All posts by Michael Shire

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Rabin’s Handshake

I won’t forget that Saturday night 4th November 1994, twenty years ago, as we returned from dinner with friends to turn on the news and hear of the assassination of the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. Stunned and shocked, the British Jewish Community (where I was living) turned out 5,000 strong for the memorial ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall where ministers of HM Government, Jewish leaders, rabbis and foreign… Read Article →

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Becoming Like Prophets

Parshat Lech Lecha, Genesis 12:1-17:27 “Can one man really change the world?” the young senator from Illinois was asked in his Presidential election race. He was comparatively unknown and he had only served one term in the Senate. But he defeated nominees far more experienced and renowned in his run for the Presidency; his great oratory and ability to sense the mood of the times won hearts and minds to… Read Article →

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Israel: A Love Affair

I just celebrated 40 years of visiting Israel! I was there recently visiting our Hebrew College education and rabbinic students who are studying in Jerusalem this year. It was a short but delightful visit; packing in countless scheduled and spontaneous meetings with colleagues and friends, wandering the Jerusalem streets as sukkot were erected, the boys came out with their lulavim and etrogim to sell and the early morning predawn call… Read Article →

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Creativity in Jewish Education

What would it be like if the desired result of Jewish Education was not textual literacy nor Jewish continuity nor Identity development but the cultivation of a creative disposition; to act b’zelem elohim – as the Creator acts? Over this past year, we convened at Hebrew College a group of Boston Jewish Educators who lead a variety of educational institutions. Following Dr. Jack Wertheimer’s exhortation that we should ‘link the… Read Article →

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Why I Am a Jewish Educator and Jewish Learner

I have studied and taught Judaism now for about 50 years. The first 15 or so (from age 5) were, of course, primarily about learning, but the rest have been learning and teaching at the same time — from teaching “cheder” in the UK in the 1970s through teaching today at Hebrew College. This past year, I taught three graduate courses and was a participant in the inaugural Me’ah for… Read Article →

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A Tale of Two Countries

I was privileged to lead the High Holy Day services again this year at the Oxford Jewish Community in Great Britain. The OJC is unique in Europe in having a single community with multiple “minyanim,” including a regular Orthodox, Masorti and Liberal Jewish service on Shabbat and Hagim. The community incorporates members from “town and gown” as well as students studying at the various Oxford colleges. A modern synagogue building… Read Article →