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Rabbis Behaving Badly: Stories of the Talmud
Tuesday, September 6, 2022 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am
An event every week that begins at 10:00 am on Tuesday, repeating until Tuesday, September 20, 2022
While we often place the rabbis on a moral pedestal, the Talmud is filled with humanizing stories in which the rabbis sometimes get it wrong. In this 3-part master class, we’ll dive into the agadaot (stories) of the Talmud and explore the ways in which the Rabbis struggle to get it right, just like the rest of us.
Session 1 (Tuesday September 6, 2022): The Lure of Temptation
In this session, we’ll explore several stories in which the rabbis struggle to resist the urge of sexual temptation. We’ll see them try to resist the yetzer hara (the evil inclination), sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing, as they figure out how to survive in a world of temptation.
Session 2 (Tuesday September 13, 2022): We All Make Mistakes
In this session, we’ll see two of our greatest leaders go head-to-head in a duel to be right. As Rabban Gamliel wrestles to reconcile arrogance with humility and the need to be right with the willingness to be wrong, we’ll use these stories to reflect on our abilities to admit when we’ve made a mistake and rectify our actions.
Session 3 (Tuesday September 20, 2022): Making Amends
In this final session, we’ll look at several stories in which great scholars fall prey to sinful behavior. What happens when a leader makes a grave moral mistake? Can we still learn from them? Should they continue to serve the community as moral exemplars? Through these stories, we’ll explore what happens when leaders get it wrong and if/how they should be allowed to resume positions of authority.
Rabbi Avi Strausberg is the Director of National Learning Initiatives at Hadar, and is based in Washington, DC. She received her rabbinic ordination from Hebrew College in Boston and is a Wexner Graduate Fellow. She also holds a Masters in Jewish Education. Energized by engaging creatively with Jewish text, she has written several theatre pieces inspired by the Torah and maintains a Daf Yomi haiku blog in which she writes daily Talmudic haikus.
CSP Partners: Beth Israel (San Diego, CA), Brotherhood Synagogue (Gramercy Park, NYC), Congregation Beth Shalom (Seattle, WA), Congregation B’nai Tzedek (Fountain Valley, CA), Congregation B’nai Israel (Tustin, CA), Jewish Collaborative of Orange County, CA, Shomrei Torah Synagogue (San Fernando Valley, CA), Temple Bat Yahm (Newport Beach, CA), Temple Beth El of South Orange County (Aliso Viejo, CA), Temple Beth Emet (Anaheim, CA), Temple Beth Ohr (La Mirada, CA), Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA), Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA), Temple Beth Sholom (Santa Ana, CA), Temple Emanuel (Newton, MA), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY), University Synagogue (Irvine, CA), Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA) & Walnut Street Synagogue (Chelsea, MA)