October 23 – Burning, Bruising, Cutting and Coloring: The Hidden History of Jewish Tattooing
With Rabbi Bronwen Mullen
In this session, R’Bronwen will lead an exploration of the most systematically repressed texts on Jewish tattooing. Together we will uncover the ancient wisdom that emerges when the parchment for our ink is our own skin.
October 30 – Preferring Sages to Prophets: Interpretation as Revelation
With Laynie Soloman
The rabbis declare that “if we are not prophets, we are the children of prophets,” but what does it mean to be a prophet in our (and their!) current moment? Through the lens of several rabbinic texts, we’ll investigate the ways in which our creative acts of interpretation—both of scripture and the world at large—serve as acts of prophecy, and what this means for our relationship with G!d, tradition, and our own insights.
November 6 – False Witness: Truth-telling in the Age of Alternative Facts
With Ana Levy-Lyons
In the Ten Commandments revelation on Mt. Sinai, we are prohibited from “bearing false witness” against our neighbor. In this beit midrash on Election Day we will explore and extend the commandment beyond the context of court testimony to include the full range of circumstances, personal to political, in which we humans have occasion to lie. What is “false witness” in a complex world? And who is our “neighbor” in a global community?
November 13 – Trusting the One Who Knows: Eating on Yom Kippur and the Testimony of Serach Bat Asher
With Shoshana Jedwab
We will explore Talmudic texts in which an ill person’s truth is trusted regarding whether to eat on Yom Kippur as well as how the wisdom of the legendary female eye witness, Serach Bat Asher, trumps that of the establishment.
November 20 – Stand Each Thing on Its Absence: Spirit and Matter in Sefer Yetzirah
With Rabbi Jill Hammer
In this class, we will look at a few sections of the ancient mystical work called Sefer Yetzirah and consider the tension of truths as we move between word and world, and mix the ethereal and the real.
November 27 – Sealing the Wholeness of Truth in your Heart: Love and Fear of God
With Rabbi Shoshana Metrani Knapp
Normally we consider love and fear to be at odds, yet Jewish tradition understands our relationship with God to include them both. We will explore texts that speak of both the love and the fear/awe of God and its implications for dealing with our fellow man/woman.
December 4 – When the truth is unclear, how do we respond?
With Marc Schiller
From competing “truthful” claims on property to accurately timing God’s arrival, there are times when we can’t be 100% sure of the truth. In this class we’ll explore how the Rabbis dealt with ambiguity around the truth and how it may better inform our understanding of ultimate truth.
December 11 – Waiting in the Dark: December as a time of Expectancy
With Rev. Eleanor Harrison Bregman
No matter your religious identity, December can be unsettling and exhausting. Using ancient and modern texts from Advent, the Christian season that precedes Christmas, we will reclaim and re-frame this season of darkness as a time of fullness, preparation and expectancy.
December 18 – The Book of Hagar: Slave, Surrogate, Strategist, Sojourner!
With Renee L. Hill, Ph. D.
In this session we will examine the stories and meaning of Hagar -a Mother of Monotheism- in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We will also explore this pivotal character through Womanist and feminist lenses as well as through our own imaginations.