Close your eyes, breathe in deeply, now exhale slowly… That was easy, wasn’t it? Not for everyone…
How does the brain age? Where is the soul and how does one connect with it when the brain is failing? Does memory loss or mind deterioration diminish the quality of an internal spiritually meaning life? What is the Torah’s perspective and neuroscientific position on the relationship between memory, brain and mind/soul? Can medicine effectively treat the body while ignoring the soul? Holocaust and Alzheimer’s: When the mind forgets does the soul remember?
Issues that have become all too relevant because of increasing longevity and Alzheimer’s will be explored by fifteen distinguished rabbis, medical researchers, clinicians and scholars at the Ninth Miami International Conference on Torah and Science from December 22-25 at The Shul, 9540 Collins Avenue in Surfside. The theme for this year’s conference is “Memory, Soul and Brain – The Meeting Point of Torah, Gerontology and Neuroscience.” Schedules, biographies of speakers and abstracts of their papers can be found on line at www.TorahScienceConference.org.
Israel Prize-winner Rabbi Dr. Prof. Abraham Steinberg will speak on “The Biological Interface of the Brain and the Soul.” The world’s leading neuroscientist in the field of mind research, Prof. Kenneth Heilman of the University of Florida-Gainesville, will discuss “The Spiritual Brain,” Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Prof. Moshe Dovid Tendler will present “Ageism – A Perspective from Jewish Law” and Israel’s Minister of Science and Technology, Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, will speak about “Repressed Memories among Holocaust Survivors.”
Other speakers include Rabbi Sholom D. Lipskar of The Shul, Prof. Oren Stier of FIU, Mrs. Leah Abramowitz, a geriatric social work innovator from Jerusalem, Dr. Yakir Kaufman of Herzog Memorial Hospital in Jerusalem, Dr. Daniel Drubach of the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Barry Baumel of the University of Miami, Rabbi Dr. Shimon Cowen of Monash University in Australia, Professor Vera Schwarcz of Wesleyan University and Prof. Joseph Bodenheimer of the Jerusalem College of Technology and editor-in-chief of B’Or Ha’Torah – Journal of Science, Art and Life in the Light of Torah.
The biannual Miami International Conference on Torah and Science was founded by Rabbi Sholom Lipskar and Prof. Herman Branover, a former Soviet refusenik and expert in magnetohydrodynamics. Rabbi Lipskar is joined by FIU’s Prof. Nathan Katz and B’Or Ha’Torah’s Prof. Bodenheimer in organizing this year’s event. These conferences have become an unparalleled event in the field of religion and science, and most of the papers are published in the B’Or Ha’Torah publication.
The sessions – held on Thursday evening, Friday morning, Saturday evening and Sunday morning – are free of charge and open to the public.
The Shul will also host a Torah and Science Shabbaton featuring conference participants as well as FAU’s Prof. Isaac Elishakoff and environmentalist Mordechai Olesky. An elegant Shabbat dinner with the scientists will be held on Friday evening, December 23. Reservations can be made by calling (305) 868-2411, ext. 0. There is a $50 charge for the dinner. Other Shabbat services, lectures and meals are free of charge.
About the Author: Shelley Benveniste is South Florida editor of The Jewish Press.
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