The Community Scholars series invites our Community to learn from people of faith outside our walls, challenging and encouraging us in new ways. Each installation of the series will be a learning opportunity around how we can best live out God's love in the world.

While Community is fortunate to be a multi-staff congregation, hearing from diverse perspectives of people beyond our congregation encourages us to have a more well-rounded understanding of our faith and how we can make sense of it in relation to the world we live in.

Community Scholars is made possible by gifts in memory of Nan Borden. 

Common mistakes christians make about jews and judaism

Our first contributor in the Community Scholars series is Dr. Amy-Jill Levine. Joining us in Centennial Hall via Zoom during Exploration Hour on Sunday, January 30, Dr. Levine (she prefers AJ) will give a talk called "Common Mistakes Christians Make About Jews and Judaism." There will be an open Q&A following, allowing us to explore this topic together as and in Community. 

After the initial discussion we will use her book, The Difficult Words of Jesus, to guide our Exploration Hour studies. We will also hold a weeknight book study during February and March via Zoom for anyone interested. 

AJ will return on Sunday, March 20 for a Q&A about the book. Both events will be available in person as well as via Zoom. 

About Dr. Levine

Amy-Jill Levine (“AJ”) is Rabbi Stanley M. Kessler Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Hartford University for Religion and Peace, and University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies Emerita, Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies Emerita, and Professor of New Testament Studies Emerita at Vanderbilt University. An internationally renowned scholar and teacher, she is the author of numerous books including The Difficult Words of Jesus: A Beginner’s Guide to His Most Perplexing Teachings. She is also, with Marc Zvi Brettler, the coeditor of the Jewish Annotated New Testament and the co-author of The Bible With and Without Jesus: How Jews and Christians Read the Same Stories Differently.  AJ is the first Jew to teach New Testament at Rome’s Pontifical Biblical Institute. In 2021 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. AJ describes herself as an unorthodox member of an Orthodox synagogue and a Yankee Jewish feminist. 

Book Study

After AJ's initial visit we will begin a Community book study of her book, The Difficult Words of JesusThere are two options for joining the book study. The first is to join during our normal Exploration Hour time at 9AM on Sunday mornings. The other is to join a group via Zoom at 6PM on Tuesday evenings. AJ will return on Sunday, March 20 for a Q&A about the book.

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A critical examination of john's gospel

As we follow the Narrative Lectionary and make our way through John's Gospel, it is important to examine and better understand John's portrayal of Jesus' Jewish context. Given increasing levels of antisemitism in our country, we must honestly and critically face our sacred text.

Contemporary antisemitism and what to do about it

With a better understanding of some of the scriptural and theological mistakes we make about Jews and Judaism, we will shift our focus to how we might do justice together as Community. We will welcome Sarah Markowitz and the Jewish Community Relations Bureau to Community on Sunday, April 3 at 9 AM for a program on contemporary antisemitism and what to do about it.  

not long ago.
not far away.

We encourage all members of Community to visit the Auschwitz: Not Long Ago, Not Far Away exhibit at Union Station through March 2022. If you would like, Rev. Ryan will gladly help you make arrangements to go. We recommend that you set aside at least 2-3 hours for your visit.

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Join Via zoom

If you're interested in joining either of the upcoming Community Scholar sessions via Zoom, please reach out to Rev. Ryan below for information. 

Email Rev. Ryan