Rutgers Tanakh Project In Memory of Ezra Schwartz
By Gilana Levavi, Class of 2018
Rutgers Hillel Student Board Education Co-Chair
This semester, the Rutgers Jewish community will be studying the entire Tanakh, or Hebrew Bible, in memory of Ezra Schwartz.
Ezra was a student from Sharon, Massachusetts who had been planning to attend Rutgers next year. He was studying in Israel for a year between high school and college when he was killed in a terrorist attack on November 19, 2015.
Ezra had said that he planned to study the entire Tanakh before the end of his year in Israel. In his memory and honor, we will be completing this endeavor throughout the Spring 2016 semester. We’ll be collectively studying the entire Tanakh, which contains the 5 Books of Moses, the Prophets, and the Writings.
We invite you to choose one or more sections of Tanakh to study by adding your name to this document. As you study, we would like you to share quotes you find meaningful, new ideas or insights that you learn from the text, or questions that it raises for you in this Facebook group. We also invite you to share reflections on the text via artistic media such as visual art, creative writing, or musical compositions. In addition to the Facebook group, which will allow participants to share and discuss thoughts with one another throughout the semester, we also plan to compile these reflections into a booklet to share with the entire community at the end of the semester. If you would prefer not to participate in the Facebook group, please email quotes and reflections to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will also be having at least one coffeehouse-style event later in the semester focused on sharing and discussing ideas from Tanakh. We encourage you to study independently, with a partner, with a Hillel staff member, or in small groups. If you would like to be matched with a fellow student or a Hillel staff member to study with, please email us.
We hope that individuals with different experiences and perspectives from throughout the Rutgers Jewish community will be able to gain new insights through studying this foundational text. We hope this will be an opportunity to develop a pluralistic learning community as individuals share insights, questions, and reflections with one another. We hope that studying together, as one community, will be a meaningful way to remember Ezra Schwartz and to begin to build the kind of unity that will foster a terror-free, peace-filled world.
If you have any questions about this project, or any questions, comments, concerns or ideas about any Hillel Education programming, don’t hesitate to email Education@rutgershillel.org or speak with Steve Gotlib, Sarah Magida, or me (Gilana Levavi). Thank you!