Temple Sinai of Bergen County in Tenafly has established an annual lecture series in memory of Fred Lafer. The first lecture in the series is set for Sunday, April 26, at 7 p.m., when Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem, presents “Talking about Israel: The Need for a New Conversation.”
Mr. Lafer was a longtime supporter and board member of the Shalom Hartman Institute, and he chaired the executive committee of the institute’s board of directors. He first met institute founder Rabbi Prof. David Hartman z”l, more than 30 years ago, at an event where Rabbi Hartman told the audience to come to Israel – not to sightsee, but to study. Mr. Lafer took the elder Rabbi Hartman up on his offer, which started a long relationship of study and friendship. In 2010, the Shalom Hartman Institute honored Fred Lafer in Jerusalem by naming him an honorary fellow of the Institute.
|Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman Courtesy Shalom Hartman Institute|
“I could not be more pleased to have Rabbi Donniel Hartman, one of the leading voices in the Jewish world today, come to Temple Sinai,” said Rabbi Jordan Millstein, spiritual leader of Temple Sinai. “And to have Rabbi Hartman here to honor the memory of Fred Lafer, whose work as president of the Taub Foundation, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute, president and chair of the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Studies, and president of the American Friends of Hebrew University, made him one of the great Jewish philanthropists of his generation. We at Temple Sinai are so grateful to Deborah Lafer Scher, Fred’s daughter, and congregant, for everything she has done to make the Fred Lafer Memorial Lecture a reality, including bringing Rabbi Hartman to us.”
Donniel Hartman, the son of Rabbi David Hartman, worked with Fred Lafer in the early 2000s as the institute grew dramatically in Israel and developed the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, which now delivers the same level of scholarship and inspiration for which the Hartman Institute is known in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Hartman has a Ph.D. in Jewish philosophy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a master’s in political philosophy from New York University, a master’s in religion from Temple University, and rabbinic ordination from the Shalom Hartman Institute. He is the founder of some of the most extensive education, training, and enrichment programs for scholars, educators, rabbis, and religious and lay leaders in Israel and North America.
He is the director of the Hartman Institute’s iEngage Project, author of “The Boundaries of Judaism,” co-editor of Judaism and the Challenges of Modern Life, co-author of “Spheres of Jewish Identity,” and lead author of “Speaking iEngage: Creating a New Narrative Regarding the Significance of Israel for Jewish Life.” He is also an essayist, blogger, and lecturer on issues of Israeli politics, policy, Judaism, and the Jewish community.
His new book, “Putting God Second: How to Save Religion from Itself,” is scheduled for publication next year. He is working on his next book, “Who Are The Jews: Healing A Divided People.”
The presentation is co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey and the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades. The Shalom Hartman Institute is a pluralistic center of research and education elevating the quality of Jewish life in Israel and North America. Temple Sinai is at 1 Engle St., in Tenafly. For information, call (201) 568-3035, go to www.templesinaibc.orgwww.templesinaibc.org or www.shalomhartman.org/northamerica.