Global Day of Jewish Learning is a community celebration of our heritage—brought to Howard County by the Jewish Federation and the Howard County Board of Rabbis. Learn about Jewish thought on Beauty & Ugliness, from ancient texts to modern perspectives. 


Sunday, November 12 | River Hill High School (12101 Clarksville Pike, Clarksville, MD 21029)


Registration 1:30 pm

Session I 2:15-3:15 pm

Session II 3:35-4:35 pm

Session III​ 3:35-4:10 pm (Rabbi Starr) & 4:10-4:40  (Evan Lutz)

Explore the topic of Beauty & Ugliness at this year's Global Day of Jewish Learning sessions.

The Age of Narcissism

from Ovid to Tosefta to Today

Rabbi Seth Bernstein, Bet Aviv

Session I

Looking at narcissistic personality traits, we will study what Ovid contributed to the topic, how the Rabbis in the Tosefta related to narcissistic ideas in their day, and how to understand it in our own day.

The Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Exhibit

Dror Israel With Ella Haetzni, Shlicha

Sessions I and II

Explore the different stages of Rabin’s life, the hard decisions he made, and the peace process that he so bravely led at Dror Israel Movement's Rabin Memorial Exhibit. Space is limited. To attend, RSVP with Ella.

Artistic Representations of King David

Rabbi Craig Axler, Temple Isaiah

Session I

Few Biblical personalities have so captivated us as King David. Explore the ways in which King David has been portrayed through the arts, understanding the many layers of his legacy--both beautiful and ugly. 


Which Do You Prefer:

Beautiful Argument or Ugly Conversation?

Rabbi Amy Scheinerman, Hospice Rabbi

Session I

​What wisdom does Jewish tradition offer us as substantive conversations are in danger of devolving into shouting matches? Our tradition lauds beautiful arguments and teaches us how to express ourselves without offending and listen without rejecting.

The 36 Tzadikim in Every Generation

Rabbi Hillel Baron, Lubavitch Center of Howard County

Session I

There is a Jewish tradition that tells of the existence of 36 hidden "Tzadikim" (righteous, saintly individuals) in every generation. Do they exist today? Who would qualify as a "Tzadik"? What is their function?

Speaking from the Soul

Dr. Cindy Sandler, Ph.D.

Session I

Our soul consists of aspects of G-d.  Explore the challenge of strengthening specific middot (soul traits) and experience a guided meditation to bring awareness of your middot and aspects that support  your life journey.



The Nourishment of Beauty & Art

Rabbi Josh Jacobs-Velde, Oseh Shalom

​Session II

Take in pictures of beautiful Jewish spaces--ancient mosaics and an extraordinary medieval Polish synagogue--as well explore some key texts that have influenced Jewish artistic production for hundreds of years.


Driven: The Enigma of the Jewish Soul,

its Beauty and Ugliness

Rabbi Ken Spiro, Historian

Session II

What's different about the Jews? Driven explores the nature of this enigma as the key to understanding the remarkable nature of Jewish accomplishment in history.

I Am My Brother's Keeper - Beautiful Life Lessons from Ugly Biblical Behavior

Rabbi Morris Zimbalist, Bet Chaverim

Session II

Beginning with Cain and Abel, we will explore troubling behavior in the Bible, the actors behind the actions, and our ability to transform the ugliness that surrounds us into beautiful and endearing life-lessons.


Johanna Hammel: The Journey of a Jewish Woman from Konstanz via Gurs to Auschwitz-Birkenau

​Hans-Hermann Seiffert, Holocaust Historian

Session II

Holocaust historian Hans-Hermann Seiffert will discuss the life of Johanna Hammel as a testament to the beauty and unity that can emerge from unspeakable ugliness when a love for humanity and family combines with preserved memories.


Dead Sea Scrolls:

Dead Sea Sect vs. Rabbinic Interpretation

Rabbi Yosef C. Sufrin, Chabad of Clarksville

Session II

​Unlock the secret of the Dead Sea Scrolls by contrasting their writing with Talmudic texts and unearth a fundamental debate about rabbinic authority and interpretation. 

Beauty and the Beast: The Rabbis on Beauty, Ugliness and How to Tell the Difference

Rabbi Susan Grossman, Beth Shalom

Session II

Is beauty really a joy to behold? Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder? Examine Talmudic scholarship, gender politics, and contemporary ethics to explore how the Rabbis of the Talmud answered these and other questions about beauty and ugliness.


4 Principles for Beginning the Process of Turning Away from Ego & Materiality

Rabbi Martin Siegel, Rabbi Emeritus CJC

Session I

Explore a path toward living a spiritually-based life.

Beauty at First Sight

Rabbi Sonya Starr, CJC

Session III (3:35-4:10 pm)

Examine the times when the Biblical character was judged by his or her looks at first glance.

Ugly Produce:

Finding Beauty in Fruits & Vegetables

Evan Lutz, Hungry Harvest CEO

Session III (4:10-4:40 pm)

Learn about Evan's journey from his dorm room to national TV on Shark Tank and beyond as he launched his "ugly" produce delivery service from his parent's garage.