JTS professor keys Selichot services

Rabbi Kalmanofsky will help lead events at Anshai Torah

Submitted report

With 5777 soon to arrive, Congregation Anshai Torah looks forward to hosting Selichot services and the Shabbat that precedes it for all the Conservative congregations in the Dallas area.
All are invited to begin the season of introspection, Friday, Sept. 23 and Saturday, Sept. 24, with guest Rabbi Amy Kalmanofsky, assistant professor of Bible at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Opportunities will include three sessions of learning, prayer and community seasoned with a Friday night dinner, Saturday Kiddush lunch, and Saturday evening dessert reception.
“Talmud Torah serves as the inspiration for this program and together we are reminded of the importance associated with the Conservative voice in our Jewish community. Rabbi Kalmanofsky is an outstanding teacher who is passionate about her profession. She is provocative, engaging and humorous and we are thrilled for her return to Anshai Torah, where she was received with so much appreciation at her previous engagement,” said Congregation Anshai Torah’s Rabbi Stefan Weinberg, of Rabbi Kalmanofsky’s visit which is sponsored by the Hereld Institute for Jewish Studies at JTS. “We are fortunate to have three Conservative congregations in the Metroplex and together with Congregations Beth Torah and Shearith Israel we share a number of special moments during the course of the year — one of the most significant and meaningful times is our Selichot program.”

Rabbi Amy Kalmanofsky, assistant professor of Bible at the Jewish Theological Seminary, will visit Anshai Torah for the Selichot weekend, Sept. 23 and 24. JTA photo
Rabbi Amy Kalmanofsky, assistant professor of Bible at the Jewish Theological Seminary, will visit Anshai Torah for the Selichot weekend, Sept. 23 and 24.
JTA photo

“Hineni: Awesome Biblical Texts for the Days of Awe” is the theme of Rabbi Kalmanofsky’s teachings. There will be three opportunities to engage with these sacred stories, and to consider their religious meaning and relevance.
“I am more of a teacher than a preacher and I’m excited to return to Anshai and to have a number of occasions during which to study with your beautiful community. I believe that Selichot provides an important time to enter the Holy Day space, a way to center on the heart of the matter rather than to be swept up perhaps by the sentimentality,” said Rabbi Kalmanofsky, realizing that whether it’s the smells of Bubbie’s kitchen, or the reunions that happen in the shul hallways — this annual fall of reconnecting is often a package of more than prayerful time.
On Friday evening during dinner after the 6:30 p.m. Kabbalat Shabbat service, Rabbi Kalmanofsky will speak about “God Said to Abraham: Kill Me a Son: Would Bob Dylan Obey?” She will review the paradigmatic story of sacrifice found in Genesis 22, read on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, in relation with another story of child-sacrifice found in Judges 11; examine the different perspectives these stories offer about the divine-human relationship; and address their relevance to religious life today.
After Saturday morning services (which begin at 9:30 a.m.), Rabbi Kalmanofsky with teach about “Birth, Death, and Resurrection: How Women Teach Men to Behave Like Prophets.” Among the Bible’s strangest birth stories, and maybe its most unusual death story, is that of the prophet Elisha’s encounter with the great woman of Shunem and, through a close reading of 2 Kings 4, this session will consider why the story is unconventional. She will lead a discussion during lunch with the women in attendance about women’s spirituality, while the men share a session with Rabbi Stefan Weinberg and Rabbi Michael Kushnick.
Beginning at 8:45 p.m. Saturday evening, Rabbi Kalmanofsky will spotlight “Hannah’s Sacrifice: The Unique and Powerful Role of Sacrifice Teaching Us How to Engage with God.” In the Haftorah for the first day of Rosh Hashanah, Hannah desperately prays for a son and she promises that if her prayer is answered, she will dedicate her son’s life to God.
During the Selichot program, a discussion will analyze the meaning of Hannah’s sacrifice and what it reveals about religious life in the Bible as well as how Hannah’s story today offers a unique and powerful model of how to engage with God.
For more information, or to prepay the Sept. 15 deadline required reservation for Friday night’s dinner ($21/adults, $12/children ages 4-10, free ages 3 and under) and Saturday evening, email receptionist@anshaitorah.org or call 972-473-7718.
Babysitting for children ages 2 to 5 will be provided for both Friday and Saturday morning.
Submitted by Deb Silverthorn on behalf of Anshai Torah.

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