Last week, for the 30th consecutive year, Herzog College hosted its annual Bible conference – the Yemei Iyun b’Tanakh – with lectures in-person and online in four languages.
In 2020, the Yemei Iyun were held entirely online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year it was “hybrid”, with a combination of in-person and online sessions. 77 lectures were pre-recorded for people around the world to enjoy, including lectures in Spanish, French, English and Hebrew, and an additional 80 lectures were delivered to live audiences at Herzog College in Alon Shvut.
Well-known international lecturers featured on the schedule included Yeshivat Har Etzion Roshei Yeshiva HaRav Mosheh Lichtenstein and HaRav Yaakov Medan, Rav Moshe Taragin, Rav Menachem Liebtag, Rabbanit Esti Rosenberg, Dr. Yael Ziegler, Rabbanit Shani Taragin, and Rabbi David Fohrman from the U.S. There were also live and recorded presentations from historical sites around Israel by eminent tour guides.
This year’s Yemei Iyun was dedicated to the memory of Moshe (Moshko) Moskowitz z”l, founder of Yeshivat Har Etzion and Herzog College, who died earlier this year. This annual Bible conference is traditionally held at Herzog College during the ‘9 days’ before Tisha B’Av, and attended by a large and varied audience from throughout Israel and overseas. Teachers of Tanakh in Israeli schools can count these lectures toward their in-service training requirement (hishtalmut).
The opportunity to teach Tanakh to an international audience inspired the college administrators to offer the lectures online on-demand again this year, and to add lectures in Spanish, French and Hebrew. Herzog College has become increasingly involved in delivering teacher training to Jewish Studies teachers around the world in different languages, and recently won an Israeli government tender to provide support and resources to Jewish schools worldwide.
Dr. Ezra Kahalani, Provost of Herzog College, explains: “We have been providing online teacher training in North and South America, France and Australia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Diaspora and the Ministry of Education. The accelerated development of distance learning has made it possible for us to share our passion for Torah, our expertise in pedagogy, and our love of the Land of Israel, with teachers and students in Jewish schools and with Jewish people all over the world. Perhaps with hindsight we will appreciate this as one small benefit of the very challenging COVID-19 pandemic experience.”