The Young Israel of Teaneck (YIOT) will host noted Tanach lecturer Rabbi Shmuel Phillips this Shabbat, Parshat Mishpatim, February 9-10, as a scholar-in-residence as part of the Dr. Bertram J., z”l, and Ann Newman Adult Education Program.
Rabbi Phillips will speak multiple times throughout Shabbat. Friday at 8:15 p.m. he will speak in the beit midrash. His topic will be “To Ask or Not to Ask? Judaism’s Approach to Difficult Theological Questions.” Shabbat morning, he will give the morning parsha shiur at 8:30 a.m. in the Social Hall. His topic will be “How Confident Can We Be in the Antiquity and Authenticity of Our Oral Tradition?” Later that morning, he will give the drasha in the Main Sanctuary during the 9 a.m. minyan. His topic then will be “Judaism’s View of Unity Amid the Situation in Israel.” There will be a pre-Mincha shiur at 4 p.m. in the Main Sanctuary. The topic will be “Heaven or Man Made: Understanding When Halacha Can and Cannot Change.” Finally, during seuda shlishit in the Social Hall, Rabbi Phillips will speak about “Holy Nation? Jews and Non-Jews in Jewish Thought.”
Rabbi Phillips told The Jewish Link, “Speaking to thinking Jews, including a wide cross-section of yeshiva graduates and college students, I’m often surprised how many people have been left with significant unresolved questions concerning the basic framework of Jewish law—particularly the oral tradition—as well as Judaism in general. On many occasions, these fundamental topics have been addressed in detail by rabbinic thinkers such as the Rambam and Rabbi S. R. Hirsch. I’m excited to be visiting Teaneck (and America!) for Shabbat for the first time and look forward to discussing some of these fascinating topics with the Young Israel community.”
“We are very excited to be hosting Rabbi Phillips,” said Rabbi Beni Krohn, rabbi of the Young Israel of Teaneck. “His presentations will allow our community to delve into some of the most weighty topics that are foundations of our faith. I am confident that we are in for a very special Shabbos.”
According to Dr. Daniel Lowe, YIOT adult education chair, “In his approbation for ‘Judaism Reclaimed,’ Rabbi Phillips’ first book, Rabbi[Lord Jonathan] Sacks, zt”l identifies him as a ‘major new talent in Jewish thought.’ That quote in particular piqued my interest. Rabbi Phillips also had a wonderful appearance on Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin’s ‘18Forty’ podcast, where he presented complicated topics so lucidly. We have been in touch for several years now, and I’m glad we are finally able to bring him to Teaneck. I hope that others from the area join us for what I think will be a special Shabbat Scholar-in-Residence.”
Born and raised in England, Rabbi Shmuel Phillips has spent almost two decades studying in yeshiva and kollel in Israel, during which time he has also completed a law degree from the University of London. He currently resides in Rechavia, Jerusalem, with his wife, Rivka, and four children. There he divides his time between Torah study and managing a suite of serviced offices in downtown Jerusalem. He also delivers shiurim at a range of yeshivot and institutions. Rabbi Phillips has authored two books: “Judaism Reclaimed.” on the general subject of Jewish philosophy and theology; and “Talmud Reclaimed,” on the system of Talmud and Halacha.
Rabbi Phillips will also host a book launch at the YU Seforim Sale on Thursday night, February 8, at 7 p.m., and another one at Rinat Yisrael on Saturday night, February 10, at 8 p.m.
The Young Israel of Teaneck is located at 868 Perry Lane in Teaneck. The entire community is invited to attend any of the talks over Shabbat. For more information, email [email protected].
Sara Kosowsky Gross is a staff writer for The Jewish Link.