The College has just lately launched the Jewish Expertise — a web site “devoted to exploring probably the most urgent points going through Jews and Judaism as we speak.” The positioning is a direct results of the “Framework for the Future” report finalized in January 2020 that seeks to revitalize and enhance the College group for years to come back. Open to contributions from Brandeis alumni, college students, workers and college, entries on the web site vary from light-hearted recipes to severe discussions centered on social justice.
One of many featured articles on the positioning is titled, “Sorry, So Sorry … Did I Say I Was Sorry?” and is written by Josh Gondelman `07, an Emmy-winning tv author. Within the article, the writer particulars his private tackle Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of Atonement, this 12 months starting Sept. 15 of the Gregorian calendar. He notes, “Yom Kippur, the official Jewish competition of ‘I’m Sorry’ is arising.” Gondelman explains how his identification as a “secular-leaning” Jew collides with the custom of Yom Kippur to immediate his yearly apology tour regarding errors, be they giant or small. Whereas Gondelman’s excursions usually include nothing greater than “mass-email apologies,” he emphasizes the chance that the Excessive Holidays provide to “erase myself from numerous individuals’s enemies lists,” whether or not or not these lists embody God’s, the customary recipient of atonement on Yom Kippur.
Elsewhere on the positioning is an interview with Reuven Kimelman, a professor of Classical Rabbinic Literature on the College. He provides a extra tutorial, non secular interpretation of one other Excessive Vacation, Rosh Hashanah. An uncredited writer compiled excerpts from the interview with Kimelman into an interactive annotation of the central prayer of Rosh Hashanah, which celebrates the Jewish New 12 months.
Kimelman brings in an evaluation of Biblical Hebrew and rabbinical historical past to his interpretation of the prayer, referred to as the Amidah. He departs from the literal translation of promising infinite supplication to God to focus on the prayer’s universality and its central concentrate on eradicating “tyranny” and “wickedness.” Kimelman explains that the prayer asks God to rid the complete world, not simply the Jewish individuals, of political obstacles to religious concord, together with a divine messiah that can come to save lots of the world from these identical ills.
When seen with far from the non secular language, Professor Kimelman’s interpretation of the Amidah exemplifies the Brandeis creed of tikkun olam, a secular “repairing of the world.”
All the articles reply to the identical central Jewish custom and whereas they’re written by people who lead very completely different lives, the commentaries discover that means within the millenia-old Jewish traditions in their very own distinct methods.
The Jewish Expertise considerations itself with the actions and insights of the Brandeis group, attempting to cohere the disparate experiences of the contributors into one thing of an intra-cultural dialogue. As college president Ron Leibowitz writes, “the Jewish Expertise seeks to light up the good wealth of scholarship and information about Jewish points and Judaism — in all its variety and richness — on campus and past.”
The primary articles had been revealed in late August 2021, and the month-to-month e-newsletter curated by editor Lawrence Goodman guarantees an increasing repository of the “newest information, commentary and perception” for years to come back.