Tauber Spark! — Ignite Your Jewish Learning

Allow yourself to dive into our tradition and Spark your imagination. Take part in this innovative community-wide Jewish learning experience — a mini university experience. Let your heart be moved by Torah; be open to a transformative and mind-opening journey.

Please contact Ariana Estoque ([email protected]) with any questions about our Spark program.

SPARK 2024 will feature Aaron Hahn Tapper, PhD, Kylie Unell and
Rabbi Elie Kaunfer (pictured below, left to right respectively)


Tauber Spark! 2024
March 13, 20 and 27 –

April 3 – In Person at Star of the Sea

Register for the Entire Four-Week Program

$36 for members | $54 for nonmembers

Particularism & Universalism: An Alternative Vision for a Jewish Future
Exceptionalization, De-Exceptionalization, and Jewishness in an Increasingly Heterogeneous World
with Prof. Aaron Hahn Tapper, Author of Judaisms

Wednesday, March 13
Online, 6:30 – 8:00 pm

Aaron J. Hahn Tapper, the Mae and Benjamin Swig Professor in Jewish Studies and the founding Director of the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice, has been at USF since 2007. An educator for more than two decades, his primary academic interest is the intersection between identity formation, social justice, and marginalized groups.
Aaron completed his PhD in the Religious Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His Dissertation focused on the relationship between power, the sociopolitical context of Israel and Palestine, and Jewish and Islamic religious law (halachah and shari’a, respectively). He also received an MTS from Harvard Divinity School, where he focused on World Religions, and a BA from Johns Hopkins University, where he majored in Psychology.

Academically fluent in multiple dialects of Hebrew and Arabic, he has received numerous awards and fellowships for his work, including the Harvard University Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellowship, the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, and the Wexner Graduate Fellowship. Aaron is also the author of Judaisms: A Twenty-First-Century Introduction to Jews and Jewish Identities (2016)

A New Vision for a More Inclusive Jewish World: 

Can we make it happen? An opportunity for radical unity in Jewish life.

with Kylie Unell
Wednesday, March 20
Online, 6:30 – 8:00 pm

Register here for three out of four weeks. 

Kylie Unell is a writer and public thinker. She is currently a Dean’s Doctoral Fellow at New York University, concentrating in Jewish philosophy. Her research focuses on questions of identity and integration in the philosophies of Moses Mendelssohn and Booker T. Washington. In 2021, Unell was named an “aspiring Jewish philosopher” by New York Jewish Week. She has hosted two #1 Jewish podcasts with Tablet Studios, and a highly successful YouTube series with Unpacked on the history of the relationship between the Black and Jewish communities.

A Renaissance for Peoplehood?
Reflecting on this moment in Jewish prayer and community with Rabbi Elie Kaunfer
Wednesday, March 27
Online, 6:30 – 8:00 pm

Register here for two out of four weeks. 

Rabbi Elie Kaunfer is President and CEO of the Hadar Institute. Elie has previously worked as a journalist, banker, and corporate fraud investigator. A graduate of Harvard University, he completed his doctorate in liturgy at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was also ordained. He also received rabbinic ordination from his long-time teacher, Rav Daniel Landes. A Wexner Graduate Fellow and Dorot Fellow, Elie has been named multiple times to Newsweek’s list of the top 50 rabbis in America. He is the author of Empowered Judaism: What Independent Minyanim Can Teach Us About Building Vibrant Jewish Communities (Jewish Lights, 2010). Elie serves on the board of Natan and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, and on the advisory board of Upstart.

In-Person Conversation and Community Reflection
with Prof. Aaron Hahn Tapper, Kylie Unell and Rabbi Elie Kaunfer, moderated by community leader and educator, Tania Lowenthal
Wednesday, April 3
Temple Emanu-El Foyer (2 Lake St.), 7:00 – 8:30pm

Since October 7, we are standing in a complex place within our Jewish world. Divergent and dissenting opinions, dividing us from within, as well as from without. On the final evening of this program, we will bring all three presenters to our community for an in-person conversation. They will dive deeper into their perspectives and leave us with a sense of unity and hope. This will also be an opportunity for community connection and discussion.




The Tauber Jewish Studies Program is made possible by The Laszlo N. Tauber Family Foundation, reflecting the dynamic, generous, and enduring spirit of Dr. Laszlo N. Tauber.