Community Building in a Changed World

Virtual Bet Midrash Series

Seminar Image


On the festival of Shavuot, we celebrate God’s revelation on Mount Sinai and the giving of the Torah to the Israelites some four thousand years ago. This signifies the beginning of the love affair between the people and its literature, which ultimately led to the Jews becoming known as “The People of the Book”. Jews have always approached their classic texts as timeless and eternally relevant, believing them to contain truths and important messages for every generation. In the weeks leading up to this festival we will be exploring some of these ancient texts in a Virtual Bet Midrash format, mining them for contemporary meaning and messages for our contemporary challenging times.

Together we will explore:


For more detail on each topic, see the Learning Sessions section below.

^ Back to top

How Will We Learn?

Each week, we will meet on Zoom and be introduced to one text, then explore that text in chavruta (study partners) using Zoom Breakout Rooms and a pre-prepared study guide (this will be sent out via email 48 hours before the session). We will then rejoin together as a larger group to share our insights. No previous Jewish text experience necessary, only an open and curious mind!

Sessions will be interactive (in Breakout Rooms) and require a working video and microphone. Chavruta partners will be randomly allocated, though if you wish to learn with a chavruta of your own choice you may inform us ahead of time.

Registration is now closed. Please be in touch with us at with any questions.

^ Back to top

Learning Sessions

Using texts from Megillat Esther as a source text for modelling for crisis leadership, and contemporary thoughts from Dr. Erica Brown, we will consider how to identify and act on “Destiny Moments” in leadership and creating a strategy for leadership succession.

Using Talmudic texts as a source text for the Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai model of community survival (the “Yavneh Model”), together with contemporary thoughts from Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, we will consider how to make difficult decisions of compromise and prioritizing, in order to ensure community continuity and viability.

Using texts from Maimonides’ legal code the Mishna Torah, and contemporary thoughts from Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, we will consider the difference between charity and the Jewish value of tzedaka, and explore the underlying Jewish meta-value of human dignity and how it must influence policy making in our communities.

Using texts from Megillat Ruth as a source text for the exploration of Jewish identity and peoplehood, and contemporary thoughts from Dr. Yael Ziegler, we will consider issues of conversion, identity, and community membership.

^ Back to top

Past series:

^ Back to top