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Yaffe Scholars Centennial Style: An Exploration of Beth Tfiloh's Timeless Values

Wednesdays, November 17-May 25, 7-8:15 pm

In honor of Beth Tfiloh’s centennial year, the Yaffe Scholars course will highlight the seven core values of Beth Tfiloh: meaningful practice, community, Jewish learning, inclusiveness, joyful inspiration, Israel and peoplehood, and generations. We will delve into each value for several sessions using an array of textual sources, as well as classical and contemporary commentators, and walk away with practical tools on how to live life in sync with these values. The classes will be taught by an outstanding lineup of Beth Tfiloh clergy, Judaics faculty and guest presenters.

Session 1 runs on Wednesdays 7-8:15 pm and will take place in person and via Zoom. View course descriptions for Session 1 classes below. Session 2 course descriptions coming soon.

Register for Yaffe Scholars and other Mercaz 2021-22 programs here

Yaffe Scholars Session 1

List of 4 items.

  • Core Value #1 - Meaningful Practice

    November 17:  Mitzvah Matters
    Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg
    Who decides when a statement in the Torah is a mitzvah?  How do we know there are 613 of them?  Why do we do them; for God’s sake or our own?

    December 1:  The Light of Chanukah 
    Rabbi Chai Posner 
    Torah Orah – The Torah is like light. Delve into the “Torah” of Chanukah and uncover the meaning in the light of the Chanukah candles.

    December 8:  Shabbat Candles – The Meaning in the Mitzvah
    Dr. Zipora Schorr 
    A text-based exploration about the Mitzvah of Shabbat candles tracing its significance, origins, and cultural variations. 
  • Core Value #2 - Community

    December 15: Lilmod U’lelamed – An Evening of Learning in memory of Sandy Vogel 
    Guest Speaker TBD
    December 22:  G-d Is in The Crowd. For Real 
    Rabbi Yisrael Motzen
    Rabbi Motzen will discuss the urgent need for community-mindedness in the 21st century based on classic and contemporary Jewish sources.   

    January 5:  Whose Job IS It? Get Refusal and Communal Responsibility 
    Mrs. Keshett Star, Esq. 
    In our session, we will study the intersection between get refusal and Jewish communities. What responsibility do communities bear in addressing the agunah issue? Can communities make a practical difference on this intractable issue? How can we find our own circle of engagement as laypeople, rather than activists? Keshet Starr will discuss her own path toward agunah advocacy, the common pitfalls communities make in navigating these situations, and where individuals can become change-makers. 
  • Core Value #3 – Jewish Learning

    January 12:  Learning Lomdes – In Introduction to Advanced Talmudic Analysis 
    Rabbi Mordechai Soskil 
    We will explore some of the great analytical styles common in Talmudic study. We will discuss how the analysis of action/result, personal obligation/objective need, community/individual can enlighten a topic and change our understanding of the practical applications. 

    January 19:  Orthodox Judaism’s Response to Biblical Criticism 
    Rabbi Dr. Eli Yoggev 
    How should observant Jews respond to the challenges posed by modern biblical criticism? How can we critically engage the text while retaining our faith in the divine authorship of the Torah? In this lecture, we will review rabbinic responses—from the Talmud to contemporary rabbis (to this BT rabbi!) and learn the tools and texts they used in responding to these issues. 
    January 26:  Jewish Learning 
    Guest Speaker TBD
  • Core Value #4 – Inclusion

    February 2: The Mandate of Inclusion
    Rabbi Dov Linzer
    Many of us have begun to recognize the importance of inclusion, but we have yet to embrace it fully as a community and to internalize a sense of this as a Torah mandate and central to our Jewish values. What are the texts that speak to this obligation and what can we learn from them in terms of the specifics of what inclusion does and can mean? And why is “inclusion” really the wrong word to be using when we speak of this topic? 

    February 9: The Inclusion Seminar
    Rabbi Eli and Chana Solomon, Co-Directors of Friendship Circle, MD 
    Explore the limits of our own perception, the inherent dignity of humanity, social responsibility, and the importance of ethical practice. The Inclusion Seminar examines ancient texts alongside modern scientific studies to discover how to pay attention to the humanity in all people no matter their ability (or disability), and how to integrate this perception to influence our daily interactions with others.  
    February 16: Black & Jewish: ‘Otherness’ in Jewish Community 
    Talia and Aaron Jordan
    What is it like being a Jew of color & convert in Orthodox Jewish communities? How do Black & Jewish identities intersect? What is our obligation to the ‘stranger’ in Jewish tradition and how can we cultivate more sensitivity to those who are ‘strangers’ in our community? Explore these questions through the lens of Jewish texts and personal experiences with Aaron Jordan (a Black, Jewish convert) and his wife, Talia, who have placed these questions at the center of their Jewish journeys.  
Beth Tfiloh Congregation
Roz & Marvin H. Weiner Family Campus | 3300 Old Court Road, Baltimore, MD 21208 | 410-486-1900 | mail@bethtfiloh.com
Celebrating the Joy of Judaism. Embracing all Jews.
One of the leading Modern Orthodox synagogues in America, with a diverse membership, and an extensive offering of religious services, classes and year-round Jewish programming for all ages.