Temple Beth-El of Great Neck welcomes scholar-in-residence

Temple Beth-El of Great Neck welcomes scholar-in-residence

Temple Beth-El of Great Neck welcomes Rabbi Seth M. Limmer for a special Scholar-In-Residence Shabbat Weekend.

Limmer, the son of TBE congregants Shelley and Steve Limmer, comes ‘home‘ to give a guest sermon at Erev Shabbat service on Friday, March 17, and teach Torah Study on Saturday, March 18. These events are open to the entire community.

On Friday, March 17 at 7 p.m. Rabbi Limmer will speak on the topic of Jewish Life Trapped in Translation: The perennial problem of American Jewish life is that it is lived in English, a Christian language.

Bible, theology, salvation: we are taught that these words are core contents of religion.  But none of these words—religion included!—have any true correspondence in Hebrew, the original language of Jewish thought.  To be a modern American Jew is to be trapped in translation: to remove the conceits and concepts of English is the primary task of anyone seeking to uncover Judaism, to discover the profundities of Jewish identity.

On Saturday, March 18 at 9:15 a.m., Limmer will discuss The Tabernacle and Translation: This week’s double-portion VaYakhel-Pekudei is loaded with words. But whether discussing how our ancestors acquired “dolphin skins” or understanding exactly what a “tabernacle” is, we come up against problems of translation.

This Torah study will be a deep dive into these tricky terms to see what they reveal about Jewish thought.

Additionally, Limmer will be doing leadership development work with our Board of Trustees.

Limmer is the founder of Open Judaism, committed to promoting interfaith work for justice and peace.

During his rabbinate he has served as chair of the Justice, Peace & Civil Liberties of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, as vice-chair of the URJ’s Commission on Social Action, as dean of faculty for Eisner and Crane Lake Camps, as adjunct professor at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and vice president of leadership of the CCAR.

On behalf of his lead role in organizing the Reform Movement’s participation in the NAACP’s 2015 America’s Journey for Justice, Limmer accepted the Rabbi Maurice Eisendrath Bearer of Light Award, the highest honor of the URJ.

Author of many articles, 2016 saw the publication of his first full-length book, “Medieval Midrash: The House for Inspired Innovation.”

Limmer also served as co-editor of “Moral Resistance and Spiritual Authority,” published by CCAR Press in 2018.

Author of many articles and essays, his recent “Trapped in Translation” published in Tablet Magazine was highlighted in the magazine’s special “End of the Year” issue as the featured article on contemporary religious thought. In 2021, Limmer was appointed to serve on the Illinois State Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes, and was a founding member of the Faith Leader Social Justice Advisory Committee to the Mayor of Chicago.

Limmer has served as Senior Rabbi of Chicago Sinai Congregation and Congregation B’nai Yisrael of Armonk.

Temple Beth-El of Great Neck, the peninsula’s very first synagogue, was founded in 1928. To learn more, visit www.tbegreatneck.org, call 516-487-0900 or email [email protected].


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