7th North American Chevra Kadisha and Jewish Cemetery Conference
Scholar in Residence - Reb Mimi (Miriam Sara) Feigelson
American born Mimi Feigelson made Aliya with her family to Israel when 8 yrs. old and has lived there until accepting an appointment as the Mashpiah Ruchanit (spiritual mentor) and Lecturer of Rabbinic Studies at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University, in 2001.
Upon completing two years of national service she then continued to pursue an academic education at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Her B.A. (Magna Cum Laude) is in History and Special Education. Her M.A. (Magna Cum Laude) is in Jewish Philosophy. She also holds a teaching license from Hebrew University. Parallel to her academic studies she studied at various yeshivot in Jerusalem. She has been a student of the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach for the last twenty years. In 1995 she was granted private orthodox smicha (ordination).
Reb Mimi has dedicated her life to studying and teaching Torah. In 1992 she was a core founding-member of Yakar Jerusalem - A Center for Tradition and Creativity, where she served as the associate director, the director of the Women’s Beit Midrash and full time teacher, specializing in Chassidic literature. She also is a founding faculty member of "Ta Shma", an organization that promotes Jewish pluralism among college students and young Jewish leadership. Among the Israeli institutions, Mimi is most grateful for her teaching position at the Ma'aleh Film School and her recurring publishing in the Ha'aretz Literary Magazine. She does free lance teaching in religious high schools and teacher’s seminars throughout Israel.
Though based in Jerusalem till recently, Reb Mimi’s teaching has taken her around the world - primarily Canada, England, the F.S.U. and the U.S.A. For three years she lead a Passover retreat in Dharamsala, India, where she engaged in interfaith dialogue as well.
Reb Mimi is a life long student of Torah, combining in her work both the dialectic and harmonious elements of mind and heart, body and soul, through rigorous text analysis, music and contemplation.
Presentations at the Chevra Kadisha Conference
Keynote: God’s Untold Tale
Do Memories Have a Life of their Own? Are stories told to preserve the past or to create a new future? What is the significance of God revealing Himself/Herself through a story of creation? Is the human capacity for speech an invitation to live our lives as storytellers? Could it be that tales are told so that tales could be forgotten?
Stories and memories are at the heart of our tradition and self-definition. They are an inheritance that we found when entering the world and leave behind us when exiting it. What is God’s untold tale, and what part of it are we holding on to?
Reb Levi Yitzchak Of Berditchev - Life and Legend
Reb Levi Yitzchak, the 18th century Chassidic Master, was known as the “Advocate of Israel”. It is he that stood in front of God demanding justice and compassion! Reb Levi, as briefly hosted by a 20th century female Modern-Chassidic Rav, will share with you moments in his personal and public life. How did he see himself and how was he seen by others? Who did he talk to and share his soul with? What was the nature of the relationship that he established with his students and how is Rabbi Akiva (2nd century) responsible for this? Join Reb Levi Yitzchak as he tells his story and answers some of the questions you’ve been waiting a lifetime to ask him.
Workshop: Self Revelation as Religious Obligation
I used to pray that no matter what changes I went through in life that I would always be able to recognize myself. It is through the legacy and teachings of the Piasetzna Rebbe, known as the Warsaw ghetto rebbe, that I have altered that prayer. I now pray to end my life in a state of surprise and unfolding self-revelation. I pray that I don’t cease hearing God call out “A’yecka” (where are you).
The teachings of the Piasetzna rebbe and other early Chassidic masters will map out for us this religious endeavor of self-revelation as religious obligation.
On The Cusp of Life – The Art of Saying Good-bye: “I’m sorry, the Number You Have Reached is Temporarily Disconnected” (I of III)
How is it that the phone operator knows more about death and dying than so many of our rabbi’s and teachers?
for you – is a cemetery:
a Beit K’varote – a dwelling place of graves?
a Beit Moed L’chol Chai – a dwelling destiny of all living creatures?
a Beit Olamim – a home where the two worlds meet?
How does this change the way you stand at a funeral or maybe facilitate one?
While exploring this question we will delve into the mystery of the “night life” at your local cemetery with the help of our Talmudic sages. Hopefully this will assist us in rethinking what a Jewish funeral can really be.
On The Cusp of Life – The Art of Saying Good-bye: “Excuse Me, Are You Talking To ME?” (II of III)
My question to you is: When you find yourself at a funeral, are you there to escort the dead on their last journey or are you there to escort the mourners on their new journey?
What does rabbinic choreography – the sages of the Talmud, Maimonides and the Shulchan Aruch (the Code of Law) – teach us? How are our parting words perceived?
And what do weddings and funerals have in common???
On The Cusp of Life – The Art of Saying Good-bye: L’chayim! L’chayim! L’chayim! – A Celebration of Life (III of III)
Imagine walking away with “party favors” from a funeral! With gratitude I carry the ones that I was given six months ago with me wherever I go. The Chernobler Rebbe and Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev will assist us in looking at this possibility.
H.H.The Dali Lama, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Amma and Anna will lead us to their last moments.