Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg on “Repentance and Repair in the Public Square”

On November 4th, 2020 UMaine Judaic Studies hosted Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg for Rabbi Danya Ruttenberga virtual talk about her current research on “Repentance and Repair in the Public Square.” Ruttenberg is currently Scholar in Residence at the National Council of Jewish Women. The author of several award-winning books including Nurture the Wow, Surprised By God, The Passionate Torah and a frequent contributor to the Washington Post, New York Times, the Atlantic, among others she is perhaps best known for her strong social media presence (@TheRaDR).

Over 60 members of the UMaine and local Jewish communities, as well as guests from around North America, heard Rabbi Ruttenberg bring classic Jewish beliefs and practices to bear on contemporary issues of repentance and forgiveness. In a culture that too often asks the victim of harm to also make amends Ruttenberg argued that the Jewish model for interpersonal repair offers a necessary corrective. It is the one who has done the harm who must do the work of repairing the damage. Ruttenberg suggested that the stages of repentance outlined by the medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides offer fresh insights and new healing approaches to the discourse around sexual abuse and #MeToo, structural racism, rebuilding after genocide, as well as in our personal lives and everyday relationships. Rabbi Ruttenberg’s research in this area is to be published in her next book, due in 2022.