This accession consists of 95 video cassettes of lectures presented by the Wexner Heritage Foundation at their "Toronto sessions". There are 39 lectures in total, dealing with philosophical and religious based topics as well as one on the history of the Canadian Jewish community. The sessions are set up with a guest speaker at the head of a table facilitating the discussion amongst a group of participants.
The guest speakers and facilitators include Rabbi Norman Laufer, Rabbi Reuven Kimelman, Rabbi Jacob Schacter, Dr. Benjamin Gampel, Dr. Michael Stanislawski, Dr. Steven Bayme, Dr. Michael Brown, Rabbi Shoshana Gelfand, Rabbi Tsvi Blanchard, Dr. Larry Hoffman, Erica Brown, Dr. Michal Chernick and Arna Poupko.
The topics of discussion include:
Genesis: cosmos and covenant.
Genesis: Exodus, Abraham and Moses. The nature of leadership and relationship to the covenant.
Books of Deuteronomy, Joshua. Judges, Samuel 1: land and politics.
Prophets and kings or prophets vs. kings.
Judaism and the destruction of the Temple.
The Temple's end and beginnings of modern Judaism.
Judaism in Middle Ages.
Jews in the orbit of Islam.
Sephardic and Ashkenaz Jews: 11th to 15th century.
Crusades and expulsion of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews: 13th to 16th century.
Jews in Ashkenazi lands.
Roads to modernity: 1550-1789.
Jews in Medieval Spain.
Eastern European Jewry through 1981.
Transitions to modernity
Enlightenment and emancipation and the Jewish response to modernity.
Immigration and acculturation.
Zionism first 50 years.
The rise and decline of civic Judaism and the emergence of Jewish continuity agenda.
Canadian Jewish history.
Who are the hero/ines of Rosh Hashanah?
Priest, prophet and kings: authority and rivalry.
Triumphs and failures in biblical leadership.
Refusing leadership: the complex leader.
Judah, Tamar and the Book of Ruth: autonomy and vision as a foundation for leadership.
Leadership as an outgrowth of faith and kindness.
The risk of a leader in the Diaspora: Joseph and the Book of Esther.
The leader as courtier: the Book of Esther.
Suffering divine justice and personal communal redemption.
The leader as nurturer.
The anatomy of the Siddur.
From Bible to Mishna: the process of Midrash.
Rabbinic "liturature": the Mishna.
The Mishna and its social context.
Codes and responsa.
The Aggadah: the spiritual world of the Talmudic tale.
These video cassettes were donated to the OJA by the Media Library, however they did not contain the usual coding used by the library. Therefore, their origins are unknown. It is possible that they were once used as a resource by the staff at the Board of Jewish Education.
The Wexner Foundation and the Wexner Heritage Foundation (now part of The Wexner Foundation) were established by Leslie Wexner in 1984. The Wexner Heritage program was designed to provide young American Jewish lay leaders with a two-year intensive Jewish learning program, thus deepening their understanding of Jewish history, values, and texts and enriching their leadership skills. By the end of 2007, over 1500 North American Jewish leaders from 31 cities will have participated in the program.