A rabbi known for his writing and translations of the Hebrew Bible will speak at three different area venues next weekend.
Rabbi Rami Shapiro, adjunct professor of religious studies at Middle Tennessee State University, will give talks at the following locations:
n 7 p.m. Nov. 18 at Temple Beth Israel, 3004 Union Ave.
n 9:30 a.m. Nov. 19 at Agudath Achim Congregation, 1306 17th St.
n 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at Rosenberger Auditorium, Halbritter Building, Juniata College, Huntingdon.
A dinner will be served at 6 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Temple.
Cost is $15, and reservations must be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org before noon today.
A free luncheon will be served at Agudath Achim Nov. 19.
Shapiro said in a telephone interview that he has not chosen topics for his talks in Altoona, but his topic at Juniata College is "The Divine Feminine."
He will talk about wisdom, which is a feminine noun in the original Hebrew. He said he will talk about, "who she is, what she teaches and why it matters."
A former congregational rabbi for 20 years, Shapiro said he will talk about "biblical wisdom for everyday living."
"We wrestle with the deepest, troubling aspects of life," he said. "Why we die, why we suffer, why good people suffer."
He said Job and Ecclesiastes are two biblical books where wisdom addresses those issues.
Among the 30 books that he has authored on spirituality, religion and the Bible is "The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness," which he said addresses the trait from a broad spectrum that considers the religions of the world.
"I try to do that with most of my books," he said.
Shapiro said he tries to cultivate the differences in spirituality to help people awaken to the Divine. He said people will borrow a spiritual perspective from wherever it comes from if it will work in their lives.
An award-winning poet and essayist, his writings are used in prayer services.
Among those who are familiar with his poetry is Rabbi Audrey Korotkin of Temple Beth Israel. She said she has read his poems at services, weddings and funerals.
"They are very intimate, very provocative," she said. "It really touches people when I share his poetry."
Shapiro's talks are sponsored by Juniata College Campus Ministries, the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies and the Interfaith Committee of the Ecumenical Conference of Greater Altoona.