Shalom Hartman Institute

Shalom Hartman Institute develops ideas that identify, frame, and bring a Jewish wisdom to bear on the challenges that face the world’s Jews today.

Foundations for Thoughtful Judaism is a pluralistic curriculum powered by Hartman that introduces foundational concepts of Judaism and Jewish Life. The courses invite learners to join Judaism’s interpretive conversation and are a distillation of the best that Hartman Torah has taught over decades. This curriculum is specifically designed to be accessible for adult learners.

Hartman’s curriculum aims to explore and make accessible the most compelling and deepest questions in Jewish thought. Each class demonstrates the principles and debates that underlie our Jewish heritage and encourage us to reject the assumption that every learner is on track towards practicing Judaism in a specified way.

The Curriculum

In Four Volumes


This volume explores questions related to the collective experience of Jewish life: What does it mean to be part of a Jewish community? How does one enter? What is the purpose of community? Moreover, what is the value proposition of the largest umbrella of Jewish community: Jewish peoplehood? To what extent can communities and even the Jewish People hold diversity and shared values at the same time? What does Jewish peoplehood entail today when the centers of Jewish life, North America and Israel, are so different and independent from one another?


This volume explores questions related to what a relationship with God and a life of faith entails: Where does faith come from? What does it entail? What are the models in Jewish tradition for a complex relationship with God which includes reverence and joy, but also anger and argument? Where does doubt fit into a life of faith? Where do Jews who do not believe fit in?


This volume explores the questions that are fundamental to Jewish practice: What is the system of mitzvot trying to accomplish? Why the need for ritual action at all beyond belief? How have Jewish thinkers conceived of the meaning of mitzvot in an age of radical human autonomy? What are our obligations to others, to God, to the collective? How does sanctification of time, space, and body lead to holiness?


This volume brings into focus Jewish conversations about ethical questions that impact all of us: What do I owe my inner circle, and what do I owe to others? How do I maintain relationship with integrity when people wrong one another? How should I balance competing values when making a decision? What are the obligations of parents to children and vice versa?

For questions or more information, contact Rachelle Weiss Crane, Hartman Director, at 214-239-7128 or rweisscrane@jccdallas.org.