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Congregation B’nai Jacob Adult Education Winter 2019

Guest Speakers

Cormac Levenson, Executive Director and Lead Meditation Instructor, Elm Village, New Haven, Sunday, February 3 at 10:00am

“The Sh’ma and Mindfulness:  How the practice of meditation can deepen our relationship with God” – Mr. Levenson, graduate of Harvard Divinity School, former Griffin Hospital Chaplain, student of eastern religions, and respected teacher of meditation, will lead this BJ program about Judaism, mindfulness, and relating to G-d.  This is so important for our troubling times.

Christine Hayes, PhD, Weis Professor of Religious Studies, Yale University; 2015 winner of the National Book Award in Scholarship, Saturday, February 23, after Kiddush 12:30 pm

“We’re No Angels:  Perfectionism in Rabbinic Judaism” – What is the nature of the perfection to which humans should aspire?  Beginning with the Talmudic phrase “The Torah was not given to Ministering Angels” this lecture explores radically diverse ancient Jewish conceptions of the nature of human perfection and whether or not humans can be, or should aspire to be, like angels.

Ongoing Classes

Reading the Talmud

Rabbi Rona Shapiro

Monday evenings 7:30 pm

February 25, March 4, 11, 18, 25; April 1,8,15

The Babylonian Talmud, in many ways more so than the Bible, is the core text of the Jewish people and yet it is unknown to many of us.  We will explore some of its breadth and depth, looking at both stories (aggadah) and law (halacha) as we work to gain insight into the rabbinic project and its meaning for us.  No knowledge of Hebrew or Aramaic is required.

The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai

Group Discussion, Saturdays 1 pm

March 2, April 13

Amichai is Israel’s poet laureate.  He, more than any other poet, captures the paradoxes of faith and love and “Israeliness” in familiar language and bold simile.  We will take two Shabbat afternoons to explore a poem or two each time.  Poems will be sent out to participants ahead of time, so registration is necessary.

NEW! B’nai Jacob Book Group

Open to all members

First meeting February 20, 7:30 pm in the B’nai Jacob Library

Join in a discussion of “If All the Seas Were Ink,” by Ilana Kurshan.  This memoir about a young woman’s study of Talmud ties in nicely with the Rabbi’s class, Reading the Talmud.  “In this deeply personal and often hilarious story, Kurshan shows us how the Talmud’s thousands of strange and demanding pages…become a conversation about how best to live one’s life.”  Dara Horn.

Future books and dates will be decided by the group.  Please RSVP to 203-389-2111 or cbj.receptionist@gmail.com.

Learning and Prayer

Bread & Torah

EVERY Shabbat Morning Before Services, 9:00 – 9:45am

Rabbi Shapiro explores the weekly Torah portion and how its story relates to our own.  This year we will explore the Book of Jonah and the Five Megillot.  Lively discussion over bagels and coffee.  No experience necessary.

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