Scholar in Residence | Lexington, MA

at Temple Emunah

Lexington, MA

Friday night
Everything is God: The Evolution of Jewish Theology
The principle of non-duality—that everything is One—is familiar to spiritual seekers from a variety of mystical paths. Kabbalah, Judaism’s mystical and esoteric tradition, also expresses this idea, in uniquely provocative and sometimes startling ways.

This evening we”ll combine text study (from sources as diverse as Maimonides” Guide to the Perplexed, the Zohar, and the Baal Shem Tov), contemplation and discussion to explore key Jewish teachings on nonduality. We will also offer comparative insights and explore how non-duality is actually lived—so please bring your own knowledge and experience (from any tradition) to add to the conversation, and be prepared for surprise: enlightenment is not what you think… and neither is God.

Saturday morning
Judaism and the Meditation Revolution, or, How One Million New Meditators a Year Can’t Be Wrong
By now, it’s not unusual for American Jews to meditate, to do so in Jewish contexts, and to mix and match among Jewish, Buddhist, and other forms. But while the goals are clear in most Buddhist traditions (liberation through less clinging) and most secular Western approaches (stress reduction), what is the point of Jewish meditation? How can we work with our practice as it evolves to maximize those goals? Or are “goals” the wrong way to talk about this?

Join Jay Michaelson, contributing editor to the Forward and author of Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment, for an interactive conversation about Jewish enlightenment.

Saturday afternoon
Is Spirituality Bad For You? The Lubavitch-Staroselse Controversy
Two hundred years ago, the Chabad Hasidic sect split in two, over what remains a pressing question today: whether ecstatic mystical states are good for you, or not. Together we”ll learn some of the key texts of the dispute, between R. Aharon Halevy of Staroselse and R. Dovber of Lubavitch, and apply their insights to our own situation today.

Saturday night
Hobby Lobby and Beyond: Is Religious Liberty Under Attack, or, Is This the Culture War All Over Again?
Dr. Jay Michaelson, author of the influential report “Redefining Religious Liberty: The New Front in the Culture War” will explore the issues behind the famous “Hobby Lobby” case and what it means for religious liberty in America.

iJudaism: Trendlines in 21st Century Jewish Affiliation — and why it might not be so bad.
Traditional Jewish institutions are in trouble. Denominations are going broke, federations are struggling to retain relevance, and the old model of the synagogue is increasingly being questioned. Is this the end of the Jewish world, or a new beginning? Or both?