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MakomDC 2019-2020

The Way In: 
Learning, Living and Exploring in Adas Israel's Biran Beit Midrash

There’s always a way in to Jewish learning. This year we intend to capture the passion and expertise of our core teachers and offer topics in text learning that will inspire deep learning, generate new knowledge, and open up critical conversation. Each month, for the first three Tuesday evenings, a rabbi (Holtzblatt, Alexander, Krinsky, Yolkut) will offer a 3-part mini-series that will tackle essential subjects in Judaism, with close attention to the textual tradition that inspires so much of Jewish life today.

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Makomdc (Learning & Immersion)


 MakomDC Monthly Learning | Tuesday Nights @ 7:30pm
 

Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt | November 5, 12, 19 @ 7:30pm
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1865 - 1935, Jerusalem): Legacy, Ideology and Vision
Rav Kook was first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of British Mandatory Palestine in the Land of Israel, and considered one of the founders of religious zionism. Together we’ll explore his unique take on Zionism, his approach to Parhsanut (Weekly Torah commentary) and his novel approach religious life in the 20th century.

Makomdc (Learning & Immersion)

Rabbi Aaron Alexander | December 3, 10, 17 @ 7:30pm
Because Rashi Said So — An Introduction to the Life and Writings of Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki (1040 - 1105)
You hear it all the time: “Rashi says…” So let’s take a few sessions to explore who, why, and how this great intellect became the most influential Jewish author of all time. Through a close reading of a few key texts alongside some biographical essays, together each of us will come out with a greater appreciation for there figure whose words have been “absorbed into the bloodstream of Jewish culture." century.

Rabbi Sarah Krinsky | January 7, 14, 21 @ 7:30pm
Virtues and Vices — An Introduction to the World of Mussar
Mussar is an ancient Jewish spiritual practice aimed at cultivating and honing specific inner virtues and traits. Following the curriculum of Rabbi David Jaffe, we will delve into this practice and relate it to our own spiritual lives, and also to a foundation for a Jewish social justice ethic. Each session will be focused on one particular trait, and will examine traditional musar texts as well as practical applications for our selves and our communities.

Rabbi Elianna Yolkut | February 4, 11, 18 @ 7:30pm
The Double Axis of Jewish Life: Israel and the Diaspora 
Beginning all the way back in the Torah and weaving its way through the Rabbis our people have debated questions of home, land and Jewish communal life. As the world becomes increasingly connected and global while at the same time tribal, divided and particular how can we understand the Jewish perspective on our home in the Diaspora and in the Homeland? What challenges does Zionism as nationalism present to our American democratic and Jewish values? How might we understand the rabbis as challenging us to create interconnected and interdependent relationships of these two fundamental holy spaces to create sacred spheres of sacredness. We will explore three talmudic passages to try and unpack these questions and challenges.

Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt | March 3, 17, 24 @ 7:30pm
Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik (1903 - 1993): Lonely Man of Faith, Halakhic Man, & Selected Writings
Known as “The Rav” this towering figure in 20th century Jewish life left an indelible imprint on not only Modern orthodoxy, but all modern-day Jewish theology and practice. We’ll learn together some of his key writings and religious concepts--in particular, how to live in the midst of dialectical tension--humility and majesty, alone and together, submissive and autonomous. Talmudic passages to try and unpack these questions and challenges.

Makomdc (Learning & Immersion)

Rabbi Elianna Yolkut | April 1, 22, 29 @ 7:30pm
Rabbi Nachman of Brazlav (1772-1810, Medzhibozh, Ukraine and Bratzlav)
Rebbe Nachman was one of the Chassidic world's most creative and unconventional thinkers. Many of his ideas were challenged by leading rebbes who accused him of arrogance, messianic pretensions, and propagating semi-heretical doctrines - peaked your interest? In these three sessions we will study his perspective on three ideas: Creation as interconnected with Machloket (dispute and disagreement), hitbodidut his prayer practice as a path to spiritual refinement and enlightenment and his prescription for achieving a state of simcha or joy as a religious practice!

Makomdc (Learning & Immersion)

Rabbi Aaron Alexander | May 5, 12, 19 @ 7:30pm
Intention, Action, and Reaction — "Kavanah Unpacked and Explored”
It’s a question that touches so many aspects of life: Do our intentions influence the ways in which our actions ought to be judged? Or, is it just the deed itself that matters, regardless of reason? As you might imagine, classical and modern Jewish texts have a lot to say about this, and the answers will help all of us navigate our lives today. Together we’ll explore the paradigmatic sources on this issue, and discuss their relevance in religious and secular life, individually and communally.

Rabbi Sarah Krinsky | June 2, 9, 16 @ 7:30pm
Ever--Evolving Halakhah: Critical Questions, Real-time Responses
The form of “shutim” – halakhic questions answered by expert authorities – goes back as far as Jewish tradition. Yet it is also as modern as 2020. These three sessions will each study a present-day teshuva about a contemporary issue, ranging from bioethics to technology to issues of identity and practice. We will look both at the content of the answer, as well as the processes and prooftexts the authors invoke in order to make their claims.

Makomdc (Learning & Immersion)


 2019-2020 Mendelson Scholars
 

Dr. Eliyahu Stern
Saturday, October 26 @1:00pm
Eliyahu Stern is Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Intellectual and Cultural History in the Departments of Religious Studies and History at Yale University. He is an award winning author, and serves on the Academic Advisory Board of the Center for Jewish History.

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Dr. Aaron Amit
Saturday, November 23 @1:00pm
Dr. Aaron Amit is the head of the Talmud Department at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan Israel. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles dealing with the influence of contemporary Greco-Roman culture, the textual transmission of the Talmud Bavli and the history of halakhah. 

 

Professor Jeffrey Rubenstein
Saturday, December 14 @1:00pm
Jeffrey L. Rubenstein is the Skirball Professor of Talmud and Rabbinic Literature in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies of New York University. Dr. Rubenstein, has written a multitude of books and numerous articles on, Talmudic stories, the development of Jewish law, and more.

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Dr. Vanessa Ochs
Saturday, February 22 @ 1:00pm
Vanessa L. Ochs is a professor in the Department of Religious Studies and Jewish Studies Program at the University of Virginia. She is the author of Inventing Jewish Ritual (JPS), winner of a 2007 National Jewish Book Award. For her writing, she was awarded a Creative Writing Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

Dr. Deborah Barer
Saturday, March 21 @ 1:00pm
Dr. Deborah Barer's research explores models of rabbinic decision-making, with an emphasis on the intersection of ethical and legal reasoning in Talmudic legal narratives. She teaches a range of courses at Towson in Jewish studies and comparative religion, and is also a faculty member of the Graduate Program in Judaic Studies.

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Dr. Mara Benjamin
Saturday, May 16 @ 1:00pm
Mara H. Benjamin is Irene Kaplan Leiwant Associate Professor and Chair of Jewish Studies at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA. She holds a Ph.D. in modern Jewish thought from Stanford University and has taught at the University of Washington, Yale University, and St. Olaf College.

 

End of Year Siyyum with Rabbi Dr. Burt Visotzky
Tuesday, May 26 @ 7:30pm
Join us as we celebrate the end of our MakomDC year! Rabbi Dr. Burt Visotzky serves as Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he directs the Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue. Visotzky also serves as the Louis Stein Director of the Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies at JTS, programming on public policy. Rabbi Visotzky has been named to “The Forward 50” and repeatedly to the Newsweek/Daily Beast list of “The 50 Most Influential Jews in America.” 
Sponsored by the Annie Bass Yellen Scholar Fund

Makomdc (Learning & Immersion)


Featured Learning Opportunities:
 

Inside Out: Text, Translation and Transformation With Rabbi Elianna Yolkut
Fall/ Winter Session ($180) Register Here
10/23, 10/30, 11/13, 11/27, 12/11, 1/8
Spring Session ($180) Register Here
1/29, 2/12, 2/26, 3/11, 3/25, 3/31

Have you ever wanted to gain access to some of Judaism’s most powerful texts? Wondering what does it mean to study ancient sources in their original language with the guidance of a master teacher and a Beit Midrash full of reference materials? Can you imagine studying a rabbinic text from the start and seeing it all the way through - imagine starting a riveting novel and not being able to put it down? Want to challenge yourself to gain a foundational understanding of how the rabbis operated? What did these ancient sages want the learner to gain from the window the text gives us into their endless conversations, debates and questions around some of our biggest religious and spiritual questions about living in this world? 

Join a dedicated group for two 6-part classes with a deep dive into the Mishnah and Talmud with Rabbi Elianna Yolkut - sign up for one semester or both! 

Advanced Halakhah (Jewish Law) With Rabbi Aaron Alexander
Tuesday Nights @ 7:30pm - 10/29, 2/25, 4/28
Rabbi Alexander will lead learners in a textual exploration of a topic in Jewish Law, using original sources without translation. This series is designed primarily for those with previous experience studying classical rabbinic texts in hebrew/aramaic.

Intro to Judaism
September 18, 2019 - April 1, 2020 Register Here
Are you interested in exploring the Jewish tradition from the ground up, with master Jewish teachers? Are you looking to deepen your experience of God and prayer into the rhythm of your life? This 23-week course is designed to give you the raw materials with which to appreciate and access the Jewish tradition. Whatever it is you may be seeking, we offer a safe space for acquiring the experiential and intellectual knowledge that allow you to deepen your own religious life.  

End of Year Siyyum with Rabbi Dr. Burt Visotzky
Tuesday, May 26 @ 7:30pm
Join us as we celebrate the end of our MakomDC year! Rabbi Dr. Burt Visotzky serves as Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he directs the Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue. Visotzky also serves as the Louis Stein Director of the Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies at JTS, programming on public policy. Rabbi Visotzky has been named to “The Forward 50” and repeatedly to the Newsweek/Daily Beast list of “The 50 Most Influential Jews in America.” 
Sponsored by the Annie Bass Yellen Scholar Fund

Makomdc (Learning & Immersion)


Ongoing Learning – Additional Learning Options Throughout The Season:
 

Friday Parsha Sudy
10:00am; Biran Beit Midrash
Please join us Friday mornings in the Biran Beit Midrash for an exclusive look at the weekly Parsha. On the first and second Friday of the month Rabbi Holtzblatt will explore the parsha through the lens of Hassidut and mysticism, on third and fourth Fridays Rabbi Alexander will use the Talmud as the prism for the weekly reading, and on the fifth Fridays Rabbi Krinsky will teach.

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Boker Or Shabbat Study
The Boker Ohr Torah study group meets Saturday mornings at 8:30 a.m. with the weekly portion as its focus. Join our clergy and community in the Biran Beit Midrash each week for an engaging, text-based conversation on the week's parsha, before Shabbat services.

 

Makom in the Home
Adas has a long tradition of small group learning outside of the walls of the synagogue. Makom in the Home seeks to continue the Adas tradition of learning Torah in the inner walls of congregants’ homes. We will seek to add new groups to the already thriving chavurot, expanding the reach of the conversations that begin in the Biran Beit Midrash @Adas. Contact Marcy Spiro to get connected with a learning group.

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Downtown Study
Join Adas community members for a kosher lunch and meaningful, relevant text study once a month on Tuesdays at a convenient downtown location. These sessions are led by Rabbis Holtzblatt, Alexander, and Krinsky, on a rotating basis. For more information please be in touch with Joel Fischman.

 
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Weekday Torah with Sisterhood
Weekday Torah with Sisterhood is an engaging approach to traditional Hebrew text study that offers participants the opportunity to study and discuss challenging texts and ideas. Classes are monthly, except in the summer, and usually meet on the second or third Tuesday of the month. Students of all levels and backgrounds are welcome. For more information, please contact Marilyn Cooper.

 
Sun, October 20 2019 21 Tishrei 5780