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Paradigm Speakers

The Paradigm Program speakers are renowned contemporary Jewish thinkers. Since 2013 the Program hosted a number of prominent guests:

Dr. Ruth Calderon, Israel

Ruth Calderon is one of Israel’s leading figures spearheading efforts to revive the Jewish bookshelf, Hebrew Culture and a pluralistic Israeli-Jewish identity. In 1989, Dr. Calderon was a pioneer when she established the first Israeli secular, pluralistic and egalitarian Bet Midrash for women and men, with an Orthodox colleague. She then went on to host a TV show on classic and modern Jewish texts, publish several writings and books, and in 1996 founded ALMA- Home for Hebrew Culture. Until Jan 2013 Dr. Calderon served as the Chairperson of ALMA, located at the heart of Tel Aviv, which serves as a cultural and studies center for Hebrew Culture and the Jewish text. Today, Dr. Calderon serves as Member of Knesset in the Israel Parliament.

Prof. Fania Oz-Salzberger, Israel

Fania Oz-Salzberger is an Israeli writer, academic and commentator. Born and raised in Kibbutz Hulda (1960), she served in the Israel Defense Force, and studied at Tel Aviv University. Her doctoral thesis (Oxford University) is on the Scottish and German Enlightenments. Since then, she has taught at the University of Haifa. She held the Chair of Israel Studies at Monash University, and was Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton University. Her books include Translating the Enlightenment (Oxford, 1995), Israelis in Berlin (Jerusalem/Tel Aviv; Frankfurt, 2001), and, with Amos Oz, Jews and Words (New Haven, 2012).  Fania’s academic essays deal with the history of ideas, including such topics as liberalism, the Enlightenment, political Hebraism in early modern Europe, translation and mistranslation of political thought, and Israeli law and culture. Her opinion articles appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Haaretz, among many others.

Barbara Lerner Spectre, Israel, Sweden

Barbara Lerner Spectre is the Founding Director of Paideia.  She was formerly on the faculty of the Hartman Institute of Advanced Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, where she taught Jewish Thought. She was among the founders of the Seminary of Judaic Studies in Jerusalem. Her area of research is in models of inference in Christian and Jewish post-Holocaust theology, for which she received a research grant from Yad V’Shem Institute. Barbara’s publications include “A Theology of Doubt” (Hebrew) and, together with Noam Zion of the Hartman Institute, the two-volume “A Different Light: The Hannukah Book of Celebration.” In 2007, she received the prestigious Max M. Fisher Prize for Jewish Education in the Diaspora.

Dr. Avivah Zornberg, Israel

Avivah Zornberg holds a PhD in English Literature from Cambridge University. She is the author of three books: Genesis: The Beginning of Desire (JPS), which won the National Jewish Book Award in 1995; The Particulars of Rapture: Reflections on Exodus (Doubleday, 2002); and The Murmuring Deep: Reflections on the Biblical Unconscious (Schocken, 2009). Her latest book, Bewilderments: Reflections on the Book of Numbers, will be published by Schocken in Spring, 2015. Zornberg has grown to world acclaim through her writing and teaching of biblical commentary on the books of the Torah.

David Wolpe, USA

Named the most influential Rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post, David Wolpe is the Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California. Rabbi Wolpe’s work has been profiled in the New York Times, and he is a columnist for Time.com, he regularly writes for many publications, including The LA Times, the Washington Post’s On Faith website, and The Huffington Post. He has been on television numerous times, including the Today Show, Face the Nation, ABC this Morning, and CBS This Morning. In addition Rabbi Wolpe has been featured in series on PBS, A&E, the History channel, and the Discovery channel. Rabbi Wolpe is the author of eight books, including the national bestseller Making Loss Matter. Rabbi Wolpe’s new book is titled, David, The Divided Heart available from Yale University Press in November of 2014.

Konstanty Gebert, Poland

Konstanty Gebert, born 1953 in Warsaw. International reporter and columnist at “Gazeta Wyborcza”, Poland’s most important daily. Associate fellow, ECFR, media consultant, MDIF. Democratic opposition activist in the Seventies, and underground journalist (pen name: Dawid Warszawski) in the Eighties. He has covered the Polish Round Table negotiations in 1989, the wars in Bosnia, the Middle East, and the aftermath of the genocide in Rwanda. Co-founder of the underground Jewish Flying University, and Polish Council of Christians and Jews; founder of the Polish Jewish intellectual monthly Midrasz. Author of eleven books, in Polish, on Poland’s round table negotiations of 1989, on the Yugoslav wars, on Israeli history, as well as commentaries on the Torah, and a panorama of the European 20th century. Visiting professor i.a. UC Berkeley, Grinnell College, Hebrew University.

Art Green, USA

A historian of Jewish religion and a theologian, Art Green is the founding dean of the Rabbinical College at the Hebrew College in Boston, where he is now the rector and the Irving Brudnick Professor of Philosophy and Religion. His fields of research are Jewish mysticism, Hasidism, which he has taught extensively at the University of Pennsylvania, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where he served as both dean and president, Brandeis University and Hebrew College. He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books; his most recent is “Speaking Torah: Spiritual Teachings From Around the Maggid’s Table” (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2013). Green has been named to Newsweek’s list of Top 50 Influential Rabbis in America every year since 2008.

Sharon Brous, USA

Rabbi Sharon Brous is the founding rabbi of IKAR, an independent Jewish community in Los Angeles that seeks to inspire people across the religious spectrum through soulful religious and spiritual practice that is rooted in a deep commitment to social justice. In 2013, Rabbi Brous blessed the President and Vice President at the Inaugural National Prayer Service and was recognized as the most influential Rabbi in the United States by Newsweek and the Daily Beast. She is the first woman rabbi to top the list and, at 39, is also the youngest to hold the top spot. She sits on the faculty of the Hartman Institute-North America, Wexner Heritage and REBOOT, and serves on the International Council of the New Israel Fund and rabbinic advisory council to American Jewish World Service and Bend the Arc. She earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Human Rights from Columbia University, and was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York in 2001.

Prof. Admiel Kosman, Germany

Since 2003, Admiel Kosman has held the Chair for Rabbinic Studies at the University of Potsdam in Germany, and is the Academic Director of Geiger College in Berlin. His research explores the interface between anthropology and Talmudic discourse, as well as questions that are connected to Gender studies (especially with regard to Jewish-Christian polemics from theological perspective). His books include: Men’s Tractate (Keter, 2002); Women’s Tractate (Keter, 2007); Femininity in the Spiritual World of the Talmudic Story (Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2008); Men’s World: Reading Masculinity in Jewish Stories in a Spiritual Context (Ergon, 2009); and Gender and Dialogue in the Rabbinic Prism (Studia Judaica; de Gruyter, 2012). Additionally, Admiel Kosman is the author of 9 collections of poetry in Hebrew. A collection of his poems (“Approaching You in English”) translated into English by Lisa Katz and Shlomith Naor and was published in 2011 by Zephyr Press in USA.

Prof. Joy Ladin, USA

Joy Ladin, Gottesman Chair in English at Yeshiva University, is the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution. Her memoir, Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders, was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award, and she was named to the 2012 Forward 50 list of influential or courageous American Jews. She is also the author of seven books of poetry. Her work has been recognized with a National Endowment for the Arts Writing Fellowship, a Fulbright Scholarship, and an American Council of Learned Societies research fellowship. She has spoken and published widely about gender identity issues, and serves on the Board of Keshet, an American organization devoted to full inclusion of LGTBQ Jews in the Jewish world. She is currently writing a book of trans Jewish theology entitled, I am What I Will Be: Meeting God at the Burning Bush of Becoming.

Sharon Z. Shalom, Israel

• Ph.D in Jewish Philosophy from Bar-Ilan University.

• M.A., Department of Talmud and Jewish Oral Law, Bar-Ilan University.

• Rabbinical Ordination “Yore Yore” at the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

• Lecturer in course “Ethiopian Jewry Between Segregation Gettoization” African studies in Tel Aviv University

• Lecturer in course “Halacha, custom and tradition in the Ethiopian Community” Basic Learning Center, Bar Ilan University

• Lecturer in course: Tolerance and Pluralism in Jewish sources – Ethiopian Jewry as a test case. Basic Learning Center, Bar Ilan Univer sity

• 2008-2012 Rabbi, Congregation Kidoshei Yisrael, Kiryat Gat, associated with the organization of Tzohar Rabbis.

• FROM SINAI TO ETHIOPIA: The halachic world and Ethiopian Jewish Thought, Including “Shulchan Ha-orit” The Table of Light, a halachic guide for Beta Yisrael.

Dr. Arel Picard, Israel

Ariel Picard is the Educational Director of Shalom Hartman Institute’s Be’eri program. He has a doctorate in philosophy from Bar-Ilan University and conducts research in contemporary Jewish law. He was ordained as a rabbi by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate and formerly served as the rabbi of Kibbutz Shluchot. His most recent publication, Seeing the Voices: Tradition, Creativity and the Freedom of Interpretation Judaism was published by Yediot Sefarim in 2016.His book “Halakha in a New World: Rabbinic Discourse in Modern Society” was published by the Shalom Hartman Institute in 2012. His book, The Philosophy of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in an Age of Transition: Study of Halakha and Cultural Criticism, was published in 2007 by Bar-Ilan University Press.