Rabbi Faith Joy @ the Hartman Institute Rabbinic Seminar, Israel

 From Rabbi Dantowitz, Jerusalem, June 28, 2012

After a long hiatus, it’s so good to be back in Israel. Soon after I arrived at Newark airport Tuesday evening, I bumped into two colleagues who were going to Israel for the same reason. For a couple of weeks in July, I will be studying at the Hartman Institute Rabbinic Seminar http://www.hartman.org.il/. Over one hundred rabbis will join together for this rich learning opportunity. This will be my first time attending the seminar which is held every summer. It seems this summer’s theme had my name on it, literally: “Dilemmas of Faith: God and Spirituality in the Modern World.”

Today I visited the Israel Museum where it’s incredible to reflect on the amazing discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, stroll through the beautiful Sculpture Garden and explore galleries in the museum. The museum currently has an exhibit on Hasidism. My friend Julie and I gave serious attention to the exhibit. She told me there was some controversy before the exhibit opened as to how the museum would handle the nude statues since they could “offend” the Hasidim who visited. I’m glad the museum did not change what is on display and yes, we did see a couple of Hasidic men at the exhibit. While watching a video of a Hasidic wedding, I could not imagine what it would be like to be the bride. There is a ceremony where the rebbe dances with the bride (while holding a long rope/sash so as not to be immodest) while all of the men watch. This is one of the only times a woman is the center of attention yet it seemed quite lonely and more of a victory lap for the rebbe.

In thinking about the theme of the seminar I’ll be attending, my view of God and Spirituality is very different than the films and panels I read in today’s exhibit. Being here in Israel for the Hartman seminar is a wonderful gift of time to immerse in text, discussion and personal reflection. Looking forward to Shabbat in Jerusalem tomorrow night!

 L’hitraot---See you soon,

 Rabbi Faith Joy Dantowitz