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Upcoming Conference:

"Thou shalt forbear to pass by him; thou shalt surely release it with him"

Animals, slaves and robots: a discourse of rights and obligations in law, philosophy, and halakhah. February 21

Faith and Parallel Truths


Representatives of religious belief and practice are apt to encounter on a daily basis both the beauty and difficulty of living by religious values in a predominantly secular setting. Even universities with religious affiliations cannot help but feel the sweeping tide of academic secularism and the demand for value-neutrality in the face of personal beliefs. While the values touted in academia are not always in opposition to religious ideals (and sometimes even strongly complement them), there is an underlying tension that often is ignored, white-washed or even passively accepted as an inescapable truth of academic life. This reality is significantly impacting college life and the formative years of young adults.

In light of this reality, Bar Ilan University - the only religious university in Israel - invites you to participate in an international colloquium on how all of us, as people of faith, might respond to this seemingly intractable dissonance. This conference provides the rare opportunity to engage this issue with scholars, religious leaders and people of faith from diverse academic, national and geographical settings.

The purpose of this gathering is to discuss the difficulties faced by individual students (and universities themselves) in response to the overwhelmingly secular atmosphere in academia. One of our main goals is to examine the feasibility of promoting an atmosphere of faith in universities, as well as to ask questions about the possible social and academic outcomes of accomplishing this. For example, should religious leaders and universities simply make resources available to students, allowing them to get involved on their own accord? Or should they be more active, engaging in outreach and in promoting these values in order to influence the university culture at large?

Building a Shared Language from the Biblical Text

Building a Shared Language from the Biblical Text
D
Dr. Schuele discusses the possibility of deriving a unified language from the text of the bible - a language which is accessible to all people of faith, as well as to those who do not feel personally connected to religion.
Rabbi Prof. Daniel Sperber

Rabbi Prof. Daniel Sperber

The Ludwig and Erica Jesselson Institute for Advanced Torah Studies

President of Bar-Ilan University’s Jesselson Institute for Advanced Torah Studies. Professor Emeritus of Talmud, Bar-Ilan University

Rabbi Shabtai Rappaport

Rabbi Shabtai Rappaport

The Ludwig and Erica Jesselson Institute for Advanced Torah Studies

Founder and Chair of the Nitzotzot Program

Head of the Beit Midrash, Jesselson Institute for Advanced Torah Studies

Dr Israel Belfer

Dr Israel Belfer

The Ludwig and Erica Jesselson Institute for Advanced Torah Studies

Nitzotzot Academic Coordinator

Nitzotzot Academic Coordinator, Science Technology and Society Program, BIU

Nitzotzot Program Academic Coordinator Lecturer: Science, Technology and Society Program Bar-Ilan University

Rev. Meghan Benson

Rev. Meghan Benson

The Ludwig and Erica Jesselson Institute for Advanced Torah Studies

Chaplain of Divinity School

Duke Divinity School - Chaplain of Divinity School

The Rev. Meghan Benson became chaplain of Duke University Divinity School in July 2015. In that role she is responsible for overseeing daily worship, pastoral care, and spiritual formation for more than 600 students. Originally from Colorado, she is an ordained elder in the Rocky Mountain Conference of the United Methodist Church. She has degrees in religious studies and psychology (1998) from Southern Methodist University (Dallas, Texas), and an M.Div. from Duke Divinity School (2002). Prior to becoming chaplain, Meghan worked for the Chief Information Officer of Duke University from 2003-2006, where she gained appreciation for the concerns of the wider university. In 2006 she moved to Duke University Chapel where she served as director of worship for nine years. In her time at Duke Chapel she oversaw all the weekly worship opportunities, including Sunday morning worship for 800-1000 people each week. The fact that Duke Chapel is a year-round congregation, sustained by the wider Durham community, distinguishes it from most campus chapels, which gather only when classes are in session. She worked with undergraduates extensively during her tenure, including leading undergraduate spring break trips to Belize and Christ in the Desert monastery in New Mexico. Her experience working with students at the undergraduate and graduate level has given her particular appreciation for the ways students struggle to negotiate their faith and encounters with difference among their peers, especially within the university setting.

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