February Report of our National Scholar, Rabbi Hayyim Angel

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To our members and friends,

We have a very exciting winter semester of classes with the Institute. Here is a brief schedule:


Wednesday, February 15, 7:00-8:00pm: Double book reception for my two new books:

Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi: Prophecy in an Age of Uncertainty (Maggid Press): A systematic and readable commentary on Israel's last prophets in their historical setting. The commentary integrates the best of classical rabbinic and contemporary academic scholarship. Gain insight into these Second Temple prophetic works, as well as Ezra-Nehemiah and Esther. This commentary is part of the acclaimed Maggid Press Tanakh series that presents high-level traditional commentary in a manner that is accessible to people of all backgrounds.


Increasing Peace Through Balanced Torah Study. Conversations 27 (Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals): Our newest issue of Conversations contains essays by Rabbi Hayyim Angel on some of the central religious values promoted by our Institute. The diversity of traditional opinions pertaining to critical religious matters such as dogma and taking the Bible literally, the wisdom of Sephardic and Ashkenazic teachings and how they enlighten all Jews, contemporary approaches to afterlife and religious extremism, conversion, the integration of tradition and scholarship, and many other issues are developed in this new volume.


The book reception will be held on Wednesday evening, February 15, from 7:00-8:00 pm, at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun (125 East 85th Street, between Park-Lexington Avenues in Manhattan). Free and open to the public.

Copies of the commentary on Haggai-Zechariah-Malachi will be available for purchase and signing.

Everyone who attends will receive a complimentary copy of the new issue of Conversations.


Navigating Nach: A Survey of the Prophets

Winter session (Proverbs, Job, Five Megillot) February 1, 8, 22; March 1, 8, 15, 22.

Co-sponsored by the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals and Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun

Wednesdays from 7:00-8:00pm, at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, 125 East 85th Street (between Park and Lexington Avenue)

Previous lectures from this series are on our website, jewishideas.org, at Online Learning.

The course is taught at a high scholarly level but is accessible to people of all levels of Jewish learning. Newcomers always welcome. Free and open to the public.


Yeshiva University Community Beit Midrash: “Prophecy in the Second Temple Era”

Six Wednesdays 11:45-12:45: February 8, 15, 22, March 1, 8, 15, at Stern College for Women in midtown (classes are for adults).

This series will examine themes in the biblical books of the Second Temple Period. Insights into the critical period of restoration and the simultaneous decline of prophecy will be developed. Learn how strikingly relevant these books are to our modern age. Topics include: 


Ezra: A Miracle of History

Haggai:  Imminent Potential for Redemption

Zechariah: God is Hidden, but Ready to Reveal Himself

Esther - What They Didn’t Teach Us in Day School

Ezra and Nehemiah: Different Models of Leadership

Malachi: The End of Prophecy and Transition to the Rabbinate. 


For registration information, contact Rabbi Aryeh Czarka (aryeh.czarka@yu.edu).


Lamdeinu Teaneck: Megillat Esther and the Haggadah

Six Mondays, 1:00pm-2:15pm: February 6, 13, 27 on the Megillah. March 20, 27, April 3 on the Haggadah.

Megillat Esther: As one of the biblical texts most familiar to us, the Megillah actually is one of the most difficult books to learn in depth. Precisely because of our prior education, it is challenging to look at the text to see what it is teaching. In this three-part mini-series, we will critically examine several assumptions that often accompany us as we learn the Megillah, and then attempt to uncover the messages of the text.

Haggadah: We are accustomed to treating the Haggadah as a text, when it is in fact a compendium of many texts. In this three-part mini-series, we will consider the various texts that comprise the Haggadah in their contexts, and then see how they are woven into a spectacular tapestry that helps convey the story of Pesah.

Classes are held at Congregation Beth Aaron, 950 Queen Anne Road in Teaneck. For registration information, go to http://www.lamdeinu.org/.


Teacher Training

I am teaching a ten-part series to the Honors Rabbinical Students at Yeshiva University, on Teaching Bible in Synagogues. The goal is to expose students to some of the challenges and opportunities in synagogue education, and to bring traditional Bible study to a contemporary, educated audience.  

I also have been working with the Bible faculty at the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (CHAT) on developing a new curriculum that integrates traditional and contemporary scholarship in a manner that is relevant and meaningful to High School students.


College Campus

On Thursday evening, February 9, I will speak to students at New York University on the interrelationship between traditional and academic Bible study. This program is sponsored by the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.


On January 14, I presented the third and final installment of the History at Home lectures at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun. All three lectures are on our website at Online Learning.

On January 15, I presented at the “Torah in the City” program at Citi Field hosted by the Orthodox Union. Nearly 1500 people were in attendance at this remarkable day of learning. They intend to post videos of all the lectures over the coming weeks at ou.org.


As always, I am grateful to our members and supporters who enable us to carry out our educational programs, teacher trainings, campus lectures, and publications to disseminate our Institute’s vision far and wide.

Rabbi Hayyim Angel

National Scholar