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Ta Shema! Come and listen!


Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan

Insights into Lehrhaus 360′s upcoming TED-style production Where We Are Heading: Voices From Our Community Imagining What’s Next, from Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan, Rabbi and Senior Educator at Lehrhaus Judaica. Founded in 1974 in Berkeley, CA, Lehrhaus took its name (meaning “house of learning”) and inspiration from a school for Jewish studies founded by philosopher Franz Rosenzweig in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1920. Attracting scholars such as Martin Buber, S.Y. Agnon, A.J. Heschel, Gershom Scholem, and Erich Fromm, the original Lehrhaus — until its closure by the Nazis — was the focal point of a Jewish intellectual revival between the wars. Dialogue between the student and teacher was the primary method of learning, which, according to Rosenzweig and Buber, “could restore something genuinely Jewish to the Western intellectual.” UpStart is proud to cosponsor this special Lehrhaus event at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto on Sunday, Feb. 26, 1-5 p.m.

What excites you personally about the program for Voices From Our Community?

This is a spoken word performance piece of living voices from our present Bay Area Jewish community. When agency heads or professionals asked when would they be scheduled to speak, I responded that this is an opportunity to see and hear. The Talmud says “Ta Shema,” come and listen, which is an invitation to explore ideas.  The greatest outcome would be for someone in our community to say at the end, “Wow, I never knew about that.  I need to think about this. My conceptions have been shaken.”

In what ways is the event oriented around social innovation? Is this program innovative for Lehrhuas?

Lehrhaus has always been an independent convener of provocative thinkers and innovative thought. The format of multiple voices (only seven minutes each) from non-academics and the community conversations (face-to-face dialogs) is new to Lehrhaus.

Why has Lehrhaus deviated from its standard of using educators and academics to teach, and is showcasing community members?

The cold, dead past can be described, analyzed, reconstructed and deconstructed. The future is unknown. The present is hot and fleeting. We apprehend it in a multiplicity of senses. Let the teachers, academics, and experts “Ta Shema,” come and listen and then reflect and share. We are providing a service to the academy and an opportunity to the community.



To learn more or to register for this special event, please click here.


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