Introduction to the Jewish Experience: Fall 2020

In the past I have looked for basic Judaism classes that are near the person who is asking about them. But in a Covid world we are ALL online. So this online class with Rabbi Ruth Adar is an excellent option.

Rabbi Adar teaches a one year (three semester) class. How it works is this, every term is a stand alone class and when you have completed all three you are finished. Many rabbis recommend a basic Judaism class for people studying for conversion. I recommend a basic Judaism class to interfaith couples so that they can get on the same page in their understanding of Judaism.

The three terms are:

Lifecycles and Holidays
Communal and individual Jewish life dances to the rhythm of two different cycles: Jewish lifecycle events and the cycle of the Jewish year. This class covers a basic introduction to the Jewish lifecycle (weddings, birth, bar mitzvah, conversion, mourning, and funerals). Then we will look at the Jewish year, with its cycles of fall and spring holidays as well as holidays reflecting historical events.

Israel and Texts
The land of Israel has been central to Jewish history, both ancient and modern. Even during the years of galut (exile) the Jewish heart was “in the east,” in the words of medieval poet Yehudah HaLevy. This class will examine the history of ancient Israel, the beginnings of rabbinic Judaism, and the modern return to the land. With that history as a backdrop, we will learn about the great texts of Judaism: Tanach (Bible), Midrash, Talmud, the Prayer Book, and the Codes of Jewish Law.

Traditions of Judaism
Since the very beginning, the People of Israel have had multiple understandings and expressions of a living Torah. In this class we will study the varieties of Judaism in the 21st century. That list includes expressions that go back to the Middle Ages (Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Mizrahi) and modern movements (Reform, Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Renewal). We will also look at some of the regional differences among Jews in North America and the historical reasons for those differences. We’ll begin by looking at the synagogue and the service. We’ll finish up by taking a look at Jewish food traditions and practices.

Those of you familiar with this series will recall that it typically started with Lifecycles and Holidays in the fall and continued through to spring. However, Rabbi Adar will now be teaching around the year so you can just jump in where ever you like.

The next class will begin in October.
Sunday, October 18, 2020 thru Sunday, December 13, 2020
3:30 to 5:00pm
Register here.