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Partnership Minyan Symposium

Last Sunday evening, we were honoured to host our presenters, R.Rahel Berkovits, Dr. Lea Taragin-Zeller, Dr. Miri Freud-Kandel, Rabba Dr. Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz, Blu Greenberg, Rabbi Dr. Michael Harris and Jonathan Arkush at our Partnership Minyan Symposium. All speakers were phenomenal and so generous in sharing their wisdom and perspectives and enabled fascinating, alive and pressing conversations.

Here is more details about each speaker, their biographies and details of their books:

Rav Rahel Berkovits

Rahel Berkovits is a senior faculty member at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, where she has been teaching Mishnah, Talmud and halakha for close to thirty years. Rahel lectures widely in both Israel and abroad especially on topics concerning women and Jewish law and a Jewish sexual ethic. She is the Halakhic Editor and a writer for Hilkhot Nashim the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance’s Halakhic Source-guide Series, recently published by Koren Publishing. Rahel is the Faculty Advisor for the Pardes Mishna Fellowship and also the Pardes Student Editor Fellowship. Rahel is a founding member of Congregation Shirah Hadasha, a halakhic partnership Synagogue, and serves on their halakha committee. In June 2015, Rahel received Rabbinic Ordination from Rabbis Herzl Hefter and Daniel Sperber.

More on Rahel's publications can be found here:

Dr Lea Taragin-Zeller 

Lea Taragin-Zeller is a cultural anthropologist with expertise in religion, medicine, gender, and reproduction. She is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies and Public Policy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and an affiliated scholar at the Reproductive Sociology Research Group (ReproSoc) at University of Cambridge.  Her new book: The State of Desire: Religion and Reproductive Politics in the Promised Land was recently published with NYU Press (2023).

Lea was a Jewish chaplain at the University of Cambridge and currently serves as the gabbayit of the partnership minyan in Maale Gilboa, Israel. 

Dr Miri Freud-Kandel

Miri Freud-Kandel is Lecturer in Modern Judaism in the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford; a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies; and co-convenor of the Oxford Summer Institute on Modern and Contemporary Judaism. Her research interests focus on the theological development of modern and contemporary Judaism, in particular examining Orthodox Jewish theologies, British Jewry, and gender issues.

She is the author of the newly published Louis Jacobs & the Quest for a Contemporary Jewish Theology (2023); Orthodox Judaism in Britain Since 1913: An Ideology Forsaken (2006) and co-editor, with Adam S. Ferziger and Steven Bayme, of Yitz Greenberg and Modern Orthodoxy: The Road Not Taken (2019).

Rabba Dr Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz

Rabba Dr Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz has lectured at Cambridge, Oxford, and other universities, as well as at London School of Jewish Studies since2005. Lindsey is currently conducting research on Limmud. In 2021 she received semikhah from Yeshivat Maharat, New York. Her first book, Challenge andConformity: The Religious Lives of Orthodox Jewish Women, was published by the Littman Library of Jewish Civilization in 2021.

Blu Greenberg

Blu Greenberg is known as the mother of Orthodox feminism. She founded the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA), one of our sponsors today, which carved out the path for the advancement and greater participation of Orthodox women in ritual and religious life.  Through the creation of the International Beit Din (IBD), she has helped many agunot, women trapped in unwanted marriages. Blu is the originator of an apt and now famous dictum—“Where there’s a rabbinic will, there’s a halakhic way”. 

Rabbi Dr Michael Harris

Rabbi Dr Michael Harris is Senior Rabbi of Hampstead Synagogue and Senior Research Fellow at the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS). He is a former Affliated Lecturer in the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge and the author of several books including Faith Without Fear: Unresolved Issues in Modern Orthodoxy and most recently, co-authored with Daniel Rynhold, Nietzsche, Soloveitchik and Contemporary Jewish Philosophy (Cambridge University Press 2018).

Jonathan Arkush OBE 

Jonathan Arkush is a barrister and mediator with a passion for Jewish communal work. His communal involvements have included the campaign for Soviet Jewry, chairmanship of his community in Borehamwood & Elstree, and core involvement in establishing Hertsmere Jewish Primary School and Yavneh College.

He was elected Senior Vice President of the Board of Deputies in May 2009 and chaired the Board’s Defence Division for two 3-year terms until 2015. He was elected as President of the Board on 17 May 2015 He continues to be active in the protection and defence of the Jewish traditions of shechita (religious slaughter) and brit milah (circumcision) both internationally and domestically. He is Chair of the World Jewish Congress Task Force for Religious Freedom and Co-chair of Milah UK. Since 2019 he has been the President of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.

In December 2022 he was awarded the honour of Order of the British Empire (OBE). 



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