The Book of Jonah - A Christian, a Jew (and a Prophet) in the Belly of a Whale
Listen as Rav Hanan and his Christian friend Darel Grothaus as each passionately present their interpretation of the biblical book of Jonah, touching on matters of anger over evil inflicted, revenge, retributive and restorative justice, compassion, forgiveness, empathy and relationship to the Other. Afterward they discuss the material among themselves and then move on their understandings of how the book’s messages may be relevant to the Palestinian Israeli conflict and to the peace building and reconciliation efforts of Roots. Near the end, deep emotions are brought to the fore as the virtual audience shares some of their feelings and insights. Presented on September 13, 2020.
The Dual Loyalty Revealed by Rosh Hashana
Many people know that the Jewish holiday of Rosh haShana is the ‘Jewish New Year’. Not too many people however, know that there are actually two Jewish New Years, one universal/natural and the other particular/Jewish, and Rosh Hashana is not the Jewish one but rather the universal one. Listen to Rav Hanan as he fleshes out the dual loyalty inherent in this double system and its wide-ranging implications and applications, which extend as unique approach of Roots to the Palestinian Israeli conflict. Near the end of the recording you will hear an in-depth discussion between Rav Hanan and the participants about the depths of Jewish identity and its relation to the conflict in the Middle East.
Religious Passion, Zealotry, Tolerance and Pluralism
One of the important issues that many of us grapple with is how do we maintain passionate fidelity to the values, beliefs, and lifestyle choices that we hold dear, and at the same time remain tolerant and accepting towards those who’s values and behavior are very different from our own. Homosexuality, abortion, health care, church and state, and foreign policy, are just a few examples of debates in American life that are driving wedges between us at the same time that we struggle to find ways to get along together. In the Holy Land, Palestinians and Israeli Jews must find ways to listen to and to respect each other.
July 9 this year (2020) is the fast day on which Jews begin a period of semi mourning for the loss of the homeland 2000 years ago. According to Jewish tradition, these tragedies befell the Jewish People because of religious hatred and strife among them themselves, that is, because of the inability of Jews to co-exist with other Jews of differing religious and political perspectives. During this time it is particularly appropriate to focus on those approaches that Jewish tradition has developed that can help us learn how to co-exist with those we do not agree with.
In this presentation Rav Hanan examines a number of Jewish texts that provide the foundations for a life that upholds both deep commitment to values as well as abiding pluralism and respect for all human beings. This presentation may be seen as a sequel to "Hassidic Texts of Passionate Pluralism".
The Book of Ruth: From the Depths of Exclusion to the Heights of Embrace - A Lesson in Paradigm Shift
Rav Hanan made this presentation on May 24, 2020 in advance of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot during which synagogues traditionally read the Book of Ruth.
The presentation interprets the Book of Ruth as showing how the exemplary behavior of one member of a despised and marginalized group, and the openness of someone from the dominant group to perceive and appreciate that behavior, can serve as a catalyst for the re-examination of long standing taboos and prejudices and the eventual realignment of community norms to become more tolerant and inclusive. This vector is understood to be a positive historical process of
"tikun olam" that will eventually ‘bring the messiah’.
Biblical Zionism – The Prophecy, the Power, and the Problematics
Rav Hanan was a guest of the Oakbrook Church in Reston Virginia. Guided by one of its pastors, John Moyle, the church is an ardent supporter of Israel and at the same time of Palestinian Israeli rapprochement. John has been instrumental in helping Rav Schlesinger to move forward in his work in Israel of building bridges of understanding and friendship between Palestinians and Israeli settlers. Building upon their collaboration, John invited the rabbi to speak to the church about his personal path as a Zionist and a settler who is both deeply committed to the Land of Israel and to peace and understanding between Jews and Palestinians.
Click Here to listen to Rabbi Schlesinger’s presentation “Biblical Zionism”
Click Here to listen to the Q&A session following Rabbi Schlesinger’s presentation “Biblical Zionism”
Hassidic Texts of Passionate Pluralism
In this presentation Rav Hanan reads and explores Hasidic texts about pluralism and what may be called ‘the humility of the journey’ that give us a wonderful theoretical framework for how to hold the stick from both ends at the same time - to be passionately dedicated to what you believe in and at the same time to listen to, respect, learn from and even accept opposing truths. These are texts that provide some of the Jewish theological foundations for the work of Roots that tries to find room in our hearts for both the Jewish and the Palestinian narratives and experiences.
From a Passover of Alienation to a Passover of Empathy
This presentation by Rav Hanan connects the work of Roots/Shorashim/Judur to the core message of the Jewish holiday of Passover. It may be meaningful not just to those who celebrate the holiday, but to all, Jews and non Jews alike.
Fighting for Recognition - Peace-Building Insights After Eight Years of Meeting Palestinians