God is the main character in the central Jewish narrative … but Jews rarely talk about God. Why? What's at stake in losing this conversation, this ability to discuss the divine? And how can we recapture God language across the Jewish spectrum?
Join us for a very special discussion in advance of the High Holidays with two dynamic and insightful leaders.
About our guests:
Rabbi Dan Ain, Director of Tradition and Innovation at the 92Y
Rabbi Dan Ain is part preacher, part philosopher, part interviewer and provocateur. He finds holiness in honest conversation, in the spaces where people can say what they really think and allow others to do the same.
For the past decade, Rabbi Dan has been creating opportunities and contexts for these interactions – hosting Friday Night Dinners with comedians and cosmologists, klezmer brunches with artists and analysts, appearing on Sunday morning TV and in private apartments with groups of close friends looking for a way to talk about God on their own terms. He encourages conversations that are sometimes funny (with Gilbert Gottfried), sometimes challenging (with Deepak Chopra), sometimes sacred and sometimes profane.
The High Holiday services he leads, with blues musician and cantorial singer Jeremiah Lockwood of The Sway Machinery, are an example of how he is finding meaningful ways to worship in the 21st century – creating experiences that speak to people living in today's world using the language, lessons and music of the past.
Ordained by The Jewish Theological Seminary, Rabbi Dan received a B.A. in Philosophy from Brandeis University and a J.D. from Boston College Law School. He has served as a faculty member at the Academy for Jewish Religion and at CLAL, and continues to lecture on the present (and future) ideological clash between our burgeoning technological beliefs and traditional Jewish faith. He was recently named one of The Daily Beast's "Rabbis to Watch" for 2013.
He lives in Brooklyn with his wife Alana Joblin Ain and their daughter, Autumn Prayer.
Find him on Twitter at @rabbidan.
Rabbi Shai Held, Co-Founder of Mechon Hadar
Rabbi Shai Held is Co-Founder, Dean and Chair in Jewish Thought at Mechon Hadar. Before that, he served for six years as Scholar-in-Residence at Kehilat Hadar in New York City, and taught both theology and Halakha at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He also served as Director of Education at Harvard Hillel. A renowned lecturer and educator, Shai is a 2011 recipient of the Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education. He has taught for institutions such as Drisha, Me'ah, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, and the Rabbinic Training Institute, and currently serves on the faculty of the Wexner Heritage program. Shai has a PhD in religion from Harvard; his main academic interests are in modern Jewish and Christian thought and in the history of Zionism. His book, Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence was published by Indiana University Press in the fall of 2013, and can be found on Amazon.