Search results for Rabbi David Kasher
R. David Kasher and R. Avi Strausberg will headline Hadar's Weekly D'var Torah in 5784
Hadar is excited to announce that Rabbi David Kasher, Director of Hadar West Coast, will write our 5784 weekly D'var Torah! Subscribe now to receive weekly emails beginning with Parashat Bereishit.
R. Kasher will bring a linguistic sensitivity to the study of the weekly Torah portion, blending classical commentaries and modern literary techniques. By exploring imagery, wordplay, and even grammar in each parashah, these essays will draw out the beauty and artistry of the Torah’s text.
“We are so used to mining the Torah for its content that we can sometimes overlook the sheer beauty of its artistic form,” said R. Kasher. “My hope, in these essays, is to give a sense of the magnificent richness and sophistication of the Torah's language and structure. This type of reading brings great delight, but can also help us appreciate the divinity of the Torah - not just as a theological claim, but as a sublime work of art.”
Throughout the 5784 cycle, subscribers will also receive essays on both Jewish and secular holidays by R. Avi Strausberg, Hadar’s Senior Director of National Learning Initiatives. R. Strausberg’s essays will incorporate Hasidic thinkers, teachings from the Talmud, and works of modern midrash and poetry.
“Out of a commitment not only to the value of Torah learning in the abstract, but the belief that Torah can actually make us better, holier people in our thoughts and in our actions, we’ll turn to Torah for guidance on how to approach our relationships and the events of our lives,” said R. Strausberg.
Honor a loved one, celebrate a special occasion, or acknowledge a connection to a particular parashah with a sponsorship. Fill out this form to sponsor a D'var Torah in 5784.
Meet the Writers
Rabbi David Kasher is the Director of Hadar West Coast and has served as Senior Jewish Educator at Berkeley Hillel and a part of the founding team at Kevah, and Associate Rabbi at IKAR. Rabbi Kasher's greatest passion is Torah commentary, and he spent five years producing the weekly ParshaNut blog and podcast exploring the riches of the genre. He is the author of ParshaNut: 54 Journeys into the World of Torah Commentary.
Rabbi Avi Strausberg is Senior Director of National Learning Initiatives at Hadar, and is based in Washington, D.C. She received her rabbinic ordination from Hebrew College in Boston, and was a Wexner Graduate Fellow. Rabbi Strausberg is interested in the ways Torah can speak to our emotional lives as well as our commitments to ourselves and to each other, drawing from a wide range of texts spanning aggadah, hasidut, and modern poetry
Hadar Announces Major Expansion to the West Coast
The Hadar Institute is delighted to announce a major expansion of our work building vibrant communities of Torah, Avodah, Hesed. "Hadar West Coast” will be led by Rabbi David Kasher with new programming and partnerships in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.
After listening to many local community members, leaders, and organizational partners, we have learned a lot about Jewish life on the West Coast. We are excited to work alongside with these thriving Jewish communities and partner with synagogues, schools, and institutions, starting in LA and the Bay Area.
“I’m thrilled to bring more of Hadar’s meaningful Torah and community experiences to California,” says Rabbi David Kasher, Director of Hadar West Coast. “Over 17 years, Hadar has built thriving communities of learning and practice based on Judaism’s rich texts and deeply held values. We’re ready to combine this model with the dynamism and experimentation of West Coast Jewish life.”
Many West Coast Jews, particularly during the pandemic, have engaged with Hadar programming virtually, downloaded content from Hadar's online Torah and Tefillah library, and subscribed to Devash magazine and Hadar holiday readers. Several Jewish schools in California implement the Pedagogy of Partnership approach in their classrooms. R. Kasher will build on these efforts by leading in-person learning and community-building opportunities.
Hadar is a national organization with a $10+ million budget that engages more than 30,000 people each year through both classes and multi-day, immersive learning opportunities, concerts, and other events. Tens of thousands more access Hadar’s content via its online library, podcasts, publications and other resources. Hadar West Coast is a significant investment for the organization, which also has full-time faculty in New York, Jerusalem, Boston, Chicago, and Washington, DC.
R. Kasher will start this summer. Stay tuned for more opportunities to learn with him! In the meantime, read more about this exciting news in JTA.
About Rabbi David Kasher
Rabbi David Kasher grew up bouncing back and forth between Berkeley and Brooklyn, hippies and Hassidim - and has been trying to synthesize these two worlds ever since. After graduating from Wesleyan University in 1998, he studied for several years in yeshivot in Israel before heading off to rabbinical school at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. He was ordained there in 2007, and returned to Northern California, where he became the Senior Jewish Educator at Berkeley Hillel. He was part of the founding team at Kevah, a non-profit specializing in Adult Jewish Education, where he worked from 2012 to 2018, and developed the Kevah Teaching Fellowship. He has served on the faculty of Berkeley Law, the Wexner Heritage Program, Reboot, and the BINA Secular Yeshiva, and also taught courses at Pardes, SVARA, The Hartman Institute, AJR and HUC. Rabbi Kasher is a teacher of nearly all forms of classical Jewish literature, but his greatest passion is Torah commentary, and he spent five years producing the weekly ParshaNut blog and podcast exploring the riches of the genre.
In 2018, he began work as an Associate Rabbi at IKAR, a non-denominational spiritual community in Los Angeles, where he teaches a weekly parashah class and has a new parashah podcast called Best Book Ever. He published an essay, 'Eating Our Way from Justice to Holiness,' in Kashrut and Jewish Food Ethics (Academic Studies Press, 2019), completed a translation of Avot d'Rabbi Natan for Sefaria, and is the author of ParshaNut: 54 Journeys into the World of Torah Commentary.