Lectures on Contemporary Jewish Issues

This lecture series first took place during the COVID-19 pandemic and was delivered online. Please scroll down to book lectures on Contemporary Jewish Issues.

The Ethics of Triage and Vaccine Prioritisation

This lecture will explore the concept of triage by unpicking the philosophy of ethics and how it relates to triage. We will then discuss some of the key issues during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as vaccine prioritisation, and how given that faith informs the ethical and moral perspective of those who are religious, how does that affect a religious person who advises governments on public policy?

The Black Death, Smallpox and Cholera

Having lived through the COVID-19 pandemic, we may wonder how Jewish communities reacted to plagues in times gone by. This fascinating lecture examines the historical response to plagues by examining plagues in Tanach, the rabbinic response to plagues, historical plagues in Jewish communities, prayers, amulets, and charms, as well as the bizarre ceremony of a “Black Wedding.”

Depression, Anxiety and Loneliness

The World Health Organisation (WHO) state that mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. Why are so many people suffering from such debilitating mental ill health, such as depression and anxiety? This lecture will draw on Jewish sources to understand our mental health in order to foster an open and honest discussion with participants.

Start-up Nation

Why is Israel such a remarkable sucess story? This lecture will explore Israeli society with respect to its military, immigration, chutzpah, and mindset of innovation, especially in the areas of science and technology. We will look at the need for focus, passion, and grit, optimism and hope, listening, creativity, patience, and perspectives on failure, before delving into some of the most phenomenal success stories.

Custodians of the World

Issues relating to preservation of the environment are critically important. Jewish texts have much to say on the matter anbd in this lecture we will draw on those sources to address issues such as climate change, urban development, and renewable energy. We will then aim to look at the Jewish obligations we have to the natural world and how God commanded Adam and Chavah (Eve) to work and protect Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden) – l’ovdah u’leshomrah. We will examine issues relating to animal welfare such as kashrut and shechita, which also turning our attention to the Jewish perspectives on vegetarianism and veganism.

The Power of Jewish Resilience

How do we cope with tragedy? How can we discover the inner strength to build resilience and move forwards in our lives after catastrophy. This lecture will follow the advice of Rabbi Seth and Rebbetzin Sherri Mandell whose son Koby was murdered along with his friend Yosef Ishran by Palestinian terrorists near Tekoa on the 8th of May 2001. The Mandell family founded the Koby Mandell Foundation, and Rebbetzin Sherri wrote a book about her son’s murder called “The Blessing of a Broken Heart.”

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