Hadar Institute

Hadar at the EDCJCC

Hadar is an educational institution that empowers Jews to create and sustain vibrant, practicing communities of Torah learning, prayer, and service. Hadar learning opportunities are open to all who wish to experience and learn about Jewish culture, regardless of a participant’s background or affiliation.

Upcoming Events

God, Humanity, and the Rest of Creation: Jewish Theology in a Time of Climate Emergency

With Rabbi Shai Held
Thursday, March 5, 2020 from 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

We live in a time of unprecedented climate emergency: greenhouse gas emissions are causing vast — and irreversible — changes to earth’s climate. Droughts, floods, heat waves, extreme weather events and rise in sea-levels endanger millions of lives. How should religious people respond to the crisis? How does the way we imagine the relationship between God, humanity, and the rest of creation shape our sense of responsibility for the fate of the earth and its inhabitants?

Beginning with the Bible and concluding with contemporary theology and environmental ethics, we’ll develop a textually-rooted Jewish theology for this precarious moment. We’ll bear in mind the sobering words of Governor Jay Inslee of Washington: “We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it.” We’ll conclude with an invitation to connect to Interfaith Power & Light, a grassroots group through which Jewish communities and congregations of many faiths are working together to respond to climate change.

Presented in partnership with Hadar and Interfaith Power and Light.


Redemption Comes At Night: A Pre-Pesah Learning and Singing Event with Rabbi Avi Strausberg and Rabbi Yosef Goldman

Sunday, April 2 from 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm

When we think of redemption from Egypt, we may imagine the Israelites singing in gratitude after a narrow daytime escape through the Sea of Reeds.  But when did the act of redemption actually occur?  Does redemption refer to the moment in which we are actually made free or does it begin under the cover of night, the time of our deepest fear? This session will span from Torah to Talmud to Hasidut as we dive into the darkness of night, looking for seeds of hope. After the text study, we will come together to sing as we explore the role opening our mouths and finding our voices plays in the process of redemption.

This program is in partnership with DC Minyan and Hadar.

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Hadar: Torah for the #MeToo movement

Torah for the #Metoo Movement

Sunday, May 5, 2020 from 1:00 pm – 4:15 pm

Featuring Rabbi Aviva Richman, Rabbi Avi Killip, and Rabbi Avi Strausberg, join us for an afternoon of exploration and reflection of Torah for the #MeToo movement. Featured break out sessions include:

From Abraham to Esther: Telling Our Stories in a #MeToo Era (Rabbi Aviva Richman)
Many of the most formative and beloved stories of our tradition take on a different valence in the #MeToo era. What would it look like to notice and “lean in” to the difficult moments in our stories? How can we pass down these rich and troubled parts of our tradition and at the same time convey that we are a culture that sincerely cares about setting a tone of dignity and respect? We will turn to interpretive passages in Midrash and Medieval commentaries that help us uncover voices of women in these texts and at the same time unlock the power of our sacred stories to help us find the courage to tell our own stories.

Difficult Texts and Difficult Testimony: How do we respond? (Rabbi Avi Killip)
The #MeToo movement offered an unprecedented wave of written and oral testimony from women about their painful experiences of sexual assault and harassment. We cannot deny that our Torah also offers many similarly troubling and hurtful texts. How do we approach these hard texts? Can midrash serve as a tool to engage with our harshest texts? Come study a modern midrash from the book Dirshuni that offers one approach to hearing, and maybe even healing from our most difficult texts. Together we will ask how this approach may offer us guidance as we bear witness to so many painful words in the wake of #MeToo.

The Halacha of Whisper Networks (Rabbi Avi Strausberg)
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, some women turned toward the creation of Whisper Networks for empowerment and protection from future harassment and abuse. Whisper Networks are a network of people passing information from one to another about powerful people who are alleged to be sexual harassers and abusers. Are these Whisper Networks a legitimate way of warning and protecting future victims from abuse? Are they a form of lashon hara, or evil speech, as they have the potential to spread unsubstantiated rumors and tarnish someone’s name? Do they shame the alleged transgressors in a way that violates halacha and if so, are there instances in which it’s okay to shame someone?

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