An Unprecedented and Exciting New Adult Education Program
Recently, the Reform Congregations of North Carolina came together online for a virtual memorial service for Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Thirteen Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Congregations and four other organizations served by Reform Rabbis participated in this moving evening. Keynote speeches were given by Rabbis Lucy Dinner and Judy Schindler and NC Supreme Court Justice Mark Davis and UNC-Chapel Hill Law professor Michael Gerhardt. The service was viewed by more than 2,500 devices!
In the aftermath of this event and in partial response to the global pandemic, five North Carolina congregations have come together to create an amazing adult education program entitled “Sages to Ages.”
Sages to Ages will be Beit Midrash (house of study) courses from 9:30 to 11:45 AM on 6 consecutive Tuesdays beginning on November 10, the week after the elections.
The daily schedule will be:
9:30-10:30: Three classes as breakouts
10:30-10:45: A short break
10:45-11:45: Three additional classes
This will be the first time that we in the North Carolina URJ congregations have done something like this. Looking forward to our learning together!
First Hour: 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
The Greatest Teachings from Our Greatest Teachers
Rabbi Andy Koren, Temple Emanuel, Greensboro
Who was Hillel, when did he live and what did he teach? The same questions might be asked about Rabbi Akiba and many others. Long before there was Wikipedia, there was something known as Pirkei Avot, a section of ethical sayings - many of them no more than a few lines - which summarize the central approaches of our most celebrated minds from antiquity. This class will take a deep dive into the world of the Rabbis of old. We will also ask: how might the teachings of thousands of years ago help us understand the times we now live in?
Taboo Jew: Your Body and You
Rabbi Rachael Jackson, Agudas Israel Congregation, Hendersonville
During these six sessions, we will not shy away from previously-labeled taboo topics. Handouts will be provided as we delve into the world of the body. Topics will include marijuana, abortion, tattoos, sex, dignity in death, and vaccines from a textual standpoint. Let’s learn together!
Second Hour: 10:45 –11:45 a.m.
Israeli music - How Jewish is it?
Rabbi Mark Cohn, Temple Emanuel, Winston-Salem
We’ll look for answers from artists ranging from Naomi Shemer (z”l) to Shuli Rand, Hadag Nachash to Yishai Ribo. Whether any of those names are familiar to you, we’ll have a great chance to explore Jewish teachings and ideas in contemporary Israel.
Paradigm Shifts – Jewish responses to Difficult Times
Rabbi Fred Guttman, Temple Emanuel, Greensboro
We will look at a variety of events from Jewish history wherein Jews have experienced very difficult times. We will try to understand the responses of the Jewish community. Which responses seemed to be effective and which not? During this time of a global pandemic, we could experience a significant paradigm shift in Jewish life. What can these historical records teach us about how we might consider envisioning and creating a new paradigm for Jewish life, post-Covid 19.