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Think Jewish: Jewish Wisdom for Modern Life

Course Overview

The objective of this course is to explore core elements of Jewish thought, literature and practice.  Judaism spans 4000 years. You can fill up libraries with its literature. Its practices are more vast and complex than perhaps any other society. They are as vast and complex as life itself. So to think we will cover Judaism in one 8 week course is not a very Jewish thought. What we are aiming for is to explore some of its core elements; core to Judaism, and core to us—modern Jews in the 21st Century.


These are issues we must be familiar with if we want to say with integrity “I am a Jew. This is not an in-depth exploration to become a scholar, get a PhD, or become “religious”. This is to have a healthy, adult-level, understanding of the core elements of our heritage and identity.

Lesson 1: Identity– What does it mean to be a Jew?

From the dawn of time, the quest for one’s identity has been fraught with confusion and yet, deep meaning. How is it that this search, which has shaped the lives of individuals and nations, still remains a mystery of many labels? In this course, we will analyze the inherent link that binds every Jew to our nation. We will question the state of Jewish being and discover that it is not just a genetic toss of the dice.

Lesson 2: Approaching life on Planet Earth:

Dizzying patterns and definitions of human rights have contributed to the value system upon which society has built itself today. The template of society is defined by the rights that every individual has. But how does one adhere to this system and remain focused on the inherent goodness in others?

Enroll now to discover the right way to peel back the layers concealing the goodness in others and in the world itself.

Lesson 3: Mitzvot– What is the meaning of Jewish practices?

"Perhaps you’ve always thought that Mitzvot are strange and archaic rituals. Some of them seem to be unrelated to being a “good person”.  In this lesson, you will unravel the mystery of Jewish practices and discover the significance behind the menial details.

Lesson 4: Shabbat - In what way can Shabbat enhance life?

Ever wondered why there is such a fuss about ‘Shabbat’? The delicacy and intricacy of its observance has ignited debate and fascination throughout the ages.  In this lesson, discover what the unique blend of Shabbat can bring into your weekend and the powerful boost it can provide into the maze of life beyond.

Lesson 5: Relationships - How can true love turn into lasting love?

“And they lived happily ever after”... Did they? The merciless turn of the clock can turn time into an enemy when love does not last. How can we turn True Love into a love that lasts the tests of time?  It is a quest that forms the basis for one of the most fundamental and powerful human motives. Viewed through the prism of Torah, this lesson will unlock the secret to achieving long-term love, romance and passion.

Lesson 6: Torah - In what way can an ancient legal code inform modern-day dilemmas?

It’s been 3000 years. We’ve gone from wagons to Volkswagens and entered a world of fast paced, moving technology. Has time truly accelerated modern life beyond the reach of Torah?  

Come join the Sages in the ancient study halls to debate the ethical and legal issues surrounding life and death as it was then, and now.

Lesson 7: Mysticism – In what way can every Jewish idea inform daily life?

Every visible structure has an inner power that energizes it. Underneath that mild Clark Kent exterior of daily life, we are moving worlds and causing cosmic explosions. What force is within, that propels Torah thought? In this lesson, we will examine the deepest parts of Torah, known as Chassidic Mysticism and discover its origin and application to us today.

Lesson 8: Paying it Forward

Now what? The future starts with you. What is your vision for the Jewish future?

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Fascinating Facts: Exploring Myths and Mysteries of Judaism

 Fascinating Facts is a four-lesson series in which four major components that sustain and shape Jewish life are explored: our book, our food, our bodies, and the cycle of life. Rather than thoroughly exploring one component of each of these themes, each class surveys various elements within the given topic. This will provide an opportunity to learn many new concepts while simultaneously developing an appreciation for a single larger idea. 

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You Be the Judge: Behind the Steering Wheel of Jewish Law

For over a thousand years, our mostimportant cultural activity has been the study of Talmud. It has sustained us through persecution and exile, shaping the discourse of our people and serving as the crowning achievement of our intellectual tradition. Perhaps you have been curious about the Talmud, but thought it was complex and inaccessible to anyone lacking extensive training. Not anymore. This fall, the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute is proud to launch "You Be the Judge," an innovative introduction to this magnificent work. You need no prior knowledge of the Talmud and no formal legal training. There are no prerequisites other than an open mind. "You Be the Judge" presents you with real cases brought before Beit Din, the court system of Jewish law. We provide the primary source texts from Talmud and put you in the driver's seat. You will have the opportunity to question, discuss, and argue, based on principle and precedent. You will experience firsthand the exhilarating mental exploration that characterizes traditional Talmud study. Join us this fall in the ancient study halls of Jerusalem and Babylonia. Add your voice to other voices that span the millennia. You take the lead. You Be the Judge. 

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The Land and the Spirit: Why We All Care About Israel

Explore the spirit of a land that has pulsed with energy and mystery since the dawn of time, a land that has captured our imagination throughout history, a land that breathes with the glory of our past and the dreams of our future. Join us as we examine what Israel was meant to be, and what Israel means to us today.

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Soul Maps: Kabbalah to Navigate Your Inner World


Perhaps you have struggled before with the elusive search for meaning, and wished you had a personal mentor to guide your growth. What if you had the chance to meet one of the greatest masters of Kabbalah and learn ancient proven strategies for self-realization and contentment?

This fall, you’ll have that chance. Soul Maps, a new course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, investigates Tanya, the fundamental text of Chassidic thought. The course is structured as a six-session consultation with the author of the Tanya, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi. During each session, you will receive insight into your inner world and you will discover new strategies for overcoming obstacles to change and progress. You’ll learn to resolve guilt, conflict, and confusion, and to traverse life’s journey with joy, purpose, and direction.

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The Art of Marriage

Judaism views a loving marriage as a spiritual as well as a human ideal. 

“The Art of Marriage” is a six session course that will show participants how to attain that for themselves and their spouses, with timeless lessons from both modern and ancient Jewish texts such as the Talmud and Zohar.

This course will benefit everyone from newlyweds to couples happily married for fifty years, to those contemplating tying the knot. 

What will be covered:

• The Case for Marriage. Is there still a need for marriage in today’s world? What purpose does it serve, psychologically and spiritually?

• Jewish Bedroom Secrets. Judaism has much to say about the physical side of marriage. This lesson draws upon the wisdom of the Kabbalah and shares practical tools to increase spousal intimacy of heart, mind, body, and soul.

• Will my Spouse Ever Change? What if only one partner is committed to improving the marriage? This lesson examines the ideal of an expectation-free relationship, and how to value your partner for who they are.

• Becoming a Better Half. Marriage can bring out the best and worst in people. This lesson focuses on the individual character traits that influence marriage. We also explore how marriage can be a tool for self improvement. 

• Danger Ahead. How does one defend a marriage from the threats of boredom from within and temptation from without? This lesson shows ways to form and fortify an exclusive and powerful relationship. 

• Make Up or Break Up? How far should you go to make a marriage work? This lesson explores Jewish insights on divorce that provide powerful instruction on how to stay married when the going gets tough.

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Paradigm Shift: Transformational Life Teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

Paradigm Shift is an elevator ride to the heights of what is possible. Synchronize yourself with the mission for which you were placed on earth, and learn to recognize the inherent goodness and perfection in yourself, in others, and in every circumstance of your life.

Distilled into six succinct lessons, this empowering course offers a revolutionary outlook on life, culled from the wisdom of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory.

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Torah Studies 5777


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Custom Course

Please contact your instructor for more information. 

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The Jewish Course of Why

Give your Judaism the intellection you know it deserves. Prepare to tackle the quizzical, queer, and seemingly-unanswerable questions about Jewish belief and practice.

Ever wondered why there are so many Jews in Hollywood? Why Jews eat gefilte fish and cholent and wish each other mazal tov and l’chaim? Why the Bible sanctions slavery and animal sacrifices? What is the cause of antisemitism? What does Judaism say about Christianity? About the role of women in Jewish life? You will also gain insight into mysterious Jewish practices, strange biblical narratives, and enigmas of Jewish identity.  

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Wisdom From Sinai: Revolutionary Ideas that Judaism Introduced to the World

Course Overview

The Ten Commandments are one of the most well-known passages of the Bible, and are significant to non-Jewish people as well. During the eight weeks of the course, three primary questions will be explored:

1. What, if anything, is Jewish about the Ten Commandments? Aren’t these ethical principles that have been adopted by most religious communities? Does Judaism understand them in a particular way, or is the foundation of the Jewish religion universalistic in its orientation?

2. Why these ten? There are many possible ways to articulate a foundational  manifesto of purpose. Yet the Ten Commandments select only ten of hundreds of possible commandments to be conveyed by G-d directly to the Jewish people. What is special about these ten? In what way do each of them represent a sphere of significance?

3. How does this commandment make a difference to your life? Most of us don’t grapple with whether to murder or not, and idol worship is currently out of fashion. Are these ten still of central relevance to us today? Do they continue to speak to us today?

Course Syllabus

Orientation Session

In this session, you will review the goals and requirements of the program.

Lesson One: If You Were G-d

In this lesson, you will examine the structure and order of the ten commandments, and explore its role as the foundation of Jewish thought and modern civilization.

Lesson Two: Who Am I?

In this lesson, you will examine the Jewish concept of G-d and the nature of Jewish belief. You will also investigate the contemporary relevance of the concept of idolatry.

Lesson Three: To Be or Not to Be

This lesson concentrates on the Jewish idea of the Sabbath and sanctity in time. You will become familiar with the basic practices governing the Jewish Sabbath, and you will look at the interplay between the Sabbath and the other days of the week.

Field Trip One

You will have the opportunity to observe and participate in a Shabbat dinner with your instructor.

Lesson Four: The Creators

This lesson looks at how Jewish law codifies the requirement to honor and respect 

parents, and invites you to consider the significance of this commandment to our spiritual development.

Lesson Five: The Breath of Life

This lesson examines Jewish life ethics governing such issues as murder, suicide, euthanasia, and abortion.

Lesson Six: Born To Marry

This lesson focuses on the Jewish ethics concerning love and marriage.

Field Trip Two

Lesson Seven: For Love or Money ( Do Not Steal; Do Not Covet)

This lesson will explore the relationship between material wealth and how it can be reconciled with ethical values.

Lesson Eight: The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth

This lesson focuses on the spiritual meaning of human communication and the
importance of honest and true words. We also examine classical Jewish thinking
regarding the authenticity and truth of the Jewish tradition.

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Requirements & Benefits