Wolinsky Lectures explore Jewish perspective on environmental challenges

The upcoming Leonard Wolinsky Lectures on Jewish Life & Education, exploring Environmental Challenges in Contemporary Jewish Perspective, will feature three speakers this Sunday.

Philosophy and religious studies Professor Martin Yaffe of the University of North Texas will present, "Can a Jew be a Skeptical Environmentalist?", history Professor Hava Tirosh-Samuelson of Arizona State University will look at "Nature and Renewal in Modern Jewish Thought" and Jeremy Benstein, deputy director of the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning & Leadership in Tel Aviv, will examine "Jewish Legal Teachings on Environmental Issues".

The lectures will take place March 7 at 2pm in the Robert R. McEwen Auditorium, Schulich Executive Learning Centre, Keele campus. Parking passes will be available at the lecture.

Left: Martin Yaffe

Yaffe is interested in political philosophy and Jewish thought. He is the author of Shylock and the Jewish Question (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), co-translator of Thomas Aquinas’ The Literal Exposition on Job: A Scriptural Commentary Concerning Providence (Oxford University Press, 1989), editor of Judaism and Environmental Ethics: A Reader (Lexington Books, 2001), translator of Spinoza’s Theologico-Political Treatise (Focus Publishing, 2004) and co-editor of a volume of essays on the Jewish thinker Emil L. Fackenheim. He is currently completing a translation of Leo Strauss’s essays on Moses Mendelssohn (1729 to 1786).

Right: Hava Tirosh-Samuelson

Tirosh-Samuelson is director of Jewish studies at Arizona State University and is the Irving & Miriam Lowe Professor of Modern Judaism. She is the author of Happiness in Premodern Judaism; Virture, Knowledge and Well-Being (Hebrew Union College Press, 2003) and the editor of Women and Gender in Jewish Philosophy (Indiana University Press, 2004) and Judaism and Ecology: Created World and Revealed World (Center for the Study of World Religions, 2003).

She is the recipient of a grant for the Templeton Research Lectures on the Constructive Engagement of Science & Religion for a project titled, “Facing the Challenges of Transhumanism: Religion, Science and Technology”. Tirosh-Samuelson has also been awarded the 2009-2010 Martin & Helen Schwartz Lecture Series in Jewish Studies at Indiana University, which will be devoted to the theme “Judaism and Nature: The Dialectics of Sacred Texts”.

Benstein is the author of The Way Into Judaism and the Environment (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2006), which offers an environmental interpretation of Judaism and a Jewish approach to environmentalism and examines the dilemmas and questions faced when evaluating Judaism’s role in the care of creation. He works extensively in leadership development and capacity building with environmental activists and educators in Israel, and has lectured widely on Judaism, Israel and the environment, including the environment as a focus of shared citizenship between Jews and Arabs in Israel.

The Wolinksy Lectures are sponsored by the Israel & Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies, York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and the Faculty of Education.

Admission to the event is free and everyone is welcome to attend.

For more information, visit York’s Israel & Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies Web site.