Ruth Calderon’s creative (and inclusive) journey through Talmudic literature.
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Even as she works toward effecting change in Israel as a member of Knesset, Ruth Calderon remains a passionate student and teacher of Talmud. After her election as a member of the Yesh Atid party in February 2013, she gained international acclaim with her debut speech in the Knesset in which she taught a Talmudic unit — as well as the respect of her haredi colleagues who recognized their style of study in her own. Now, she co-leads a weekly Talmud class in the Knesset and has just published a new book, Ilana Kurshan’s fine translation of “A Bride for One Night” (Jewish Publication Society), originally published in Hebrew in 2001, that brings her eloquent conversation about Talmud to an English-speaking audience.
Listening to Ruth Calderon speak at my synagogue last week, I felt sad, once again, about something that has been lacking for a long time in the Jewish community in Israel and the United States: an easy familiarity with the texts of our tradition. The good news is that Calderon, a Knesset member, has made it a mission of her life to reacquaint Jews with those texts. Given her charm and erudition, she seems to be well on her way.
In classroom and in parliament, MK Calderon aims to 'free and reclaim' Judaism.
Editor and Publisher
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Jerusalem — In the hour she spent with 150 young Jewish entrepreneurs and social activists from around the world last Wednesday morning at the annual ROI (Return on Investment) Summit here, new Knesset member Ruth Calderon chose to teach a Talmudic text, coax thoughtful comments about it from her audience, apply the discussion to modern-day situations, and then welcome questions about current affairs.
Ruth Calderon’s stirring Knesset speech (and Talmud lesson) calling for a Torah that includes all Jews may be the proof text of Israel’s new middle.
Special To The Jewish Week
Editor’s Note: Ruth Calderon, founder of a secular yeshiva in Tel Aviv, spent several years living in New York recently and teaching at the JCC in Manhattan and other venues. This was her inaugural speech in the Knesset in January as a member of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party. It appears here in its entirety.
Mr. Chairman, honorable Knesset, the book I am holding [a copy of the Talmud] changed my life, and to a large extent it is the reason that I have reached this day with the opportunity to speak to the Knesset of Israel as a new member.
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