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The Ninth Miami International Torah and Science Conference

Memory, Soul and Brain

World renowned neurologists, rabbis, bioethicists and other advanced professionals examine memory, aging and behavior, and soul / mind / brain / body relationships, from a religious point of view.

Opening the 9th International Conference of Torah and Science
In December 2011 an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars and scientists met at a conference co-hosted by The Shul of Bal Harbour, Fl., the Program in the Study of Spirituality at Florida International University, and the B’or Ha’Torah Journal.
A deeply personal relationship with a very special scientist
Professor Herman Branover was a refusenik who sacrificed his career for his Judaism. After leaving the Soviet Union he pioneered renewable-energy technologies and strove to harmonize science and Torah. Rabbi Lipskar’s relationship with Professor Branover runs long and deep, and it began in the midst of a medical miracle.
Can the material brain come to life without a metaphysical soul?
There are scientists who believe that the mind is wholly material. But this position leaves many important neurological questions unanswered. Scientific and religious arguments both indicate that mind, soul and life in general, are likely irreducible to a purely biological explanation.
Practical consequences of what it means to be human
We are not our bodies, nor even our brains. We are our souls. Drawing on years of experience working with families, the elderly and the mentally impaired, as well as his knowledge of Jewish mystical teachings, Rabbi Lipskar argues that we must stop thinking of people in terms of their perceived bodily or mental capacities.
Soul, mind and the stages of life according to Jewish law and lore
What is the definition of an adult? How do we define old-age? The Torah applies different types of standards, biological, social and mental, to help us navigate the different stages of human life and development.
Torah and neurological perspectives on brain and behavior plasticity
Do human beings have the ability to change, or are we genetically hardwired to think, feel, and act in certain ways? Torah ethics and neurological research both indicate that the key to change lies in behavior and practice. When we change our behavior for the better, our neurological make-up changes accordingly.
Remember everything may be possible, but is it beneficial?
How exactly memory works remains mysterious. But many people wish they could enhance their recall or sometimes delete painful memories. Science continues to develop new and better ways to manipulate memory. Whether this is beneficial or ethical is an open question.
Reflections on the Jewish imperative to remember and never forget
Memory is both personal and collective, a burden and a responsibility. As personal memories of the Holocaust fade, the obligation to remember and never forget falls on the wider community of individuals.
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