The David Cardozo Academy Think Tank Shabbaton took place in Efrat on April 26th-27th. This year, following discussions about the lacklustre nature of Shabbat morning services in synagogue, attempts were made to design our prayer services so that they would be more meaningful and incorporate more of a sense of community. Such attempts, all within halachic bounds, included focusing only on the main parts of Pesukei D’zimra and singing them; a short meditation to get focused before Kedusha; a bibliodrama on the parsha before Torah reading, to deepen our understanding of text; and a talk on korbanot before Musaf. Members found these additions helpful and instrumental in making the service meaningful and inspiring.
The Shabbaton was also dedicated to two recently deceased exceptional Jewish figures: Rabbis David Hartman and Menahem Froman z”l. A broad analysis and critique of Rabbi Hartman’s philosophy was presented by Rabbi Cardozo, and a Think Tank member rounded out the picture. The debates on his ideas, revolving around morality, halachah, intuition and submission, became heated, as members disagreed strongly on the value of such ideas. Another Think Tank member presented a talk on Rabbi Froman, a colourful and complex figure on the Israeli political and religious scene. Several ideas for possible activities in the broader public sphere emerged from the experiences in this Shabbaton.