(Photo credit: AlicePopkorn)
“Todah Rabbah” means “thank you very much!” Thank you for a great year of study, for good questions, for fun discussions, for your curiosity over the past months of study.
Exploring Judaism will be back in the fall of 2013. The best way to find information about it is to follow the news at the Temple Isaiah website.
Have a great summer!
- Rabbi Adar
Eldridge Street Synagogue Klezmer Parade (Photo credit: Barbara L. Hanson)
Just a reminder that we have NO CLASS this Sunday. Our class will resume on April 14.
The topic on April 14 will be “Body & Spirit: Music and Movement in the Services.” We’ll talk about the service music and about the movements you see some people doing in services. Bring questions! What have you seen or heard in services, and wondered about?
See you April 14! In the meantime I invite you to read and leave questions or comments over on my blog Coffee Shop Rabbi.
– Rabbi Adar
Lekha Dodi- Welcoming Shabbat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Officially, we began a new part of the class last week, but I think that Daylight Savings confused many of you. Instead of beginning a new series on prayer, we talked about Israel.
This coming Sunday morning we’ll talk about the Friday evening service: why we do it at all, and what it means. Here are questions to think about beforehand:
– What’s your favorite prayer in the service?
– Is there any part of the service you find uncomfortable or embarrassing?
– Have you ever had an experience in synagogue that particularly moved you?
We’ll talk. See you Sunday.
– Rabbi Adar
Last week we looked at the history of Judaism in America, and the way the movements developed here and in Europe. If you missed that class, send me an email and I’ll be glad to send you the handout.
This coming week (tomorrow morning) we are going to spend some time on my least-favorite subject, anti-Semitism. It’s a very important topic, not only as history but in order to defend ourselves and others against history repeating itself. I hope you’ll be able to join us.
– Rabbi Adar
A Page of Talmud (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This Sunday we took a quick look at Rabbinic Judaism. We talked about the 2nd Temple Period, with its ferment of disagreement in the Jewish community. The rabbis were one group within many in Judaism of the period: there were also Sadducees, Essenes, early Christians, followers of John the Baptist, Zealots, and others. Most of those groups ceased to exist during or soon after the wars with Rome, and Rabbinic Judaism eventually became the dominant form of Judaism, as it is today.
We learned about the Mishnah, a collection of discussions among the rabbis who were attempting to flesh out what exactly it means to live a life of Torah: what does it mean, to “keep Shabbat?” How large is the “corner of the field?” Rabbi Judah ha Nasi closed the Mishnah in 200 CE, and it was “frozen” at that point.
Discussions continued, and we call the record of those discussions “Gemara.” In the rabbinic academies of Eretz Israel, Mishnah and Gemara were collected into the Jerusalem Talmud. In the Babylonian academies, they collected Mishnah and their Gemara into the Babylonian Talmud. A generation of rabbis called the Sevoraim (Aramaic for “reasoners”) redacted the Babylonian Talmud into the form we have today.
Our handouts this week: Rabbinic Literature and Rabbinic Timeline. We also did a brief text study on Peah, the corners of the field. (If you would like a copy of that text study, please contact me directly.)
Next week: medieval Judaism and the Codes. Yes, I know we are going fast! Jewish history is vast!
– Rabbi Adar
Torah (Photo credit: Lawrie Cate)
This past week I had the pleasure of seeing some “old” students return and some new additions to the class. Welcome back, everyone!
We talked about Tanakh (Torah + Prophets + Writings = Ta-Na-KH) and about the differences between a Jewish and a Christian Bible. We talked a very little bit about the origins of the Bible, and we talked about Midrash, which are (roughly) explanations and explications of the biblical text. I gave you two handouts: Tanach Directory and Bible Vocabulary. I also supplied a time line for the period; if you want a another copy of that, see me.
Next week, we’re going to look at Rabbinic literature and history, roughly the period between 70 and 700 CE. We’ll learn about Mishnah, Gemara, and Talmud, and about what happened to the Jews after the Temple was destroyed.
See you Sunday!
– Rabbi Adar
Solomon Schechter studying documents from the Cairo Geniza, c. 1895. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I hope that all of you had a nice break!
We’re starting back up on January 6 with a series of classes on Jewish Texts and History. You might wonder, why mix those two? And the answer is, they are easier to understand together.
If you are joining the class for the first time, welcome! You will need to get access to a text as soon as possible. Click “Texts and Readings” on the tab above to get information about that. The text readings will make class much more enjoyable for you. All readings are marked on the syllabus, marked “Syllabus” above.
We are about to embark on some of the richest material in this course. I look forward to exploring it with you!