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Jewish Resilience: Responding to Crisis, Catastrophe, and Change

In the Suburbs

Jewish Resilience: Responding to Crisis, Catastrophe, and Change

Thursday, June 2, 2016 - 6:45 pm to 9:00 pm

Took place at the Hilton Orrington / Evanston 

1710 Orrington Avenue Evanston, IL 60201

Crisis is ubiquitous in today’s world. From political turmoil, collapsing economic markets, and ethical lapses to environmental concerns and rising rates of pandemic, our world and its inhabitants appear to be in a constant state of uncertainty, teetering between unease and catastrophe.

Religion and spirituality are tied to fortitude and resilience, and we believe useful lessons can be found in Jewish wisdom and the history of the Jewish experience.

What does Judaism say about responding to crisis — both personal and global? How can today's challenges foster community building, innovation, personal growth, and resilience? These questions and others will be explored.

Participants were able to learn from experts in small group sessions, then come together for a presentation by headliner Dr. Susannah Heschel.

Small Group Presentations

Dr. Alan MintzCrisis in Jewish Literature
Dr. Alan Mintz is the Chana Kekst Professor of Hebrew Literature in the Department of Jewish Literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary of New York. Among the topics explored in his research and writing is how Jewish literature has dealt with successive calamities — from the destruction of the Temples to the Holocaust.

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Dr. David Shyovitz Crisis in and as Jewish History 
Dr. David Shyovitz is Assistant Professor of Medieval and Early Modern Jewish History at Northwestern University. His current research examines Jewish life in the medieval period, a time rich with hostility and crisis. He was a fellow at the Center for Jewish Law at the Cardozo School of Law in New York and has held fellowships from the Wexner Foundation, the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies, and the ATID Foundation in Jerusalem.

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Dr. Laurie ZolothJewish Responses to Environmental Crisis 
Dr. Laurie Zoloth directs the Center for Bioethics, Science and Society at Northwestern University’s School of Medicine. She has served as Professor of Ethics and Director of the Program in Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University, a member of the NASA National Advisory Council, and the Executive Committee of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. She chairs the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Bioethics Advisory Board.

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Headline Presentation

Dr. Susannah Heschel Jewish Resiliance: Responding to Crisis, Catastrophe, and Change

Dr. Susannah HeschelDr. Susannah Heschel is the daughter of the late Abraham Joshua Heschel, considered one of the most significant Jewish theologians of the 20th century. She received her PhD in Religious Studies from University of Pennsylvania and is the Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College. The author of countless books and articles, she is known for her scholarship on antisemitism and for her work to expand opportunities for women in Jewish leadership and practice.

Dr. Heschel has taught at universities in Berlin, Edinburgh, and Cape Town, and is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and four honorary doctorates. 

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Photo at left

Rescuers from Magen David Adom hold babies from a plane carrying Israelis who were stranded in earthquake-hit Nepal. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi / Getty Images)

Participating Organizations

For the first time, 30+ Chicago-area Jewish organizations joined forces to present a single program — addressing a topic critical to our lives today.

  • Anshe Emet Synagogue
  • Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel
  • Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago
  • Beth Emet The Free Synagogue
  • Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah
  • Board of Jewish Education of
    Metropolitan Chicago
  • Center for Healthy Living, CJE SeniorLife
  • Chai Mitzvah Foundation
  • Chicago Board of Rabbis
  • Community Foundation
    for Jewish Education
  • Congregation Beth Shalom
  • Davar Institute—Skokie
  • Florence Melton School of
    Adult Jewish Learning
  • Grandparents for Social Action
  • Hebrew Theological College
  • Illinois Holocaust Museum &
    Education Center
  • JCC Chicago
  • The Jewish Agency for Israel
  • Jewish B2B Networking
  • Jewish Child and Family Services
  • Jewish Council of West Rogers Park
  • Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation
    of Metropolitan Chicago
  • L'Chaim Center
  • Mishkan Chicago
  • Moishe House
  • The Mordecai M. Kaplan Center
    for Jewish Peoplehood
  • North Suburban Synagogue Beth El
  • Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning
    and Leadership
  • Temple Sholom of Chicago
  • Temple Beth Israel

Jewish Learning Professionals Group

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, with funding from the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, is spearheading a community-wide initiative that brings together professionals from Jewish organizations across the Chicago-area, to learn from and with each other, and to plan collaborative learning opportunities like this program.

Learn about the group planning this program in an article by participant Ali Drumm. MORE>