A scholar-in-residence weekend offers unparalleled intellectual enrichment, infusing fresh perspectives into a community. In 2018, Boulder community members Ira Greshler, Bruce Henderson, and Wayne Zirkin had the idea to bring a scholar on a Jewish topic to Boulder. They worked together with several community organizations to create many opportunities to bring the community together to learn and have deep engagement around a theme.
“That weekend was a big success,” said Wayne Zirkin. “We were inspired and had plans to bring someone annually, but COVID had other plans. Now after a year of planning, we are thrilled to welcome Professor Shaul Magid to Boulder, CO.”
Shaul Magid is Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College, a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard, and the Kogod Senior Research Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. This school year he is a Visiting Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at Harvard Divinity School. He has been the Rabbi of the Fire Island Synagogue in Seaview, Fore Island, New York for the past 25 years. Shaul is the author of a variety books and essays including his new book “The Necessity of Exile: Essays from a Distance“ (New York: Ayin Press) which will be out this November.
“We have so many wonderful teachers in Boulder and lots of adults who are engaged in regular learning. We felt that Shaul hit all the marks, rigorous academic standards, and connection to all the different movements in Judaism and a very interesting life story,” said Zirkin.
“Our hope is that Shaul’s talks will encourage dialogue and cultivate more curiosity”, said Ira Greschler. “A scholar of his caliber should inspire insightful discussions long after the weekend is over.”
The weekend of November 30 kicks off with a talk at CU in partnership with the Jewish Studies Program and ends with a musical program with Havdallah on Saturday, December 2 at the Boulder JCC.
Climate Change: A Planetary Theology
Thursday, November 30 | 5 pm | Norlin Library at CU
In the 1970’s nature lovers and academics used the term “ecology” putting the focus on relationships among living organisms. Today we understand the impact on the planet as “climate change.” Shaul will explore elements of a theology of the environment that may have been sidelined when our understanding and promotion of climate science dominated popular culture.
Constructive Heresy: Paradigm Shift Judaism
Friday, December 1 | 6 pm | Congregation Har Hashem
Judaism and Christianity were once both very engaged with the question of “heresy” or “religious deviance” as a way to define borders of normative religion. Today that language is less common for a variety of reasons. Shaul will explore questions Jewish communities and thinkers are always trying to balance between accepted or traditional Jewish norms and outsider or eccentric Jewish practice.
My Way to Neo-Hasidism
Saturday, December 2 | 9 am | Congregation Har Hashem
Shaul Magid will share his spiritual journey from wayward soul, influenced by American counterculture, to his landing in an intense Jewish spiritual environment in the mid-1970s. Brooklyn and Jerusalem, was a foot-loose time for many who were exploring and experimenting with a variety of Jewish lifestyles.
Does Judaism Have a Future in America?
Saturday, December 2 | 1 pm | Congregation Bonai Shalom
With the rise of anti-semitism, political and demographic shifts in the Jewish community it may feel we are in a time of transition in the American Jewish community. What might Judaism in America look like in fifty years? Shaul will examine some of the cutting-edge issues that will challenge the next two generations of Jews in this country.
Saturday, December 2 | 6 pm | Boulder JCC
Come together to celebrate the spirit and joy with three musical performances; Cantor Devorah Avery, Cantorial Soloist Emerita Holli Berman, and Friends; Shaul Magid Discovering Banjo with a Jewish Sound; and Jubilee Klezmer . Our storyteller, Rabbi Marc Soloway, will guide us through this musical experience and Rabbi Fred Greene will lead us in Havdallah.