Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains will hold a Scholar-In-Residence Sabbath Program on Friday, June 17 and Saturday, June 18, featuring Dr. Barry W. Holtz from The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York.  The event is open to the community, with a dessert reception Friday evening and lunch on Saturday.

Dr. Holtz is dean of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education and the Theodore and Florence Baumritter Professor of Jewish Education at JTS. He leads courses in teaching classical texts, professional development for teachers, philosophy of Jewish education, and current issues confronting Jewish education.  He is the author of several books, including Back to the Sources: Reading the Classic Jewish Texts.

Dr. Holtz will address the question, "Why Read the Jewish Classics?" during Friday night services on June 17, beginning at 7:30 p.m. He will discuss why modern Jews should care about traditional Jewish literature, such as the Bible and Talmud, and will suggest how these classics can still be read today.

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During Saturday morning services, June 18, beginning at 9:30 a.m., Dr. Holtz will speak about that morning’s Torah portion, the Biblical story of the twelve spies.  Following Saturday services and lunch, Dr. Holtz will lecture at 12:45 on the topic, “What Makes the Torah Holy?” He will address how modern Jews can still retain the sense of the Torah’s sacredness, while approaching its study from the vantage point of modern scholarship, which raises questions about the Torah’s origins. 

“We asked Dr. Holtz to be our scholar-in-residence because he is an outstanding educator.  We will all benefit from his knowledge and insights concerning our most important texts.  We expect that his talks will inspire us to continue our Jewish studies as adults,” said Gary Goldner, Adult Education chair, Congregation Beth Israel.

For more information or to R.S.V.P., call the synagogue office at 908-889-1830.   Congregation Beth Israel is located at 18 Shalom Way, Scotch Plains, New Jersey 07076 (at the corner of Martine Avenue).  To help defray costs, a donation of $10 per day ($18 for both days) is suggested.