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Scholar-In-Residence Weekend with Rabbi Dana Evan Kaplan

Friday, March 19, 2021 - Sunday, March 21, 2021


Dana Evan Kaplan is Rabbi of Temple Beth Shalom of the West Valley in Sun City, Arizona.   He was ordained as a rabbi by Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem. He holds a Ph.D. in American Jewish history from Tel Aviv University. He has led congregations in the United States, Jamaica, South Africa, Australia, and Israel, and has taught in several colleges and universities. Kaplan has written numerous articles and academic papers on a diverse range of topics relating to Judaism, and participates in various programs, think tanks, and conferences to understand the history and theology of Judaism and to discuss ways to reinterpret it as a vibrant religion for the twenty-first century. He has written three books, The New Reform Judaism (Jewish Publication Society), Contemporary American Judaism: Transformation and Renewal (Columbia University Press), and American Reform Judaism: An Introduction (Rutgers University Press) and edited four volumes: A Life of Meaning: Embracing Reform Judaism’s Sacred Path (CCAR Press) as well as of The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism (Cambridge University Press), Platforms and Prayer Books (Rowman and Littlefield), and Contemporary Debates in American Reform Judaism (Routledge).

****Please RSVP for each session using its individualized Zoom Registration Link found below each bullet point. Please note, Virtual Erev Shabbat Services are streaming on YouTube and do not require an RSVP.*****

Friday, March 19, 2021

  • 6:15pm Virtual Erev Shabbat Service with Sermon: ‘Parashat Vayikra – The Role of Ritual in our Lives as Reform Jews and as Human Beings’
  • 7:30pm-9:00pm Virtual Post Oneg Study Session:‘A Life of Meaning: Changing How We Think About God’ (Zoom) Most of us no longer see God the way that our ancestors did. If we are looking for God to be a particular thing, a particular type of being, such as the old man with a long white beard, then we are going to be disappointed. The Enlightenment has brought many new approaches to thinking about God, including deistic, pantheistic, panentheistic, just to mention a few. We will discuss four main ways of seeing God and describe how populist religious meaning might lie within all four conceptions. Yet, it may be more effective for our purposes to focus more on the challenge of building a relationship with God than defining what we mean about God. We might think of God as a process instead of a being. One of our aims should be to discover historical and cultural truth and use it to obtain a God concept that moves us emotionally.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Sunday, March 21, 2021

  • 4:00pm-5:30pm Virtual Learning Opportunity: ‘A Life of Meaning: Praying with Purpose and Meaning’ (Zoom) There are multiple ways to approach prayer that can nurture spirituality without making us feel uncomfortable. Perhaps making prayer more accessible involves developing workable conceptions of God and a coherent understanding of the purpose of religion in the context of nurturing spirituality. Prayer can make more sense as something that we can do without compromising our intellectual principles and core beliefs that modern assumptions about supposedly supernatural activities are deeply problematic. When it works, prayer can enable us to make our religious ideas concrete. Being able to see religious activity – including praying – in fresh ways, we have a better chance of breaking through our hard shells of jaded expectations.

This program is made possible in part by the Bonnie Graff Scholar-in-Residence Fund Presented by Adult Education Committee


Friday, March 19, 2021
Sunday, March 21, 2021
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CA United States


Adult Education