The Levisson Institute
The Levisson Institute (Het Levisson Instituute) is a Dutch-Jewish seminary and a centre for liberal Jewish education, located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It was founded in 2008 and named after the renowned Dutch-Jewish philosopher and theologian Rabbi Dr. Bernard (Bob) Levisson (1914-2002).
The institute offers a four-year academic program that prepares students for the rabbinate, cantorate, or Jewish education. The curriculum covers a wide range of topics in Jewish studies, including Hebrew language and literature, Jewish history, Jewish philosophy and theology, biblical studies, and Jewish law and ethics. The program emphasizes critical thinking, engagement with Jewish tradition, and contemporary relevance.
In addition to its academic program, the Levisson Institute offers a variety of adult education courses, seminars, and workshops on Jewish topics for the broader Jewish community in the Netherlands. The institute is also involved in interfaith dialogue and social justice initiatives.
The Levisson Institute is committed to promoting interfaith dialogue and fostering relationships with people of different faiths and backgrounds. Through its various programs and activities, the institute seeks to create opportunities for Jews and non-Jews to engage in meaningful conversations, learn from each other’s traditions, and work together towards common goals.
In addition to its interfaith work, the institute is also involved in social justice initiatives that aim to address issues of inequality, discrimination, and marginalization. For example, the institute has organized events and discussions on topics such as refugees, LGBTQ+ rights, and environmental sustainability, as well as collaborations with local community organizations that work on these issues.
Here are some examples of the programs, discussions, events and activities organized by the Levisson Institute related to interfaith dialogue and social justice:
- The “Jewish-Muslim Women’s Dialogue” initiative, brings together Jewish and Muslim women in the Netherlands to learn from each other’s experiences, share their stories, and discuss issues of common concern.
- The “Interreligious Study Program,” is a two-year course designed for students of different faiths who want to deepen their understanding of their own religion and learn about others.
- The “Tikkun Olam” program, is a social justice initiative that seeks to address issues such as poverty, hunger, and homelessness through volunteer work and community service projects.
- The “Greening Jewish Heritage” project, is a collaboration with the Dutch Jewish community to promote environmental sustainability and reduce the carbon footprint of Jewish institutions and practices.
- The “Jewish Values in Action” program, is a leadership training course for young adults that emphasizes Jewish values such as social responsibility, community building, and ethical leadership.
- “The Future of Dutch Judaism” – a public discussion between leading figures in Dutch Jewish life, including rabbis, scholars, and community activists, about the challenges facing the Jewish community in the Netherlands and the prospects for its future.
- “Jewish-Muslim Dialogue on Social Justice” – a series of meetings between Jewish and Muslim activists and scholars to explore common ground and shared concerns related to social justice issues, such as poverty, discrimination, and human rights.
- “Philosophical Cafe” – a monthly gathering that brings together scholars and students to discuss topics related to Jewish philosophy, theology, and ethics, with a focus on contemporary issues and debates.
- “Jewish History Walking Tours” – a series of guided tours of Amsterdam’s historic Jewish neighbourhoods, led by local experts and covering topics such as Jewish life in the Middle Ages, the impact of World War II, and contemporary Jewish culture.
- “Jewish Music Festival” – an annual celebration of Jewish music and culture, featuring concerts, workshops, and other events showcasing a diverse range of artists and genres, from traditional klezmer to modern Israeli pop.
Overall, the Levisson Institute offers a wide range of programs and activities that promote interfaith dialogue, social justice, and community engagement, in addition to its core educational offerings.