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Monday, November 30, 2020

Jewish Astrology in The Aquarian Age An International Conference of Academics, Scholars and Mystics

 


Jewish Astrology in The Aquarian Age

An International Conference of Academics, Scholars and Mystics

December 21, 2020, the Winter Solstice,

and the day of the Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction in the Sign of Aquarius, for the first time since 1405.

Via Zoom 

Info at https://aquarianminyan.org/aquarianage

Cost: $26 for all-conference day pass, including access to all session recordings

Register at https://aquarianminyan.com/astrology

 

The periodic conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn hold a special place in the history of Jewish astrological thought. The three conjunction cycles of 20, 240, and 960 years which take place within elemental triplicities were viewed as portents of political and social change, the emergence of a new dynasty, nation, or a great prophet. This “Great Conjunction” was the focus of Jewish messianic speculation from the earliest contacts with its origins in third century Sassanian Persia through Abu Ma’ashar, the medieval commentators such as Abraham Bar Hiyya, Abraham Ibn Ezra, and others.

Jupiter and Saturn make a conjunction in the zodiac sign of Aquarius on December 21, 2020. This marks the first time the conjunction has been in Aquarius since the year 1405. This is significant because of the special relationship of both the planet Saturn and the constellation of Aquarius to the Jewish people.

This online conference examines the implications of this celestial event in light of current terrestrial realities, and how this might be understood in terms of the Jewish esoteric tradition, Jewish history, and messianic thought. We’ve invited academic, scholarly, and lay mystic participation around this subject. Our hope is to bring scholars and mystics together on common ground to explore a subject with multiple layers of historical, symbolic, existential, and prophetic meaning.

 

Schedule (all times Pacific times)

9:30am

Welcome and Introduction to Jewish Astrology

  • ·        Lorelai Kude

 

9:45am

Invocation and Blessing

  • Rabbi T'mimah Audrey Ickovits 


10am Pacific Time

Panel Discussion: Astrology in the Sefer Yetzirah

  • ·        Rabbi Jill Hammer
  • ·        Piergabriele Mancuso
  • ·        Marla Segol
  • ·        Rabbi T’mimah Audrey Ickovitz

 

12 Noon Pacific Time

Keynote: Ibn Ezra’s Jewish Astrology and the Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction in Jewish Thought

  • ·        Meira Epstein

 

2pm Pacific Time

Panel: The Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction in Jewish Messianic Thought & The Dark Side of the Aquarian Age

  • ·        Lorelai Kude
  • ·        Rabbi Jonathan Seidel PhD
  • ·        Special Guests TBA

 

 

About Our Panelists and Speakers:

Meira Epstein has been researching Abraham Ibn Ezra’s astrological texts since the late 1980’s. Her published translations are The Beginning of Wisdom (1998), The Book of Reasons (1991) and The Book of Nativities and Revolutions (2008). In preparation are The Book of Elections and The Book of Interrogations. She is a certified professional astrological consultant and a principal teacher for the NCGR education and certification program, focusing on science, astronomy, and history. Meira lectures and teaches internationally on all aspects of astrology. A college degree and a career in teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) in Israel was followed by a full-cycle career in computer programming on Wall Street. Her website is www.bear-star.com 

 

Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD, author, scholar, ritualist, poet, and dreamworker, is the Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion (www.ajrsem.org), and co-founder of the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute (www.kohenet.org). Her new book on Jewish mysticism is titled Return to the Place: The Magic, Meditation, and Mystery of Sefer Yetzirah. Rabbi Hammer is also the author of other books including The Hebrew Priestess: Ancient and New Visions of Jewish Women’s Spiritual Leadership (with Taya Shere), The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for all Seasons, Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women, and The Book of Earth and Other Mysteries. She lives in Manhattan with her wife and daughter.

 

Rabbi T’mimah Audrey Ickovits, BSE, is the spiritual leader of Holistic Jew in Santa Monica, CA. She and cultivates a wide variety of ritual. These include prayer, Torah study, Liquid Kabbalah movement, and meditation. Rabbi T’mimah teaches courses in “Davvenology” and “Kabbalah and Prayer” highlighting the connectivity between spiritual practice and nature’s movement. Rabbi T’mimah recently published the ”Holistic Jew Shahareet Weekday siddur” and “Seven Sacred Circles”. Both these publications include commentary from classical Kabbalah. Passionate about the environment and committed to equality in death, she teaches in support of green, cost-effective, the traditional end-of-life options. Through engagement with the classical text, Rabbi Ickovits learned to track patterns in Jewish practice. Indeed, the basis of Rabbinic Judaism is the calendar cycle. Moreover, she found Jewish Tradition is filled with skillful guidance to support living a nourishing productive life, which includes time off from work as a foundational value. Rabbi Ickovits’s unique strength is in engaging with traditional texts through a different ‘slant of light’ – that is, from a traditional, yet egalitarian, eco-aware spiritual perspective, to bring forward the renewed meaning and practice, creative sparks, & movement into contemporary Jewish life. Rabbi Ickovits attended Modern Orthodox Yeshivah and resonated with the deep initiation this offered into Torah Study, Hebrew, and traditional Jewish practices. The school's philosophy of strict adhesion to rigid, patriarchal, and ethnocentric rules fueled her inquiry into the subtle and deeper intentions (Kavanot) of Jewish practice. Her website is Holistic Jew. 

 

Lorelai Kude, MA received her Masters Degree in Jewish Studies from Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union, where her thesis “Yesh Mazal l’Yisrael: Astrology in Jewish Cultural Heritage” laid the academic foundation for her upcoming popular book, “Astrolojew: The Big Book of Jewish Astrology”. A practicing, professional astrologer for 30+ years, Lorelai writes a syndicated Jewish astrology column (“Astrolojew”) for the Jerusalem Post, J the Jewish News of Northern California, The Detroit Jewish News, and Alliance, France’s biggest online Jewish publication. Along with maintaining and growing her private astrological consulting practice, Lorelai also teaches classes, publishes a podcast on Jewish astrology, and is the Executive Director of The Aquarian Minyan and “Mother” of the Aquarian Minyan Yeshiva. This conference has been her dream since the summer of 2018. 

 

 Piergabriele Mancuso received his doctoral degree in Jewish Studies from University College London, 2009. He studied in Oxford and has been a fellow of the Warburg Institute, London. He taught at Boston University and Abroad Programs, Ca’ Foscari University (Venice) and the University of Kentucky (Lexington). He is the director of the Eugene Program in Jewish Studies at the Medici Archive Project, Florence and the Venetian Centre for International Jewish Studies. He is the author of several studies and monographs on medieval Italian Jewry and Jewish music.

 

Marla Segol is Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the department of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies.  She earned her PhD in Comparative Literature at Rutgers University New Brunswick in 2001, with a dissertation on religious conversion and cosmopolitanism. Recent books include Word and Image in Medieval Kabbalah: The Texts, Commentaries and Diagrams of the ‘Sefer Yetsirah’ (Palgrave, 2012), and Sexuality, Sociality, and Cosmology in Medieval Literary Texts, coedited with Jennifer Brown (Palgrave, 2013)  Professor Segol has published articles on medieval cosmopolitanism, medieval and early modern kabbalah, history of medicine, magic and astrology, American kabbalah, New Age religion, and contemporary self-help literature. Recent awards include the Humanities Institute Fellowship, and a Research Grant from the Gender Institute at the University at Buffalo. Her forthcoming book, Kabbalah and Sex Magic: A Mythical-Ritual Genealogy discusses the history of the components that make up contemporary sex magic ritual as they appear in Jewish esoteric texts. 

 

Rabbi Jonathan Seidel was born in Newark, New Jersey, descended from a rabbinic lineage of scholars in the Ukraine. He grew up as a cultural New Yorker and actively observant Zionist within a Jewishly engaged family involved in Temple Emmanuel in Westfield, New Jersey. There his rabbinic teachers were Rabbis Charles Kroloff and Leonard Thal. His spiritual journey was radically altered after meeting Rabbis Shlomo Carlebach and Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. Later, it was Reb Zalman who first encouraged his entry into the ALEPH ordination program. Rabbi Jonathan studied at Oberlin College, the Jewish Theological Seminary (MA 1981), and was a Fulbright-Hayes scholar at Cambridge University. He received his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, in Near Eastern Studies (1996). He has taught Judaic Studies and Religion at Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, University of Arizona, Portland State University, Northwest Christian College, Oregon State University, University of Oregon and most recently Lane Community College. He was ordained in 2004 by ALEPH, the Alliance for Jewish Renewal, after many years of serving the Jewish community in the West.Rabbi Jonathan has served as a spiritual leader and Cantor for a number of Jewish communities in California and Arizona. He has an extensive background in and commitment to Interfatith and Intercultural activism, Jewish music (as Chazzan for many years), Social Justice work, Jewish education and environmental activism. Rabbi Jonathan has worked, along with many Renewal colleagues, to bridge the gap between historical academic research into Jewish ritual and prayer and contemporary practice that combines the contemplative and the ecstatic. He is the Visiting Rabbi of The Aquarian Minyan and Rosh haYeshiva of the Aquarian Minyan Yeshiva.