Renewing Our Spirit 2015

Primary tabs

Program Date(s): 
2:00 PM to 3:30 PM Saturday Nov 21, 2015
4:30 AM to 10:30 AM Sunday Nov 22, 2015
Leaders & Speakers: 
Dr. Michelle Friedman,
Rabbi Reuven Tradburks,
Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb,
Rabbi Daniel Korobkin,
Bethany Mandel,
Dr. Yonatan Feintuch

Join us for our 14th annual conference, with fascinating lectures and hard-hitting, provocative panel discussions with some of the finest scholars in the Jewish world today. 

Saturday night Panel Discussion:

A rabbi today must play the role of politician, fundraiser, teacher, cheerleader, therapist, legal expert, orator, comforter, friend, authority figure, personal spiritual guide, and more. The Internet and social media has massively affected the rabbinate, and opened every rabbi's decisions and behaviors to be dissected, discussed, and opposed far beyond the walls of his own community. And rabbis must do this while also handling the day-to-day demands of congregations, and tend to their own marriages and families. Rabbis and clergy are particularly vulnerable to lack of gratitude from their communities, as the work they do for others is seen as part of their "job description."

Research findings have now emerged with regularity documenting the fact that members of the clergy now suffer from  hypertension and depression at rates higher than most North Americans. Their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen. Many silently despair of the demands of their job and secretly begin to burn out and worse. And at the darkest end of the spectrum is when a rabbi betrays his community's trust in a variety of damaging and life changing ways, from fraud to abuses of power and sexual misconduct. 

In this discussion, we look at the most urgent issues facing the rabbinate, and hence Jewish communities, today: What makes for a good rabbi? How should rabbis be trained? What should be a rabbi's chief function? Do we demand too much from them? How and in what ways can we monitor rabbis when they are in danger of "falling", when stress is overwhelming them and they seem to be diverting from appropriate behavior? How can we reach them before it is too late? What kind of protocols can congregations and professional rabbinic organizations implement to track and help the rabbi and also protect lay people? How can we prevent rabbinic burnout and help rejuvenate the lives and careers of rabbis and their spouses?


Your sponsorship is most welcome. Sponsorships of $180 incldues 2 tickets. Tax receipts will be issued.

Conference fee $50
Individual Session: $15
Lunch included for those who pre-register by Monday November 16, 2015
TiMPass holders  - no charge (please email us at to order your complimentary lunch). 

Students - no charge for program with valid student ID. ($15 fee for lunch)





7:00 - 8:30pm

Rabbis at Risk: Why We Should Care
A Panel Discussion 

Dr. Michelle Friedman; 
Rabbi Daniel Korobkin; 
Rabbi Reuven Tradburks; 
Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb

Moderated by Dr. Elliott Malamet 



Does G-d Talk to Us? Maimonides and Heschel on Divine Human Communication
Dr. Elliott Malamet 

The Ladder and the Well: 
Re-reading the Adventures of Yaakov on his Journey to Haran

Dr. Yonatan Feintuch
Therapist or Rabbi: 
Understanding the Difference Between Rabbinic Counseling 
and Mental Health Treatment

Dr. Michelle Friedman


Mental Illness: Can we Break 
the Stigma in our Community?

Dr. Michelle Friedman and  
Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb

Moderated by Dr. Elliott Malamet 
Uncovering Different 
Approaches to Davening 
Between the Bavli and the Yerushalmi

Dr. Yonatan Feintuch


Lunch and Keynote Panel

A Dialogue about the Current State of Conversion
Ms. Bethany Mandel, 
Rabbi Reuven Tradburks

Moderator: Dr. Elliott Malamet


Lecha Dodi: A Great Song 
about Zionism

Rabbi Reuven Tradburks
Gender Change in Jewish Law
Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb