Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Welcome to the First Annual SEC Sephardic Summer Institute

It is my pleasure to welcome you to our first ever Sephardic Summer Institute. In the Old City of Jerusalem -- the heart of the Jewish world, and the headquarter campus of the SEC -- we will spend one week exploring the philosophy of Classic Sephardic Judaism. Our distinguished faculty of speakers, ranking from the leading academic and educational institutions in Israel, will challenge us to look beyond the traditional regional and ethnic definitions of the word "Sephardic." These scholars will enlighten us to the unique worldview of Classic Sephardic Judaism, demonstrating that the word "Sephardic" indeed transcends birthplace and ethnicity. The ultimate goal of our week of studies, excursions and discussions is to articulate a renewed Mission Statement for the Sephardic Educational Center, positioning the SEC as an organization whose program offerings reflect a unique philosophy that can appeal to Jews of all backgrounds. We are sorry you can't be with us this year, but we invite you to log onto this blogspot and follow our daily postings. Below you will find our full itinerary. We welcome your comments, reflections and ideas. Looking forward to having you join us on this site this year, and, next year, Summer 2011 --- looking forward to having you join us in person, for our Second Sephardic Summer Institute. To paraphrase the Passover Haggadah: "This year -- the blog, and next year -- IN JERUSALEM!

Rabbi Daniel Bouskila
SEC Director of Special Projects
Director, Sephardic Summer Institute

1 comment:

  1. BS'D

    Shavua Tov!

    Wonderful! The S.E.C. is perhaps the single most important vehicle for doing what Hacham Ovadia claims he himself is doing: restoring the crown to its former glory. May the Jewish people know again of a glorious Sephardic lifestyle that is neither purely of the Spinoza mindset nor purely of the Baba Sali mindset, but rather somewhere in between these two equally brilliant but also equally limited and incomplete Jewish mindsets. Amo Yisra'el desperately needs spiritual figures who have a genuine intellectual drive and intellectuals who do not disregard the spiritual realm. By just turning a few pages back in the grand book of Jewish history we can find out so much about our treasured past, and that past should inform us on how to approach our shared future (a la the Pirkei Avot) because we cannot truly go forward without first investigating and utilizing our recent and ancient roots. I hope the S.E.C. sets its vision high, very high: to be committed to halakha through the Sephardic lens (of course), but also committed to the following: adorning the remnant of Israel. The S.E.C. should seek to appeal to Klal Yisra'el with warmth and friendliness (to all), with knowledge (of the texts), with confidence, and with moderation. This is the legacy of our past and for the sake of all Beneh Yisra'el this legacy cannot just be something talked about or written on, this legacy needs to be lived and transmitted to our children for them to hand down to their children, and so.

    There's a great youtube clip of R Angel in NYC on this topic:

    Hazak u'Barcuh.

    Aaron bn Michael Mutal

    PS I would like to see the S.E.C. through Hacham Bouskila and Hacham Benarroch open a unique Beit Midrash, which should cover everything from Hazzanut to the laws of shechitah to semichah and the study of languages and maybe even mada (general topics). I know I would be VERY interested in becoming a student of such a house a study