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Is Broken Faith Still Faith? Reflections on the Final Sermons of Rabbi Kalonymous Kalman Shapira of the Warsaw Ghetto (4/11/18)

Posted by on Thursday, September 7, 2017 in 2017.

April 11th at 7 p.m.

Ben Schulman Center for Jewish Life

R. Kalonymous Kalman Shapira was considered one of the great heroes of the Warsaw ghetto, shepherding his flock of broken Jews as the ghetto turned increasingly into the nightmare it became. As time went on, the elasticity of Shapira’s own faith was tested as he began to realize that faith in God’s covenant became harder and harder to defend. In his final sermons, he reached the very precipice of his own faith. In a final insert in November 1942 to a sermon he delivered in the winter of 1941 — the last thing we have from him in writing — Shapira arguably opened the door to what would later became post-Holocaust theology. In this presentation, Dr. Shaul Magid, the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Chair in Jewish Studies at Indiana University, will explore the last sermons of this great master as the world collapsed around him.


Dr. Shaul Magid is a professor of Jewish Studies and Religious Studies at Indiana University-Bloomington. His works have included Hasidism on the Margin: Reconciliation, Antinomianism, and Messianism in Izbica and Radzin Hasidism (University of Wisconsin Press, 2003),  From Metaphysics to Midrash: Myth, History, and the Interpretation of Scripture in Lurianic Kabbala (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2008),  American Post-Judaism: Identity and Renewal in a Postethnic Society (Indiana University Press, 2013) and Hasidism Incarnate: Hasidism, Christianity, and the Construction of Modern Judaism (Stanford University Press, 2014).