Sinai and Synapses, fiscally sponsored by Clal – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, is pleased to announce the selection of 14 communities as part of its project “Scientists in Synagogues.”
These congregations will be drawing on a combination of their own internal leadership and guest speakers to present issues ranging from “Living In The Tensions: Artificial Intelligence” and “Human Free Will: The Gifts, The Challenges, and Learning to Navigate The In-Between” to “Uvakharta ba-Hayyim – Choosing Life: What Neuroscience, Judaism, and Ritual can teach us about human agency” to “Illuminating the World: The Intersections of Jewish Law and Science.” Of the selected synagogues, nine were Conservative, three Reform, and two Orthodox, hailing from eight different US states, plus one congregation from Israel. Funding for Scientists in Synagogues comes from The John Templeton Foundation and other donors, and it is run in consultation with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion (DoSER).
These selected synagogues will receive $5000 for programming, and will also receive guidance and mentorship from both Sinai and Synapses and AAAS DoSER. They will run a minimum of four programs addressing issues around science and religion, at least one of which will be open to the larger public, and create written and video content on how they explore the interaction of Judaism and science in their communities.
“As communities begin to return to more learning in person, people are hungry for deep intellectual conversations,” said Rabbi Geoff Mitelman, Founding Director of Sinai and Synapses. “But rather than exacerbating or highlighting the perceived conflict between science and religion, these communities will be celebrating multiple fonts of wisdom on topics ranging from human flourishing to the ethics of technology to the majesty of the universe can help. As we’ve seen since the inception of this project in 2016, communities are drawn to challenging questions, but always through a lens of relationship-building and inquiry.”
There have now been nearly 50 synagogues that have been part of this project, and from all over the world, both geographically and religiously, reaching nearly 15,000 people. For those who want to learn more or participate in future rounds, Sinai and Synapses plans to select another cohort for Scientists in Synagogues in 2023, and more information can be found here.
The selected synagogues for 2022 are:
Aish Chaim, Bala Cynwyd, PA
B’nai Israel Congregation, Rockville, MD
Congregation Beth David, Saratoga, CA
Congregation Mishkan Tefila, Brookline, MA
Congregation Tifereth Israel, Columbus, OH
Midway Jewish Center, Syosset, NY
Netivot Shalom, Berkeley, CA
Pasadena Jewish Center and Temple, Pasadena, CA
Shir Hadash, Jerusalem, Israel
Temple Adas Israel, Sag Harbor, NY
Temple Beth Abraham, Nashua, NH
Temple Emanu-El, Providence, RI
Temple Isaiah, Fulton, MD
Temple Israel, Boston, MA