May 1, 2012 – Targum Shlishi has recently helped support three very different projects: an initiative to create a series of twelve podcasts exploring significant themes in the Talmudic disputes between R. Yochanan and Reish Lakish, a project to provide pastoral care in healthcare settings in Israel, and the Judaic Studies Spring 2012 Lecture Series at Florida International University. Despite their differences, all three initiatives have significant commonalities. All are innovative, creative, and provide a product or service that otherwise would not exist in the community. In addition, in all three cases, modest support made a major difference for the organizations receiving the funding. “At Targum Shlishi we seek out projects like these in terms of being creative, imaginative initiatives in which our relatively small donation can yield major gains for the organizations. All three of these projects have the potential of impacting large audiences in positive ways, and all are singular projects in their own right,” explains Aryeh Rubin, founder and director of Targum Shlishi.
Podcasts Exploring Talmudic Disputes
Twelve lectures delivered by Rabbi Dr. Nachman Cohen of Yeshiva University and the Torah Lishmah Institute exploring significant themes in the Talmudic disputes between R. Yochanan and Reish Lakish were produced in podcast form with the support of Targum Shlishi. The lectures complement Cohen’s Encyclopedia of Talmudic Disputes and Perspectives: R. Yochanan and Reish Lakish (volumes 3 and 4, Torah Lishmah Institute, available for purchase through the Institute). “It is the goal of the Encyclopedia to study the jurisprudential perspectives of the rabbis of the Talmud through an in-depth study of their legal and aggadic statements,” explains Cohen. “These lectures and the corresponding volumes of the Encyclopedia investigate the weltanshauungof R. Yochanan and Reish Lakish.” The series of lectures develops the theme that R. Yochanan’s perspective was that of a tzaddik from birth who had an encyclopedic mind while Reish Lakish was a ba’al teshuvah and an out-of-the-box thinker. Nachman Cohen is director of Torah Lishmah Institute, founding rabbi of Young Israel Ohab Zedek of North Riverdale/Yonkers, chairman of the Board of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists, and an adjunct professor at the Azrieli Graduate School of Yeshiva University. All twelve lectures are available as free downloads from YU Torah Online, www.yutorah.org.
Pastoral Care in Israel
Kashouvot is a pioneer organization whose mission is to introduce pastoral care (also called chaplaincy or spiritual support) in Israel, working in settings including hospital, hospice, palliative care, and nursing homes. Based in Jerusalem, Kashouvot provides pastoral care for individuals of all faiths and their families. Its chaplains assist people in coping with the transitions of aging, illness, death, and grief as well as indentifying areas of joy and growth. The organization works toward “refuat hanefesh,” healing of the spirit, and presents an engaging, compassionate, relevant face of Judaism for patients across the Jewish religious spectrum. It also facilitates opportunities for patients of all backgrounds to connect to the texts, prayers, and rituals of their own faiths. Pastoral care provides people with the opportunity to ask questions such as:
How can I make my remaining time most meaningful?
What is the purpose of prayer if I know I am not going to be cured?
What does my religion say about what happens after death?
This organization is one of the first to adapt the originally American, Christian-based model of pastoral care, recently adapted to Jewish needs in the U.S., to an Israeli population. Targum Shlishi’s support allowed Kashouvot to create essential materials—a website and a digital presentation—that will help establish its presence and attract the notice of potential funders, hospitals, and other clients.Kashouvot is led by rabbis Valerie Stessin and Miriam Berkowitz. Rabbi Stessin was the first woman ordained by the Masorti movement in Israel in 1993. She worked at the TALI Education Fund for fifteen years, she is the chair-woman of Yaltha, the group of the Masorti Women Rabbis, and she is the part-time coordinator of Kehillat Shira Hadasha in Jerusalem. Rabbi Berkowitz is the director of the pre-rabbinic track at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem, provides pastoral counseling at the French Hospital, and is the author of Taking the Plunge: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to the Mikveh. For more information about Kashouvot, visit its website at http://www.kashouvot.org/.
Spring 2012 Judaic Studies Program Lecture Series, Florida International University
The Spring 2012 Judaic Studies Program Lecture Series at Florida International University featured an event almost every week of the spring semester from the beginning of February on. The talks ranged widely in topics. Highlights included:
David Menashri, one of Israel’s foremost authorities on Iran, leading a seminar on contemporary Israeli-Iranian relations.
Damian Setton’s lecture Transformations in the Argentinean Jewish Community: The Rise of New Social Actors.
Calvin Goldscheider’s lecture Ethnicity and Religion in Israeli Society: Why it Matters in America.
Screening of the film Dolphin Boy followed by a discussion with the film’s producer Judith Manassen-Ramon and FIU’s Maria Pienkowski, both doctoral candidates in Psychology.
A discussion between former US Senator and Ambassador Richard Stone and a panel of FIU experts on the implications of cleaning up the Jordan River .
The Judaic Studies Program at Florida International University educates university students and faculty and the general South Florida community about Jewish history, culture, religion, literature, political science, and international relations; students can pursue a Certificate in Judaic Studies. For more information about the Judaic Studies program, visit its website at http://judaic.fiu.edu/.
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.