“Maimonides says religious people who have no awareness of science — he talks about astronomy in particular — are like people walking around the palace of the king who can’t find the gate. You really need science to enter the gate.”   
— Professor Howard Smith, senior astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian CenterDr. Smith will be the first of an array of presenters from the scientific community at the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College’s winter seminar “Science and the Soul from January 23- 26.This year’s seminar is a unique partnership between the rabbinical school and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and is open to the public with advance registration to mstern@hebrewcollege.edu.As Dr. Se Kim, Associate Director of the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) explained, “The science for rabbinical training is an extension of DoSER’s science for seminaries effort, which arose in response to the recognition that many people look to their religious leaders for guidance on the societal and contemporary issues brought by scientific discoveries.”

Rabbi Dan Judson Director of Professional Development and Placement at the Rabbinical School, developed the program with a group of rabbinical students and views the seminar as a unique opportunity for students to learn from scientists who are working in fields which have a direct bearing on the work that rabbis do.  He said, “Be it an astrophysicist discussing the latest developments in cosmology and the impact that may have on theology or an epigeneticist presenting on the latest research regarding how trauma is passed through generations, which will impact an understanding of pastoral care, this seminar is sure to enlarge and enliven our understanding of the world.

The winter seminar is funded by the John Templeton Foundation with support from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS supports efforts to integrate science into rabbinic training. As a science membership organization, it does not advise on or endorse the theological content of the program. Hebrew College is appreciative of their commitment to this week and to their work in bridging the worlds of the scientific and religious communities.

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