Since its launch in 2013, Sinai and Synapses has become the source for information, perspectives and ideas about Judaism and science, and a major voice in the world of religion and science. We offer people a worldview that is scientifically grounded and spiritually uplifting, and our message is resonating throughout the country.
Indeed, as we are continuing to grow and to expand our programming, I wanted to share with you some of our successes from this past year, what we are planning for 2016, and to ask you to consider supporting our work as we move into the next stage our development (the link for donations is below).
Our most exciting news is that we have received funding from the John Templeton Foundation, one of the largest and most prestigious foundations in North America, for two pilot projects about science and Judaism, both in partnership with the world’s largest scientific organization, the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
One is entitled “Scientists in Synagogues,” where we will select ten pilot synagogues that house top-notch scientists, and offer them mentorship, guidance and a stipend to show how Jewish scientists can integrate their scientific work with their Jewish life.
The other is called “Science in Rabbinic Training,” where we will be offering rabbis and rabbinic students opportunities to learn about some of the most important issues facing our world today – such as protecting the environment and combating racism – from both scientific and Jewish perspectives.
We also ran some very exciting and dynamic programs in 2015. Last year, we:
- Presented at the American Association Advancement of Science’s Perceptions Project conference, where I was a presenter along with Nobel Laureates, the Director of Human Origins at the Smithsonian, and Dr. Francis Collins, head of the NIH
- Partnered with the 92nd St. Y to present “The Genius of Good and Evil” with Professor Michael Shermer as part of their “7 Days of Genius Festival”
- Mentored our 2013-2015 Sinai and Synapses Fellows, an interfaith collection of clergy, scientists and journalists, to run programs at MIT and Yale Hillel, St. Bartholemew’s in White Plains, a webinar for the Baha’i community, and created blogposts and videos, reaching over 600 people in live programming, and 40,000 people online
- Held an open competition to select the 2015-2017 Sinai and Synapses Fellowship, where almost 50 people applied for 12 spots to create content and programming in their local communities
- Traveled and taught in synagogues and churches in Manhattan, Westchester County, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Texas and California, reaching over 1000 people with courses like “Wonder, Appreciation and Curiosity” and “The Strange Nature of Time”
And as we grow in 2016, here are just a few of the programs we are planning right now:
- Our largest and most expansive program, “Scientists in Synagogues,” selecting ten pilot synagogues from across the Jewish world to offer mentorship, guidance and financial support to run programs about Judaism in science in local communities
- Working with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to run “Science in Rabbinic Education,” where we will train rabbis and rabbinic students through HUC-JIR, Clal and Hebrew College on integrating science into rabbinic education
- In partnership with Rethink the Conversation and the AAAS, planning a clergy workshop entitled “What Do We Do When?” offering practical tools for clergy to handle a variety of mental health issues, grounded in the latest science
- Partnering again with the 92nd St. Y as part of their “7 Days of Genius” Festival
- Presenting and teaching at synagogues in Ohio, Manhattan, New Jersey and Westchester County
Your support will help us continue to expand, demonstrating that science and religion can not only co-exist, but can reinforce each other to bring out the best in individuals and our society.
So as the year comes an end, would you consider making a donation of $54, $180, $540 or even more?
As Clal – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership is incubating Sinai and Synapses and is our fiscal sponsor, you can click here and in the box where it says “I want my donation dedicated,” please write “Sinai and Synapses.”
Or, you can mail your check to Clal, 440 Park Avenue South,
4th Floor, New York, NY 10016, with “Sinai and Synapses” in the memo.
All donations are tax-deductible.
Again, thank you so much for your support, and for your desire to show that when we bring together the best of science and the best of religion, we can give people intellectual fulfillment and spiritual nourishment.
All good things,
Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman