(Miami, March 6, 2016)—“Openness breeds compassion. It fosters understanding and enhances our ability to properly relate to one another,” says Rabbi Asher Crispe, founder and executive director of Interinclusion. Rabbi Crispe is working on a new project—a series of short, focused publications called “Interinclusion Shorts” that will function, he explains, as “a brief burst of knowledge and abbreviated crash course on the most pressing and urgent topics in the Jewish world today.” These shorts are intended to deepen discussion around particular issues and to be informative to both educators and students.
Targum Shlishi is helping to support the first publication in the series, which will address Gender Theory and in particular will explore constructions of gender and how they affect the reading of classical Torah texts as well the misinterpretations of those texts by many traditionalists. There is a need for this topic because there is a disconnect between the sophisticated understanding of gender theory in much of today’s world—including our universities—and the standard teaching of Torah and traditional Jewish texts.
As Rabbi Crispe explains, “we are hearing the complaint that rabbis and Jewish teachers often lack the background in gender theory to decode many of the more controversial and socio-political charged statements in the greater body of Jewish and Torah literature with sufficient sensitivity to the nuances of the Jew in the modern world.”
The intended audience for the shorts is rabbis, educators, community leaders, and students.
“While Gender Theory may not on the surface appear to be a natural fit for this audience, the need is increasing constantly,” says Aryeh Rubin, director of Targum Shlishi. “Issues surrounding gender and sexuality are part of an important discourse in our society at large—we are witnessing a degree of honesty and of progress around these issues that most of us have not experienced in our lifetimes. At the same time, however, in the traditional Jewish world there is little awareness or recognition of these issues. We applaud Rabbi Crispe for his willingness to move the dialogue forward.”
Rabbi Crispe expects that the first short will be ready for distribution in spring 2016.
Interinclusion is a project of The Institute for Jewish Thought and Culture, founded in 2006 and located in Danby, Vermont. Since its inception, the Institute has sought to celebrate Jewish diversity and accomplishment through an exploration of the indelible impression that Jews and Judaism have made on every field of the arts and sciences. This was done primarily though lectures throughout the world. In 2011, the organization launched Interinclusion.org as a multi-layered online educational initiative further exploring the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. The goal is to educate, inspire and engage an ever growing, highly energized, interactive online community with hundreds of articles including topics as diverse as neuroscience, film theory, interior design, quantum physics, and psychology—all through the lens of the inner dimensions of the Torah. The organization also opened a Jewish retreat center in Danby, Vermont in 2015 to provide its constituency with more opportunities for more face-to-face interactions. For more information, visit its website: http://www.interinclusion.org/
About Targum Shlishi
Targum Shlishi is dedicated to providing a range of creative solutions to problems facing Jewry today. Premised on the conviction that dynamic change and adaptation have historically been crucial to a vibrant and relevant Judaism and to the survival of its people, Targum Shlishi’s initiatives are designed to stimulate the development of new ideas and innovative strategies that will enable Jewish life, its culture, and its traditions to continue to flourish. For more information on the foundation, visit its website at www.targumshlishi.org. Follow Aryeh Rubin, Targum Shlishi’s director, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Aryeh5.