Rabbi Amy Scheinerman, Visiting Scholar
Rabbi Amy Scheinerman is an energetic and
engaging speaker and teacher who is available
for religiously inspiring and intellectually
stimulating scholar-in-residence presentations in
your community. Her style of teaching is
interactive and she specializes in teaching
Talmudic texts that respond to universal human
concerns with uniquely Jewish insights. The Oral
Tradition comes alive and participants
experience its vibrancy and wisdom.
"Thank you for bringing the light of Talmud and Talmud Torah to Temple Beth Shalom. The community has been inspired by your scholarship, wisdom, warmth and love for text. With heartfelt thanks."
Rabbi Jay C. Perlman,
Temple Beth Shalom, Needham, Massachusetts
"Amy Scheinerman is a sparkling teacher with deep roots in Talmud and Midrash. She can bring our textual tradition powerfully into the present, conveying it, weaving them, and drawing in those who come with very diverse backgrounds, with humor, poignancy, story, metaphor and receptivity. A true gift for our community!"
Rabbi Vicki Hollander
Congregation Shaareth Israel, Lubbock, Texas
"The 2011 convention of the National Association of Retired Reform Rabbis… was attended by more than 150 participants. I want to thank, particularly, Rabbi Amy Scheinerman, our visiting scholar. Rabbi Scheinerman presented Talmudic material with insight, knowledge and understanding of the rabbinic sources and their historic social context. She accomplished this with humor, respect for her audience, and responsiveness to questions and challenges. We could have listened to her beyond the time allotted on the program and would certainly welcome her return to a future NAORRR program. Rabbi Scheinerman is an excellent choice for any regional meeting or congregation's visiting scholar program. She makes the material live and congregants will find that though the material was written years ago, it has bearing on today's world."
Rabbi Stanley Relkin
President, The National Association of Retired Reform Rabbis
"What struck me most of all about your visit was the personal attention you paid to all of the attendees, whether at the more crowded Shabbat Eve service or at the less formal gatherings… Without exception my members remarked broadly about your warmth, friendliness and personal outreach… Your skill in presenting what is so often difficult and intimidating material to the less tutored is masterful. You did so with humor, clarity and enthusiasm."
Rabbi Yossi Liebowitz
Congregation B'nai Israel, Spartanburg, South Carolina
"Recently, our community was blessed by a wonderful visit from Rabbi Amy Scheinerman as scholar-in-residence. As she interacted with four rather different audiences throughout the weekend, including with Christian ministers, she showed herself to be extremely knowledgeable, warm, sensitive, humorous, and engaging. If you are seeking a visiting scholar, I am sure Rabbi Scheinerman would have the same wonderful impact on your community as she had on ours."
Rabbi Stephen Fuchs
Congregation Beth Israel, West Hartford, Connecticut
Let's talk about how I can help you by bringing exciting, engaging, spiritual Jewish
text study to your congregation!
Proposed Topics for Scholar-in-Residence Visit
1• Getting Relationships Right: Ancient Advice for Modern Living It's not a kumbaya world. Our lives are a complex tapestry of relationships. The terrain can be treacherous and there are no easy formulas. We will immerse ourselves in Talmudic sources (in English translation) offering surprising insights and remarkable wisdom for improving our relationships – with community, colleagues, neighbors, friends, family, God, and let us not forget ourselves – the foundation of so much of our happiness. 2• Who learns from whom?
Torah tells us that God walked through the Garden of Eden and parted the Reed Sea with a "strong hand and an outstretched arm." Our Rabbis talk about God's prayers, anger, and jealousy. Is God our role model? Or are we God's? What happens when God learns from human role models? What does that say about the nature of God and about the nature of humanity? Can we reclaim the colorful texts of our tradition without falling into the pit of literalism? We will explore together some remarkable and radical texts that raise eternal questions about the struggle to be human in a less than humane world. 3 • Jews and Power: From Pesach to Purim and beyond
Do Jews have power? Do we want power? Do we deserve power? The Passover
story of the Exodus suggests we are powerless and dependent upon God for
redemption. Purim, in contrast, affirms our vulnerability, but asserts we are able
to affect our own redemption through cunning. The Jewish ambivalence about
power runs throughout our history and culture, and today when the State of
Israel is a reality, it is a pressing issue to explore. We examine the attitude toward
Jewish power through biblical texts, Talmud passages, folklore throughout the
ages, and current debate about how Israel wields power.
4 • Siblings: Competitors? Companions? Confidants?
Got a sibling? Raising siblings? If ever there was a relationship fraught with tension and rivalry, this is it. If ever there was a relationship with the potential for lifelong devotion and companionship, this is at. Torah, midrash, and modern commentaries elucidate the ins-and-outs, highs-and-lows, gut-wrenching
potholes, and exalted peaks on the road siblings tread together through life, with some unexpected insights and advice. 5 • Envy: Neutralizing Emotional Toxins Envy and jealousy may be natural emotions, but they can be toxic. Healthy envy can inspire us to develop fully our potential unhealthy envy can damage our relationships, our self-image, and stunt our potential for growth. Our tradition provides fascinating models for sorting out the ups and downs of sibling relationships. 6 • Human Dignity: The Most Essential Value Underlying all Jewish ethics is the compelling need to preserve human dignity. For our Sages, our dignity is a reflection of God's dignity. How can we preserve human dignity in a fast-paced, competitive world? How do we decide when we feel we're stuck between a moral rock and an ethical hard place? What personal attributes most preserve human dignity -- both ours and that of others? How can we cultivate them? 7• Gender, Sex, & Sexuality: the good, the bad, the funny, and the funnier What does our tradition say about sex, gender, and sexuality? The Torah -- never shy about difficult topics -- lays the groundwork for a Jewish view. Our Sages -- absolutely not shy about such topics -- further the discussion in directions that may surprise, delight, and shock you. Find out what the Talmud really says. 8• The Rabbis' Radical Views of God: Not What You Might Think
Our Sages did not envision God as a perfect, wise, and patient role model for humanity. Struggling with the same issues we wrestle with -- important relationships, raw emotions, difficult moral choices -- the Rabbis paint a radical picture of God wholly different from what we might expect, yet one is deeply moving and challenging to us.
9• Religious Fanaticism
Extremism of many kinds can creep into any religious tradition, and on many levels, from that of individual observance to communal values and practices. The Rabbis were very wary of extremism in all forms; they warn us that it is dangerous to both the individual and community. They use examples from the lives of people from Abraham to their own colleagues. 10 • Suffering Over the course of a lifespan, does anyone escape suffering? Clifford Geertz, religious anthropologist, said: "[T]he problem of suffering is, paradoxically, not how to avoid suffering but how to suffer, how to make of [suffering]… something bearable, supportable – something, as we say, sufferable." The Rabbis dive into the theological pool of suffering, and barely tread water in their attempt to make sense of suffering. Their ideas are shocking… even to themselves.
Illustrations on pages 2 and 3 Laura Bolter Design. Used with permission. Al rights reserved.
Rabbi Amy Scheinerman • Bio
Rabbi Amy Scheinerman received her bachelor's degree from Brown University; has studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Princeton Theological Seminary; and was ordained in 1984 at HUC-JIR in New York, where she also received a Doctor of Divinity in 2009. Rabbi Scheinerman is the hospice rabbi in Howard County, Maryland, and teaches in a variety of venues. She is a member of the CCAR Board of Trustees, president of the Greater Carolinas Association of Rabbis, and immediate past president of the Baltimore Board of Rabbis. She has served Conservative, Reform, and
unaffiliated congregations. She is a member of the Responsa Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, serves as editor of the Torah Commentary column of the CCAR newsletter. Rabbi Scheinerman is married to Dr. Edward Scheinerman, Vice Dean for Education at The Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering and professor of applied mathematics and statistics. They are the parents of four children.
Phone (410) 599-‐1159
Torah Blog http://taste-‐of-‐torah.blogspot.com — also available
as a podcast from iTunes
Talmud Blog http://nuviewtalmud.blogspot.com
Contact me by phone or email, and let's talk about possibilities for your
congregation. I wil work with you to craft a program
to suit the particular needs of your community.
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