Upcoming Public Events

Below is a listing of upcoming public events sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center at Saint John's University. For Jay Phillips Center events at the University of St. Thomas and in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area click here

Listening for the Spirit of God in Our Pursuit of Justice:
Spirituality and Justice in the Jewish Tradition
Lecture by Rabbi Rachel Timoner

Monday, April 28, 7:30 p.m.
Founders Room (Quad 170), SJU

Judaism is an action-focused tradition. From the commandments given at Sinai and the shouts of Israel's ancient prophets to the teachings of contemporary women and men of prophetic vision and witness, Judaism calls upon people to end poverty, oppression, and all forms of injustice. But what is the relationship between spirituality and justice in Jewish tradition? In this lecture, Rabbi Rachel Timoner will explore the meaning of God as spirit, ways of discerning God's spirit in and around us, spiritual practices that help us nurture the gifts of God's spirit in our lives, and how all of this relates to the covenantal call for creating a better world.

Judaism is an action-focused tradition.  From the commandments given at Sinai and the shouts of Israel’s ancient prophets to the teachings of contemporary women and men of prophetic vision and witness, Judaism calls upon people to end poverty, oppression, and all forms of injustice.  But what is the relationship between spirituality and justice in Jewish tradition?  In this lecture, Rabbi Rachel Timoner will explore the meaning of God as spirit, ways of discerning God’s spirit in and around us, spiritual practices that help us nurture the gifts of God’s spirit in our lives, and how all of this relates to the covenantal call for creating a better world.  Rabbi Rachel Timoner is associate rabbi at Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles, where her focus is on social justice, spiritual life, and lifelong learning, and she is the author of Breath of Life: God as Spirit in Judaism, published by Paraclete Press.  She was born and grew up in Miami, Florida, earned a B.A. degree from Yale University, and was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where she was a Wexner Graduate Fellow and received numerous awards, including one for excellence in biblical studies and another for scholarly writing.  Before entering rabbinical school, she worked for thirteen years with social justice non-profit organizations, was named by the San Francisco Examiner and KQED (PBS) as an “Unsung Hero,” was a Next Generation Leadership Fellow of The Rockefeller Foundation, and received the Do Something National BRICK Award for Community Leadership.Rabbi Rachel Timoner is associate rabbi at Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles, where her focus is on social justice, spiritual life, and lifelong learning, and she is the author of Breath of Life: God as Spirit in Judaism, published by Paraclete Press.  She was born and grew up in Miami, Florida, earned a B.A. degree from Yale University, and was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where she was a Wexner Graduate Fellow and received numerous awards, including one for excellence in biblical studies and another for scholarly writing.  Before entering rabbinical school, she worked for thirteen years with social justice non-profit organizations, was named by the San Francisco Examiner and KQED (PBS) as an "Unsung Hero" for working to break the isolation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered youth, and empowering young people to feel proud of who they are.  She was also a Next Generation Leadership Fellow of The Rockefeller Foundation, and received the Do Something National BRICK Award for Community Leadership.


Song of Wonder
A Concert of South Indian and Judeo-Spanish music
featuring Nirmala Rajasekar and David Jordan Harris

Thursday, May 1, 6:30 p.m.
Sacred Heart Chapel, Saint Benedict's Monastery, St. Joseph, Minnesota

SongofWonder

Exploring the theme of wonder through the music and poetry of South Indian and Judeo-Spanish traditions, vocalists and string musicians Nirmala Rajasekar and David Jordan Harris are joined by Carnatic percussion master Thanjavur Muruga Boopathi, percussionist Mick LaBriola, 'ud player David Burk, and vocalist Shruthi Rajasekar. 

Nirmala and David, inspired by the poetry of a thousand years in each of their traditions, probe the many facets of wonder as gateways to an illumined and impassioned life. Highlights of the concert include excerpts from the oldest extant piece of notated Jewish music; improvisational performances by Nirmala on the veena in both familiar and rare ragas (the melodic soundscapes of Indian music); ancient Tamil Sangam poetry; plangent Judeo-Spanish and Hebrew chants from traditional Jewish communities in Bosnia, Turkey, and Morocco; and new musical arrangements flowing from this evening's cross-cultural collaboration.  

Nirmala and David, inspired by the poetry of a thousand years in each of their traditions, probe the many facets of wonder as gateways to an illumined and impassioned life. Highlights of the concert include excerpts from the oldest extant piece of notated Jewish music; improvisational performances by Nirmala on the veena in both familiar and rare ragas (the melodic soundscapes of Indian music); ancient Tamil Sangam poetry; plangent Judeo-Spanish and Hebrew chants from traditional Jewish communities in Bosnia, Turkey, and Morocco; and new musical arrangements flowing from this evening's cross-cultural collaboration.  

Nirmala Rajasekar has been featured in many world-renowned venues, including New York's Carnegie Hall, United Nations, Symphony Space; the Music Academy in Chennai, India; the Rumi International Festival in Konya, Turkey; and Musee Rietburg in Zurich, Switzerland. Nirmala made her debut as a solo performer on the 7-stringed veena at age 13 in Bangelore, India. Radio India has pronounced her a Grade A artist for All India Radio since 1990. Nirmala has performed in numerous collaborative settings with musicians from many backgrounds, including Western classical, Chinese, Indonesian gamelan, and jazz. She is the artistic director of the Naadha Rasa Center of Music based in Plymouth, where she teaches the art of Carnatic music. 

David Jordan Harris is co-founder and artistic director of Voices of Sepharad. He has pursued study and performance of Sephardic music throughout North America, Morocco, Greece, France, Israel, Turkey, Poland, Bosnia, and Spain. Integrating his skills as a singer, actor, and dancer, David has appeared as a guest artist with Zorongo Flamenco, Corning Dances and Company, Walker Art Center, Illusion Theater, Rose Ensemble, North Star Opera, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Guthrie Theater, Minnesota Opera, Lyra Baroque Orchestra, Ensemble Espaῆol, and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre. David is the interfaith arts special consultant for the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning and executive director of Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council.

Sponsored in collaboration with the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict, St. Joseph, Minnesota