An independent Jewish learning organisation is offering a special series of free on-line lectures during the month of Adar. Featuring sessions with Israel-based scholars Judy Klitsner and Dr Sam Lebens, and the UK’s Dr Tamra Wright, “The Adar Programme” aims to help participants generate joy in the run-up to Purim. The programme is dedicated to the memory of the much-missed educator Maureen Kendler, whose yahrzeit falls in the week before Purim.

Sam Lebens and Tamra Wright will both speak about joy, with Lebens looking at divine joy in Jewish philosophy, and Wright exploring the relationship between Judaism and positive psychology. Judy Klitsner, who is a renowned educator and award-winning author, will deliver the opening lecture in the series: ‘“Enter Laughing”; “Exit Stage Left”: Does Tanakh Have its Own Set of Stage Directions?’ The lecture will take place at 5 pm UK time on Sunday 14th February, specially timed to enable participation from around the world.

The Adar Programme is being run under the auspices of 2020 Torah, an on-line learning community set up by Dr Wright in September 2020.  “Our speakers have kindly waived their fees for this programme,” Wright said, “and are requesting that participants donate to the Maureen Kendler Educational Trust instead.”

Sam Lebens said:  “I’m so looking forward to the opportunity to honour Maureen Kendler’s memory through teaching about what she represented to so many people, namely: joy!”

Hayden Kendler said: “Maureen would have jumped at the chance to present at one of these sessions.  So it is truly wonderful that three of her dear colleagues have stepped up and are presenting in her memory.”

Bookings and enquiries:

About 2020 Torah:

2020 Torah is an online Jewish learning community.  It enables adults of all ages to engage more deeply with Jewish texts and values, and to apply them to 21st century questions and challenges.

About the Maureen Kendler Educational Trust:

Maureen Kendler died in February 2018 after a short illness. She was an inspirational Jewish educator, writer and broadcaster who believed passionately that Jewish women’s opportunities for involvement in many aspects of Jewish life were limited by a lack of Jewish education. The Maureen Kendler Educational Trust provides bursaries to encourage Jewish women to undertake advanced studies in Judaism so that they can follow Maureen’s example and play more active roles in their communities. The Educational Trust has also launched a Scheme to encourage Synagogues, Jewish Schools and other organisations to host female “Scholars in Residence”.

Speaker bios:

Judy Klitsner is a senior educator at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. A disciple of the great Torah teacher Nehama Leibowitz, she lectures internationally, bringing an accessible, text-based teaching style to her broad and diverse audiences. Judy is the author of the award-winning book Subversive Sequels in the Bible: How Biblical Stories Mine and Undermine Each Other. She is the founding board chair of Sacred Spaces, an organization that seeks to address abuses of power in Jewish institutions.

Dr Samuel Lebens is a philosopher at the University of Haifa. He is co-founder of the Association for the Philosophy of Judaism. His first book is a study of Bertrand Russell and the philosophy of language. His second book is an investigation of the philosophical foundations of Judaism, The Principles of Judaism (Oxford University Press). Born and raised in Leicester, England, Sam now lives with his wife and three kids in Netanya, Israel.

Dr Tamra Wright is Curriculum Development Advisor at Faith in Leadership and Visiting Research Fellow at St Benet’s Hall, University of Oxford. She also holds a Senior Research Fellowship at LSJS. A specialist in contemporary Jewish thought, she is the author of The Twilight of Jewish Philosophy: Emmanuel Levinas’s Ethical Hermeneutics, and has published articles on Buber, Rosenzweig, Levinas and post-Holocaust Jewish thought. She also co-edited Radical Responsibility: Celebrating the Thought of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Face to Face with Animals: Levinas and the Animal Question.