Torah Study with Guest Scholar Dr. Elsie Stern


November 11, 2023


09:00 AM - 11:00 AM EDT


Gather with the Temple Israel community onsite or online for Saturday morning Torah Study.

On Saturday, November 11, following the Torah service, Dr. Elsie Stern will lead our community in an interactive teaching entitled "Why does Torah say Elohim: Plain sense and 'relevance' in Medieval Torah commentary." When contemporary Jews study Torah, we often move back and forth between exploration of the plain sense of the text and reflection on its relevance to our contemporary questions and concerns. This approach has its roots in Medieval Torah commentaries, which engaged (often implicitly) in these two kinds of inquiry.

Rashi (France, 11th century) and Ibn Ezra (mainly Spain and Egypt, 12th century) are two of the most influential medieval Torah commentators (meforshim). In Torah study, we will read their comments on the use of the word Elohim in Genesis 1:1 and explore how their comments engage the text’s plain sense and relevance for key questions of their day.

About Dr. Elsie Stern

Dr. Elsie Stern is Professor of Bible at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and also serves as the general editor for a new Torah commentary, which is being produced by the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Throughout her career, Dr. Stern’s teaching and research has explored how ancient and contemporary Jews have experienced and interacted with Torah and other biblical texts in synagogue and communal contexts. She is the author of From Rebuke to Consolation: Exegesis and Theology in the Liturgical Anthology of the Ninth of Av Season and is a co-editor for The Dictionary of the Bible in Ancient and Modern Media. She has contributed to numerous Bible commentaries and edited volumes including The Jewish Study Bible and The Torah: A Women’s Commentary. As part of her work on the CCAR Torah commentary, Dr. Stern is currently exploring how weekly Torah portions are explored and interpreted in divrei Torah and Torah study contexts.

All are welcome. Join us onsite, on Zoom, or via Temple Israel’s livestream. Questions? Call 617-566-3960 or email

Afterward, those who join onsite are invited to stay for a festive oneg to connect with friends and community.

Other Learning Sessions

Qabbalat Shabbat with Guest Scholar Dr. Elsie Stern, Friday, November 10, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

Study Session and Havdalah with Guest Scholar Dr. Elsie Stern, Saturday, November 11, 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.

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