Jewish Law and Ethics: A Hackathon for the Age of COVID-19

The onset of the COVID-19 epidemic has raised a slew of ethical questions, presenting new challenges for individuals, communities and governing bodies. In response,  T’ruah is hosting a series webinars around “Jewish Law and Ethics: A Hackathon for the Age of COVID-19” on Tuesdays October 6, 13, 20 and 27. Hebrew College is a co-sponsor.

Each webinar will feature a pair of our Hackathon scholars teaching the material they uncovered from our tradition that speaks to a pressing ethical question of our moment, such as:

  •  Do renters need to pay rent during a crisis?
  • How do we navigate concerns about civil liberties when it comes to contract tracing for the sake of public health? 

About the Series

These questions have emerged at a particular crisis moment, but have a much more enduring effect on the way we think about creating a society that protects the health, dignity, and human rights of all people.

T’ruah has brought together eight people with expertise in halacha, Jewish thought, ethics, and history, with strong touch points to the lived experience of the Jewish community and communities with whom our destinies are interconnected, to embark together over the next three months on a process of deep learning and discernment.

Together, contributors to this project will produce papers that will offer guidelines for Jewish individuals and communities to approach distinct ethical questions that have emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic. The published papers, and accompanying educational materials including source sheets, toolkits and video clips, will provide Jewish clergy and educators with guidelines for approaching these challenges grounded in deep Jewish wisdom.

Film Screening of “Children of the Inquisition” and Discussion with Director and Guests

Children of the inquisitionJoin us for a special online showing of the film “Children of the Inquisition,” followed on a separate day by a one-hour Q&A with the film’s director, Joseph Lovett; Director of Hebrew College’s Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership, Rabbi Or Rose; and Rabbi Allison Poirier `19 of co-sponsor Temple Beth Sholom in Framingham.

The film will be available to registrants to view at your leisure for 48 hours before the Zoom discussion with our guests on November 22.

“Children of the Inquisition” is a re-examination of history and identity in a 2-hour documentary film that unearths 500 years of hidden history. The film looks at what happened to the families forced to convert to Catholicism or flee during the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions through the eyes of their contemporary descendants, many of whom are just discovering their often nuanced Jewish roots. The film’s storytellers uncover the connections between their family’s journeys and this buried history.  The discoveries of these flights to safety over the past 500 years give a new perspective to the world events we face today.

“Children of the Inquisition” is more than just a film. It’s an opportunity to better understand our complex world and identities.

Learn more about the film and the “Children of the Inquisition” educational project.

This event is made possible thanks to a generous, anonymous donor, and is co-sponsored by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston and Temple Beth Sholom in Framingham.





Annual Lecture: Steven J. Zipperstein – Myth and History in the Recent Jewish Past

The Heidi Urich Annual Lecture on Jewish Genealogy
cosponsored by JGSGB and Hebrew College
Free and Open to All

For many Jews, the Russian and East European Jewish past is little more than a miasma of misery. As often as not, the experience is summed up with little more than the word “pogrom” which has come to serve as a sturdy coda for all that transpired in what was, at the turn of the 20th century, the largest concentration of Jews in the world. How consistent these assumptions are with history, how they surfaced and with such persistence and what else transpired in this culturally diverse, complex community will be the subject of this talk.


Information to obtain the Zoom link will be available on the JGSGB web page by October 1, 2020.

About the Speaker

zippersteinSteven J. Zipperstein, Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History at Stanford University, is the author and editor of nine books most recently “Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History” (WW Norton/Liveright, 2018). He is now at work on a biography of Philip Roth. He is an editor of Yale’s Jewish Lives series, and writes often for The New York Times, Jewish Review of Books, and elsewhere.

A Virtual “Taste” of Me’ah

Curious about Me’ah? Come enjoy a free “Taste.”

Discover Me’ah, the amazing two-year journey through Jewish history that provides adults of all backgrounds with a foundation in Jewish culture and civilization.

Meet with one of our stellar instructors, enjoy a sample lesson, and learn how you can join the Me’ah journey. Facilitated by Rabbi Neal Gold.


A Zoom link will be sent to all registrants a few days before the session.

*Classes will meet virtually starting October 2020

Neal GoldRabbi Neal Gold teaches and writes about Jewish texts, Israel, and intersections between Jewish life and the contemporary world. He is currently the President of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis and serves as Jewish Chaplain & Hillel Director at Babson College in Wellesley, MA. He has served as the national Director of Program & Content for ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America. He received an MA in Near Eastern & Judaic Studies from Brandeis University and smicha from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Racial Justice Yom Iyyun

Join us on Sunday, August 23 for a day of learning on racial justice as a Jewish community. This day will be multifaceted. It will provide space to speak about white supremacy, to discuss the nature of racism in Jewish life, and to hold up the diversity of our Jewish community. We will learn from many teachers, most of whom identify as Jews of Color (JOC), we will reflect, and we will pray.

This day of learning is brought to you by BASE Hillel with support from Hillel International, key leaders who are Jews of Color, Hebrew College, and many other valued organizations.

Registration information is coming soon!

Poetry in Times of Peril: Four Women’s Voices

From the ancient Book of Psalms to contemporary hip-hop, poetry has served as a vital channel through which to express our deepest yearnings, frustrations, and hopes.
How might words of poetry help us respond to the current crisis of COVID-19 and the national reckoning with racial injustice?
Join us as we engage four outstanding woman poets from different walks of life for a cross-cultural and intergenerational reading and discussion.
Featured Poets
Four poets: Alondra Bobadilla, Marilyn Nelson, Alicia Ostriker, Alicia Jo Rabins
  • Alondra Bobadilla
  • Marilyn Nelson
  • Alicia Ostriker
  • Alicia Jo Rabins
Moderator – Dr. Judith Rosenbaum, Jewish Women’s Archive
Greetings – Rabbi Or Rose, Miller Center of Hebrew College & Rev. Paul Raushenbush, Interfaith Youth Core


  • Jewish Women’s Archive
  • Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College
  • Interfaith Youth Core
  • Lilith Magazine

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