Rabbi David Wirtschafter, rabbi of the Ames Jewish Congregation in Iowa, will discuss “The Radical Notion of Rest: Reflections on the Meaning of the Sabbath” at noon Thursday, Nov. 8, in the Anderson Student Center’s Woulfe Alumni Hall North on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas.

Rabbi David Wirtschafter

The lecture is sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning and is free and open to the public. A free buffet lunch will be provided.

“In biblical times, the idea of the Sabbath as a day of rest for all people was a revolutionary idea that challenged social orders based on the assumption that some people owned other people’s time,” said the Jay Phillips Center’s director, John Merkle, “And the Sabbath has sustained the Jewish people and their religion throughout the centuries.”

According to Wirtschafter, “the Sabbath has been one of the Jewish people’s most important social and intellectual contributions to civilizations throughout the world.” In his lecture at St. Thomas he will explore the meaning of the Sabbath and “how the digital age raises new challenges for the distinction between the work place and home, labor and rest.”

Wirtschafter was raised in Minneapolis and graduated from Brandeis University with a B.A. degree in English literature and from Hebrew Union College in New York with an M.A. in Hebrew literature.

During the current academic year, Wirtschafter is rabbi-in-residence with the Jay Phillips Center, a joint enterprise of St. Thomas and St. John’s University, Collegeville, serving as guest professor in classes at both universities. He also hosts Sabbath meals for students and leads trips for them to synagogues in the Twin Cities area.