May 19, 2024
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Rabbi Dr. Irving Greenberg, Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin Discuss Theological Responses to COVID-19

(Courtesy of CCE) The Center for Community Education (CCE), a project of the Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy of Connecticut, is proud to sponsor an important dialogue with Rabbi Dr. Irving Greenberg and Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin on “Theological Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

It will be held via Zoom on Sunday morning, August 23, at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time.

“We are thrilled and delighted to bring together two of today’s most thoughtful Jewish leaders as part of a program to address one of the major theological questions of our time—God’s role in the current pandemic,” said Michael Feldstein, who is helping to organize the event.

Rabbi Dr. Irving Greenberg is currently the president of the J.J. Greenberg Institute for the Advancement of Jewish Life and senior scholar in residence at Hadar. Previously, he was the president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL) and founder, chairperson and professor in the department of Jewish Studies at City College of New York. He was the spiritual leader of the Riverdale Jewish Center, and associate professor of Jewish history at Yeshiva University. He received his master’s and doctorate degrees in Jewish History from Harvard University.

Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin is the founder and rosh yeshiva at Ohr Torah Stone and the chief rabbi of Efrat. He received his semicha from Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik at RIETS, and also received his master’s and doctorate degrees in Jewish History from New York University. Rabbi Riskin chaired the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, which was instrumental in freeing Russian Jews and allowing them to emigrate. He was the founding rabbi of the Lincoln Square Synagogue, which became one of the most innovative and dynamic Orthodox synagogues in America. In 1983, Rabbi Riskin and his family immigrated to Efrat in Israel, and built a fledgling community into a major city. He has also pioneered the rights of women in the Orthodox world.

Rabbi Greenberg sees the Holocaust as a seminal event in Jewish history, and as the latest stage in God’s concealment and withdrawal from the world. According to Greenberg, the Holocaust drives home the point that the fate of the world is in humanity’s hands. He recently wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal outlining this approach, as it applies to the current pandemic. Rabbi Greenberg’s theological views have been harshly criticized by several Orthodox rabbis as being beyond the pale of traditional Jewish thought.

Speaking about the CCE, David Pitkoff, president of the board of directors at the Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy in Stamford, Connecticut, said, “We want to provide quality educational programming for our community, and establish Stamford as a center for Modern Orthodoxy. We hope that the CCE will become an important resource for our community members, as well as those outside of our community, to gain Jewish knowledge and discuss important topics in the Jewish world. This program on the theological responses to COVID-19 will hopefully be one of many programs that we will be sponsoring to address these current issues.”

The program is free and open to the entire Jewish community. To register for the event, and receive information on how to log in to the Zoom program, please visit www.bchaupperschool.org/cce�

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