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Messillat Yesharim- Reading Classical Texts with a Contemporary Philosophic Lens

January 14, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm




The most difficult task in reading classical texts is that of translation. Not from one language to another, but from one cultural context to another. Literal readings tend to miss the nuance and metaphor that one generation takes for granted, but becomes frozen over time. I will try to demonstrate how using a contemporary philosophic lens to read one particular classical text opens it up for contemporary understanding and serves as a model for reading such texts generally.

ABOUT THIS SPEAKER: Ira F. Stone is Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel in center city Philadelphia where he served as Senior Rabbi since 1988. Before coming to Philadelphia he served as spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Shalom in Seattle, Washington for nine years. Rabbi Stone is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where he received a BA in Religious Studies. He attended the University of Judaism in Los Angeles and graduated from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1979 with a Masters of Hebrew Literature and was ordained as a rabbi at that time. Prior to attending rabbinical school, Rabbi Stone worked for the Jewish Family Service of Long Island as an outreach worker in crisis intervention with drug abusing Jewish youth and also developed and implemented a pioneer project for brain injured children with emphasis on integrating them into a total day camp and winter recreational program at the YM/YWHA.

Ira Stone’s poetry has appeared in various journals and he is the author of two volumes of poetry: “The Really Perfect Poem Has An Infinitely Small Vocabulary and “Sketches For A Book of Psalms.

He served as the Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellow at Harvard University for the Spring 2005 semester.

In addition to his work in the pulpit, Rabbi Stone has written articles on theology and rabbinics for various journals including Conservative Judaism, Wellspring Journal, Middlebury College Magazine and Kerem His first book, “Seeking the Path to Life” was published in 1992 by Jewish Lights Publishing. His second book, “Reading Levinas/Reading Talmud” was published in 1997 by The Jewish Publication Society. His book, “A Responsible Life: Musar As A Spiritual Path,” was published in 2006 by Aviv Press. His latest book is a commentary and Introduction to the Mordecai Kaplan translation of the classic Mussar text Mesillat Yesharim, published in 201o by the Jewish Publication Society.

Rabbi Stone served as lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the Jewish Theological Seminary and as adjunct and visiting lecturer in Modern Jewish Thought at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He presently is adjunct professor at Franklin and Marshall College.

Rabbi Stone is married to Annie and they are the parents of Tamar, Yoshi and Shuli. He has 5 granchildren.


January 14, 2019
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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Temple Chai
4645 E Marilyn Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85032 United States