• Spark a conversation 

  • Explore ideas 

  • Delight in a global study hall with thinkers, artists, teachers and over 10,000 women and men from around the world.

The Value of Song

Shir Shavuot is an invitation to engage in a conversation.

Download a free unique conversation spark in English, Hebrew or French to help get the ideas flowing with prompts and texts and join the over 10,00 participants from around the world in bringing your thoughts to the global study hall with leading scholars and artists exploring the value of song from an array of creative angles. 

Continue with an analysis of Biblical narratives, an exploration of the experience of song during prayer, reflections on contemporary songwriting and performance, questions of literary forms and more. Each of these unique scholars and artists delight in carrying these ideas in new and exciting directions. 

You can experience this journey on your own or share with friends and family to discuss.

Let the conversations live on...

  • What is it about song that gives a unique expression to thoughts and feelings- happy and sad?

  • Why is it that the Torah is called a song?

  • What makes you want to sing?

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Dr. Avivah Zornberg

Scholar and Author

Dr. Zornberg is a popular lecturer in Jewish, academic and psychoanalytic settings in Jerusalem and around the world. She holds a BA and PhD in English Literature from Cambridge University. She has published five books; the most recent, published by Yale University Press, is Moses: A Human Life (2018).  She is currently working on a commentary on Leviticus, to complement her commentaries on Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers. Her writings and discourses uniquely combine Torah, Midrash, the classic commentators and the Hasidic masters, with psychoanalysis, literary criticism, and philosophy. She lives with her family in Jerusalem.

 

Note: This talk includes subtitles for greater accessibility 

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Hamutal Ben Zeev

Lyrcist and Poet

One of Israel's most celebrated songwriters. Hamutal was born in Tel Aviv to Batya, a music teacher and actor Mordecai, the founder of the Haifa Theater. Hamutal began composing poetry at an early age which meant turning to her parents to record her poetic expressions on paper. As a prolific artist, Hamutal's unique sensitivity explores the depths of human experience and dreams  through the tapestry of her words. She has authored children's books, written collections of poetry and award-winning  plays that have represented Israel in Theater festivals around the world. 

Over the last 40 years Hamutal has written the lyrics for many of  Israel and Jewish musics's most popular performers including  the 1985 Eurovision winner 'Ol'e Ol'e', Avraham Fried's 'Kama Tov Sh-nifgashnu' and Boaz Sharabi's 'Latet'.  (click on the songs  to appreciate the breadth of her creativity) 

Hamutal continues to be a cherished partner to creative artists around the world. She lives with her family in Zichron Yaakov, Israel.

Here's a direct link to Hamutal's youtube channel.

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Dr. Tammy Jacobowitz

Scholar and Teacher of Midrash

Dr. Tammy Jacobowitz is a Judaic Studies teacher at SAR High School in New York. She is also a member of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America faculty. She received her PhD in Midrash from the University of Pennsylvania, is a recipient of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship and is a graduate of the Drisha Scholars Circle. Dr. Jacobowitz co-wrote a gender sensitive Shmot curriculum for JOFA, and has been on the faculty at Drisha and Me’ah NYC. She lives with her family in Teaneck, New Jersey.

A downloadable source sheet for this class is available here

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Rabbi Dr. Yoel bin Nun

Bible Scholar

Dr. Rabbi Yoel bin Nun is one of the founders of Yeshivat Har Etzion. He received his rabbinic training at Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav and his Ph.D. from Hebrew University. In 1986, he established Michlelet Yaakov Herzog for training Jewish Studies teachers, especially in Bible instruction. Between 2000-2006 he served as the Rosh Ha-Yeshiva of Yeshivat HaKibbutz HaDati in Ein Tzurim. He lives with his family in Alon Shvut.

The webpage http://www.ybn.co.il includes a vast treasury of his creative insights on the weekly Torah portions

A downloadable source sheet for this class is available here

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Victoria Hanna

Voice artist

Defying definition, the inspired work of Victoria Hanna depicts her ongoing experimentation with the vocal and conceptual boundaries of language. This vocal artist enacts in her work a unique presentation of sacred Hebrew texts, prayers and spirituals, in an entirely modern context, integrating theatre, music, spoken word and video. Victoria Hanna was born into a spiritual, religious community in Jerusalem, in which the language and elocution of prayer were valued, above all other arts. Hanna draws on this rich verbal heritage in her work, weaving the ancient and the contemporary into a performance that ‘is devout and austere, and unveils an insightful artistic virtuoso who takes your breath away’ (Ha’ir Tel-Aviv). 

 

Despite an impediment that afflicted her speech from a young age, Hanna was always able to expresses her self flawlessly in song and dramatic performances. Her art became her most powerful vehicles for expression. She lives with her family in Jerusalem.

The webpage https://www.victoriahanna.net/en/home is a wonderful introduction to some of Victoria's creative projects.

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Rabbi David Silber

Bible Scholar and Teacher

Rabbi David Silber is the founder and dean of Drisha Institute for Jewish Education in New York and Israel.

 

Rabbi Silber received ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He is a recipient of the Covenant Award, for excellence in innovative Jewish education, and is the author of A Passover Haggadah: Go Forth and Learn (Jewish Publication Society 2011) and For Such a Time as This: Biblical Reflections in the Book of Esther (Koren Publishers 2017). He is also a nationally acclaimed lecturer on the Bible. He lives with his family in New York City.

Over the last decades, Drisha's commitment to providing open inquiry and direct access to Torah text to women and men has impacted Jewish life throughout North America and Israel. Visit https://drisha.org to explore a wide array of engaging lectures and resources.

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Rabbi Dr. Aviad Stollman

Scholar

Aviad A. Stollman is the Global Director of The Azrieli Fellows Program. He holds a BA from The Open University of Israel in the Humanities, an MA (summa cum laude), and a PhD in Talmudic Philology, both from Bar-Ilan University. Dr. Stollman carried out postdoctoral research at the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies, The University of Texas at Austin. Before joining The Azrieli Foundation, Dr. Stollman served as the Head of Collections at The National Library of Israel, where he oversaw the strategic development of the library’s cultural assets. He lives with his family in Efrat.

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Moed's stimulating Conversation Spark 

Exploring the Value of Song

In French, English or Hebrew