Chief Rabbi of Finland, Helsinki, Finland. Born in Mevaseret Tzion, Israel, Simon moved with his family at age 7 to Finland. He served in the Finnish army at the anti-aircraft unit and later earned a BA in Business Administration from Helsinki Business Polytech. He studied at Mayanot in Jerusalem, Yeshivat HaMivtar in Efrat and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in Bronx, New York. Simon was a rabbinic intern at Beth David in West Hartford, Conneticut, and served periodically as the rabbi at the Atria Riverdale. Simon has returned to Finland where he serves as the Chief Rabbi of the country.

Session 1: Entering into Churches and Mosques. Is it allowed or not. Or is it something neutral?

The subject ”entering Into Churches and Mosques” will consist of the following things. First we are trying to determine the status of Islam and Christianity. How did we relate to them and how are we to relate to them now? We will touch upon the idea of outward appearance of sin (Marit Ayin) in connection to these places. We are going to look at older sources as well as contemporary sources. What about prohibition of deriving benefit? Additional things that we are going to discuss are idol appurtenances (tillbehör) and how do we rule regarding building and entering these places? Is a church defined as a building of idol worship, idols and statues? What about getting benefit even if it is not immediate or straight? Finally we are going to look at some responsas from contemporary poskim (halachic authority)..

Session 2: Tza’ar Ba’alei Chaim (Animal Cruelty) in Halacha: The Rethoric  of Halacha and Ethics.

On the subject animal cruelty in Judaism we look at number of sources and through the presentation we will get a better sense of what is considered animal cruelty in halacha and maybe there are situations where using animals might be permissible. How do we relate to hunting and animal experimentation? Sources include Talmud, The Bible and contemporary sources. In the end we will understand all or at least get a picture of most of the areas and ideas that have to be considered when evaluating halacha and the relationship that it has in regards to animal cruelty

Session 3: Achievements and challenges for the future for Jewish life in the Nordic region

Antisemitism och assimilation – sådan har hotbilden mot judar beskrivits i århundraden. Är detta fortfarande riktigt, eller finns det andra hot, såväl interna som externa, som vi brottas med idag och som är viktigare att förstå? Sitter vi fast i en nedåtgående spiral eller är saker och ting bättre än vad vi tror fast annorlunda än vad vi är vana vid att det ska vara? Dessa frågeställningar och fler kommer vi att utforska när vi diskuterar de judiska församlingarnas roll i Norden i dag.

Sessionen hålls på engelska