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Center for Jewish Life Torah Studies
October 27, 2021 @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
One event on March 30, 2022 at 8:00 pm
One event on April 6, 2022 at 8:00 pm
October 27: Was there ever something you felt strongly about, yet kept to yourself for fear of losing your audience? It’s a tough call each time, and the divergent legacies of Abraham and his wife Sarah are quite instructional. Ultimately, it’s Sarah who wins the day.
November 3: Debated in the halls of the UN and fought for with much spilled blood, Israel’s Jewish ownership is contested time and again. From the beginning of time itself, G-d designated this unique land to stand apart from any other, and gave it to His people. It’s time to take a better look.
November 10: Are you a worldly Jew or a Jew in this world? What is your primary orientation? Jacob’s brash and forceful reply to his conniving uncle reveals that it wasn’t his business acumen that was so impressive; instead, it was his zealous commitment to his ideals. We can do the same.
November 17: Have you come up short in any personal battles lately? Jacob’s tactics against his ruthless brother Esau all the way down to a great Prussian military leader teach us a timeless tactic: don’t be a one-trick pony; focus all you’ve got on one front, and you’ll win the war.
November 24: What keeps your air conditioner working, your orange juice pulp-free, and your coffee grounds out of your cup? A filter. Your life’s story needs one, too: you should embrace, expand, and engage with as much as possible, and when you do, make sure your filter is extra fine.
December 1: Families gathered together in raucous joy to hear the story of the holiday. Sound familiar? Yes—for Purim, not Chanukah. You want to know why there’s no Chanukah Megillah? Because when you’re busy blazing up the darkness, there’s no time for stories
December 8: Arguably one of the most dramatic narratives in the Torah, the showdown between Joseph and his brothers and the ensuing emotions after Joseph’s big reveal contain timeless lessons for anyone looking to up their communications game.
December 15: “If anyone would offer to sell me a moment of future suffering for a billion dollars, I wouldn’t buy,” a famous rabbi once said. “But if anyone would propose to buy a moment of my past suffering for a billion dollars, I wouldn’t sell either.” Discover his secret.
December 22: Is the “self-made millionaire” the ultimate success story we should all look up to? Is everything really in our control, our dreams limited only by our capacity to carry them out? Not so fast. That’s an Egyptian mentality. Baby Moses floating in a basket down the Nile has a very different message to share.
December 29: In days of old, the Jewish calendar was determined by the High Court based on the sighting of a new moon. In a radical and extremely counterintuitive law, we read that the court had the power to proclaim a new month even when the moon wasn’t yet seen; in other words, the courts could dictate reality. Discover how you, too, can dictate the “real” reality.
January 5: Who doesn’t worry about finances? In an ever-changing economy with so much uncertainty, even those with “stable” jobs are being forced to reckon with a queasy sense of worry. By looking to our ancestors who harvested miraculous manna in the desert, we can find much-needed stability: trust in G-d.
January 12: Judaism is rich with values, teachings, and . . . practices. Many don’t even think about their physical ability to fulfill those practices, but what about those who physically cannot? Is the mitzvah of tefilin not for someone without an arm? Is someone with impaired hearing denied access to the beauty of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah? Of course not! Discover how.
January 19: A dry, legal, and highly technical clause of Jewish finance law is picked apart in a psychological/religious analysis. We emerge with powerful lessons for maintaining the sense of dignity and perseverance we need to power through our intended mission in life.
January 26: There’s much chatter on this question. Throw in the mix the many other possibilities of what “Judaism” may or may not be. So, what is it, after all? The story of the nascent Jewish nation emerging from Egypt, entering the Holy Land, and finally building a Temple for G-d has some answers.
February 9: People love celebrating; yahrtzeits not so much. Surprisingly, while the birthday and yahrtzeit of our first leader, Moshe, occurred on the same date, it is technically only his passing that is commemorated. Why? Because your true birthday is more about what you’ve done than about what you can do.
February 16: Are you experiencing any opposition lately? Are things just not working out? What do you tell yourself to power through? From the tragic story of the Jews sinning with the Golden Calf to a fascinating tale about a bull talking to Elijah the prophet, widen and deepen your perspective to embrace those challenges and emerge all the better.
February 23: What, really is the secret to long-lasting and committed relationships? All human relationships are but a mirror of our relationship with G-d, and so, we arrive at this simple conclusion: when you’re doing it for each other, and no so much with each other, that’s when you know your connection has lasting power.
March 2: The Temple and its predecessor, the Tabernacle, hold a very prominent place in Judaism. But they were destroyed millennia ago. What relevance do they have today? A fascinating story of a stubborn sage, who refused to budge until he received an answer from G-d, furnishes the answer.
March 9: Some throw parties when they graduate college, others for a promotion, while others for their birthday. But when was the last time you attended a party that celebrated, say, finishing a Torah study course, or a year of lighting Shabbat candles? An obscure celebration of wood donations in the Temple by a select few families shows the way.
March 30: Rosh Hashanah is in the autumn, right? Well, sort of. There’s a case to be made for the month of Nissan, just before Passover, being considered the “beginning of the year.” What’s the point of this alternate beginning? It’s about mapping an unnatural and miraculous way of being onto the very course of time itself. Surprisingly, for a Jew, it’s a happy partnership.
April 6: Family and friends gather around the seder table, and once again, we do the same thing we’ve been doing for millennia. Is there anything interesting or personal about this ritual that can elevate it to stardom? A closer look at the language used in the Haggadah exposes the secret of the Exodus: It never really finished. It’s waiting for you.