March 2018 -- Adar-Nisan 5778,  Volume 24, Issue 3

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Rabbis from  Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem Speak in Westchester

Rabbis certified by a groundbreaking program developing pluralistic and egalitarian spiritual Jewish leaders in Israel will be speaking at two Westchester synagogues in March on how they are succeeding at breaking down Israel’s rigid religious barriers and boundaries.


The focus of their talks, to be delivered in panel discussions, lectures, study groups, and private sessions, will be “Israel@70: Judaism and Democracy,” an iEngage lecture series, with a special focus on religious pluralism.


Rabbi Dr. Shraga Bar-On of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, who co-heads the program said the visiting group views itself as partners with the North American community in developing pluralistic Judaism in Israel.


“The rabbis emerging from our program are creating an Israel that will be meaningful and enriching also for North Americans and their children,” he added.


Bar-On, along with Rabbi Avital Hochstein and Dr. Moti Zeira, will be at Bet Torah Congregation in Mount Kisco on March 18.


 Rabbi Dr. Shraga Bar-On is director of the David Hartman Center for Intellectual Excellence, and leads the Israeli Rabbinical Beit Midrash, David Hartman Fellows, and Maskilot programs. He is an academic advisor to the “Lev Aharon” program and member of the Institute’s management team.


Rabbi Avital Hochstein is a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute and has learned, taught, and done research at the institute for more than 15 years. She is currently working on her Ph.D., focusing on Talmud, in the Gender Studies Program at Bar Ilan University. She serves as the president of Hadar, Israel.


Dr. Moti Zeira is a co-founder and CEO of HaMidrasha Educational Center for Jewish Life in Israel and a graduate of the Hartman Rabbinic Beit Midrash. A kibbutz resident, Zeira’s work is committed to ensuring that all Jews have access to their birthright, heritage, and benefits of Jewish religious and spiritual community life.


The participants in the speaking tour are graduates of the Hartman Beit Midrash for Israeli Rabbis, developed by the Shalom Hartman Institute and HaMidrasha at Oranim. The program, now nearing completion of its second cohort, is cultivating a new generation of leaders who are reshaping the Israeli public sphere to reflect and respect religious pluralism in Israel and around the world.


The program brings together voices showcasing the diversity of Israeli-Jewish experience to define an Israeli rabbinical leadership model for our times. More than 30 participants and graduates - men and women from a wide range of experiences and religious traditions - are already leading institutes and communities across urban and rural Israel.


A second group ,  Rabbis Orit Avnery, Rani Jaeger, and Dani Segal ,  will be at Bet Am Shalom Synagogue in White Plains on May 6.


Rabbi Dr. Orit Avnery is a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute. She holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a PhD from Bar Ilan University, and has studied at the Matan Women’s Institute for Jewish Studies.


Rabbi Rani Jaeger is a research fellow and faculty member at the Shalom Hartman Institute. Jaeger is pursuing his doctorate at Bar-Ilan University in the Interdisciplinary Program of Culture and Hermeneutics. He is one of the founders of Beit Tefilah Israeli, a groundbreaking secular synagogue in Tel Aviv.


Rabbi Dani Segal is the co-director of the Shalom Hartman Institute and HaMidrasha at Oranim’s Beit Midrash for New Israeli Rabbis, and the Rabbi of Hamidrasha in Ein Prat. He is the former rabbi of Yishuv Alon, a heterogeneous Israeli community committed to secular- religious coexistence.


The Shalom Hartman Institute is a pluralistic center of research and education deepening and elevating the quality of Jewish life in Israel and around the world. Through their work, they are redefining the conversation about Judaism in modernity, religious pluralism, Israeli democracy, Israel and world Jewry, and the relationship with other faith communities.


For more information on the Shalom Hartman Institute, go to their  website,