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When kids ask big questions, how do you respond? This podcast, hosted by Rabbi Shai Held, doesn’t have all the answers, but it can give you the language and frameworks to engage meaningfully with these questions.
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Ta Shma

Hadar Institute

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Bringing you recent lectures, classes, and programs from the Hadar Institute, Ta Shma is where you get to listen in on the beit midrash. Come and listen on the go, at home, or wherever you are. Hosted by Rabbi Avi Killip of the Hadar Institute.
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The news from Israel can feel overwhelming – but Torah gives us language for understanding current events with complexity and compassion. From Hadar’s Beit Midrash in Jerusalem, Rabbi Avital Hochstein joins Rabbi Avi Killip to unpack some of the most pressing spiritual and moral questions in Israel today.
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Torah Time

Hadar Institute

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Every week, Ravi and Mara set aside quality time for learning the weekly parashah together. They call it “Torah Time” -- and you’re invited to learn along with them!
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Judaism Unbound

Institute for the Next Jewish Future

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Listen in as Dan Libenson and Lex Rofeberg analyze pressing issues for 21st century American Judaism. Mixing their own analysis with interviews of leading thinkers, practitioners, and even "regular Jews," Dan and Lex look to push past the bounds of what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century. You can support Judaism Unbound at www.JudaismUnbound.com/donate.
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Jess Belasco is the founder and director of The Disability Justice Torah Circle, a space in which Jews with disabilities can build community around Torah, engage Jewish text through a disability justice lens, and nurture and amplify their voices to impact the broader Jewish community. They join Lex Rofeberg and Dan Libenson for a conversation about…
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Every year, by good calendrical fortune, we read in Parashat Emor the commandment of Sefirat ha-Omer, the “Counting of the Omer,” during the period in which we actually count the Omer. This moment of sync between reading and ritual presents us with an opportunity to recognize our contemporary practice as continuous from the words of the Torah. Yet …
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I have always found it difficult to find an observance of Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzma’ut that feels meaningful and authentic as a Jew living in the Diaspora. In Israel, the observance of these holidays is effortless and all-encompassing: you simply have to be present and you are in it, flowing from the intensity of Yom HaZikaron to the joy of Yo…
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Chava Shapiro is the founder of the Jewish Zine Archive, an archival collection of Jewish zines and a digital Jewish cultural space. They join Lex Rofeberg and Dan Libenson for a conversation related to their upcoming UnYeshiva mini-course, Unraveling Jewish Zines: From Rashi to the Haggadah to Instagram, which will explore the intersection of Jewi…
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The style and content of Parashat Kedoshim remind us immediately of an earlier reading: Parashat Mishpatim—back in the Book of Exodus, just after the revelation. Both parashiyyot are composed almost entirely of dense legal code: one law after another, for chapter after chapter. And both open with a framing statement naming a value category that cha…
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For many of us, the past six months have been an education in powerlessness. From where I sit in America, I felt powerless hearing about the brutality and depravity of October 7. I felt powerless sitting comfortably in my home while day after day people were held hostage in underground darkness, uncared for and unseen. I felt powerless as the death…
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Dalia Marx, an author, teacher, and activist who promotes liberal Judaism in Israel, is the Rabbi Aaron D. Panken Professor of Liturgy and Midrash at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem. Her book, From Time to Time: Journeys in the Jewish Calendar, uses a progressive approach to explore each Hebrew month and its holidays alongside art and literature.…
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Livia Thompson serves as the Executive Director of JBI (formerly Jewish Braille Institute): an organization enabling access to Jewish life through audio, braille, and large-print texts. She joins Dan and Lex for a conversation about JBI and its powerful work. This episode is the 4th in an ongoing series of Judaism Unbound episodes exploring Disabil…
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Tzemah Yoreh is a rabbi, scholar, and liturgist who recently wrote a book entitled So Compassionate It Hurts: My Life as a Rabbi On the Spectrum. He joins Judaism Unbound for the third episode in an ongoing series exploring Disability Torah. There are some amazing mini-course offerings beginning at the end of April in the UnYeshiva. Check out these…
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The Haggadah describes how "in every generation, they stand against us to destroy us." At the same time, the lesson of the Exodus from Egypt in the Torah is to translate our suffering into empathy, to remember that we were strangers in Egypt and therefore look after the strangers today. As we enter a complicated Pesah, how can we hold these two nar…
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We Jews, who have been perennial outcasts, ought to read the Torah’s account of the leper with particular care.“Leper,” we should note from the outset, is not really an accurate rendering of the Hebrew, מצורע (metzora). The biblical affliction of tza’arat is clearly different from what we today call “leprosy,” most obviously so because it can only …
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R. Aviva Richman joins R. Shai Held to discuss one of the most difficult moral and religious questions - why do bad things happen? Where is God when they do? Personal childhood memories of confronting this question lead them to explore how being present might mediate God's presence, to appreciate petitionary prayer in nuanced and sophisticated ways…
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Ever wondered why we have to drink four cups of wine at our Seders? This class explores the history and the symbolism of this idea and how it transforms from something more functional to the framing around the entirety of Seder night. Fittingly, there are at least four different ways to think about these cups! Recorded on 4/10/24. Source sheet: htt…
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Hadar Cohen is an Arab Jewish scholar, mystic and artist. She teaches spirituality and Jewish mysticism at Malchut, a mystical school teaching direct experience of God, creates art focused on shifting societal narratives, such as Prostrations and The Selichot Project, and writes about Judaism through the lens of intersectional feminism, as seen in …
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From the very beginning, the Torah imbues certain numbers with great significance. The first chapter of Genesis carefully divides Creation into seven days. Seven then becomes the most significant number in nearly all Jewish time rituals—not just Shabbat, but Pesah, Shavuot, Sukkot, as well as the seventh month, the seventh year, the seven cycles of…
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What if I don't believe in God? What if I'm not sure? Rabbi Dr. Leon Wiener Dow joins Rabbi Shai Held to reflect on the importance of doubt and continuing to question. They identify some of the straight-jackets that we put on our thinking about God and explore the possibility of being open to a spiritual life with or without a belief in God.…
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There's a catchy song that tells us what we're supposed to do during the Seder and when (Kaddeish Urhatz). But when you dig a little deeper, the song is a little simplistic for the actual Seder structure. How can the giant Maggid section be covered by a single word? And why is Hallel actually split into two? Rav Elie discusses the overall structure…
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Judaism Unbound’s executive director Miriam Terlinchamp, senior Jewish educator Lex Rofeberg, and senior fellow Dan Libenson take a close look at Passover, discussing everything from matzah scultpures to individual vs. collective liberation. ---------------------------------------------------- There are some amazing mini-course offerings beginning …
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Throughout our history, one of the central institutions of a Jewish community has been the mikveh. Immersion in this ritual bath was required in Temple times in order to purify oneself after coming into contact with various types of tumah (ritual impurity). Since then, the practical need for a mikveh has been relegated primarily to the laws of sex …
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Lauren Tuchman is a sought-after spiritual leader and educator whose work focuses on disability access and inclusion. Ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2018, she is, as far as she is aware, the first blind woman in the world to enter the rabbinate. She joins Dan Libenson and Lex Rofeberg for a conversation about the nexus between visua…
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For the most part, Parashat Tzav repeats much of what we learned last week in Parashat Vayikra. Again, the Torah details the choreography of the sacrificial system—only this time from the perspective of the priest. All of the offerings from last week show up again. But there is at least one thing that is unique to Tzav: a shalshelet.…
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To what extent is Jewish law “fake” or “real”? Is halakhah a game where you can say whatever you want, or does a ruling, once issued, create a new reality? What are the underlying principles of kashrut and Jewish food laws? Recorded live at Hadar's Manger Winter Learning Seminar in January 2024. Source sheet available here: https://mechonhadar.s3.a…
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