By: Karen Kollins
In his book, A Heart of Many Rooms, leading Jewish thinker and philosopher Rabbi David Hartman, shares how he came to understand his role as a Rabbi as one who helped Jews confront tradition through their own questions, rather than by simply providing his own answers.
It has been in this spirit that Holy Blossom has been the beneficiary of Hartman’s influence and legacy. Our Temple leadership – Rabbis and lay leaders have been blessed with the opportunity to explore their own questions of faith, peoplehood, and identity through the work of the Shalom Hartman Institute since its founding in 1976. Holy Blossom’s extraordinary dedication to learning, its strong commitment to Israel, and the collaborative relationships we have with other Jewish and multifaith communities across the city have, I would like to think, been impacted by Temple’s deep connection to Hartman.
Today, the Shalom Hartman Institute, based in both Israel and North America, serves as a pluralistic think tank and educational centre for the Jewish people, engaging in thought leadership that focuses on the major questions facing the Jewish people. Hartman learning meaningfully addresses the central challenges of contemporary Jewish life, enriches and enhances knowledge in the foundations of Jewish thought, and empowers leaders to influence and move their communities forward by imparting new ideas.
In my role as Hartman’s Director of Canada, I hear often from Canadians across the country, particularly those connected to Montreal where Hartman served as a Rabbi for close to two decades, who share stories of how they were impacted by Rabbi David Hartman. Hartman introduced them to Torah in a new way – with a unique blend of complexity and accessibility, focusing on the traditions of Judaism and a commitment to Israel while emphasizing the necessity for a plurality of voices.
We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to welcome Donniel Hartman, President of the Shalom Hartman Institute to Holy Blossom Temple on Monday, November 21 at 7:30 pm where he will be in conversation with Professor David Koffman on Religion and Democracy in Israel: What are the Stakes for Global Jewry? Holy Blossom Temple, The Shalom Hartman Institute, and the Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University are thrilled to be partnering on this extraordinary event.
I hope you will join us for this opportunity to discover the power of Jewish ideas from the Shalom Hartman Institute and to raise your own questions about Judaism and democracy in Israel, its significance, and why it might matter to us as Canadians.
Watch out also for upcoming information about Hartman’s Community Leadership Program, a week-long study program taking place June 21-28, 2023, at the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.