Prominent Jewish leaders from around the country address today’s most pressing issues in this transformational speaker series that explores the connection between activism, service, spirituality, community, and Jewish wisdom. Speakers will draw upon Jewish texts, events, and traditions to discuss aspects of Jewish wisdom that are most relevant to improving today’s world. Join us in New York City or on Facebook LIVE for Speak Torah to Power. Come early to enjoy a drink and light nosh.

Speak Torah to Power is proudly funded by UJA – Federation of New York.

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Speak Torah to Power Speakers:

Koach Baruch Frazier: “Cultivating Resilience Through the Practice of Lament”

Thursday, January 17; Doors and Drinks at 6 pm; Talk begins at 7 pm

SubCulture (45 Bleecker St., NYC)

As we work and live and breathe towards a liberated future, we can often miss the moments needed for being with our grief, pain and despair.  We have a long and rooted tradition of crying out to G-d when we have experienced loss and destruction. In this powerful, critical talk, racial justice activist and rabbinical student Dr. Koach Baruch Frazier will explore this spiritual technology and show how to use it on our journey to liberation. RSVP here.

Koach Baruch Frazier, Au.D. is a healer and musician who is working towards the day everyone experiences liberation. He spent 14 years helping people reconnect with the world around them through better hearing and the last several years providing love and support through revolutionary listening and spiritual leadership, traveling the country facilitating healing and transformation through music and workshops at the intersection of antisemitism and antiblackness. He earned his undergraduate degree from Saint Louis University and his doctorate from Central Michigan University. Dr. Frazier has served on the boards of the Missouri GSA Network and Central Reform Congregation (CRC), where he was also a cantorial soloist and is a co-convenor of the Tzedek Lab. He currently lives in Philadelphia with his fiance, LaJuana, where he attends the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Koach’s heart beats to the rhythm of tikvah, t’shuvah and tzedek.

Rabbi Aryeh Cohen: “Justice in the City”

Wednesday, February 13; Doors and Drinks at 6 pm; Talk begins at 7 pm

SubCulture (45 Bleecker St., NYC)

For those of us who live in cities or even towns, it can be easy to rush about our lives focusing primarily on our own lives, work, and loved ones.  However, Rabbi Aryeh Cohen argues, the privilege of being part of an urban community comes with obligations towards those who are not always seen–those who are economically vulnerable and/or marginalized. He will deftly take us through the thinking of the Talmud and the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas to offer a balanced, coherent, and workable way to view our connections to, and responsibility those with whom we live in proximity–whether or not we will ever meet them.  This is a bold and important new model for civic engagement. RSVP here.

Rabbi Aryeh Cohen, Ph.D. is Professor of Rabbinic Literature at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies of the American Jewish University, where he teaches courses in all things Talmud. He is also Rabbi in Residence for Bend the Arc: Jewish Action in Southern California, and a senior fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. Additionally, Aryeh is on the editorial board of Tikkun Magazine. Aryeh received his PhD from Brandeis University and his rabbinic ordination from Ziegler. His academic work focuses on the intersection of Talmudic discussions and contemporary issues of justice.

He has written two books, Justice in the City: An Argument from the Sources of Rabbinic Judaism (2012) and Rereading Talmud: Gender, Law, and the Poetics of Sugyot (1998). He is currently working on a project called The Space of Politics and the Politics of Space in Rabbinic Literature and the Contemporary World.

Over the past two years Aryeh has helped organize five major nonviolent direct actions which helped to pass California’s state sanctuary law (SB54) and moved the city of Los Angeles away from any involvement with immigration enforcement. He has been arrested five times for civil disobedience. Aryeh also writes topical essays on domestic social justice issues such as Islamophobia, racism and racial justice, immigration, housing and homelessness, as well as on Israel/Palestine.

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum: “Creating New Narratives of Empathy”

Wednesday, March 13; Doors and Drinks at 6 pm EST; Talk begins at 7 pm EST

Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Peter Norton Symphony Space (2527 Broadway at 95th St., NYC)

In this powerful, engaging talk, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum will tell the story of how it became an essential part of Muslim prayer in one community to be surrounded by the love of gay Jews, and how one straight Imam found himself as a featured speaker at New York’s GLBT Pride parade.  It’s a story of being present and bearing deep witness, about knowing that we can’t always change the world, about what it takes to look empathetically into the experience of another and to show up in acts of love and solidarity.  It’s about knowing that when we sit with each other in pain, we can strengthen and be strengthened, we can transform and be transformed–and we can learn how to live out our awareness that each person is created in God’s image. RSVP here.

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum has been Senior Rabbi of New York City’s Congregation Beth Simchat Torah (CBST) since 1992. Under her leadership, CBST has become an important voice in Judaism, in the world-wide discourse on the nature of religious community, and in the movement to secure basic civil rights for gay people everywhere. Rabbi Kleinbaum’s education and experience cut across all varieties of contemporary Judaism: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, and secular activist. She received her ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1990. Raised in a family of social activists, Rabbi Kleinbaum’s own social action career began in college. She led protests against Barnard’s investments in South Africa and against the proliferation of nuclear weapons. As a human rights advocate – for blacks, women, gays and lesbians, immigrants – she has been jailed, arrested, vilified, and lauded. 

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Speak Torah to Power is Proudly Funded By

UJA – Federation of New York

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