Summer Program
Course Descriptions

Summer Program 2019:  Power, Leadership, and Responsibility

Course Descriptions for Summer 2019


Do Jews Need Kings? Competing Authorities in Judaism – Neima Novetsky

From time immemorial people have questioned authority.  Who gets to be the one to make decisions and why?  This class will explore competing authorities in Judaism.   What should be the proper balance of power between king, priest, prophet and laymen? What is the line between Divine authority and human interpretation?  Though Torah allows for and might even mandate a monarchic government, does it think that this is ideal?   Does the fact that Judaism divides people into Priest, Levite and Israelite make it a caste system; is that positive or negative? Join us as we delve into these questions and more.

Chumash: Leadership in crisis – Rav Chaim Tabasky

As Bnei Yisroel leave Sinai and begin travel to Eretz Yisroel, a series of mishaps and complaints threaten to undermine Moshe’s confidence and position. A study of Bamidbar ch. 11.

Chumash: Korach: The Problem with Equality – Debbie Zimmerman

Korach and his congregation rose up against the only leadership the People of Israel had ever known. Together we will study the Torah, midrashim, and commentaries on this remarkable story to understand the logic and justification of their underlying complaints, the various factions in the camp, the conflicts, and the resolutions.

What is Prophecy? – Adina Mann

According to Maimonides, it is a foundation of our faith that G-d conveys prophecy to Man.

In this course, we will examine the meaning of prophecy, and we will look into different examples and types of prophets. Through this learning, we will discuss what implications prophecy has on our faith and lives today.

 Can Women be Prophets? – Adina Mann

We learn from the Tanakh that women too can be prophets. In this course, we will learn about the lives and prophecies of some of these unique women.

Women and Prayer: A Special Relationship – Adina Mann

Women are seen to have a special relationship with prayer. Many of the laws of prayer are even learned from Chanah’s prayer in Shmuel Aleph. We will learn in this class about women and prayer, about Chanah’s prayer, and about some of the special times women are given extra opportunities for prayer

Parsha – Adina Mann

In this course we will learn about some of the fascinating events of the given week’s parsha, while reading the relevant texts and searching for answers to various questions.

How Halacha Works: Following the Halachic Process from Its Sources to Practical Application – Rav Sperling


The Tefilla Rebellion – Rav Chaim Tabasky

Rav Kook’s radical approach to prayer stands in opposition to some classical approaches. We will compare Rav Kook to the Maharal and also explore the experience of praying in different modes.

“The Mind of the Prophet According to Maimonides” – Rabbi Dr. Meir Sendor

Among the most creative and insightful aspects of Maimonides’ philosophic interpretation of Torah tradition is his use of theories of psychology current in his day to explain the unique phenomenon of prophecy. We will explore this innovative aspect of Maimonides’ thought in his halakhic and philosophic works with special attention to how Maimonides’ understanding of the mind of a prophet illuminates our understanding of human consciousness and our own spiritual potential.

The Making and Breaking of a Kingdom: On Power, Corruption and Idealism – Neima Novetsky

This course will explore both the ups and downs of the Davidic dynasty, questioning both what makes and what breaks a king or kingdom.  We will begin our journey with the promise of kingship to Yehuda, question the choice of the Davidic line,  delve into the causes of the split of Kingdom and later the exile, and end with a glance at the Messianic age.  What makes one worthy of kingship?  Why are there more failed kings than successful ones?  Does this mean that power is doomed to corrupt?  When is idealism a sufficient antidote?

The Evolution of Moshe, the Reluctant Prophet – Debbie Zimmerman 

Moshe Rabbeinu, Moshe our teacher, is generally considered the greatest prophet, but this is not a position he accepted willingly. Together we will closely study the Biblical texts in the Book of Exodus (Shmot) that tell the story of his birth, growth, and inauguration as a prophet and leader in an attempt to understand what made Moshe Moshe.


Talmud: ABOVE THE LAW? – Rav Chaim Tabasky

The second chapter of Sanhedrin deals with the laws of King and High Priest in the court system, as well as how they are treated in a variety of halachic issues. We will emphasize understanding the Talmudic method and sugya while striving to understand the rabbinic position in regard to persons of stature.

“Can Prophecy Be Revived?” – Rabbi Dr. Meir Sendor

According to the Gemara Yuma (9b) the era of prophecy came to a close at the beginning of the Second Temple period. The Jewish philosophic and kabbalistic traditions, however, hold out the intriguing possibility that  some form of prophetic awareness may still accessible and can possibly be revived. We will explore Jewish philosophic and kabbalistic conceptions of the nature of prophecy and methods for cultivating prophetic consciousness. According to the Talmud, while we may not be prophets, we are children of prophets, and our study of prophetic awareness may help us access our own higher spiritual potential.

בית המקדש וסדר עבודת יום הכיפורים  –    ד”ר קרן קירשנבום

נלמד על סדר עבודת כהן גדול ביום הכיפורים בסוף בית שני.

על מנת להבין את סדר העבודה ביום חשוב זה, נלמד על האזורים השונים בהר הבית ובבית המקדש. על העזרות והקדושות השונות. נלמד גם על מערכת אמות המים בסוף בית שני שהובילו וסיפקו מים למקוואות בהר הבית ובמקדש. נלמד על בניית מקוואות כשרות בסוף בית שני ונראה כיצד אותם כללים ושיטות בהכשרת מקוואות עדיין קיימות היום. לאחר מכן נלמד שלב אחר שלב על עבודת הכהן הגדול בבית המקדש ביום הכיפורים. נמחיש את לימוד המקורות בעזרת מצגות של תמונות.


“אֲחַלְּקֵם בְּיַעֲקֹב וַאֲפִיצֵם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל” בין פנים לחוץ בכהונה ולוויה – אילנה חדד

במהלך המפגשים נעיין יחד במתח המרתק בין עבודת הכוהנים ועבודת הכהן הגדול בפרט השייכת למקום הפנימי ביותר של המשכן. של עבודת השם קודש הקודשים. לבין עבודת שאר הכהנים ובמיוחד הלווים בהוראת העם את התורה בכל גבולות ארץ ישראל

“ונער קטן ינהג בם” עיון במעמדה של המלכות בעם ישראל – אילנה חדד

יחד נצא למסע סביב שאלת המלוכה בספרים שופטים שמואל מלכים. בעקבות התנך ננסה לקחת השלכות להנהגה הרצויה של ימינו

מלך כהן ונביא: על פוליטיקה, כח וקדושה בתנ”ך – ברה דוד סבתו

המתח בין דת ופוליטיקה, בין מלכות שמים ומלכות הארץ, מלווה את העם היהודי מראשית ימיו ועד היום. לאורך הדורות ניתן לזהות מאבקים בין העולמות הללו, המיוצגים על ידי המלך, הכהן והנביא, בשאלת גבולות הכוח וחלוקת הסמכויות ביניהם. נבחן את הסוגיה המורכבת והמרתקת הזו לאור סיפורי יסוד בתנ”ך, כגון סיפור קורח, סיפור עלי ושמואל, סיפורי הנביאים בספר מלכים, ועוד.

All Levels

Spiritual Insights from the Hassidic Masters – Rabbi Dr. Meir Sendor

The Hassidic tradition opened pathways of Torah spirituality and divine service that remain robust, inspiring and provocative to this day. We will explore insights of the great Hassidic masters into God consciousness, Torah learning and Mitzvah practice, divine service, spiritual psychology, the spiritual power of music, the art of story-telling, leadership and community.