Torot at the Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas Synagogue, Virgin Islands. Photo courtesy of Marilyn Shapiro.
SCHENECTADY– Congregation Agudat Achim’s Adult Education Committee has announced a scholar-in-residence weekend entitled, “What Sort of Book Is the Torah?” for Friday, Feb. 9–Sunday, Feb. 11. Dr. Benjamin Sommer of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) will be the featured scholar and will teach and lead discussions throughout the weekend.
Shabbat, at Agudat Achim, 2117 Union St., Schenectady, Feb. 9, starts at 5:30 p.m. and after a Kabbalat “Shabbat in the Round, ” Sommer will present a dvar Torah titled “The Two Torahs, Both from Sinai.” A Persian-styled dinner will precede a learning session with Sommer at 7:45 p.m. He will discuss, “Holiness in the Torah: An Ancient Debate and Its Importance Today.”
During Shabbat morning services, which begin at 9:15 on Feb. 10, Sommer will be give a dvar Torah titled, Sefer Habrit: Covenant—The Origin of a Biblical Idea. Following a Kiddush lunch at 1 p.m. Sommer will teach “What Sort of Book Is the Torah? And Why Is it Called ‘the Torah’? Saturday’s programs conclude at 7 p.m. with a havdalah and a dessert reception.
The congregation’s men’s club will host a breakfast at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11. Later at 10:15 attendees will have an opportunity to review, “The Tent of Meeting and Sacred Space in the Torah: Two Memories, Two Theologies” with Sommer.
Sommer joined the JTS faculty as professor of Bible in July 2008. Previously, he served as director of the Crown Family Center for Jewish Studies at Northwestern University. He has been a fellow at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the Tikvah Center for Jewish Law and Civilization at the New York University School of Law, and the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. He has served as a visiting faculty member in the Department of Bible of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and at the Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas. He has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Yad Hanadiv/Berakha Foundation.