On the evening of February 26th, 44 students from the JLIC community gathered at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology for a thought-provoking event organized by JLIC Directors Rav Evan and Tova Levine. The highlight of the evening was the enlightening discourse delivered by Rabbi Professor Sam Lebens, an esteemed figure in both academia and Jewish education.

Rabbi Professor Sam Lebens speaking to the JLIC community at the Technion

Rabbi Professor Sam Lebens is no stranger to the intersection of rigorous academic inquiry and religious devotion. As an Associate Professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of Haifa, he brings a unique perspective to his dual roles as an Orthodox Rabbi and Jewish educator.

The event centered around a profound exploration of the rationality of faith and belief—a topic that resonates deeply with students navigating the intersection of reason and religious conviction. Leveraging his expertise in philosophy of religion, metaphysics, epistemology, and language, Rabbi Professor Lebens guided attendees through a stimulating dialogue that challenged preconceived notions and encouraged critical thinking.

One notable aspect of the event was the palpable enthusiasm among students to engage with Rabbi Professor Lebens and his ideas. As part of their regular Sunday night Beit Midrash there was excitement about Sam’s work. One student even taught from his book. Seeing attendees’ genuine curiosity and eagerness to explore philosophical questions showcased the impact of Rabbi Professor Lebens’ scholarship.

JLIC Technion students enjoying tacos at the event featuring Rabbi Professor Sam Lebens

Amidst the intellectually stimulating discussions, attendees were treated to a delightful culinary experience, courtesy of Tova and Rav Evan Levine. A spread of tantalizing tacos, featuring both beef and chicken options accompanied by homemade salsa, pico de gallo, and guacamole, served as the perfect complement to the evening’s intellectual feast.

Beyond the academic discourse and gastronomic delights, the event fostered a sense of community and camaraderie within the JLIC Technion cohort. Students found common ground in their pursuit of knowledge and understanding, forging connections that extend beyond the confines of the lecture hall. Rabbi Professor Lebens’ warm demeanor and genuine interest in engaging with students further solidified the sense of belonging within the community.

Rabbi Professor Sam Lebens with some of the JLIC Community including Rabbi Evan Levine

The event with Rabbi Professor Sam Lebens was a resounding success, blending intellectual inquiry with spiritual reflection in a harmonious union. Through his insightful discourse on the rationality of faith and belief, Rabbi Professor Lebens challenged attendees to explore the complexities of their own convictions, fostering a deeper understanding of the intersection between reason and religious devotion. As students departed, minds enriched and stomachs satisfied, they carried with them not only newfound insights but also a sense of belonging to a vibrant and intellectually stimulating community.

Reach out to any of our Directors to learn more about JLIC and our programming.

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