Virtual Open House this Monday!

Students and parents! Interested in learning more about study at the mighty Avenue J campus of Touro College in Flatbush? Please join me in our Virtual Open House on Monday, January 11 at 7 pm!

I’ll present some essential information on our academic programs and provide the basics on Financial Aid, Scholarships, and our very popular Israel Option program. We’ll send you a link to the webinar and you can participate from the comfort of your home.

I look forward to meeting you!

Please click here to RSVP.

Please share with interested parties!

Support Alexander’s Marathon Bid!

Hey, my son Alexander is training to run in the Miami Marathon next month to raise funds for Friendship Center. This is a really great cause and I believe in it: they do fantastic work with kids with disabilities, with special emphasis on helping them develop social skills.  Please check out his donation page https://miami.teamfriendship.org/Alex, and I even made this little video of Alexander discussing his aspirations.

MONDAY NIGHT: FINAL LECTURE OF THE SEMESTER

We’ll be looking at the life and work of Rabbi Chaim Vital (1542-1620), the principal disciple of the great Kabbalist, Rabbi Isaac Luria (the Arizal). Three days after the death of his master, Rabbi Vital received a vision in a dream that consumed his scholarly life for decades: preserving the mystical heritage of the great Safed tradition.

We’ll be meeting as usual in the main auditorium of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences, Touro College, 1602 Avenue J, Brooklyn NY 11230.

Lecture begins at 7:00 pm promptly and is free of charge.

A community project of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences.

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Who Was Uriel da Costa?

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Living under the Portuguese Inquisition, Uriel da Costa (1583-1640) fled with his family to Amsterdam to reclaim his Jewish heritage. Tragically, the years of attempting to reconstruct authentic Judaism under the scrutiny of a zealous Church led him, like many crypto-Jews of his generation, to basic misunderstandings about the fundamental ideas and practices of his ancestral religion.  A combination of a personal struggle with mental illness and an inability to accept the discrepancy between his imagined Judaism and the way it was actually practiced led him to become an outspoken critic of Jewish leadership as he wandered between Amsterdam, Hamburg and Utrecht. He was censured with repeated excommunication, and ultimately took his own life in 1640 after penning a brief autobiographical statement cataloguing his inner spiritual conflict. His writings are brief and confused, but they had a significant impact on the work of Baruch Spinoza, whose own conflict with traditional Judaism paralleled da Costa’s in many ways.

Image: from Henryk Berlewi’s book cover to a 1931 Kultur-lige biography of da Costa.

Click here for the Prezi associated with this lecture.

Tonight: Uriel da Costa, 7 pm

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Tonight’s Jewish History lecture will focus on the life and thought of Uriel da Costa, a tragic figure whose brief autobiography, “Example of a Human Life,” describes the psychic pain and spiritual loss felt by Jewish victims of the Spanish Inquisition, even generations after the expulsion of 1492. His thought had a major impact on later thinkers including Baruch Spinoza, depicted in this imaginary scene by Samuel Hirszenberg (1888) as a child on da Costa’s knee.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

1602 Avenue J, Brooklyn NY 11230. Lecture is free and open to the community.

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Who Was Dona Gracia Nasi?

Lecture on the life and work of Dona Gracia Nasi (also known as Beatrice de Luna Mendes), a heroic Jewish woman of the 16th century. Fleeing the Inquisition in Portugal, she used her considerable wealth and courage to spirit converso Jews out of Europe to refuge in Ottoman lands.

Here’s the Prezi for this lecture:http://prezi.com/ezegvhtrjraf/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

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