Hands-On Track: Creative Writing with Tikvah Hecht
Come be part of a collaborative writing experiment inspired by the talmudic daf (page). The Talmud is one of the most compelling, confounding and enduring Jewish texts. But the Talmud isn't just known for its content; its traditional multi-column layout is an iconic image in its own right, one that defies convention and looks more avant-garde than orthodox. What does this structure add to the experience of learning Talmud? And what would happen if we adopt it in our own creative work? These are the two questions we'll be exploring in this course through a combination of text learning and hands-on writing. Everyone is welcome, regardless of talmudic or creative background.
Tikva Hecht is a teaching-artist and a member of the marketing team at Aleph Beta. Her creative writing can be found or is forthcoming in the Journal of Jewish Thought, CV2, Canadian Literature, the Ekphrastic Review, and the Jewish Literary Journal, among other publications. Teaching creative writing is one of her great joys.
Judaism + Modernity: Medical Ethics with Rabbi Steven Wernick
Judaism has a rich tradition of debating modern questions with ancient sources. This class will explore Jewish thought and approaches to mental health and addiction, abortion and reproductive issues, withholding or withdrawing life support, organ transplantation, Medical Assistance in Dying and more. All levels of knowledge and experience in Judaism, health and ethics are welcome.
Rabbi Steven Wernick is the new senior rabbi at Beth Tzedec. He grew up in Winnipeg and moved back to Canada last year after a career marked by leading the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism in a historic strategic turn-around. Rabbi Wernick was also instrumental in the effort to create a permanent space for pluralistic and egalitarian prayer at the Kotel (Western Wall). He has been named to both the Forward 50 and Newsweek 50 most influential rabbis and Jewish leaders. He loves to teach and to learn from students.
Text and Context: Queer Apocalypse in the Jewish Imagination with Rabbi Andrea Myers
When your world comes crashing down because of who or what you are, where do you turn? Apocalypse can mean destruction, but it can also mean revelation; the unveiling of the new in the wake of devastation. For those navigating the bridge between queer identity and Jewish tradition, however, this destruction and what comes after are often undertaken in absence of the Jewish spaces, words, and rites meant to bring us comfort. Come and learn about queer Jewish responses to crisis. Consider the communities lost and found through invisible alienation. Examine the power of reclaimed Jewish ritual, knowledge, and liturgy. This class welcomes people who have been made to feel unwelcome too often in Jewish spaces, including people of colour, of all genders and other marginalized identities.
Rabbi Andrea Myers serves the larger queer Jewish community in Toronto. They are a spiritual counselor at the All of You Wellness Centre in the Village and a human resources professional. The author of The Choosing: A Rabbi’s Journey from Silent Nights to High Holy Days (Rutgers University Press, 2011), they received a B.A. in neuroscience from Brandeis University, and were ordained at the Academy for Jewish Religion, an interdenominational seminary in New York City. They have led congregations from the Rocky Mountains to the Borscht Belt. Rabbi Myers uses the pronoun they/them.