Sparks: Live Conversation Series

A series of conversations between Rabbi David Ingber and spiritual thought leaders on essential issues of our times.

In memory of Reb Zalman Schachter Shalomi

Sparks is a way to come together and expand our community around conversations that really matter.  We go deep, travel far, and allow ourselves to stretch beyond scripted dialogues into the more intimate places of nuance, personal revelation and “aha moments.”

This is an opportunity to feel as though you have some of the Jewish world’s most exciting luminaries in your living room.  These conversations are inspired by and a tribute to Reb Zalman Schachter Shalomi because he was a master of stimulating the sometimes controversial, “elephant in the room,” kind-of-conversations that we all want to to talk about, but are sometimes not quite sure how to bring up.  

We have been honored to have guest speakers, both local to New York City and from around the country, such as Sylvia Boornstein, Jewish meditation teacher founder of Spirit Rock in California; Judith Plaskow, author of the influential books The Coming of Lilith, Standing Again at Sinai, and Weaving the Visions; and Shulem Dean, author of the grounding-breaking, award-winning memoir All Who Go Do Not Return – all of whom were guests in the Sparks series in 2015-16.

Last year’s participants couldn’t get enough.  Its because of the overwhelmingly positive response from our community that the Sparks series will continue to grow and evolve in the coming season of 2016-17.  They shared these words with us:

“I love Sparks. Romemu is very heart based and musical, but these lectures nourished me intellectually. More please!”
“The Sparks series was fabulous.”
“R. David did a great job interviewing the guests.”
“Keep bringing more top quality presenters like this past year”

Below are the recorded Livestream Sparks conversation links from the 2015-2016 season.  Please enjoy and stay tuned for the schedule for the upcoming year!

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough…Meditate: Spiritual Practices To Calm the Mind and Support the Heart During Difficult Times
with Sylvia Boornstein (June 1st, 2016)

Sylvia Boorstein, PhD., is a co-founder, along with Jack Kornfield, of Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California. She has taught mindfulness and lovingkindness meditation nationally and internationally since 1990. She was part of the inaugural faculty of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. She is the author of five books including Pay Attention, for Goodness’ SakeSylviahas been married to her husband Seymour for 60 years. They have two sons, two daughters, and seven grandchildren.

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How You Tell Your Story Matters: The Transformative Power of Narrative 
with  Judi Hannan and Kim Schneiderman LCSW, MSW

Join authors Kim Schneiderman, LCSW, MSW, and Judith Hannan in conversation with Rabbi David Ingber on how writing and the way that we tell ourselves our own stories can affect our physical, mental, and spiritual health. Theauthors will bring their extensive experience to the exploration of healing through writing.

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‘Upheavals’- Philosophical, Religious, Personal:  
When Journeys of the Mind and Soul Overturn One’s Life and Affect Loved Ones
with Shulem Deen (4/15/2016)
Shulem Deen was raised to believe that questions are dangerous. As a member of the Skverers, one of themost insular Hasidic sects in theUS, he knew little about the outside world – only that it is to be shunned. His marriage at eighteen was arranged and several children soon followed. Deen’s first transgression – turning on the radio – was small, but his curiosity led him to thelibrary, and later the Internet. Soon he began a feverish inquiry into thetenets of his religious beliefs, until, several years later, his faith unraveled entirely.
Join Shulem Deen and Rabbi David Ingber in dialogue as they explore what it means to leave a traditional community and the sacrifices required in order to do so.
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Jewish Renewal after Reb Zalman
with Shaul Magid (3/3102016)
Shaul Magid is the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Professor of Jewish Studies at Indiana University, Kogod senior research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America and presently a research fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the rabbi of the Fire Island Synagogue in Sea View, NY. He is the author most recently ofAmerican Post-Judaism: Identity and Renewal in a Postethnic Society and Hasidim Incarnate: Hasidism, Christianity, and the Making of Modern Judaism.
Like all movements founded by unique charismatic figures, Jewish Renewal is moving into a new phase after the passing of its founder R. Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. Where Renewal will go and what it will become will largely be determined by those who identify with its vision and its future. Will it be synagogue-based or will it move beyond the synagogue model? Will it become a denomination or will it create new rubrics for spiritual expression? Will it focus on rabbinic leadership or communal consent? What will be its relationship to law, ritual, experimentation, social justice, spiritual globalization, the non-Jew, politics, Israel? These are some of the fundamental questions Renewal will have to face in the coming decade. We will talk about this and more as Renewal embarks on its newest journey.
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 God‘s Body
 with Dr. Joy Ladin (2/11/2016)
Joy Ladin’s return to Yeshiva University as a woman after receiving tenure as a man made her the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution and made page-3 news in the New York Post.  She is the author of seven books of poetry, including Psalms, which was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Her work has been recognized with a Fulbright Scholarship and an American Council of Learned Societies research fellowship. She has spoken about gender identity issues around the country, and was featured on NPR’s “On Being” with Krista Tippett and other NPR programs.
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