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Why Do Jews Say ‘Mazel Tov’ and ‘L’Chaim’?

These questions and more will be answered at ‘The Jewish Course of Why’ in West Hartford.

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Chabad of Greater Hartford will present The Jewish Course of Why, a new six-session winter 2016 course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) to begin on Monday, Feb. 8.

Rabbi Shaya Gopin of Chabad of Greater Hartford will conduct the six course sessions on Mondays, Feb. 8, Feb. 15, Feb. 29, March 7, and March 14, at 7:30 p.m. at Chabad House, 2352 Albany Ave. in West Hartford.

“No religion is known for its rational basis and its welcoming of questions and intellectual debate quite like Judaism,” explained Rabbi Zalman Abraham of JLI’s headquarters in Brooklyn.

“In preparing for the course, we turned to over 30,000 people who each submitted their biggest questions about Judaism. We then selected the most popular among them and addressed each one with resonant insights from the greatest minds in Jewish history.”

The Jewish Course of Why spans a diverse range of topics, from fun, light, and off-the-beaten-track questions, to more complex and controversial issues. Some of the course’s 50 questions include:

  • Why are there so many Jews in Hollywood?
  • Why do Jews eat gefilte fish and cholent and wish each other mazal tov and l’chaim?
  • Why does the Bible sanctions slavery and animal sacrifices?
  • What is the cause of antisemitism?
  • What does Judaism say about Christianity? Or the role of women in Jewish life?

In addition to the above, the course offers insight into mysterious Jewish practices, strange biblical narratives, and enigmas of Jewish identity.

“We’re excited to be offering this fun and dynamic learning experience here in West Hartford,” said Rabbi Shaya Gopin, the local JLI instructor in Greater Hartford. “The Jewish Course of Why gives our participants the opportunity to expand their Jewish knowledge and intellectualize their Judaism by exploring rational insights into the most intriguing questions that Jews have today.”

Like all previous JLI programs, The Jewish Course of Why 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.

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

JLI, the adult education branch of Chabad Lubavitch, offers programs in more than 960 U.S. cities and in numerous foreign locations, including Australia, Argentina, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela. More than 330,000 students have attended JLI classes since the organization was founded in 1998.

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