Jack F. Shorstein Senior Rabbinic Chair Memorial Lecture

About the annual Jack F. Shorstein Senior Rabbinic Chair Memorial Lecture

A life-long member of the Jacksonville Jewish Center, Jack Shorstein of blessed memory served as the synagogue’s President and played a central role as a lay leader within the larger Jewish community.  Deeply devoted to the well-being of the Jewish people, his commitment to the cause of Jewish community and continuity was integral to his values and priorities. Established as part of the endowment of the Jack F. Shorstein Senior Rabbinic Chair at the Center, the annual Jack F. Shorstein Memorial Lecture will focus on bringing distinguished scholars and other noteworthy individuals to address the various challenges and opportunities faced by Jewish leadership in the 21st century.


Third Annual Jack F. Shorstein Rabbinic Chair Memorial Lecture - Wednesday, November 7, 2018

To understand fully where we are today as a congregation – let alone where we ought to go -- requires an understanding of the journey that has led us to the present.  From 1972 until 2001, Rabbi David Gaffney served as the spiritual leader of the Jacksonville Jewish Center.  During the nearly three decades of his tenure, the synagogue went through myriad changes.  From leaving the site in Springfield it called home for nearly a half century, to moving to a new campus in Mandarin; from the expansion of the Solomon Schechter Day School (now the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School), to the building of a successful relationship with Camp Ramah; and from tackling great financial challenges to growing a successful culture of adult learning, Rabbi Gaffney was both a leader of, and a witness to, this transformative period of synagogue history.  Join us as we explore in the first-person the recent past of the Jacksonville Jewish Center with our own Rabbi Emeritus, David Gaffney.


Second Annual Jack F. Shorstein Senior Rabbinic Chair Memorial Lecture - Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Reclaiming the Dream: The Failure of Religion – and Its Antidote with Rabbi Sharon Brous, Senior Rabbi, IKAR Los Angeles

Rabbi Sharon Brous is the founding rabbi of IKAR, a thriving Jewish community that stands at the intersection of soulful, inventive spiritual and religious practice and a deep commitment to social justice. Brous has been recognized as one of the nation’s leading rabbis by Newsweek/The Daily Beast and among the 50 most influential American Jews by the Forward. In 2013 she topped the Daily Beast list, which credited her with reanimating Jewish community and reenergizing prayer at a time of growing disaffection and declining affiliation. In 2013 she blessed President Obama and Vice President Biden at the Inaugural National Prayer Service. She sits on the faculty of the Hartman Institute-North America, Wexner Heritage and REBOOT, and is a Senior Fellow at Auburn Theological Seminary. Rabbi Brous serves on the International Council of the New Israel Fund and rabbinic advisory to American Jewish World Service. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three children.

inaugural Jack F. Shorstein Senior Rabbinic Chair Memorial Leacture - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dr. Daniel Gordis, renowned author and celebrated scholar

After studying political science at Columbia University, receiving a master’s degree and ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and a PhD from the University of Southern California, Daniel Gordis became the founding dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles. Upon moving to Israel in 1998, he spent nine years as Vice President of the Mandel Foundation and Director of its Leadership Institute. In 2007, Gordis helped found Shalem, Israel’s first liberal arts college, where he currently serves as Koret Distinguished Fellow and Senior Vice President. Dr. Gordis is highly regarded as a commentator and essayist on Israeli society and the challenges facing the Jewish world. Professor Alan Dershowitz has described him as “one of Israel’s most thoughtful observers,” while Leonard Fein, the founder of Moment Magazine, has written that Gordis is “perhaps the single most popular speaker on Israel to American Jewish audiences.” His writing has appeared in magazines and newspapers including the New York Times, the New Republic, Moment, Tikkun, and Commentary. A three-time recipient of the National Jewish Book Award, his best-selling books include Saving Israel, God was not in the Fire, If a Place Can Make You Cry, and most recently, a biography of Israel’s sixth Prime Minister entitled Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul.