Our popular online series, 36 Minutes LIVE, will offer four compelling opportunities for alumni, members and fellows to learn, discuss and prepare for the High Holidays.  These video conferences are open to all of our constituents  from Israel to Vancouver and beyond and accessible by internet or phone.  The sessions are truly 36 minutes, so even the busiest people in our network can deepen their learning. 

On Rosh Hashanah we celebrate the world’s birthday and the creation of humanity while simultaneously chanting the haunting words of the Unetaneh Tokef prayer: “All inhabitants of the world pass before God like a flock of sheep, and it is decreed in the heavenly court who shall live and who shall die.”  For Jewish leaders, this is a time to go deeply inward and examine the trajectories of our own lives.  It’s also a time to consider the fate of the Jewish people and humanity.  How are we all doing?  What will the next year hold here on Earth?  How might we contribute positively?  

In that spirit, we will be speaking with four scholars from around the world: the recently knighted Madame Le Rabbin Delphine Horvilleur; Chief Rabbi of Denmark, Rabbi Jair Melchior and two faculty who are already cherished by many in our network  Rabbi Ed Feinstein (CA) and Talmud Scholar and former MK (Knesset Member) Ruth Calderon (Tel Aviv).  While the backdrop of their countries’ challenges will certainly be part of each videoconference, we also come together to do what Jewish leaders have always done across times of crisis, celebration, despair and growth we learn, interpret, argue and savor each other.  In this case, while sitting across a virtual living room to engage with ideas and our tradition’s wisdom.  Please join us! Calls will be facilitated by Angie Atkins, Director, Wexner Heritage Alumni and the session with Rabbi Melchior facilitated by WHP Alum Geoffrey Lewis (Boston 2, and member of the WHP Alumni Council) .

Thursday, September 15 , 2016
9:30 AM PT – 12:30 PM ET – 19:30 Israel time
Rabbi Jair Melchior
“Who Desires Life? An Exploration of Vayikra Rabbah and Repentance Through a European Lens”
Please click here to RSVP and receive dial-in instructions. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016
9:30 AM PT – 12:30 PM ET – 19:30 Israel time
Rabbi Ed Feinstein
“As a Jew Turns: A Close Reading of Unetaneh Tokef
Please click here to RSVP and receive dial-in instructions.

Thursday, September 29, 2016
9:30 AM PT – 12:30 PM ET – 19:30 Israel time
Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur
“Je Suis Kippur: a Reflection on Jewish Identity After a Year of Terror”
Please click here to RSVP and receive dial-in instructions.

Thursday, October 6th, 2016
9:30 AM PT – 12:30 PM ET – 19:30 Israel time
Dr. Ruth Calderon
“What We Can Learn from Rabbi Ishmael Meeting God in the Holy of Holies”
Please click here to RSVP and receive dial-in instructions. 

Tech and RSVP Information

We will be using a videoconference technology platform called Zoom, which is similar to Skype.  Zoom is free, harmless to download and allows us to see and hear each other so that we can have deep conversations in real time across the globe.  To participate fully, you will need to be at a computer, iPad or smartphone with internet, a camera, mic and speakers.  If you don’t have a camera or mic on your device, you can still “zoom in” and just listen.  You can also dial in from a phone as you would for a regular conference call.  To register and receive dial-in information and texts, email Aliza Storchan at astorchan@wexner.net.  Please mention which sessions you plan to attend in your response.  As registration is limited to 100 participants per session, please only register for the sessions you are certain to attend.


Rabbi Jair Melchior is the Chief Rabbi of Denmark, where the Jewish community numbers 6,000 – 10,000.  Jair grew up and was ordained in Israel.  He moved to Copenhagen in 2013 when he accepted the appointment to become head of the Jewish Community.  His father, Rabbi Michael Melchior, was a member of the Knesset and also Chief Rabbi of Norway for three decades.  In fact, Jair comes from a line of seven generations of Chief Rabbis who have served in various Scandinavian countries, primarily Norway.  Jair made international news last year after a double shooting terrorist attack in Denmark, one killing a Jewish security guard right outside of his shul.  He was widely quoted in the press giving the Jews of Denmark hope and rejecting Prime Minister Netanyahu’s invitation for Jews across Europe to make Aliyah: “If the way we deal with terror is to run somewhere else, we should all run to a deserted island.”

Rabbi Ed Feinstein is Senior Rabbi of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California.  He is the author of several books, including his most recent work, The Chutzpah Imperative: Empowering Today’s Jews for a Life that Matters (Jewish Lights, 2014), which offers a new way to “do Judaism” and urges readers to recover this message of Jewish self empowerment, or chutzpah, to reshape the world.  In addition to being beloved by the many Wexner Heritage alumni who have had the privilege to learn with him, he also lectures widely across the United States and serves on the faculty of the Ziegler Rabbinical School of the American Jewish University and the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. 

Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur is France’s third female rabbi.  She has lived in the three countries with the largest Jewish populations in the world  France, Israel and the United States.  She received rabbinic ordination from HUC-JIR and served as an assistant rabbi at Central Synagogue in New York City.  In addition to leading her congregation in Paris, Delphine also leads the Liberal Jewish Movement of France and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the quarterly Jewish magazine Revue de pensée(s) juive(s) Tenou’a.  She published her first book in 2013, entitled En tenue d’Eve: Féminin, Pudeur et Judaïsme (In a Birthday Suit: Feminism, Modesty and Judaism).  Facing the undeniable increase in antisemitism and terrorism, Delphine comforted her community, and Parisians in general, after the Hyper Cache and Charlie Hebdo attacks.  She continues to speak out against racism in all forms and to inspire the liberal Jewish community to be creative and resilient in the face of fear.  She was recently knighted Madame Le Rabbin Delphine Horvilleur for her bravery and humanity in the face of challenge. 

Dr. Ruth Calderon has taught Wexner members, fellows and alumni for many years and is one of Israel’s leading figures spearheading efforts to revive Hebrew Culture and a pluralistic Israeli-Jewish identity.  In 1989 in Jerusalem, she co-established ELUL, the first beit midrash in which secular and religious women and men studied and taught together.  In 1996 in Tel Aviv, she founded ALMA, a Jewish liberal arts program for advanced learning.  From 2013 – 2015, Ruth served as a Knesset Member from the Yesh Atid Party, where she was Deputy Speaker, member of the education and state control committees and Chairperson of the Lobby for Jewish Renewal.  She is currently a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute.  Ruth published A Bride for One Night in 2001, Talmudic Alpha Beta in 2014 and holds a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Talmud from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.