Yesod Summer Online Jewish Learning Series

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In this Yesod Summer Online Jewish Learning Series, diverse examples of contemporary cultural modes and genre including art, sport, music and film will be mined and explored as vehicles for the expression of universal and Jewish values and meaning. Guest presenters will bring examples from a genre in which they have expertise, and match these with Jewish ideas and values contained in classic and contemporary Jewish texts. The end result will be an entertaining and stimulating experience of Jewish learning to inspire your summer evenings.

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1) Learn Torah as an Artist

Jacqueline Nicholls, Wednesday 24 June, 20:00 – 21:00 CEST

What does an artist notice that a scholar might not see? When the hands are busy, the mind is thinking differently and the art making process offers new ways to create meaning and engage with sacred text and religious traditions. In this presentation Jacqueline will introduce some fascinating contemporary artists, from around the Jewish world, who are adding their voices to the tradition in their own unique ways.


2) Yalla Hapoel: Finding meaning, humanity (and even God) on the sports field

Jeremy Leigh, Wednesday 1 July, 20:00 – 21:00 CEST

Rightly or wrongly, the stereotype claims that Jews have an uneasy relationship with sport … but is it true? For some, sport explains everything, a remarkable lens through which to understand the world we live in – as Jews, as members of the human race, as people trying to make sense of the world. And anyone trying to explain God… sport has much to offer. As we will discuss in this session, there is much to be said about the matter, searching as we are to find Jewish meaning in this most universal expression of culture. We shall be specifically mentioning the sports of hammer throwing, horse racing, football (?!!) and prayer.


3) Music, Inspiration and Beyond

Nina Tokayer, Wednesday 8 July, 20:00 – 21:00 CEST

An experiential learning and music session with Nina Tokayer (from “Yonina”), exploring music as a form of prayer and spiritual connection in Judaism. With source-based learning, we’ll be addressing some of the following questions and more: What is the connection between music and prophecy? What is the power of a Niggun (a tune without words)? What is it that makes us break out in song? And can we write our own Tehilim (Psalms)? The session will include both traditional Jewish music and modern original songs.


4) Batman verses the Joker as a powerful expression of the eternal message of the Jewish People: LIFE. HAS. PURPOSE. 

Rabbi Dr. Raphael Zarum, Wednesday 15 July, 20:00 – 21:00 CEST

Superheroes such as Batman have survived and thrived for decades. First as cheaply printed comics and now as billion-dollar movie franchises. These characters speak to our primal fears and feelings. At the heart of their fantastical exploits are emotions and experiences that we can recognise in our own lives. Not surprising then, elements of these superheroes can be found in Jewish thought too. The eternal battle of Batman vs the Joker, for instance, is reflected in two biblical characters: Isaac and Amalek. We will look at these two and their approaches to humour and how they relate to the Batman mythology. So, put on your masks and get ready for a bumpy ride…

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Jacqueline Nicholls

Jacqueline Nicholls is a London based visual artist and Jewish educator. She uses her art to engage with traditional Jewish ideas in untraditional ways.  Her recent drawing project, Draw Yomi, completed in January 2020, Jacqueline drew the Talmud, following the Daf Yomi schedule. She co-ordinates Arts & Culture events at JW3 London, a Jewish community centre, and regularly teaches at the London School of Jewish Studies. Jacqueline’s art has been exhibited in solo shows and significant contemporary Jewish Art group shows in the UK, USA and Israel. Jacqueline is currently studying for an MA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, due to complete summer 2020.


Jeremy Leigh

Jeremy Leigh was born in the UK and moved to Israel in 1992. Professionally, his work straddles the worlds of both formal and informal Jewish education: he is the Director of Israel Studies at the Hebrew Union College (Jerusalem); he also works intensively in the field of Jewish travel – training educators, writing materials and leading groups. He is also an academic advisor to the Association of European Jewish Heritage on the European Routes of Jewish Heritage project. Together with 728 other people, he is an owner of HaPoel Katamon Jerusalem.




Nina Tokayer

Nina Tokayer is an Israeli-American singer and songwriter, known as part of the viral husband-wife duo “Yonina”. The duo is acclaimed for the weekly home videos they post online, which have reached millions of viewers around the globe. Nina lives in Pardes Chana with her husband Yoni and her two children, and performs throughout Israel and around the world. In addition to her musical career, Nina is passionate about Jewish learning and previously served as an educator in organizations such as Livnot U’lehibanot and Aish Tel-Aviv.



Rabbi Dr. Raphael Zarum

Raphael is a graduate of the Jerusalem Fellows programme at the Mandel Leadership Institute in Israel and in 2005 received an MA (with Distinction) in Adult Education at the Institute of Education in London. He is the creator of the Torah L’Am crash course and is the author of the Torat Hadracha and Jampacked Bible educational study guides. He was the first Head of Faculty of the Florence Melton Adult Mini School UK and was Director of text-based Jewish education at the UJIA Centre for Informal Jewish Education.

He received rabbinic ordination after studying at the Kollel of the Judith Lady Montefiore College. The semicha was given by Dayan Saadia Amor (Rosh Beth Din of the Sephardi Beth Din UK and Rosh of the Montefiore Kollel), Rabbi Dr Abraham Levy (Emeritus Spiritual Head of the Spanish & Portuguese Jews’ Congregation and Honorary Principal of the Judith Lady Montefiore College), Dayan Ezra Basri (Former Av Bet Din of Yerushalayim) and Emeritus Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks (Former President of LSJS).

He completed a PhD in theoretical physics in 1999 and published a number of papers on Quantum Chaos Theory. He is a leading Jewish educator in the UK and teaches at conferences and seminars, synagogues and Jewish community centres across the globe. In 2008 he was ranked 26th in the Jewish Chronicle Power100 list of the most influential people in UK Jewry.

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Registration is now closed.

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Past series:

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