Modern research has provided a wealth of information on the once-mysterious field of human memory. Memory is often researched as a cognitive capacity or ability, in the manner of memorizing words or flashcards, but that often tries to bypass a fundamental part of studying the human mind: that we are a product of our experiences, and the way we assimilate them into our minds. Some researchers like Dr. Azi Grysman are approaching this complication head-on, fully acknowledging that no two humans are ever the same. How do our memories form our sense of self, and can we ever analyze the self, or is it special and irreducible? Judaism has a particularly strong emphasis on collective remembering, and here Dr. Azi Grysman discusses the basics of how memory intertwines with identity.

(This post is part of Sinai and Synapses’ project Scientists in Synagogues, a grass-roots program to offer Jews opportunities to explore the most interesting and pressing questions surrounding Judaism and science. As part of the program, Dr. Azi Grysman led a series of talks and classes on this topic at B’nai Israel Congregation in Baltimore, MD, bringing a Jewish perspective to the science of memory. This session was recorded on January 25, 2021).

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