Wrestling with An Angel and a Brother  — A Contemplative Path – Midrash, Niggun, and a Personal Gateway into Torah – an offering by Rabbi Leila Gal Berner

December 4th, 2022, 10am

Rabbi Leila Gal Berner will lead us through a deep, contemplative journey through the heart of Parashat Vayishlach (Jacob wrestling with a divine being, and his reunion with his brother Esau), helping participants to discover the profound personal meaning of the Torah text. Silence, learning, chant, and conversation will all be part of the experience.

Rabbi Leila Gal Berner was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and holds a second ordination from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (of blessed memory). She received her doctorate in medieval Jewish history from UCLA, with expertise in the history of Jews in medieval Spain. Her dissertation, “On the Western Shores: The Jews of Barcelona during the Reign of Jaume I, ‘el Conqueridor 1213-1276” has been widely cited and she has taught about the Spanish Reconquista in many Jewish communities. She has also taught in many communities about the “Golden Age of Spanish Jewry under Muslim Rule: ‘Golden’ or Tarnished?”

Rabbi Gal-Berner has served as Dean of Students of the ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal Ordination Program for twelve years and continues to teach biblical and medieval history, feminist thought, and midrash.  She has recently published Listening to the Heart of Genesis: A Contemplative Path, bringing to light a new method of studying Torah through meditation and contemplation of the very personal meanings of the Torah text. The method combines meditative silence, learning, deep listening to text, niggunim (wordless melody) and sharing of the experience.

Dr. Gal Berner has taught in the Departments of Philosophy and Religion at American University and George Washington and Emory universities, and in the Departments of Religion at Swarthmore and Reed colleges.


Dec 04 2022


10:00 am