Hillel is the rabbi of the Jewish Community of Gothenburg, Sweden. Born in Vancouver, Canada, he made aliyah at age 19. He studied at Yeshivat Mercaz Harav in Jerusalem, the flagship yeshiva of the Religious Zionist movement in Israel, and also at Bar Ilan University. He held pulpits and teaching positions in Jerusalem and Netanya before moving to Gothenburg in the summer of 2012. He is married to Yonah and is the father of four children.
Session 1: Sexuality in the Talmud
The Talmud records the opinions of many rabbis, living in many different places over many generations. We will look at some sources on sexuality, identify different approaches, and attempt to determine what the prevelant approach was, which should have the most influence on modern-day Jewish life.
Session 2: In search of the “authentic” Hebrew dialect
Shabbat, shabbath or shabbes? Brit or bris? Matza or Matzo? Barukh, borukh, or burikh? Today we recognize different Hebrew pronunciations in use among Ashkenazi, Ḥassidic, Sefaradic and Yemenite congregations. Modern Hebrew employs a mixture of Sefardic and Ashkenazi pronunciation. Is there a way we could figure out what the original one was, used by Moses, for example? Would this have implications, halakhically? Are all Hebrew pronunciations equally valid, according to halakha (Jewish law)?
Session 3: Electricity on Shabbat
The laws of Shabbat were written long before the discovery of electricity. When electricity was introduced, how did the rabbis decide what should be considered permitted and what should be forbidden? What should we do today?