows: The Women Who Haunt The Talmud

Meet the anonymous women who use their wits, beauty, and bodies to disturb and subvert the rabbis’ narratives. In this text study session led by artist Jacqueline Nicholls, explore these talmudic texts and unearth the hidden feminine presence beneath these stories.

Speakers
avatar for Jacqueline Nicholls

Jacqueline Nicholls

Jacqueline Nicholls is a London-based visual artist and Jewish educator. She uses her art to engage with traditional Jewish ideas in untraditional ways. In her ongoing drawing project, Draw Yomi, Jacqueline is drawing the Talmud, following the daf yomi schedule. She co-ordinates Arts... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Room 3, Gates of Prayer

2:00pm

Is Life “All for Nothing”? Exploring Ecclesiastes
It's all for nothing... Right? We live. We die. There isn't anything else. So says the author of Ecclesiastes... Or does he? Perhaps he wants us to look at life (and death) through a different lens. Perhaps he wants to show us how to find meaning in the often meaningless... How to make sense of the incomprehensible... How to be present when we are so often caught up in the past and/or focused on the future? It's all in this book. Come and explore it with me.


Speakers
avatar for Matthew Reimer

Matthew Reimer

Rabbi Matthew A. Reimer grew up in West Orange, New Jersey, and was ordained in 2007 by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Before becoming the rabbi at New Orleans’ Temple Sinai in 2016, Rabbi Reimer served various congregations throughout New York and New Jersey... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Lake Library, Gates of Prayer Lake Library, Gates of Prayer

4:30pm

"The Enigma of the Torah": A Staged Reading
“Tune into Torah” is a three-act play by Helen Stone and Penny Bright about a lively group of Torah study participants who discover deeper meaning about how Scriptures have relevance to contemporary life. The play explores multiple issues such as faith, social justice and the Israeli/Palestinean conflict. The participants attempt to understand all five layers of meaning in Torah, from pschot (straightforward meaning) to esoteric thought. This staged reading will present one or two scenes, not the whole play.

Speakers
avatar for Penny Bright

Penny Bright

Penny Bright is a retired virology researcher, author, and fiddle player. She has been participating in Touro Synagogue Torah study for about twenty years. Her name is an adaption of the Hebrew words: p’ney brit (face of the covenant).
avatar for Helen Stone

Helen Stone

Helen Stone is a retired state social worker currently employed at the Ronald McDonald House. She has been involved in the study of Shotokan Karate for 40 years and acts as part-time instructor at the Louisiana Karate Association. Helen is currently a member of Touro Synagogue Choir... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Sanctuary, Gates of Prayer

4:30pm

Government Power: Mixed Feelings on Kingship in the Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible expresses mixed feelings about the institution of kingship and the enterprise of government. This ambivalence continues among classic commentators.

Speakers
avatar for Bill Dauster

Bill Dauster

Bill Dauster is a lawyer, economist, and speechwriter who served on the United States Senate, White House, and campaign staffs from 1986 to 2017. Dauster was Deputy Chief of Staff for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; Staff Director or Deputy Staff Director of the Budget, Labor and... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Adult Lounge, Gates of Prayer

4:30pm

The Holocaust 70 Plus Years On: What Have We Learned?
What lessons of meaning can we possibly draw for our present and/or our future from the horror of the Holocaust? What positive understandings of humanity and the human journey can we take away from such nightmares of death and destruction? What meanings can we derive by examining in the most minute of details how these enemies of collective humankind were able, apparently relatively easily, to partially achieve their goals of a Judenrein (Jew-free) world in which lesser human beings were to be enslaved for the greater glory of the Third Reich and their allies. Are there any positive lessons whatsoever to be derived from all the knowledge we have thus far amassed in the twin areas of “How was it possible?” and “Why was it possible?” What are we to make of our world today where collective violence against others is the new normal, and collective nation-state impotence shames and embarrasses and humiliates the human species? Join in the discussion.

Speakers
avatar for Steven Leonard Jacobs

Steven Leonard Jacobs

Steven Leonard Jacobs, DHL, DD, is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama where he has held the Aaron Aronov Endowed Chair of Judaic Studies since returning to the university in 2001.  He is the author, editor, and translator of more than fifteen books and more... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Room 2, Gates of Prayer
 
Sunday, March 18
 

10:15am

Ethics in Government: What Jewish Sources Tell Us
What instruction does the Hebrew Bible give about ethics in government? The texts give enduring counsel about bribery and conflict of interest, doing justice, defending the powerless, and care for the needy. Biblical stories provide vivid examples for leaders about what and what not to do.

Speakers
avatar for Bill Dauster

Bill Dauster

Bill Dauster is a lawyer, economist, and speechwriter who served on the United States Senate, White House, and campaign staffs from 1986 to 2017. Dauster was Deputy Chief of Staff for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; Staff Director or Deputy Staff Director of the Budget, Labor and... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 10:15am - 11:15am
Room 202b, JCC

11:30am

Secrets of the Jewish Calendar
Why are the Jewish holidays always late or early? What does the date of Purim have to do with Mardi Gras? Is the Jewish calendar lunar or solar? Get the answers to these and other questions while discovering how a group of Rabbis put Judaism on an intricate astronomical schedule 1,500 years ago--a system that continues to function to this very day.

Speakers
avatar for Yochanan Rivkin

Yochanan Rivkin

Yochanan Rivkin is the director of Tulane Chabad and the Rabbi of Congregation Anshe Sfard of New Orleans.


Sunday March 18, 2018 11:30am - 12:30pm
Room 202a, JCC

1:30pm

Game of Thrones: Biblical Style
A Hebrew Bible Overview could rival HBO (Home Box Office) with a series about the political intrigue, murder plots, and sexual liaisons of the greatest monarch of our people … King David. This session will examine David’s political machinations to reach the top and stay there -- through the lenses of biblical text, midrash (rabbinic commentary), and art! No dragons will be harmed in producing this session.

Speakers
avatar for Judy Chessin

Judy Chessin

Rabbi Judy Chessin is the founding Rabbi of Temple Beth Or, in Dayton and has served there since its inception in 1984. She received rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. In addition to serving the same congregation for over 33 years, Rabbi Chessin speaks... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Dance Studio, JCC

1:30pm

Politics and Prophets, Then and Now
The Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) has no word for politics, yet is suffused with political activity and intrigue. What makes politics in the Hebrew Bible distinctive—different from the politics of the ancient Greeks and Romans—is the role of the prophet, who acts as a moral force challenging the immoral practices of the powerful. In this session, we shall examine the biblical conception of the prophet and his political effect on kings, priests, and the nobility. We shall discuss the similarities and differences between the biblical prophet and the classical orator, both public speakers who use rhetoric to articulate their views. And we shall consider the contemporary relevance of the Hebrew prophet for today, when so many of our citizens distance themselves from politics because of political immorality. Among the prophets we shall discuss are Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, Amos, and Jeremiah.

Speakers
avatar for Gary Remer

Gary Remer

Gary Remer is professor of political science at Tulane University. Among his publications are Ethics and the Orator: The Ciceronian Tradition of Political Morality (University of Chicago Press, 2017) and Humanism and the Rhetoric of Toleration (Penn State Press, 1996). His courses... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Older Adult Lounge, JCC

2:45pm

Hidden in the Hagaddah: Exploring the Puzzles of Pesach
The Haggadah is arguably the most familiar work of Jewish liturgy—so familiar that in the midst of the Seder, we barely notice what an extraordinarily puzzling text it is.  To take one striking example, can we tell the whole story of liberation from Egyptian slavery without referring to Moses?  When we read “The Lord brought us out of Egypt,” why do we emphasize “not by an angel, not by a seraph, not by a messenger”? Why does the citation for the Lord’s “signs and wonders” come not from Exodus but from the Book of Joel?  Is the hiding of the Afikoman (“the coming one” in Greek) really just a children’s game?  In raising these questions, we will discuss how the Rabbis who composed the Haggadah, after the destruction of the Temple, adapt the biblical account of Exodus with the aim of preserving Jewish identity in a challenging time.

Speakers
avatar for Ronna Burger

Ronna Burger

Ronna Burger is the Catherine & Henry J. Gaisman Chair in Philosophy and Sizeler Professor of Jewish Studies at Tulane. Her scholarly work in the field of Greek philosophy has provided a basis for her current studies on Maimonides and the Hebrew Bible.  Recent publications include... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 2:45pm - 3:45pm
Room 209, JCC

4:00pm

The Four Questions of Passover (Or, Why is This Limmud Session Different From Every Other Session?)
Every aspect of the Passover Seder is multilayered and dripping with inner meaning. For many the four questions are just the cute moment when the children get to show off their Hebrew school training. However, upon deeper examination, the four questions are also a trip through Jewish history and they serve as a guide through the challenges and opportunities of Jewish life. Night (echoing Elie Weisel's book of the same name) represents exile and the difficult times. In this session we will receive tools that aid us to contend with and overcome those challenges by asking and answering the four questions.

Speakers
avatar for Mendel Rivkin

Mendel Rivkin

Mendel Rivkin is a second-generation Chabad Shliach to the NOLA community. He has a passion for teaching Torah, especially the inner aspect of Torah, and engaging fellow Jews in spiritual growth through Mitzvah observance. He and his wife Malkie are program directors for Chabad of... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Dance Studio, JCC