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Reading Scripture Together: Wrestling with our Angels (Genesis 32:22-31)

  • Course Dates: Wed 27 January, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
















The Bible shares a powerful story where our forefather, Jacob, wrestles with an ‘ish’ (literally a ‘man’ – but commonly understood to be an angel or even God’s own self) on the eve of encountering his estranged brother. Who is this ish and how does that encounter transform Jacob to be renamed ‘Israel’? We will use havruta (a Jewish study method) to do a close literary read of this well-known story. In addition, we will do a psychological read of Jacob’s childhood in order to explore how deception, identity and blessings are themes that pervade Jacob’s life – and our own.

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Course Details

Wed 27 January
10:00 am to 4:00 pm
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Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand is the Director of JHub and a senior staff member of Pears Foundation, where she leads their interfaith portfolio. She received her rabbinic ordination in 1993 and has previously served as Chief Executive of the UK Movement for Reform Judaism and Vice-President of the Wexner Heritage Foundation in New York. Rabbi Gelfand appears regularly on BBC Radio 2 “Pause for Thought” and Radio 4 “Something Understood” as well as being a frequent public speaker on faith and leadership at venues including LSE, Greenbelt, Limmud and TEDxJerusalem. She is the founder of JDOV, a TED-like platform for people to share their Jewish dream, observation, or vision (DOV) and a founding faculty member of the prestigious Faith in Leadership programme where she regularly teaches senior clergy of various faiths. Shoshana is author of The Barefoot Book of Jewish Folk Tales, timeless stories retold for all faiths and ages. Dr Jayme Reaves is Director of Academic Development, Coordinator, Centre for Encountering the Bible, Short Courses and Programme Leader for Exploring Theology at Sarum College. Dr Reaves is a public theologian, and author of Safeguarding the Stranger: An Abrahamic Theology and Ethic of Protective Hospitality which looks at the theology and ethic of providing sanctuary to the threatened other, and how the Western Christian theology and practice of hospitality can be enriched by the recovery of honour and etiquettes related to hospitality as seen in the Jewish and Islamic traditions.
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