Past Programs

Hasidism & the Academy: Dialogue, Research & Application

An Interdisciplinary Conference at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2014)

An exploration of new research at the nexus of law and mysticism in Hasidism, and the intersections of Hasidic spiritual wisdom with contemporary themes in psychology, philosophy and sociology. This meeting brought together leading scholars, a cohort of young emerging scholars, Hasidic practitioners and scholars, and also a wider circle of educators and communal professionals. Further expanding our network, and our interdisciplinary reach, this meeting showcased the need for a deeper, more sustained effort to deepen our understanding of these interconnecting realms, yielding the kind of insight that can transform the way we think about the role of Judaism in contemporary culture and society.   

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Modern Jewish Spirituality and the Sociology of Education

AN INTERDISCIPLINARY CONFERENCE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF Pennsylvania (2012) 

A group of academic researchers and Chabad leaders, educators and scholars focused on the potential for sustained collaboration on educational theory and practice that would impact the world beyond the academy. This meeting demonstrated that boundary crossing dialogue between scholars and practitioners of vastly different backgrounds, is not only feasible, but actually yields rich fruit for all participants. It was here that the vision for the Institute of Jewish Spirituality and Society first emerged in concrete form, and over the course of the next several years a series of specific steps were taken to realize it. 

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The Sociology of Contemporary Jewish Mysticism in Comparative Perspective

Institute of Advanced Studies, Jerusalem (2008-2009)

A precursor to the formation of the Institute of Jewish Spirituality and Society was a year long research group comprised of an international team of scholars, lead by Philip Wexler (now Executive Director of the Institute) and Jonathan Garb (now the Gershom Scholem Professor of Kabbalah at Hebrew University). This first long-term commitment to collaborative cross-disciplinary study established the imperative value of bridging knowledge of Jewish spirituality and comparative religion with social theory and the human sciences. It also served to build strong ties between an international team of leading scholars, laying a firm foundation for the network building that is so central to the vision of the Institute of Jewish Spirituality and Society.