The Core: Jewish Wisdom for Modern Life

Course Overview

The objective of this course is to explore core elements of Jewish thought, literature and practice. Judaism spans 4000 years. You can fill up libraries with its literature. Its practices are more vast and complex than perhaps any other society. They are as vast and complex as life itself. So to think we will cover Judaism in one 8 week course is not a very Jewish thought. What we are aiming for is to explore some of its core elements; core to Judaism, and core to us—modern Jews in the 21st Century.

These are issues we must be familiar with if we want to say with integrity “I am a Jew”. This is not an in-depth exploration to become a scholar, get a PhD, or become “religious”. This is to have a healthy, adult-level, understanding of the core elements of our heritage and identity.

Discussion 1: Identity– What does it mean to be a Jew?

From the dawn of time, the quest for one’s identity has been fraught with confusion and yet, deep meaning. How is it that this search, which has shaped the lives of individuals and nations, still remains a mystery of many labels? In this course, we will analyze the inherent link that binds every Jew to our nation. We will question the state of Jewish being and discover that it is not just a genetic toss of the dice.

Discussion 2: Approaching life on Planet Earth:

Dizzying patterns and definitions of human rights have contributed to the value system upon which society has built itself today. The template of society is defined by the rights that every individual has. But how does one adhere to this system and remain focused on the inherent goodness in others?

Enroll now to discover the right way to peel back the layers concealing the goodness in others and in the world itself.

Discussion 3: Mitzvot– What is the meaning of Jewish practices?

"Perhaps you’ve always thought that Mitzvot are strange and archaic rituals. Some of them seem to be unrelated to being a “good person”. In this lesson, you will unravel the mystery of Jewish practices and discover the significance behind the menial details.

Discussion 4: Shabbat - In what way can Shabbat enhance life?

Ever wondered why there is such a fuss about ‘Shabbat’? The delicacy and intricacy of its observance has ignited debate and fascination throughout the ages. In this lesson, discover what the unique blend of Shabbat can bring into your weekend and the powerful boost it can provide into the maze of life beyond.

Discussion 5: Relationships - How can true love turn into lasting love?

“And they lived happily ever after”... Did they? The merciless turn of the clock can turn time into an enemy when love does not last. How can we turn True Love into a love that lasts the tests of time? It is a quest that forms the basis for one of the most fundamental and powerful human motives. Viewed through the prism of Torah, this lesson will unlock the secret to achieving long-term love, romance and passion.

Discussion 6: Torah - In what way can an ancient legal code inform modern-day dilemmas?

It’s been 3000 years. We’ve gone from wagons to Volkswagens and entered a world of fast paced, moving technology. Has time truly accelerated modern life beyond the reach of Torah?

Come join the Sages in the ancient study halls to debate the ethical and legal issues surrounding life and death as it was then, and now.

Discussion 7: Mysticism – In what way can every Jewish idea inform daily life?

Every visible structure has an inner power that energizes it. Underneath that mild Clark Kent exterior of daily life, we are moving worlds and causing cosmic explosions. What force is within, that propels Torah thought? In this lesson, we will examine the deepest parts of Torah, known as Chassidic Mysticism and discover its origin and application to us today.

Discussion 8: Paying it Forward

Now what? The future starts with you. What is your vision for the Jewish future?