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Scholar in Residence Weekend with Dr. Susannah Heschel (January 31 to February 2, 2020)

Diaspora or Exile: Jewish History and Responsibility

Learn with our 2020 Scholar in Residence, Dr. Susannah Heschel, the Eli Black Professor and Chair of the Jewish Studies Program at Dartmouth College.

All sessions are open to the public.  Sessions 1, 2 and 3 are free and session 4 is $10 for breakfast for non-members of the CBE Brotherhood.  

This program is funded by a special gift to the CBE Adult Education Fund.  Additional donations to the Adult Education Fund can be made by clicking HERE and selecting Adult Education Fund in the dropdown menu.

Pre-registration is not required.  However, to help us plan, please let us know if you are joining us for the Saturday sessions.  Click on the registration links below.

Weekend Sessions:

Session 1: Friday, January 31
Shabbat service at 7:30 pm 

Drash by Dr. Heschel: “Bo el Paroh: How Hasidic Thought helps us understand and overcome the void of despair”

Hasidic teaching explores a remarkable statement in the Zohar, the classic medieval work of Jewish mysticism: “a person is only whole when their heart is broken.” There are many ways to understand the experience of broken-heartedness, and one of the most striking is in a commentary by a 19th century Hasidic master, Nahman of Bratzlav (Ukraine; 1772-1810), on the verse in Exodus 9:1: “Bo el Paroh, Come to Pharaoh.” What Pharaoh represents, in spiritual terms, is a place of potential entrapment of the human spirit: despair. The experience of despair is known to all human beings, and we have all struggled in different ways to emerge from despair. Nahman’s discussion of Exodus 9:1 examines the experience of despair, which he likens to the experience of God at the time of creation. He also discusses how a rebbe can lift another person out of despair. Finally, he offers suggestions regarding how despair might become a positive experience that can enhance a person’s piety, humanity, prayer, and relationship with God.


Session 2: Saturday, February 1
Torah Study at 10:30 am

Dr. Heschel will lead a discussion: "Human Dignity in Judaism"

Human Dignity is enshrined in the UN charter and in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What do Jewish teachings about the dignity of the person contribute to this important international principle? How might Judaism’s teachings be modified in light of current political movements?

Click HERE to let us know that you are joining us for this session.   It will help with our planning!


Session 3: Saturday, February 1
Havdallah Service at 5:30 pm

Dr. Heschel will lead a discussion: "Where do (we) Jews Live? In Exile or in Diaspora?

Although Jews were never formally exiled from the land of Israel, but maintained a presence there through the centuries, even while most Jews lived in diaspora, the idea that Jews were in exile has persisted in Jewish self-consciousness. Our liturgy tells us that “because of our sins we were exiled from our land” and we claim that Zionism promises us an exit from exile and a return to our homeland. Yet through the centuries, rabbis have debated whether Jewish life outside Israel was acceptable and whether we should return to the land and under what conditions. Many rabbis have understood exile not only as a political situation, but as an internal, existential condition. Modern Jewish thinkers have proposed that Judaism is a portable homeland, and that the Talmud is a substitute for the land, while Zionism is based on a negation of the diaspora and the restoration of Jewish political sovereignty. We will examine the various facets of exilic understanding in rabbinic, medieval and modern Jewish thought and proposals for overcoming exile even while continuing life in diaspora.

Click HERE to let us know that you are joining us for this session.   It will help with our planning!


Session 4: Sunday, February 2
Brotherhood Breakfast at 9:15 am

Dr. Heschel will present: "A Unique Friendship: Abraham Joshua Heschel, Martin Luther KIng, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement."


About Dr. Susannah Heschel

Dr. Susannah Heschel is the Eli Black Professor and Chair of the Jewish Studies Program at Dartmouth College. Her scholarship focuses on the history of Jewish and Protestant religious thought in Germany during the 19th and 20th centuries. She has written and edited many books, including two volumes of her father’s writings, including Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Writings of Abraham Joshua Heschel. Dr. Heschel will discuss the relevance of her father’s teaching on prayer, spirituality, and social justice.

Fri, August 14 2020 24 Av 5780