The Teshuva of Our Time
A pre-Yom Kippur Day of Learning with Pardes North America
How can we understand the concept of Teshuva (repentance), a central point of reflection in Jewish tradition, in light of our present moment? Where can we do better as a Jewish and global community? Join Pardes North America for a pre-Yom Kippur day of learning as we delve into the critical intersection between Teshuva and mental health, environmentalism, relationships, and more. Featuring guest faculty Rabbi Dr. Art Green, Rabbi Mychal Springer and Rabbi Avram Mlotek, as well as Pardes faculty, Rabbi Mike Uram, Rabbi Michael Hattin, Rabbi Amirit Rosen, Tovah Leah Nachmani, and Rabbi Zvi Hirchfield.
Date: September 12, 2021
Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM PDT / 11:00 AM-3:00 PM EDT
For more ways to learn with Pardes North America over the Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe), check out our high holiday podcast series, Greatest Hits: The High Holidays.
8 AM-9:15 AM PDT/ 11 AM-12:15 PM EDT
The Wake-Up Call: Teshuva and Mental Health
How can we do better as a Jewish community when it comes to addressing mental health? In this panel discussion, we will explore the ways in which the long-standing and critical issue of mental health may, for many, have been exacerbated by the challenges of Covid. What struggles do we as a Jewish community need to pay closer attention to, and what support and compassion might we offer others (Bein Adam L’Chaveiro) and ourselves (Bein Adam L’Atzmo) as we move into another moment of uncertainty? Featuring panelists Rabbi Dr. Art Green, Rabbi Mychal Springer and Rabbi Avram Mlotek, moderated by Rabbi Mike Uram.
9:30-10:30 AM PDT / 12:30-1:30 PM EDT
Option 1: Jonah and the Paradox of Teshuva with Rabbi Michael Hattin
Many readings of Jonah, the prophet who refuses to guide the mighty city of Nineveh to Teshuva, portray him as self-absorbed, petty and vindictive. We will listen to his story carefully in search of a deeper interpretation of the man, one that could explain why we read the book of Jonah during the afternoon service of Yom Kippur.
Option 2: Environmental Teshuva with Rabbi Amirit Rosen
Shabbat, Shemita and the Jubilee are times of returning, returning to our homes and to our land, yet we are forbidden to work the land and are told the land does not belong to us, the land returns to God. The Shiur will explore the meanings of Teshuva in relation to the environment through the seven-fold Jewish cycles of letting go, enhancing a sense of belonging and return while recognizing the ownership of God in the hope of regaining a moral equilibrium of the individual and of our society.
10:45 AM-11:45 AM PDT / 1:45-2:45 PM EDT
Option 1: Rekindling Intimacy in the Aftermath of Conflict with Tovah Leah Nachmani
What Teshuva can be done within a relationship? A close reading of an evocative Talmudic midrash will lead us to explore two ways of rekindling relationship intimacy in the aftermath of conflict.
Option 2: Why We Fast: A Lesson in Teshuva with Zvi Hirschfield
On a day of deep reflection and introspection, why would tradition recommend adding hunger pangs into the mix? Together we will explore possible connections between fasting and the inner work of Teshuva.”
Rabbi Mike Uram is the Chief Vision and Education Officer for Pardes North America. Before that, he served as the Executive Director and Campus Rabbi at Penn Hillel for over 16 years. He is the author of the best-selling book entitled, Next Generation Judaism: How College Students and Hillel Can Help Reinvent Jewish Organizations, which won a National Jewish Book Award in 2016. He is a sought-after speaker and consultant on the changing nature of the American Jewish community, Jewish innovation, cutting-edge engagement and how legacy organizations can reinvent themselves in the age of millennials. Check out these recent articles about how his book is changing the way Jewish organizations work: Putting Mike Uram’s Next Generation Judaism To The Test, From San Francisco to Synagogue: Can Startup Culture Invigorate Jewish Organizations?
Mike has worked with dozens of Jewish organizations including Jewish Federations of North America, The Wexner Foundation, United Synagogue, The Rabbinical Assembly, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Hillel International and many local federations, synagogues and JCCs. For three years, Mike served as lead faculty and Jewish coach for the Schusterman Fellowship, a prestigious leadership development program for the most promising talent in the Jewish professional sector. Mike is part of a small working group that is developing a new educational framework for Birthright Israel.
He has spent time in all of the different denominations and is most passionate about breaking down the personal, spiritual and intellectual boundaries that prevent people from having full self-actualized Jewish identities.
Mike holds a BA in History and Religious Studies from Washington University and Rabbinic Ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He lives outside Philadelphia with his wife Leora and their three children.
Rabbi Zvi Hirschfield teaches Talmud, Halakha and Jewish Thought at Pardes. In addition, Zvi is a faculty member of the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators and has been training and mentoring Jewish Educators for over ten years in Tefilah in educational settings, critical issues in modern Jewish thought, and Israel education.
Zvi holds a B.A. in History from Columbia University and did graduate work at Harvard University in Medieval and Modern Jewish Thought. He studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion in Israel and has rabbinic ordination from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. He was the director of Judaica at the JCC of Cleveland and an instructor at the Cleveland College of Jewish Studies for many years. He also serves as a curriculum writer and is involved in staff training for the Nesiya Institute. His wife, Dina, is a faculty member of the Hebrew University School of Public Health, and they have four children.
Tovah Leah Nachmani has been teaching a combination of Torah, Hebrew, Prayer, and Relationships Intimacy at Pardes for 20 years. She received her Teaching Certification with excellence in Tanach and Jewish Thought from the Michlelet Herzog Seminary in Gush Etzion, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Indiana University, with a degree in Religion and Near Eastern Language and Literature.
She encourages and empowers her students to engage mind, heart and body in a transformative educational process. Tovah Leah is also a Holistic practitioner of Reflexology, promoting physical and emotional health. Tovah Leah and Gabi, who live in Gush Etzion, are the proud parents of seven children and the grateful grandparents of many grandchildren.
Rabbi Michael Hattin teaches Tanakh and Halakha at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem and serves as the Coordinator of the Beit Midrash for the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators. He studied for semicha at Yeshivat Har Etzion and holds a professional degree in architecture from the University of Toronto.
Michael is the author of “Passages: Text and Transformation in the Parasha”, published by Urim Publications in 2012 as well as “Joshua: The Challenge of the Promised Land”, published by Koren Publishers in 2015. He has served as scholar-in-residence in many communities in North America and Europe and lives in Alon Shevut with his wife Rivka and their five children.
Rabbi Amirit Rosen is the Rabbi of Kehilat Moreshet Avraham in Jerusalem together with her husband, Rabbi David Goodman. Amirit studied for her ordination at the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary in Jerusalem. During her Masters at the Schechter Institute in Talmud and Midrash, Amirit co-established “The interfaith Initiative in the Negev”. Amirit studied at the Arava Institute for environmental studies and received her B.A. from Ben Gurion University in Middle Eastern studies and Jewish Philosophy. Amirit also facilitates and teaches through Mercaz Adraba, a Beit Midrash for adults with special needs.
Rabbi Dr. Arthur Green was the founding dean and is currently rector of the Rabbinical School and Irving Brudnick Professor of Jewish Philosophy and Religion at Hebrew College. He is Professor Emeritus at Brandeis University, where he occupied the distinguished Philip W. Lown Professorship of Jewish Thought. He is both a historian of Jewish religion and a theologian; his work seeks to form a bridge between these two distinct fields of endeavor.
Educated at Brandeis University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he received rabbinic ordination, Dr. Green studied with such important teachers as Alexander Altmann, Nahum N. Glatzer, and Abraham Joshua Heschel, of blessed memory. He has taught Jewish mysticism, Hasidism, and theology to several generations of students at the University of Pennsylvania, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (where he served as both Dean and President), Brandeis, and now at Hebrew College. He has taught and lectured widely throughout the Jewish community of North America as well as in Israel, where he visits frequently. He was the founder of Havurat Shalom in Somerville, Massachusetts in 1968 and remains a leading independent figure in the Jewish Renewal movement.
Rabbi Avram Mlotek is an unorthodox Orthodox ordained rabbi. In 2015, he co-founded Base Hillel, now operating in nine cities, and since then works as spiritual leader for its Manhattan location. Base Hillel is a growing movement of pluralistic rabbinic couples who use their homes as convening points for Jewish life centered upon hospitality, learning and service. Mlotek also serves as the Director of Spiritual Life for the international project.
In May 2016, Rabbi Mlotek was listed as one of America’s “Most Inspiring Rabbis” by The Forward and has been called a “leading innovator in Jewish life today” by The New York Jewish Week as part of their “36 Under 36” Section. Mlotek’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Forward, Tablet, Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, The New York Jewish Week, The Huffington Post and Kveller, among other blogs. A grandchild of Holocaust refugees and of noted Yiddish activists, Mlotek’s Yiddish cultural and rabbinic work has brought him to China, Ethiopia, Israel, Sweden, Romania, Ukraine, Lithuania and Australia.
He received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School and BA from Brandeis University where he studied Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Creative Writing.
Mlotek currently serves as the inaugural rabbi in residence at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan where he directs their Rabbis Within Reach program and produces a variety of concerts and programs.
Rabbi Mychal B. Springer is the manager of Clinical Pastoral Education at NY-Presbyterian Hospital. She founded the Center for Pastoral Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in Manhattan in 2009. Over a ten-year period, she oversaw an intensive hospice chaplaincy training program in collaboration with Metropolitan Jewish Health System’s Hospice. She began her career as a hospital chaplain in New York City, and in the 1990s became the director of the Department of Pastoral Care and Education at Beth Israel Medical Center. Mychal was the first Conservative rabbi to be certified as an Educator by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). Mychal served as The Rabbinical School at JTS’s associate dean and director of Field Education. Mychal received her BA in Judaic Studies and Religious Studies from Yale College magna cum laude. She was ordained a Conservative rabbi and received her Master’s in Judaic Studies at JTS. Mychal is a certified Jewish chaplain in Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains.