Course Descriptions

Limud Course Descriptions

Rabbi Amy Scheinerman
Whence Good: From Without or Within?
The Sages whose conversations, arguments, and stories fill the Talmud, sought sources of goodness in life. They excavated the depths of human experience, interpersonal relationships, conceptions of God, and the human soul. But what they discovered does not conform to many people’s pietistic preconceptions—their teachings are often radical and unexpected. Their insights and wisdom have not only survived the test of time, but thrive in our modern, intellectually combative, politically diverse, and psychologically-attuned age. We will dive into their world and bring to life their way of questioning, challenging, and discovering truths about ourselves and our world.

Rabbi Joseph Skloot
Five Dates that Changed (Jewish) History 
The history of the Jews is intimately tied to the history of Europe—so taught the twentieth century’s greatest Jewish historian, Salo Baron. In this course, we will take up Baron’s challenge by exploring the interrelationship of Jewish and non-Jewish communities at five significant moments in the history of Europe. Our conversations will touch on significant and enduring themes: assimilation, persecution, gender, technology and civil rights. Every session we will read historical documents and try to understand what they have to teach us, what ideas they are trying to convey, and how they represent the culture (or cultures) of the era in which they were composed. No previous training in Jewish history is required, only a willingness to consider how our past has shaped our present. 

Rabbi Jacob Staub
Cultivating Gratitude: Practices and Strategies from the World of Mussar
Cultivating gratitude can be a lifelong practice. We can make a list each day of the things for which we are thankful, but the Mussar tradition offers us time-tested strategies and perspectives that can open our hearts to the world and other people, help us to overcome our resistance to being grateful, and help us to achieve equanimity. We will focus primarily on the text (in translation) Alei Shur by Rav Shlomo Wolbe, the foremost teacher of Mussar in Israel in the late twentieth century. The text offers practice that can open our hearts.

Chug Course Descriptions

Rabbi Rosalie Boxt
Who Moved My Melody
How many times do your congregations or communities ask you why there are many new melodies, or why you don’t sing “the traditional one” any more, or why you STILL sing “that old one”? We will explore the challenges of “whose tradition” and how our diverse communities have given us great opportunity to expand our sense of “story” – how we all can see ourselves in our prayer experiences.

Rabbi Joan Glazer Farber
You’ve found the good, now what?
Balaam saw the good and blessed the Israelites. King David wrote psalms of praise to the Eternal. The rabbis ordained that 100 b’rachot be recited daily and many of them were blessings of praise. Throughout the ages, poets have expressed their sense of wonder and awe. Together we will explore a sampling of words of praise and consider how we too express our sense of awe, joy and wonder.

Rabbi Elissa Sachs-Kohen
Finding Happiness When We Stop Looking for It
We live in a culture that holds happiness up as the highest ideal while simultaneously placing the highest value on things that don’t nurture our lasting happiness. We will explore Jewish ideas of happiness as well as mindfulness meditation practices that can help us integrate those ideas into our spiritual lives. Come prepared to read, think, discuss and meditate.

Copyright © 2019, Derekh