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Upcoming Classes

Upcoming Classes

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  Upcoming Classes

At the heart of Jewish culture there has always been Jewish learning—an engaged and vibrant meeting of minds. 

2017-2018 Academic Courses: 

Fall Course: Great Debates in Jewish History

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There is no comfort in a colorless and bland peace. If all is quiet on the theological front and on the sociological front, it is a sign of stagnation. Friction births the spark of ingenuity that advances a nation and alters its destiny. The mettle of unity is tested in how we endure our disputes—how we come out on the other side.

So although we are told that “G‑d found no better vessel to hold blessing for the Jewish people other than peace,”  it is a plain fact that dispute and argument are as old as the Jewish nation itself. Already in the nation’s infancy, during their desert odyssey, we find Korach and his clan challenging Moses, the archetypal leader of the Jewish people. The sages of the Mishnah located Korach’s motivation in his selfish interests and bitter jealousy, but they conceded that other instances of debate, such as the classic disputes between Hillel and Shamai, were motivated by commendable intentions. 

The discordant groups and doctrinal disputes that pepper our history paradoxically made us who we are today.

Great Debates in Jewish History offers a glimpse at six pivotal debates that engulfed the Jewish people at different periods of their long history. On this journey, we examine the backgrounds, motives, ideologies, key events, and aftermaths of each of these flare-ups. We will seek the underlying ideologies that led to each clash, explore why these debates occurred when they did, study how the two sides interacted with each other and lived through the tension, discuss the consequences of the debate, and learn by what means these disputes were resolved.

Participants will discover how these debates shaped the Jewish future in important ways and will gain a deeper understanding about important features and nuances of Jewish life today. In addition to enlightening the past, the course demonstrates how the past enlightens us, lending us valuable lessons for navigating today’s wide-ranging diversity among different communities, advocacy groups, denominations, and philosophies.

Lesson 1: The Dead Sea Scrolls

Lesson 2: Masada

Lesson 3: Maimonides

Lesson 4: Semichah

Lesson 5: Chasidism

Lesson 6: Public Menorah

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Winter Course: The Art of Communication

Language is the marvel of the human species. With carefully chosen words, “we can shape events in each other’s brains with exquisite precision.”5 We can sow the seed of an idea; inspire fear, hope, or trust; collaborate; converse; argue; reason; or love. Communication is the constant of our existence: done well, it can alter the landscape of our lives.

Effective communication improves the way we do business; the way we conduct our domestic lives and our relations with friends and acquaintances; and the way we share our deepest emotions, thoughts, and inspirations. From the time of the Greek Sophists, who taught their students to use skilled rhetoric to gain power, through Dale Carnegie’s still-popular How to Win Friends and Influence People, people have always wanted to know how to improve their communication.

Despite the many volumes of self-help literature and the profusion of courses on this topic, there is more to be said. The Art of Communication, a new six-session course by the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI), distills ancient Jewish wisdom and couples it with the latest developments in psychological research in the quest to find the secrets behind healthy and effective communication.

The Art of Communication predicates its examination of mundane conversation and dialogue on the back of a hallowed principle: the injunction to love your fellow as yourself. Communication requires us to inhabit the reality of another, to enter their mind and identify with their perspective, no matter how foreign it may seem. Thus, loving our fellow as ourselves, that great principle of the Torah, is the bedrock upon which good communication is built.

This course aims to construct a coherent vision of what is worth saying and then to provide practical knowledge of how to go about saying it—as timely a pursuit today as always.

Lesson 1: The Communicating Being

Lesson 2: The Art of Listening

Lesson 3: When to Talk

Lesson 4: How to Talk

Lesson 5: How to Communicate and Influence

Lesson 6: How to Talk to Resolve Conflict

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Spring Course: Existence - Rethinking Everything We Know About Our Universe

Rethink everything you know about our universe. Explore the nature of our world and the meaning of the human condition as you contemplate existential questions about consciousness, the physical, and the metaphysical, to unveil the hidden unity and pervading truth of our existence. 

Register Here 

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Weekday Classes at Lubavitch on the Palisades

Sunday 9:30 am: Parsha class followed by coffee & cake

Monday 9:30 am: Women's Kabbalah class with Rabbi Shain

9:00 pm: Kabbalah class in Hebrew (e-mail Rabbi Gershovitz for location)

Tuesday 8:00 pm: JLI course or class with Rabbi Shain between courses

Thursday 8:00 pm: Talmud class with Rabbi Shain

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