Beit Midrash for
ADAM: Beit Midrash for Human Rights is predicated on the idea that the Torah of Y-H-V-H aims at transforming the world: God wills that humanity eliminate poverty and oppression. The religious ideal of Israel — a people faithful to Y-H-V-H — is that we, as a people, work to achieve these goals. But how can we do that practically? And do we agree enough about the meaning of justice to do that work together?
The ADAM Beit Midrash is a platform where we will explore these questions from three angles. First, we will explore contemporary models of human rights and transitional justice. Second, we will delve into Torah study, exploring models from our tradition regarding what faithfulness to G.od means for social justice. Third, we will meet grassroot activists, expert academics in the field, and human rights defenders, and explore how the academic and rabbinic materials we study intersect with the contemporary reality in Israel-Palestine.
The Beit Midrash is led by Rabbi Dr. Eliora Herfroy-Mischler and Dr. Shaiya Rothberg.
Tracks of Inquiry
Justice in the Real World
An in-depth presentation of contemporary models of human rights and transitional justice based on top-ranked academic scholarship. Once rich with this theoretical knowledge, we will then critically evaluate if and how these models have historically been able to put an end to different types of human rights violations during armed conflicts ( i.e. the Shoah and its aftermath, Rwanda, South Africa, the Balkans, Cambodia, etc.) and what still needs to be addressed regarding the healing process of victims and post-conflict democracies.
We will explore the texts, ideas, and symbols through which masters of our tradition have approached the realm of politics and society in light of their commitment to Y-H-V-H. Their teachings have taken the form of visions of the ideal political order in Zion, interpretations of Tanakh and Jewish practice, and in theological, mystical and political writings.
We will study these materials to uncover resources that can empower our struggle for justice today as well as deepen our Torah lives. This effort requires identifying forces of dehumanization present in Jewish tradition, so that rather than embody these, we can fulfill the purpose of the Torah – as the Rambam formulated it – to “mend the body and soul of humanity” (Guide to the Perplexed 3:27).
We will meet with grassroots activists and academic guest speakers, encountering and being inspired by local actors who seek to realize models of human rights and pre-transitional justice in Israel-Palestine. We will make special emphasis on understanding their different (and sometimes conflicting) conceptions of human rights and transitional justice.
The goal of these sessions is twofold: first, to raise awareness about what is being done for justice by inspired people and, second, to articulate together what still needs to be addressed to reach the ideal of justice.
We will meet on 8 Thursdays from October—May, between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM.
We hope you will join us!
Rabbanit Dr. Eliora Herfroy-Mischler
Rabbanit Dr. Eliora Herfroy-Mischler (Ph.D, Yoreh Yoreh) is an Associate Researcher at the Harry S. Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace and part of the Think Tank on Partnership Peace at Van leer. At the Hebrew University, she lectures on transitional justice in the Journalism and Communication Department as well as on Political Sciences and Counter-Terrorism at the Rothberg International School. She completed her Ph.D at the Department of Media Studies, Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, (Paris 3), France. She has been a Guest Speaker at NYU co-run workshop on transitional justice led by Prof. Ruti Teitel at The Minerva Center for Human Rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Law.
Her research focuses on Journalism Practices and Political Communication with an emphasis on transitional justice/ conflict resolution, intelligence and counter-terrorism. Her research has been published in Media, War & Conflict Journal (2015), Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism (2016; 2020); Studies in Conflict and Terrorism (2018), Visual Communication (2019) and Journalism Studies (2020). Currently she is researching the relevance of Transitional Justice as an academic field in protracted asymmetrical conflicts such as the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict as well as conflicts intertwined with terrorism/counter-terrorism issues.
Dr. Shaiya Rothberg
Dr. Shaiya Rothberg is a teacher and human rights activist in Jerusalem Al-Quds. He holds a PhD from Hebrew University in Jewish Thought and a B.A. in Jewish Philosophy and Talmud from Bar-Ilan University. He made aliyah in 1988 and served as a soldier and officer in the I.D.F. Shaiya’s teaching, writing and activism focus on the transformative potential of Jewish tradition.