Amy Scheinerman, a Jewish scholar and rabbi who is known for making ancient Jewish texts relevant in today’s world, will spend the weekend of Feb. 19-21 at Temple Beth El.
Jonathan Freirich, associate rabbi of Temple Beth El, has known Scheinerman for several years and regularly uses her “Ten Minutes of Talmud” teaching material to spark conversations about Judaism.
“She can take a complicated idea that might even be a full doctoral dissertation on four words in a Jewish text and use easy-to-access language and present the ideas in a way that’s accessible and relevant,” Freirich said.
Scheinerman, who is the hospice rabbi in Howard County, Md., and teaches in a variety of venues, will offer several sessions throughout the weekend, each on a topic that she has chosen. Her visit is part of the Sadie Levin Scholar-in-Residence program at Temple Beth El.
Here is Scheinerman’s schedule at Temple Beth El:
▪ Feb. 19: Scheinerman will present “Ancient Wisdom for Modern Relationships: Building a Better Us” at 6 p.m. Shabbat Worship in the Blumenthal Sanctuary of Temple Beth El.
▪ Feb. 20: In “Religious Fanaticism,” Scheinerman will talk about Jewish traditions that warn of the dangers of extremism. The session will begin at 9 a.m. in the Archer Chapel at Temple Beth El.
▪ Feb. 21: At 11 a.m., Scheinerman will lead the session “The Rabbis’ Radical Views of God” and discuss sages’ struggles with relationships, emotions, and moral choices, and how their ideas of an imperfect God helped create models for human behavior. The brunch discussion will be held in the Levine Social Hall at Temple Beth El.
Freirich said Scheinerman has an “unbelievable encyclopedic knowledge” of ancient Jewish texts -- including the Talmud, which can fill up to 70 large volumes in English translation -- that is the foundation of her teaching.
She has chosen topics for her visit to Temple Beth El that should be interesting to everyone, regardless of people’s faith affiliation.
“She says, ‘These people who wrote this text 1,500 or 2,500 years ago are grappling with the same problems we have today,” Freirich said. “We can enter into their conversation as a way of expanding our own conversations.”
Problems that people struggle with have not changed over the centuries, whether they are wondering “what to do with love” or how to find a profession, he said.
Scheinerman usually takes questions throughout her presentations. Her presentations are open to the public.
“She will be reflecting on Jewish texts,” he said, “but the questions are universal.”
For more information about Temple Beth El, visit http://templebethel.org. The temple is located at 5101 Providence Road.
Marty Minchin is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.