Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman tackles complex challenges facing the country
Whatever our personal views about Israel, it is likely we all agree that Israel is among the most complex and complicated nations in the world. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict appears intractable, with both sides refusing even to acknowledge a common narrative of the genesis of the conflict. This has raised significant moral questions (often by Israeli writers and thinkers) about the appropriateness of Israel’s military response.
There are also conflicts within Israeli society. The relationship between Ashkenazi (Jews of Central and Eastern European descent) and Shephardi (Jews of Spanish and Middle Eastern descent) Jews is often strained; the growing gap between rich and poor is the cause of great consternation; Israel’s treatment of foreign laborers has prompted demonstrations; the relationship between Charedi (ultra-Orthodox) Jews and the rest of Israel society is replete with anger; the divide between religious and secular Jewish Israelis is growing.
How can the world-wide Jewish community, let alone Israeli citizenry, make sense of all these challenges?
Enter Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman
The son of Rabbi David Hartman (of blessed memory), an innovative and far-sighted Orthodox rabbi who made aliyah (the immigration of Jews to Israel) and founded the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, Rabbi Hartman has embraced his father’s vision and expanded upon it. As President of the Institute, Rabbi Hartman has shaped it into a center of transformative thinking and teaching addressing the major challenges facing Israel and global Jewish People. Committed to the significance of Jewish ideas, the power of Torah study, broadly defined, and the conviction that great teaching contributes to the growth and continual revitalization of the Jewish people, Rabbi Hartman has made the Institute a thriving academy for rabbis, educators, academics, Jewish lay leaders, Israeli army officers and leaders of other religious faiths.
Rabbi Hartman is a principled pluralist, believing that all streams of Judaism have something important to contribute to the Jewish future. He has taught and written extensively on the relationship between ethics and religion, arguing in his soon-to-be-published book Putting God Second: Saving Religion from Itself that ethics is not the hand-maiden of religion but rather a guide to proper religious behavior. He has thought deeply about the rifts in Israeli socie`ty and how they might be healed. And he has been a constant commentator on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, making the case both for a safe and secure Israel as well as for the religious injunction and the need to create a true and lasting peace with the Palestinians. His blogs in the Times of Israel are a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the complexity of Israeli life and in quest of a reasoned centrist approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Rabbi Dr. Doniel Hartman is the North Peninsula Scholar in Residence February 9-18, 2015.
For details about his speaking engagements visit www.pjcc.org/scholar.