EMU Honors College presents lecture on how modern Hebrew poets meld allusions to classical, canonical religious sources into mystical texts

by Pamela Young, Published March 19, 2010

YPSILANTI - Tradition holds that mystics seek to understand intrinsic elements of God and his creation, even though they are beyond the intellect’s understanding. That search continues today through modern Hebrew poets.

The Eastern Michigan University Honors College will present a lecture, “To See God in His Beauty: Hebrew Poets and Mystical Union,” that closely examines examples of this unique literary movement. The event, scheduled for Monday, March 22, 7 p.m., room 352 at the EMU Student Center, is free and open to the public.

Guest speaker Rabbi Dr. Haim Rechnitzer, assistant professor of Modern Jewish Thought at Hebrew Union College’s Jewish Institute of Religion, will explore how mainstream modern Hebrew poets, who are often described as secular, regard their poetry as a form of prophecy, and as a medium for dialogue with God.

The poets’ experiences stem from an intimate connection with God that is sometimes described as direct contact, according to Rechnitzer. This approach seeks communion with the divine, yet also takes a daring critical look at traditional religious thought.

Rechnitzer earned his doctorate from the Department of Jewish Thought at Hebrew University and his rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union, both in 2003. He also studied at the Mendel School for Educational Leadership and at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem.

Prior to joining the faculty at the institute, Rechnitzer served on the faculty at Franklin and Marshall College in its Department of Religious Studies and Jewish Thought.

For additional information, contact the Honors College at 734.487-0341.

Pamela Young

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