Writing the Other Half of the Jewish Bookshelf: Celebrating the Publication of Dirshuni—Contemporary Women’s Midrash

An Evening With Tamar Biala, Rabbi Avi Killip and Rabbi Avi Strausberg

Dirshuni book cover

Join us on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. at Hebrew College for  an evening of study and conversation where we will explore the meaning of the project that seeks to expand our sacred texts.

Please join us in marking the publication of the English volume of Dirshunithe first-ever English edition of a historic collection of midrashim composed by Israeli women, which has been long-anticipated by multiple American audiences, including synagogues, rabbinical seminaries, adult learning programs, Jewish educators, and scholars of gender and religion.

Using the classical forms developed by the ancient rabbis, the contributors express their religious and moral thought and experience through innovative interpretations of scripture. The women writers, from all denominations and beyond, of all political stripes and ethnic backgrounds, contribute their Torah to fill the missing half of the sacred Jewish bookshelf. This book reflects dramatic changes in the agency of women in the world of religious writings.


Tamar Biala

Tamar Biala teaches in various Batei Midrash, rabbinical schools, and adult education programs in the US and Israel.
She co edited Volume 1 of the Hebrew – language edition of Dirshuni: Women’s Midrash with Nehama Weingarten Mintz and in 2018 edited volume 2. In 2022 she published an English volume Dirshuni – Contemporary Women’s Midrash (Brandeis University Press). Currently, with Yael Kanarek, she is working on the Toratah project of regendering the Hebrew bible Beittoratah.org.


Avi KillipRabbi Avi Killip `14  is the Executive Vice President at Hadar. A graduate of Hebrew College Rabbinical School, Avi also holds Bachelors and Masters from Brandeis University. She was a Wexner Graduate Fellow and a Schusterman Fellowship. Avi teaches as part of Hadar’s Faculty and is host of the Responsa Radio podcast.

Avi StrausbergRabbi Avi Strausberg `15 is the Senior Director of National Learning Initiatives at Hadar, and is based in Washington, DC. Previously, she served as the Director of Congregational Learning of Temple of Aaron in St. Paul, Minnesota. She received her rabbinic ordination and MJEd from Hebrew College  and is a Wexner Graduate Fellow. Avi has worked as a chaplain intern at Hebrew SeniorLife and organized an anti-trafficking campaign as a rabbinic fellow at T’ruah.

Turn It and Turn It Again: Renewing Our Torah Journey

“[Rabbinic Sage] Ben Bag Bag would say: turn it and turn it again, for all is in it.” — Pirke Avot 5:22

Please join us on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022 from 7-7:45 p.m. for Turn It and Turn It Again: Renewing Our Torah Journey to celebrate the beginning of another year of Jewish learning and community with Hebrew College and friends. All are welcome, whether you’ve been studying with us for years or you’re joining us for the first time.

This online Zoom event will feature an introduction by Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, President of Hebrew College, followed by breakout teaching sessions with Hebrew College faculty members Rabbi Nehemia Polen, Rabbi Or Rose, Rabbi Shani Rosenbaum, and Dr. Susie Tanchel.

Meet the Faculty

Rabbi Sharon Cohen AnisfeldRabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld became President of Hebrew College in July 2018. Rabbi Anisfeld first came to Hebrew College in 2003 as an adjunct faculty member of the Rabbinical School and then served as Dean of Students from 2005-2006. She went on to serve as Dean of the Rabbinical School for eleven years, from 2006-2017. Rabbi Anisfeld graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1990, and subsequently spent 15 years working in pluralistic settings as a Hillel rabbi at Tufts, Yale and Harvard universities. She has been a regular summer faculty member for the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel since 1993 and is co-editor of two volumes of women’s writings on Passover, “The Women’s Seder Sourcebook: Rituals and Readings for Use at the Passover Seder” (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2002) and “The Women’s Passover Companion: Women’s Reflections on the Festival of Freedom” (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2002). She writes and teaches widely, weaving together Torah, rabbinic commentary, and contemporary poetry and literature in her wise and compassionate approach to the complexities of the human experience and the search for healing and hope in a beautiful but fractured world.

Rabbi Nehemia PolenRabbi Nehemia Polen is Professor of Jewish Thought at Hebrew College and is a leading expert in Hasidism and Jewish thought. A widely published author, his books include The Holy Fire: The Teachings of Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, the Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto (Jason Aronson Inc., first ed., 1977); The Rebbe’s Daughter (Jewish Publication Society, 2002), based on Polen’s research as a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow and recipient of a National Jewish Book Award; Filling Words With Light: Hasidic and Mystical Reflections on Jewish Prayer (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2004), written with Lawrence Kushner; and From Tiberias, With Love: A Collection of Tiberian Hasidism, volume I: Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk, edited by Aubrey Glazer (Fons Vitae Press, 2020.) Polen holds a doctorate from Boston University, where he studied with and served as a teaching fellow for Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel. Prior to his career in Jewish academia, Polen served for 23 years as a congregational rabbi.

Rabbi Or RoseRabbi Or Rose is the founding Director of the Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College. Before assuming this position in 2016, he worked in various administrative and teaching capacities at Hebrew College for over a decade, including serving as a founding faculty member and Associate Dean of the Rabbinical School. Rabbi Rose was also one of the creators of CIRCLE, The Center for Interreligious & Community Leadership Education, cosponsored by Hebrew College and Andover Newton Theological School (2007-2017). In addition to his work at Hebrew College, Rabbi Rose has taught for the Bronfman Youth Fellowships, The Wexner Graduate Fellowship, Hebrew College Me’ah community eduction program, and in a variety of other academic, religious, and civic contexts throughout North America and in Israel. A prolific author and editor, his recent publications include: Words To Live By: Sacred Sources for Interreligious Engagement (co-editor, Orbis) and Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi: Essential Teachings (co-editor, Orbis). Rabbi Rose is also the creator of the weekly scriptural commentary series 70 Faces of Torah, curator of the web-based project PsalmSeason, and co-publisher of the Journal of Interreligious Studies.

Shani-RosenbaumRabbi Shani Rosenbaum`21 joined the Hebrew College faculty in 2021. Her teaching focuses on rabbinic and halakhic literature. Shani holds a BA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University and rabbinic ordination from her teachers at Hebrew College. She has also pursued immersive Torah study in a range of yeshiva settings, including Midreshet Lindenbaum, Matan, Beit Midrash Har’el, Yeshivat Hadar, Yashrut, and the Pardes Kollel. Shani spent her early career working on the programming teams of several organizations pursuing justice through a Jewish lens, including Encounter and OLAM, where she produced the Global Torah podcast. In 2020, she conducted a “Jewish Law and Ethics Hackathon for the Age of COVID-19” for T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. In addition to her courses in the Rabbinical School, Shani teaches Talmud, Halakha and Midrash through Hebrew College Open Circle Jewish Learning. She served as Managing Editor for Hiddushim: Celebrating Hebrew College’s Centennial, a volume of essays on Jewish studies and education, which was published by Academic Studies Press in 2022.

Dr.-Susie-TanchelDr. Susie Tanchel, Vice President of Hebrew College, joined Hebrew College in the summer of 2020, after serving as Head of School at JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School. During her 9 year tenure at JCDS, Tanchel was an accomplished and deeply beloved leader, guiding the school to preeminence as a national model of excellence in pluralistic Jewish education, and creatively embodying its abiding commitments to community, centrality of Hebrew language, and teaching the whole child. She was a recipient of the 2018 Covenant Award for Jewish Educators.

Hebrew College Community Education Opportunities

Learn more about Hebrew College Adult and Teen Learning and fall course offerings here. Educators, learn about our professional development offerings through MaTaRoT: Hebrew College’s Center for Jewish Professional Learning & Leadership here.

Remembering Loved Ones Who Died By Suicide

As the High Holy Day season approaches, we are reminded that remembrance is integral to the Jewish experience. JF&CS is dedicated to offering a Jewish response to suicide loss, remembering those who have died and supporting those who live with this unique loss.

On Monday, September 19, from 6:30-7 p.m. EST, we will gather virtually as a community for a special Yizkor moment, a gentle remembrance of those who have died by suicide. The event will be led by Hebrew College alumna Rabbi Suzanne Offit and Marjie Sokoll, M.Ed., director of the JF&CS Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Jewish Healing. This event is sponsored by JF&CS, Hebrew College, and CJP

>> View the flyer

jfcs boston logo supported by cjp logo

“Taste of Me’ah Classic”

meah_logoMe’ah Classic is back in person!

Join us for “A Taste of Me’ah Classic” on Tuesday, September 13,  10 – 11 a.m. to learn about Hebrew  College’s flagship Adult Learning program.

Rabbi Neal Gold, instructor for the “Hebrew Bible” semester of Me’ah Classic, will offer a sample learning and discussion, followed by Q&A about program logistics. This event is free of charge.

Both the “Taste of Me’ah Classic” and course will take place at at Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward Street, Newton 

About Me’ah Classic

Me’ah Classic is a comprehensive, engaging, and in-depth adult learning experience that takes students on a 100-hour, two-year journey through the narrative of the Jewish people. This program is taught by outstanding faculty who empower students to become part of the conversation. Readings, text study, lectures, and discussions focus on core texts from biblical, rabbinic, medieval, and modern times. View the flyer

2022-2023 dates and time

All sessions will be held from 9:30–11:30 a.m. at Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward St. in Newton. Fall semester dates are:

  • November 1, 8, 15, and 22
  • December 6, 13 and 20
  • January 3, 10, 17 and 24
Instructor: Rabbi neal gold

Neal GoldRabbi Neal Gold teaches and writes about Jewish texts, Israel, and intersections between Jewish life and the contemporary world. He is also a student, recently completing an MA in Near Eastern & Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. He is adjunct faculty and a lecturer for Hebrew College’s Me’ah program, Jewish Chaplain & Hillel Director at Babson College in Wellesley, MA, and the Past President of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis. He has served as the national Director of Program & Content for ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America. For over 18 years he led congregations in New Jersey and Massachusetts.


The fee per year is $650 per person. Generous financial aid is available.


Contact meah@hebrewcollege.edu for more information or visit the website.

Syncopation: Lyrical Abstraction in Israeli Art (1970s)


Artwork: “Unititled” by Israeli artist Rita Alima

Hebrew College Fall 2022 Art Exhibit

Pleasevisit Hebrew College’s fall art exhibition Syncopation, featuring Israeli art from the College’s permanent collection in celebration of Israel’s 75th anniversary. Explore 22 works on paper, all created in the 1970s. This is the College’s final exhibit it Newton Centre before we move to our new home on January 2023. READ THE PRESS RELEASE.

The exhibit is curated by Deb Feinstein, founding chair of the Hebrew College Arts Initiative and member, Hebrew College Board of Trustees.

Vaccination required. Hebrew College is monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will make any changes in accordance with local or national government guidelines.

Exhibit Dates & Hours
Wednesday, September 21 – Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Mondays through Thursdays: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Fridays: 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Sundays beginning October 23: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Campus closures:
September 26 – 27 for Rosh Hashanah
October 4, 5, 10, 11, 17, 18 for high holidays
November 23 – 27 for Thanksgiving

Read more & view exhibit slideshow
Read more about the exhibit and artists and view photos from the exhibit  opening on September 21, 2022. (Photos by Sharon Marie Katz and Emily Hoadley)


22 works on paper, all from the 1970s, last shown together at Hebrew College in 2004.

Syncopation: Lyrical Abstraction in Israeli Art (1970s)

deb-feinsteinBy Deborah Feinstein

Why apply this title to the abstract art presented here?

As the viewer enters the exhibit, you are caught up with the movement of color and shapes dancing across the walls. Slowly the forms move into an illusion of outlines and space itself while color swirls into organic rhythms. A tempo picks up and the pulses expand.

Without words, these artists capture the pace and rhythm of life in Israel in the 1970s. As with syncopation, their mark-making strategies are often surprising, creating rhythms that are multiple, varied, and overlapping. These energies describe the culture and country. Time, too, is related to the title, connecting two different ways to “see” the exhibit. You’ll encounter visions of parched deserts in Gross’s art, the blue Mediterranean in Alima’s prints, and the mystic aura of Safed in Levy’s watercolors. There are deep connections with the love of this timeless land.

Of the nine artists exhibited here, many were born in the 1920s and 1930s, some are sabras, the rest immigrated to Israel from Poland, Germany, Moravia, Hungary, and Iraq. As the donor of the collection, Nitza Rosovsky, wrote in 2004 about this collection, “They (these works on paper) were not saturated with Jewish symbols but captured the land and spirit of Israel through different eyes.” Indeed, this collection reveals the style of “lyrical abstraction” championed by Joseph Zaritsky, founder of the group called New Horizon (Ofakim Hadashim) and teacher of many of the artists presented here. Yet, in the end, the individual personal expressions of each artist are revealed.

The whole of the exhibition vibrates like a piece of music and each artist expresses the chords of the individual soul: questioning, celebrating, and reflecting as each follows the sounds through space and sometimes, silences. Combing lyrical abstraction with rhythmic force, the viewer can experience eternal time with enduring harmony.

Many thanks to Nitza Rosovsky for her gift of this collection to Hebrew College.

Hebrew College Arts Initiative


In 2021, Hebrew College established its Arts and Culture initiative in keeping with the College’s long-standing mission of fostering love of Torah, social justice, pluralism, and creativity. Our exhibitions are open to the public, providing access to learning and on-going conversation. Read more…

Dancing in God’s Earthquake: An Evening with Rabbi Arthur Waskow

dancing_god's_earthquake_bookcoverPlease join us for a book launch and conversation with Rabbi Arthur Waskow and Rabbi Or Rose, the director of the Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College, on September 8, 2022 in person at Hebrew College (space is limited) or on Zoom.

The evening will include a discussion about Rabbi Waskow’s 2020 book Dancing in God’s Earthquake: The Coming Transformation of Religion.


Rabbi Arthur WaskowRabbi Arthur Waskow, is a prophetic rabbi who has for fifty years worked to promote a progressive spirit of renewal that connects Jews, Christians, and people of other faiths. He will be in conversation withRabbi Or Rose about his latest book which he refers to as the “harvest of his life work,” Dancing in God’s Earthquake: The Coming Transformation of Religion. Rabbi Waskow founded (1983) and directs The Shalom Center, a prophetic voice in Jewish, multireligious, and American life. He co-founded Shalomi ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal with Reb Zalman Schachter and was also a co-founder of the National Havurah Committee and Rabbis for Human Rights/ North America (now T’ruah). Among his 28 books have been the original Freedom Seder and several of its offspring, Seasons of Our Joy, Godwrestling and Godwrestling – Round 2.

Rabbi Or RoseRabbi Or Rose is the founding director of the Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College. Before assuming this position in 2016, he worked in various administrative and teaching capacities at Hebrew College for over a decade, including serving as a founding faculty member and Associate Dean of the Rabbinical School. He also has taught for the Bronfman Youth Fellowships, The Wexner Graduate Fellowship, Hebrew College Me’ah community eduction program, and in a variety of other academic, religious, and civic contexts throughout North America and in Israel. His recent publications include: Words To Live By: Sacred Sources for Interreligious Engagement (co-editor, Orbis) and Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi: Essential Teachings (co-editor, Orbis).

Covid Protocols

All attendees must show proof of vaccination (including all boosters, if qualified) to enter the program. The event will be masked and held in a large space with plenty of social distancing. We invite people from all over the country and beyond to join us on Zoom.


Please contact Marilyn Stern at mstern@hebrewcollege.edu.