Lifestyle Reader Contributed

New Course at Chabad Explores the Origins of Judaism

The six-week course begins May 4 in West Hartford.

Submitted by Rabbi Shaya Gopin, Chabad House of Greater Hartford


Beginning May 4, the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) will present Judaism Decoded: The Origins and Evolution of Jewish Tradition, a new six-week spring course which will uncover the unique formula that has sustained Jewish tradition for millennia.

Rabbi Shaya of Chabad of Greater Hartford will conduct the six course sessions at 7:30 p.m. on Monday evenings and Sunday mornings at its center 2352 Albany Ave., West Hartford.

“Just as science follows the scientific method, Judaism has its own system to ensure authenticity remains intact,” explains Rabbi Zalman Abraham of JLI’s New York headquarters. “We wanted to shed light on the mystery that surrounds biblical interpretations. This really is an eye-opening course.”

With the world changing at a rapid pace, Judaism Decoded tackles the intricate questions of whether rabbis can unilaterally change Torah, and how Jewish tradition reacts to new circumstances and modern-day dilemmas.

Judaism Decoded is “an extraordinarily sophisticated examination of Talmudic methodology, tackling the toughest questions about the nature and legitimacy of rabbinic law,” says Dr. Eugene Kontorovich, a law professor at Northwestern University and contributor to the influential Volokh Conspiracy law blog. The course, he says, combines “high academic rigor with fundamental rooting in Jewish tradition.”

In addition to the razor-sharp reasoning, intelligent debate, and compelling arguments, participants will gain a deepened understanding of:

  • The elegant and fascinating underlying system that governs Jewish tradition and practice
  • The unique Talmudic method for interpreting biblical text
  • The role and authority of rabbis and sages in interpreting and legistlating Jewish law
  • How the system of Judaism was built to remain as relevant today as it was 3,000 years ago

“Judaism encourages us to question,” adds Rabbi Shaya Gopin. “Torah law is built on a complex source code, and we’re going to examine it in detail. But we’re going to reach back even further: How do we even know the Torah is true in the first place?

“This course is going to address these controversial questions head on. I don’t think anyone will want to miss this.”

Judaism Decoded six-session course that begins May 4, continuing for six Mondays at 7:30 p.m.

The cost is only $99 which covers everything including a valuable course book.

Second option: six Sundays starting May 10, 10-11:15 a.m.

Both courses will be held at Chabad House 2352 Albany Ave. in West Hartford.

Interested students may call 860-232-1116 or visit www.ChabadHartford.com/Course for registration and other course-related information.

Like all previous JLI programs, Judaism Decoded is designed to appeal to people at all levels of Jewish knowledge, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning. All JLI courses are open to the public, and attendees need not be affiliated with a particular synagogue, temple, or other house of worship.

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