Sh’ma: Listen! Speaker Series welcomes Rabbi Elie Kaunfer for talks

Rabbi Elie Kaunfer is co-founder and executive director of Mechon Hadar, an educational institution seeking to empower Jews to create and  sustain vibrant, practicing, egalitarian communities.

Join Jewish Federation of St. Louis for two events with Rabbi Elie Kaunfer as part of the Sh’ma: Listen! Speaker Series in January.

At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, Kaunfer will be present “Beyond Identity and Pluralism: A 21st Century Vision of Jewish Life” at the Jewish Federation building, 12 Millstone Campus Drive. With denominational identity in decline and a growing disaffection from religion, how might one consider a reframing of the core value of Jewish life? What are the potential benefits and pitfalls of a focus on Jewish identity and a culture of pluralism? How might Judaism be seen as a compelling counter-cultural critique? RSVP to Barbara Levin at 314-442-3752 or [email protected]

At noon on Thursday, Jan. 26, Kaunfer will discuss “The Mourner’s Kaddish: A New Interpretation,” during a talk at Kol Rinah, 829 N Hanley. Explore the essence of the kaddish, moving on an interpretive journey that has implications for all prayers we read. Along the way, encounter the power of the kaddish, a poignant depiction of God’s relationship with us, and what people can offer the divine. RSVP to Kol Rinah at 314-727-1447; kosher lunch provided but RSVP required.

Kaunfer is co-founder and executive director of Mechon Hadar in New York City. He has previously worked as a journalist, banker and corporate fraud investigator. A graduate of Harvard College, he completed his doctorate in liturgy at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was also ordained. A Wexner Graduate Fellow and Dorot Fellow, Kaunfer is a co-founder of the independent minyan Kehilat Hadar and has been named multiple times to Newsweek’s list of the top 50 rabbis in America. He was selected as an inaugural AVI CHAI Fellow, and is the author of “Empowered Judaism: What Independent Minyanim Can Teach Us About Building Vibrant Jewish Communities” (Jewish Lights, 2010).

For more information about the Sh’ma: Listen! Speaker Series, contact Cyndee Levy, director of the Center for Jewish Learning, at [email protected] or 314-442-3754. Learn more about the series how to apply  JFedSTL.org/SpeakerSeries. Sh’ma Listen! is supported by the Lubin-Green Foundation, a supporting foundation of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, and Hank Webber and Chris Jacobs.

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