The Disputes Between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel by Rabbi Dr. Nachman Cohen
The Disputes Between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel, the seventh and eighth volumes of The Encyclopedia of Talmudic Disputes and Perspectives, is presently being prepared for publication by Rabbi Dr. Nachman Cohen as part of his Talmud and Midrash Project. The more than three hundred disputes between the Houses represent virtually the oldest Talmudic disputes. An understanding of how and why they developed will help scholars and laymen better understand the nature and ramifications of disputes throughout the Talmud. Cohen is the founder and director of Torah Lishmah Institute, and he is also a research professor at RIETS and adjunct professor at the Azrieli Graduate School of Yeshiva University. He is the founding rabbi of Young Israel Ohab Zedek of North Riverdale/Yonkers, and is chairman of the Board of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists. Among many other accomplishments, he has been a dean and Rosh Yeshiva for over forty years. He is the author of the highly acclaimed Master a Mesikhta Series, Mirrors of Eternity, Esther’s Plea, The Historical Haggadah, A Time for all Things, and Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Beyond.
YU School Partnership, MaDYK (Mivchan Dinami shel Y’cholot Kriah), New York
Targum Shlishi is helping to support efforts around a significant new Hebrew literacy assessment tool for students learning Hebrew as a second language. MaDYK (Mivchan Dinami shel Y’cholot Kriah), developed by researchers at Yeshiva University’s Institute for University-School Partnership (the YU School Partnership), helps educators screen students to determine how best to support each child. Research has shown that early literacy is one of the best predictors of future academic and social success. In Jewish day schools, where students in early grades are taught to read English and Hebrew, literacy in both languages is critical, with the foundation for literacy established during students’ earliest years. The assessment has been used in twenty-eight schools for students in first and second grades since it was launched in 2010. In 2013–14, additional measures are being piloted to include oral reading fluency for third grade students and letter identification for kindergarten and first grade students. In America today, the majority of the Jewish population does not speak or understand Hebrew and, increasingly, cannot read it. Developing a standardized tool like MaDYK is an important step in assessing student achievement and ultimately advancing Hebrew literacy. The YU School Partnership aims to support Jewish day schools so that students receive an excellent and sustainable education.
Piyut North America, Piyut Project (Jewish Sacred Music), various U.S. cities
Piyut North America launched the Piyut Project in January 2013 to bring to New York, Boston, and San Francisco ten pilot programs geared to young adults by connecting the music of Piyut with activities that go beyond synagogue walls to appeal to that age group, such as music festivals, yoga, and meditation. Piyut is the global music of the Jewish people, first composed in Israel nearly two thousand years ago and now a living tradition, especially for those from Spain, North Africa, Iran, and Iraq. The melodies, which began as sacred poetry, a way to set holy texts to music, are now seen as a new method of relating to prayer and a powerful way to bring people together. Piyut North America takes its cue from the way in which Piyut has swept Israel in the past decade, becoming a national music with annual music festivals, recordings by Israeli rock stars, and even new crossover music.
Targum Shlishi, Ten Dissertation Grants Awarded for Diverse Range of Scholarship, Miami, FL
Targum Shlishi has awarded ten grants to support research for dissertations on topics related to Jewish Studies to ten doctoral students from the United States, Israel, and Germany. This is the seventh year that Targum Shlishi has funded dissertation research. Topics within and related to Jewish Studies vary widely in both subject matter and field of study, as reflected in the grants awarded. Four grants of $2,500 and six grants of $1,000 were awarded.
The awardees receiving grants of $2,500 are: Nahum Ben-Yehuda, The Production of Flax-Linen in Light of Talmudic Literature, Bar Ilan University (Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology Department); Amit Gvaryahu, Usury and Currency in Rabbinic Literature, The Hebrew University (Talmud Department); Schneur Zalman Newfield, Reproducing the Sacred: Communal Continuity and Change in Contemporary Lubavitch Society, New York University (Sociology Department); and Avinoam Paul Sharon, Elu hanisrafin: A Critical Edition and Comparative Law Analysis of Chapter Nine of the Babylonian Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America (Talmud).
Students receiving grants of $1,000 are: Yedida Eisenstat, Rashi Reconsidered: How the Torah Commentary is an Expression of the Twelfth Century Renaissance, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America (Midrash and Scriptural Interpretation); Melanie Hembera, The Shoah in the District of Cracow in the General Government: The City of Tarnów as a Case Study, University of Heidelberg (Department of History); Markus Krah, Turning a Lost World Into a Usable Past: How American Jews at Mid-Twentieth Century Reinvented Their East European History, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America (Modern Jewish Studies Department); Akhmad Sahal, Religious Law and State in Israel and Egypt: Isaac Breuer’s Torah State and Rashid Rida’s Caliphate State, University of Pennsylvania (Department of Religious Studies); David Sclar, “He will Bloom like a Cedar in Lebanon”: Heresy and Heroism in the Life and “After-Life”of Moses Hayim Luzzatto, City University of New York Graduate Center (History Department); and Rebecca Scharbach Wollenberg, “And They Became the People of the Book”: Tracing the Turn to Text in Medieval Jewish Genres, University of Chicago Divinity School (Committee on History of Religions).
Tulane Hillel, Innovative Evaluative Initiative, New Orleans, LA
Targum Shlishi is helping to support new evaluative methods to gather data on student participation and degree of engagement launched by Tulane Hillel. The systematic approach is a significant change from the organization’s previous method, which relied on subjective observations by staff and anecdotal evidence, and will ultimately help the organization better serve the Jewish student body. To develop the new quantitative data gathering system to evaluate student participation, Tulane Hillel partnered with Kevin Wilkins, founder and managing director of trepwise™, a company that helps entrepreneurs achieve sustainable growth. The evaluative process—which includes data capture, data management, and data analysis, is viewed as essential to help Hillel achieve its goal of engaging the full Jewish student body at Tulane. Tulane Hillel’s ultimate goal is to work towards one hundred percent participation and provide a range of diverse and dynamic opportunities for the students.
Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE), Miami Jewish Film Festival, Miami, FL
Each year for the past several years, Targum Shlishi has sponsored a film on a subject related to the Holocaust for the Miami Jewish Film Festival. The festival showcases national and international Jewish-interest films.
Targum Shlishi, Rabbi Dr. Irving (Yitz) Greenberg website, Miami, FL
Targum Shlishi has launched a website dedicated to the work of Rabbi Dr. Irving (Yitz) Greenberg, a leading modern Orthodox rabbi. The core of the website is an online archive of audio lectures that Rabbi Greenberg has delivered over the course of his fifty-plus-year career, complemented by selected video and text lectures. Other sections of the website provide background information, a list of the many leading organizations he helped establish, and introduce Rabbi Greenberg’s writing – books, scholarly articles, monographs, short articles, and more. The website provides a valuable resource for both those familiar with Rabbi Greenberg’s work and a new generation that may not know of him. Much of the material that has been digitized for this website would otherwise be inaccessible to a broad audience, including the large selection of audio lectures from the 1970s on and many out-of-print monographs.
Rabbi Greenberg is the founding president emeritus of Clal – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. He is also 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. He is a leading thinker whose original work and courageous example has served the Jewish people through his mentoring of many leading thinkers and activists, the organizations and schools he has created and led, his university teaching, his role as a congregational rabbi, and his writings. The website is one way to share his teachings with a wider world.