Yeshiva University, Lecture Series and Podcasts by Rabbi Dr. Nachman Cohen, New York
Twelve lectures delivered by Rabbi Dr. Nachman Cohen 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). “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 Encyclopediainvestigate the weltanshauung of R. Yochanan and Reish Lakish.” Nachman Cohen is director of Torah Lishmah Institute, founding rabbi and spiritual leader of Young Israel Ohab Zedek of North Riverdale/Yonkers, and chairman of the Board of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists. He is also a research professor at RIETS and adjunct professor at the Azrieli Graduate School of Yeshiva University. He has been a dean and Rosh Yeshiva for over forty years. All twelve lectures are available as free downloads from YU Torah Online.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Mentally Insufficient Day Center, Djerba, Tunisia
On the Tunisian island of Djerba, home to the oldest continuous Jewish settlements in the world that have preserved a traditional way of life, mentally impaired individuals—local Arab Muslims, Jews, and Berbers alike—now enjoy new possibilities thanks to a recently established therapeutic and vocational training farm. In cooperation with the Tunisian National Federation of Charities (UTSS), with the support of Christian groups in Europe, and significantly assisted by the Jewish doctor of Djerba, the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) underwrote the purchase the 11,100-square-meter farm in the fall of 2008. Since then these handicapped adolescents, their families and disabled older workers have been working to renovate the farm buildings, plant trees, install an irrigation system, and expand a burgeoning program of animal husbandry. Led by a dynamic, entrepreneurial director, the farm now employs twenty disabled adults, provides vocational training to twenty more individuals, and provides fifty children with regular therapeutic interaction with the animals. The farm includes sheep, chicken, fruit trees, a greenhouse that is under construction, a ceramics workshop currently being installed, and there are plans for growth into other areas, such as an equestrian center. According to Yechiel Bar-Chaim, the JDC’s country director for Tunisia, the project’s goal is both to offer new opportunities to disabled individuals to develop their potential and “to demonstrate in a tangible way how the three separate and distinct faith communities can overcome what divides them in order to show mutual concern and support for the most vulnerable.”
Mechon Hadar, Minyan Resource Guide, New York
Many young American Jews are disconnected from Judaism and/or from traditional Jewish institutions. New York–based Mechon Hadar seeks to address this issue through the development of the Minyan Resource Guide, an online resource guide to assist Jews who are seeking spiritual expression through new, independent minyanim. The Minyan Resource Guide is a how-to starter kit for grassroots prayer communities. The guide has three major components: content resources to help facilitate lay-led services, halakhic options guidance to help independent minyanim formulate policies, and policy guidance papers that address policy decisions most minyanim face. In its early months, the resource guide was used by independent minyanim across the country, with thousands of visitors to the website.
Areyvut, Jewish Teen Philanthropy Program: Helping Organizations Provide Essentials, Bergen County, New Jersey
Targum Shlishi supported the program H.O.P.E. (Helping Organizations Provide Essentials), Areyvut’s Jewish Teen Philanthropy Program at Yeshivat Noam in Bergen County, New Jersey. The goal of the program was to provide sixth- and seventh-grade students with the opportunity to learn about philanthropy, its impact, and the meaning of giving Jewishly. The students determined two nonprofit organizations to support after reviewing grant requests and meeting with potential grantees from several organizations, and presented a total of $1,000 to the recipient organizations, The Friendship Circle (a Chabad-affiliated nonprofit that helps families of children with special needs) and Habitat for Humanity. Students were also provided with opportunities to actively volunteer at other organizations. A non-profit organization established in 2002, Areyvut offers Jewish day schools, educators, synagogues, and community centers unique opportunities to empower and enrich youth by creating innovative and meaningful programs that make the core Jewish values—chesed (kindness), tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam (social action)—a reality.
Targum Shlishi and Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education, Teacher Excellence and Creativity Award, Miami
Seven teachers in Jewish educational institutions in Miami have been awarded the Targum Shlishi Teacher Excellence and Creativity Award for 2009, with an $1,800 award to be applied to a continuing education opportunity. Targum Shlishi initiated the annual Teacher Excellence and Creativity Award four years ago. The award recognizes select Miami day school, congregational school, and early childhood teachers for their contributions towards promoting excellence and creativity in their respective schools. The award is administered by the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE) Miami, which received a $50,000, five-year grant from Targum Shlishi to promote and recognize Jewish educational leadership in the Greater Miami Jewish community. The seven recipients of the 2009 awards are: Paul Azaroff, Florence Melton Adult Mini School; Rabbi Lauren Berkun, Hartman Scholar of South Florida, Florence Melton Adult Mini School, Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center; Candy Brook, Hochberg Preparatory Day School; Daniel Dreyfuss, Rohr Middle School; Yardena Kameli, Congregation Bet Breira Schimmel-Binder Religious School; Chaya Tamir, Samuel Scheck Hillel Community Day School/Henrietta Scheck Middle School; and Yanet Zalcberg, Temple Beth Am Day School.
Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis, Conference, Waltham, MA
Over two hundred Jewish educators attended a conference at Brandeis University in January, 2009 titled Teaching Rabbinic Literature: Bridging Scholarship and Pedagogy. The event was organized by the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis, with the goal of bringing together Jewish studies professors, rabbis and day school teachers in order to encourage interaction and exchange of ideas between the different groups. The conference, which is a follow-up to a 2005 Mandel Center conference on teaching the Bible, included sessions on teaching rabbinic literature in a multitude of settings, including day schools, adult education settings, rabbinical schools and synagogues. Targum Shlishi is funding a post-conference publication in order to disseminate the ideas and innovations explored during the proceedings. Both the conference and the forthcoming publication seek to promote interaction among Jewish education colleagues and help bridge the divide between schools, synagogues, universities, and yeshivot.
Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education, Miami Jewish Film Festival 2009, Miami
The ten-day-long Miami Jewish Film Festival typically screens more than forty Jewish-themed features, documentaries, and short films from around the world. The festival focuses on international movies that are artistically significant, touch on some aspect of the Jewish experience, and speak to the diverse Jewish community. The films have included many Academy-Award nominated features that otherwise might never have been shown in South Florida. Screenings are often accompanied by special programs, such as discussions with producers, directors, and actors. The Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE) organizes the festival. In 2009 Targum Shlishi sponsored the film The Seven Days (Shiva), a portrait of a Moroccan family mourning the death of a brother, set in 1991 in the middle of the Gulf War.
Targum Shlishi, Website Archive for Rabbi Dr. Irving (Yitz) Greenberg, Miami
Targum Shlishi is working on a multi-year project with Rabbi Dr. Irving (Yitz) Greenberg, a leading modern Orthodox rabbi, to create an online archive for more than two hundred lectures that Greenberg has delivered over the course of his fifty-year career as a seminal thinker and activist in the Jewish world. The website will be a valuable resource for those familiar with Greenberg’s work and will also introduce him to a new generation. In addition to audio lectures, selected writings will be posted on the site. Greenberg’s distinguished career includes major, original, and at times controversial contributions in the areas of Holocaust studies and Christian-Jewish relations. He has headed several major Jewish institutions along with a long commitment to university teaching. He was ordained at Yeshiva Beis Yosef in 1953 and received a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. Greenberg is the founding president emeritus of CLAL – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership as well as president emeritus of Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation (JLN). Among the initiatives in which Greenberg had a major role were the creation of Birthright Israel, the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE), and MAKOR.
Update: While 2009 was a year of development, the website later went online and can be found at
Museum of Biblical Art, Tobi Kahn: Sacred Spaces for the 21st Century, New York, NY
The exhibition Tobi Kahn: Sacred Spaces for the 21st Century was on view at the Museum of Biblical Art from October 16, 2009 through January 24, 2010. The exhibition brought together recent projects by leading contemporary artist Tobi Kahn. The works on view focused on the theme of sacred space, a topic Kahn has explored throughout his artistic career. The exhibition included paintings, sculpture, ceremonial objects, and furniture that, according to the museum curatorial materials, “represented an exploration of the divine presence as an abstract, incorporeal, infinite force that can nonetheless be made manifest in the material world.” The exhibition was accompanied by a scholarly catalogue; more than five thousand visitors viewed the show, and many private organizations scheduled tours.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Mobile Website, New York
Targum Shlishi is supporting an initiative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) to create a mobile version of its website to be compatible with smartphones and mobile devices. The foundation’s grant will support the design and production of the website, creating a more user-friendly experience for those accessing the site via mobile devices. JTA is the global news service of the Jewish people, reaching millions through syndication to community newspapers, its website, e-mail news products, and more.
Orthodox Union, OU Job Board Employment Program Webinars, North America
2009 that provided training and guidance to unemployed and financially stressed people throughout North America and beyond. The two webinars were: The Credit Meltdown – Practical Solutions (September 22, 2008) and Starting a Business in Today’s Economy: What YOU Need to Know! (February 10, 2009). The OU Job Board brings employment services and support to jobless people in the Jewish community, including job listings, guidance, and social services. The webinars, presented by noted experts, allowed people to receive information and training from the privacy of their homes and, because they are archived online, they can be viewed for months after their initial posting. The need for online employment resources is evidenced by the growing number of visitors to OU Job Board’s website, which increased from 60,000 visitors per month in September 2008 to 130,000 per month in March 2009. The OU Job Board will continue to offer additional webinars along with its other programs designed to creatively bring support and employment to Jewish people experiencing financial difficulties.
Lookstein Center at Bar Ilan University, Enhancing Jewish Education in the Baltic States
In 2009 Targum Shlishi continued its support of the Lookstein Center’s work in the Baltics. There are four Jewish day schools in the Baltic region, none of which have effective Jewish Studies programs. The Lookstein Center is working to improve Jewish Studies education at these schools by creating a training program that will address curricular materials and pedagogical skills. Why the Baltics? In 1930 the region (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia) was home to almost 200,000 Jews. Today, the Jewish population is approximately 23,500. Members of the small Jewish population remaining in this once-thriving region are in general not well educated Jewishly, but are eager to learn.
The Jewish Week, The Conversation: Jewish in America, New York
Organized by The Jewish Week, a New York–based independent community newspaper, in partnership with the Center for Leadership Initiatives, this annual conference assembles approximately sixty American Jews from a wide range of professions who are established in their fields. The purpose: to discuss the significance of being Jewish in the twenty-first century and speculate on the future of Jewish life in the United States. Among the participants in the 2009 event were: Joshua Elkin, rabbi and executive director of PEJE; author Abigail Pogrebin; Elie Kaunfer, rabbi and executive director of Mechon Hadar; Shmuley Boteach, rabbi and author; and Alana Newhouse, editor of Tablet magazine.
Jewish Spiritual Literacy, Inc., Jew Tube, Baltimore
With Targum Shlishi’s support, Jewish Spiritual Literacy, headed by Rabbi Alexander Seinfeld, created a youtube channel and four experimental educational videos developed to deliver meaningful Jewish content. The foundations’ grant, distributed in 2008 and 2009. helped the organization purchase the equipment and software necessary to produce the videos. Although the videos were aimed at children, they received an immediate positive response from teachers, who found them to be valuable classroom tools. Additionally, other Jewish organizations and outreach groups found the videos to be impactful and began partnering with Jewish Spiritual Literacy. The videos grew out of the recently developed interactive website created by the organization, which Targum Shlishi also supported. The website builds on The Art of Amazement, Rabbi Seinfeld’s 2003 book describing the unique instructional method he developed to teach Judaism.
SLS Art Academy, Instruction Art Classes for Children, Miami Beach
Targum Shlishi’s support helped with start-up costs and to keep tuition fees down for a new initiative offering art classes to young Jewish children on Miami Beach. Founded and taught by highly accomplished professional artists, the SLS Art Academy is dedicated to encouraging creativity and exposing children to the arts.
Targum Shlishi, Grants for Dissertations in Judaic Studies, Miami
Seven doctoral students in four countries have received grants from Targum Shlishi of $2,500 each to support their dissertation work on subjects related to Judaic Studies. The topics of the students’ research range widely, from the history of Jewish communities in Central Europe to an investigation of the work of the philosopher Franz Rosenzweig to the need to reform Jewish education in the United States. This is the third year that Targum Shlishi has offered this grant, which is available to doctoral students whose dissertation research is related to Judaic Studies. The grant award recipients are:
- Levi Cooper, The Munkatcher Rebbe, Rabbi Chaim Elazar Shapira: The Hasidic Posek – Image and Approach, Bar Ilan University (Jewish Law)
- Leon Wiener Dow, Constructing a Rosenzweigian Approach to Halacha, Bar Ilan University (Philosophy)
- Nechama (Sonya) Hadari, The Rabbinic Understanding(s) of Human Will as it Relates to the Halakhic Requirement for a Man to Divorce his Wife “Willingly,” Manchester University (Jewish Studies, Agunah Research Unit)
- David Horowitz, Fractures and Fissures in Jewish Communal Autonomy in Hamburg and Altona, 1750-1811, Columbia University (History)
- Peter Kash, Student Satisfaction: Who is the Consumer in Jewish Education? Yeshiva University (Azrieli Graduate School)
- Johanna Lehr, What it Means to be a Jew in Resistance: Jewish Studies and Education in France (1940-1962), Sorbonne (Political Science)
- Raz Segal, Embittered Legacies: Genocide in Subcarpathian Rus’, Clark University (Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies)
Targum Shlishi and Devora Publishing, Jewish Sages of Today: Profiles of Extraordinary People, Miami
Jewish Sages of Today: Profiles of Extraordinary People, edited by Aryeh Rubin, founder and director of Targum Shlishi, contains in-depth profiles of twenty-seven accomplished individuals dedicated to improving the Jewish world. Targum Shlishi co-published the book in collaboration with Devora Publishing. The foundation also organized a campaign to mail the book out to hundreds of rabbis and educators in the field of Jewish Studies. The book hopes to inspire readers through the examples of these remarkable people and help to stimulate change in terms of Jewish leadership. Currently, Targum Shlishi is working to produce both a companion website and a curriculum for students in grades seven through twelve. The website will supplement the book by including work by each of the individuals profiled, such as audio and video of lectures and music performances, images of art, and book chapters, along with audio excerpts from interviews conducted for the book and links to relevant websites and web resources.
Update: While 2009 was a year of development, the website later went online and can be found at