Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Rabbi Ephraim Kanarfogel gives the keynote address at Ma’ayanot’s 5th Day of Study. Photo Credit: Madeline Schmuckler

For the fifth year running, Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls opened up to the community at large for a Day of Study in the Liberal Arts and Sciences. The program, designed by assistant principal Tamar Appel, featured Rabbi Dr. Ephraim Kanarfogel as keynote speaker, followed by two breakout sessions, each featuring a variety of classes. According to Appel, it’s a way “of expanding learning outside of the classroom and reaching out to the community and sharing the resources we have with the community.” These resources included a variety of teachers, all of whom enjoyed presenting to the general community, with presentations blending Torah with the secular in addition to two science classes focusing on the secular only.

The event, sponsored by Bruce and Michelle Ritholtz, the Brodsky family and Lori and Elliot Linzer, was very well received by the school’s senior class and by the more than one hundred attendees from the community. “There was just great energy in the building and certainly that’s what everyone was saying and that’s what I felt,” Appel said.

The great energy started with Appel’s introduction to the day: “The search for knowledge and truth is not only about intellectual growth, but also about personal and spiritual development,” she said before introducing Rabbi Kanarfogel.  His lecture on “The Surprising Intellectualism of Medieval Ashkenazic Jewry and its Religious and Societal Roots” focused on the idea that, though gedolei ashkenaz of the time were not doctors and philosophers like gedolei sfard, they still had a “surprising intellectualism.” “There’s something in learning itself that says you don’t have to be narrow,” Kanarfogel said.

That idea carried throughout all the day’s lectures: a class on literature combined with talk about anti-Semitism; a class on Torat Chayim had constitutional legal theory applied to it; and Rabbi Kanarfogel touched on not what Jewish scholars have said, but the way in which they said it and learned it.

His lecture and others given throughout the day are available on Ma’ayanot’s website at http://www.maayanot.org/DayOfStudy2013.php.

By Aliza Chasan