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Avi Posen


By Avi Posen, November 23, 2010

On Nov. 7th, communities from around the world shared in a day of Jewish dialogue and exploration, joining together in celebration of all that unites us.

Winnipeg’s Jewish community held its own event with a Jewish learning, brunch, a lively PJ Library program and a live video webcast from Jerusalem featuring the finishing of Rabbi Steinsaltz’s 45 year work of translating the Talmud.  Over seventy Winnipegers joined other Jews from 40 different countries around the world, from Canada to Israel to Mexico to Morocco to India to Australia to Tunisia to Russia (to name a few!). Rabbi Pinsker of Shaarey Zedek Synagogue, Rabbi Ellis of Herzlia Synagogue and Ruth Ashrafi, Judaic Studies Director of the Gray Academy all gave interesting presentations.

Sal Pelletieri, a participant of the event attended a class given by Rabbi Pinsker.

“He discussed the concept of Halacha as a divinely inspired method of following God's path for us. He presented examples of how our application of Halacha has changed with a changing world and why we must adapt to remain a vibrant and creative people,”

Kinsey Posen (who happens to be my dad) said Rabbi Pinsker was extremely well prepared for his discussion and provided thought provoking handouts.  

“Right from the start, Rabbi Pinsker encouraged the participants to take part in asking questions or commenting on the subject matter.  The people who attended were a wide ranging bunch in terms of their own religiosity, plus there were a number of immigrants as well,” he added. 

Rabbi Ellis spoke about feminism and Orthodox Judaism.  He talked about the halachic discussions of appropriate roles for men and women and the exemption of women from public participation in some services to accommodate their role in child rearing. The discussion delved into historical context for the rabbinic texts, inherent respect for women in traditional texts, and the modern requirement to satisfy the interests of women with regard to participation in synagogue life. Rabbi Ellis led the class through the texts that frame the issues and began the conversation around modern solutions to retain tradition and satisfy the needs of modern Orthodox women, leaving much left for further exploration at another class.  (The Winnipeg Jewish Review has posted Rabbi Ellis’s complete talk, which can be read by clicking here. 

Ruth Ashrafi, the Judaic  Studies director of Gray Academy gave an interesting talk about what the Talmud is and why it is such a central book for Jews. – Ruth Ashrafi

My one regret was that I had to choose from the three different seminars, I wanted to attend them all!” said Faith Kaplan, an attendee of the Global Day.

The classes offered at Winnipeg’s Global Day were very diverse, ranging from Talmud study to Feminism in Modern Orthodoxy to the world of changing Halacha.  Each class had an energetic group filled with lively discussion.  “ The Global Day of Jewish learning didn’t have the feeling of a regular routine event.  People in attendance felt that they were part of a larger picture, of a larger community.  “The event was a tiny taste of what is to come in the upcoming Limmud conference from March 12th to 13th.  For more information on Limmud Winnipeg click here.

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