Summer Program
Sample Course Descriptions

Summer Program 2019:  Power, Leadership, and Responsibility

Course Descriptions for Summer 2019 will be posted soon.

Beginners

Yaakov and Esav: A Twin Study – Debbie Zimmerman

When Rivka was pregnant she felt something was wrong; “the children struggled within her.” As described by the Torah, the struggle between Yaakov and Esav began before they were born, and continued long after their death. Together we will study the way the text of the Torah relates the intertwined stories of these two brothers to understand their personalities and the reasons for this epic struggle. We will employ a close reading of the text in order to learn how to approach Biblical narratives, ask our own questions, and find answers. This class will have chevruta study time and is suitable for beginners.

Seminal Episodes in Chumash Bereishit – Rav Chaim Tabasky

Study of stories such as the first sin, the murder of Hevel and the sons of Noah, with emphasis on Rashi’s method, will provide a platform for
discussing issues concerning the nature of Torah study and man’s relationship to HaShem and his fellow man

Beginner's Halacha - Rav Binyamin Miller

In this course we will examine the process by which Jewish Law develops from the Torah until today through the study of various topics in Hilchot Shabbat. We will look at the different time periods and sources that build upon each other to create Jewish tradition and how that tradition is transmitted. In addition, we will explore some of the halachic mechanisms used to decode the laws from the Torah into practical dicta we follow today.

Women in Judaism - Adina Mann

In this course, we will examine women’s roles in mitzvoth. We will discuss the time bound mitzvot, women’s obligations in prayer, mitzvot which are unique to women and topics pertaining to modesty. In every topic we will track the sources from their origin to the practical level.

Songs from the Siddur – Adina Mann

In this class, we will study some of the classic songs we sing in our prayers, such as adon olam, lecha dodi, and kel adon. We will examine the words and their meanings, while listening to the songs and learning the tunes. Through this, we will enhance our prayers as well as our understanding of the Hebrew language.

Mussar – The Letter of the RambanRav Da'vid Sperling

The building of one’s character traits into a more holy personality is the unending work of every Jew. The study of Mussar – moral character building – is addressed to this labor. We will be studying the famous letter of the Ramban (1194-1270) in an in-depth and applicable fashion, involving chavruta learning (personal one on one study partners) as well as sharing new and moving understandings of the holy and ancient text.

The Lonely Man of Faith – Rabbi Jeffrey Saks

Is mankind meant to master its surrounding or submit passively to God? What is the place of Jewish faith in the modern world? How does modernity pose a challenge to religious life? What is the viability of forming community today? These questions stand at the center of Rabbi Soloveitchik’s masterful “The Lonely Man of Faith” and we will explore them as we make a close reading of the essay and exploration of the sources on which the Rav zt”l drew in composing one of the 20th century’s most significant treatments of religious philosophy and Jewish faith.

Jerusalem in Tanach – Dafna Siegman

Starting after Tisha B’Av, this brief course will introduce students to Jerusalem of the biblical period.  We will explore a variety of texts and learn the history and challenges of Jerusalem.  We will bring the city alive through the lives and lessons of the Kings and Prophets who once lived here.

Intermediate

Entering Pardes: Exploring Talmudic Mysticism – Rabbi Meir Sendor

We will study selections from Masekhet Hagigah, chapter two, for an introduction to the profound insights of Haza”l into Ma’ase Bereshit, the Work of Creation, and Ma’ase Merkavah, the Work of the Chariot. This study provides a basis for all further explorations into the mystical traditions of Torah.

Jerusalem in Tanach – Dafna Siegman

Commemorating Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem is a powerful experience.  We will prepare for the month of Av by exploring the history, identity and vision of the city of Jerusalem in Tanach.  Our study will touch on the hopes and challenges for Jerusalem in the past, present and future as expressed by Kings, Prophets and leaders.

Towards Redemption – Dafna Siegman

After Tisha B’Av, our focus turns towards Geulah.  We will study a variety of Tanach and liturgical texts that long for Redemption and a renewed world.  Our study will include selected Haftarot and Tehillim, and will also explore texts in Jewish Thought that grapple with Geulah and the Mashiach.

Halacha and Ethics - Conflicts and Resolution – Rav Chaim Tabasky

We will explore the ideas of kavod habriyot (human dignity) and lifnim meshurat hadin (beyond the letter of the law) from the talmudic passages and commentaries through classic psak to modern responsa.

Advanced

Rational Mysticism: Rambam's Guide of the Perplexed – Rabbi Meir Sendor

We will study essential selections from the Rambam’s great philosophic treatise to give a full sense of this profound and complex adventure in thought: the Rambam’s vision of the path to ultimate human perfection.

Zeal and Zealotry: Moshe, Pinchas and Eliyahu – Neima Novetsky

This course will explore the line between zeal and zealotry, using the figures of Moshe, Pinchas and Eliyahu as case studies.  When is extreme behavior to be lauded and when it is to be condemned?   In what circumstances is it permissible, or even desirable, to take the law into your own hands?    What are the limits of prophetic authority?  Can a prophet act on his/her own initiative, even against Hashem’s will?

The Ten Commandments Part Two – Rabbi Aaron Adler

This course will be divided into four sub-sections:

1. A post-Tisha B’Av source of consolation

2. The text of the second set of luchot, and Oral Law segments in the written Scripture.

3. The interdependence of all commandments.

4. The Ten Commandments as headlines for all Biblical commandments.

בין לאומיות לאוניברסליזם בתנ"ך – הרב דוד סבתו

המתח בין מגמות אוניברסליות ללאומיות מטלטל את העולם כולו במאות האחרונות. מתח זה בולט באמונת ישראל, וקשור קשר הדוק למתח התיאולוגי היסודי השזור לאורכו של המקרא. מצד אחד החידוש המרכזי שאמונת ישראל העמידה הוא האמונה באל אחד, כול יכול, בורא עולם, להבדיל מהאמונה האלילית המקובלת המחלקת את העולם לאזורי השפעה של אלים מרובים. באותה שעה, האל הישראלי המונותיאיסטי הוא גם אל לאומי הכורת ברית ייחודית עִם עַם ישראל בלבד, שוכן עימו בארץ כנען, ומתגלה אליו באמצעות נביאיו. בקורס נבחן את ההתמודדות עם  המתח המובנה הזה בתולדות עם ישראל בתנ”ך. נעבור דרך ‘תחנות’ מרכזיות בתורה, בנביאים, ובספרי בית שני.

All Levels

Halacha Survey – Rav Da'vid Sperling

This class provides an overview of some of the most commonly encountered laws that face a Jew living in the modern world. Some of the topics to be addressed include charity, keeping Shabbat and Kashrut in a non-observant environment, and prayer.

Mussar for Moderns – Rav Binyamin Miller

In this class we will try and use classic principles of Mussar and relate them to our contemporary reality. We will attempt to discuss how self-improvement can be applied today and in the Thursday class we will highlight mussar ideas from that week’s Parsha.