Community Wide Scholars-in-Residence Weekend 2/29 – 3/3

We are thrilled to bring Shaul Magid and Basya Schechter to Boulder for a weekend of insight and music!

Existential Questions – Authentic Responses
Four Days of Meaning and Joy
February 29 – March 3

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. In 2023-2024 he will be the Visiting Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at Harvard Divinity School.

Basya Schechter is an American singer – songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, cantor, and music teacher. She is the lead singer and founder of the world/folk rock band Pharaoh’s Daughter and has released two solo albums. She has also collaborated with the groups Darshan and The Epichorus.

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Zionism and the Necessity of Exile
Thursday, Feb. 29; 5:00pm | Norlin Library at CU Boulder
What does it mean to be in exile, and why has Judaism been so obsessed with it? And what is Diaspora and how is it different than exile. And why is all this so important?
Shaul suggests that Jews worldwide are experiencing a deep intervention into their identity. Perhaps sparked by October 7th and then the ensuing war, basic questions of Jewish identity that seemed somewhat stable are now de-stabilized. In this talk Shaul will expand on some themes in his book The Necessity of Exile about why he thinks exile is so important for us today and why Zionism many not be the best ideology for the state of Israel in the next phase of its history.
Learn more here

Services, Dinner and Lecture: Does Judaism Have a Future in America?
Friday, March 1; 6:00pm | Bonai Shalom
With the rise of anti-semitism, and 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. This talk will explore the actions Jewish leadership, organizations, and individuals can take to cultivate growth, change, and continued vibrancy in the American Jewish community.
RSVP here

My Way to Neo-Hasidism
Saturday, March 2; 9:00am (during Torah Study) | 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. Living in Brooklyn and Jerusalem, it was a foot-loose time for many who were exploring and experimenting with a variety of Jewish lifestyles. Shaul will reflect on his scholarly trajectory, a path he chose after many years living in ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. He will explore some of these biographical threads, and their impact on his life and journey.

Appetizers and Desserts & Are We Heretics? Should We Be? Constructive Heresy: Hasidism, Neo-Hasidism and Paradigm Shift Judaism
Saturday, March 2; 7:00pm | 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. What does “heresy” even mean in our modern times? Does it have a role to play in shaping Jewish thought and practice? How do we define nonconformist Jewish behavior in an age when pluralism enables us, perhaps compel us, to accept whatever a community decides is “Jewish”? 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.
RSVP for Saturday Evening Program Here

Shaul Magid and Basya Schechter at Nani Vazana Concert
Sunday, March 3; 1:00pm | Boulder JCC
For thousands of years Jews lived in many locales and appropriated the music from the cultures around them. In many cases they adopted the music from their surroundings into the liturgy used in synagogues. Drawing from music of the mountain regions from Virgina, Kentucky ,and North Carolina, Shaul and Basya will play some more of their Appalachian Jewish liturgy and a few of Basya’s tunes from Pharaoh’s Daughter and Darshan influenced by music of the Maghreb. It will be a multicultural music fest.

Then, we are delighted to welcome world-renowned jazz vocalist, pianist, and trombonist, Nani Vazana to the Boulder JCC!
Nani Vazana is one of the only artists in the world to write and compose new songs in the endangered Ladino language. In her new album Ke Haber (What’s New) she captures the spirit of the ancient, matriarchal language and culture and propels it into the 21st century with socially pertinent lyrics, celebrating migration, gender and female empowerment. The soundscape bridges over tradition and modern life, capturing the sounds and smells of the marketplace and fuses them with raw, flamenco like vocals and surprising instrumentations. Nani unveils a piece of history we don’t easily find in other mythology & anthropology.
Nani is a professor at the London Performing Academy of Music and the Jerusalem Music Academy, she chairs the Amsterdam Artist Collective, and is ranked in the Top 20 on the World Music Charts Europe.
Get tickets for the concert here

This program is made possible by generous individuals in the Boulder community and presented by the Boulder JCC, Congregation Bonai Shalom, Congregation Har HaShem, Congregation Nevei Kodesh, University of Colorado Program in Jewish Studies.

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