Jason von Ehrenkrook, the Perlow lecturer in Classical Judaism at the University of Pittsburgh, will be the scholar-in-residence for Torah Weekend in the South Hills, Feb. 7-8.
Torah Weekend is an annual event held in cooperation between Beth El Congregation, Temple Emanuel, and the South Hills Jewish Community Center.
For Torah Weekend, von Ehrenkrook will deliver three lectures on Jerusalem.
He will speak Friday night at Temple Emanuel on “Jerusalem Rises” (First Temple).
“I will be looking toward the origins of Jerusalem as a city, and how it eventually evolved into a political capital for the nation of Judah, with a nice, healthy dose of archaeology, ” von Ehrenkrook said.
The Friday night event will include a dairy dinner.
On Saturday morning, von Ehrenkrook will be at Beth El, where he will discuss “Jerusalem Falls” (Babylonian conquest).
“We will be considering the Babylonian conquest on Jerusalem in the sixth century B.C.E., and the impact of that catastrophe on Jews, and some of the ways they tried to explain the catastrophe theologically,” von Ehrenkrook said.
A kiddish luncheon will follow services.
Saturday night, von Ehrenkrook will speak at the South Hills JCC on “Jerusalem Converts” (Herod to Hollywood).
“We’ll be thinking about what we might call the Baptism of Jerusalem,” he said, “from the time of Herod, when Jerusalem eventually converted to a major urban society for Christianity.”
Von Ehrenkrook will focus on cinematic portrayals of this time in history, playing several movie clips, including one from 1973’s “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
The JCC event will include havdalah and dessert.
Von Ehrenkrook holds a doctorate from the University of Michigan, and his teaching focuses on Jewish antiquity, from ancient Israel through Rabbinic Judaism.
While von Ehrenkrook, a South Hills resident, has taught several Osher classes at Pitt, this is the first time he has been asked to lecture in local synagogues, he said.
“He has such a great delivery, and he’s so personable and knowledgeable,” said Joan Charlson, a Torah Weekend committee member who has taken von Ehrenkrook’s Osher class. “He’s very easy to listen to.”
Call Temple Emanuel at 412-279-7600 or Beth El at 412-561-1168 for more information, or for reservations for any part of Torah weekend.
Torah Weekend is sponsored by Beth El Congregation of the South Hills Men’s Club, JCC of the South Hills, and the Rabbi William Sajowitz Endowment Fund of Temple Emanuel of South Hills.
(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)