Judaism and Modernity
Developing compelling Jewish ideas capable of competing in the modern marketplace of identities and thought
"Twenty-first century American Jewish life must not demand that we gloss over our differences. Let’s live with our differences. Let’s live together as interlocutors, as hevrutot. Let’s teach each other and protect one other from our extremes."
Elana Stein Hain, A Vision for Modern Orthodoxy, February 2017
KOGOD RESEARCH CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY JEWISH THOUGHT
The Jerusalem-based Kogod Center, with a branch in North America, is home to outstanding established and emerging scholars culled from the brightest minds in academia. Scholars work in research teams that focus on the most pressing issues facing Israeli society and the Jewish world. The thought and ideas produced by these teams is translated into widely distributed curricula and educational programs. The ideas developed in the Kogod Center have spread far and wide – to the education systems in Israel and around the world, within the academic-intellectual discourse, and to the public discourse.
Creating a new narrative regarding the significance of Israel for Jewish life and elevating the existing discourse from a crisis-based focus to one rooted in Jewish values and ideas
The Kogod Center is funded by United Israel Appeal–Canada, The Zeff Kesher Foundation, and other generous supporters.
DAVID HARTMAN CENTER FOR
The David Hartman Center is a training ground for the cultivation of the next generation of committed intellectual leaders capable of generating a renaissance in Jewish life. David Hartman Center Beit Midrash programs ensure the development of the next generation of SHI scholarship and an influx of new ideas into the greater Israeli and world Jewish society.
The Maskilot Fellowship for Outstanding Women Scholars provides a select group of six women PhD candidates in Judaic studies in Israel with a uniquely supportive environment that guides them in completing their doctorates and overcoming the gender-based obstacles that hinder successful academic careers. Graduates gain the confidence and ability to stand at the forefront of academic and public discourse in Israel and to take their rightful place in Israel's elite circle of Jewish studies.
The bicontinental David Hartman Center Fellows program in Israel and North America is an incubator of emerging talent in a robust training program for the next generation of thought-leaders in Israeli society and the American Jewish community.
In 2017-18, the first cohort of David Hartman Fellows was formed, with eight scholars in Israel and seven scholars in North America.
David Hartman Center Fellows
The SHI North America David Hartman Center Fellows Program is supported by a new grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation.
CREATED EQUAL: MEN, WOMEN, AND THE ETHICS OF SHARED LEADERSHIP
Created Equal is a research, education, and leadership development project designed to address the lack of gender equity in Jewish leadership by engaging key influencers in the Jewish community - educators, rabbis and professionals - in new ways of thinking about power dynamics, gender parity, and ethical leadership. Through group study, seminars and convenings, Created Equal seeks to inspire more thoughtful and self-reflective attitudes, perspectives, and organizational behavior regarding leadership and gender that will lead to systemic change within the Jewish community.
We had multiple staff members on the [Created Equal webinar]. I’m excited to work with them on how to even more deeply actualize some of what you taught today in our teen curricula, our work with teens and teen mentors
Rabbi Tamara R. Cohen, Chief of Innovation, Moving Traditions
We will bring [the Created Equal webinar] to University of Michigan Hillel students. It was so important and so refreshing for you to acknowledge the inherent male privilege that permeates our texts and offer options of different approaches to this reality.
Tilly Shames, Executive Director, University of Michigan Hillel; Cohort II, Hartman Fellowship for Hillel Professionals
Created Equal is funded by the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York
and other generous donors.
MODEL ORTHODOX HIGH SCHOOLS
The Charles E. Smith High School for Boys and the Midrashiya High School for Girls provide 700 students in grades 7-12 with rigorous Jewish and general studies programs that promote critical thinking, religious tolerance, gender equality, individual creativity, community leadership, and social responsibility. The schools’ focus on democratic values, openness to new ideas, and respect for diversity in Israeli and Jewish life make them critical incubators for Israel’s future. Hartman high schools are the vanguard of religious Zionist education, with graduates demonstrating high commitment to Jewish and democratic values. Beyond the classroom, through projects that directly support underprivileged sectors in Israeli society, the schools promote community involvement, providing students with a model for a more just society. Nearly 100% of alumni serve in the IDF or perform national service.
The boys’ school’s unique gender curriculum for religious male students is generating interest in the Israeli educational system and media:
The Midrashiya celebrated 10 years as a leading institution in religious feminist education:
Alumni Beit Midrash
This year saw the launch of a new Alumni Beit Midrash program that aims to strengthen the Institute’s ties with graduates of both high schools, while enhancing graduates’ ongoing Jewish education. Next year, the Institute plans to expand the Alumni Beit Midrash by hosting a greater number of alumni and to introduce parents of alumni to the Beit Midrash.
Hartman High Schools are supported by Jane and Michael Lewittes, Shelley and Donald Meltzer, The Spitzer Wachs Family, and other generous donors.
DEPARTMENT FOR INNOVATIVE RITUAL
The Hartman Institute’s new Department for Innovative Ritual develops and facilitates the implementation of new ceremonies and rituals that enable Israelis of all denominations to connect to their Jewish-Israeli identity in a way that is meaningful and relevant while also serving to strengthen a shared civil society.
This year on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), several parallel “Gatherings” were organized – personal, experiential events that included readings, prayer, poetry, and testimony, based on a guide published by the department’s scholars and educators, as well as discussion about the importance of preserving memory and giving fresh meaning to the day. The department also partnered with Yad Vashem and Center Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel to run a two-day conference that addressed the place of the Holocaust and memory in Israeli society.
I felt for the first time in a long time that I had a personal relationship to [Yom HaShoah]. I was able to commemorate it without flags or military symbols, in a way that connected me to the rich diversity of my people. At the same time, I was catalyzed to be mindful of the existential necessity of the state of Israel.