While the Torah is the foundational text of Judaism, one cannot begin to understand the religion without knowledge of the teachings of the Rabbinic Sages, such as Hillel, Shamai, Akiva and others. These Talmudic Rabbis (5th century BCE - 5th century CE) spent their lives interpreting the Torah and the remainder of the Hebrew Bible, transmitting what is known as Oral Law, and producing extensive written commentaries. Indeed the structures of many Jewish beliefs and practices today result from their important work. Many study the weekly Torah portions, often with commentary both traditional and modern. Few, however, bring the perspective of the Talmudic Sages, who interpreted each Torah portion for their times. Rabbi Hammer will share with us his research on how the Sages viewed the weekly portions and applied them to daily life.
Rabbi Reuven Hammer is a founder of the "Masorti" (Conservative) movement in Israel and a past president of the International Rabbinical Assembly. Named to the Forward 50 as one of the most influential Jews in the American Jewish community for his achievements as president of the Rabbinical Assembly, he is also the author of many books on liturgy and related topics. Born in the United States, he has lived for many decades in Jerusalem. Rabbi Hammer is a regular visitor to the Washington area, a regular contributor to the Jerusalem Post and Jerusalem Report, and has spoken many times for our organization.