The Westville Synagogue
Location 74 W Prospect St, New Haven, CT 06515 USA
Phone203-389-8472
Upcoming Course: Secrets of the Bible

A lush garden...a snake...forbidden fruit...temptation...the sin of knowledge...shame...mortality...
What is really going on?

Revisit six seemingly absurd stories you likely remember from Hebrew school. Uncover their hidden themes and eye-opening insights into the mysteries of life.
~ What is the deeper meaning behind these stories?
~ How did they shape the Jewish worldview?
~ What wisdom do they hold for you today?

Sign up for a thought-provoking experience, sure to deepen your understanding of Judaism and enrich your life!

Course Details
Story One Would you choose knowledge over paradise?

Would you rather be objective and unengaged or passionate and invested? Why is temptation more compelling than reason? What’s the big idea behind Adam and Eve eating the fruit of knowledge and the resulting human struggle with self-consciousness?

Story Two How do you see past another's failures?

If a person you love lets you down, is the relationship over? How do you build a resilient connection that will survive any storm? The secret is buried in the theme of the Great Flood: why G-d created a world only to destroy it, and how He guarantees there will never be a repeat.

Story Three Will the real you please stand up?

At some point, we're all conflicted: torn between a drive to do good and the temptation of lust, greed, and power. In this session, you'll meet your inner Jacob and Esau—the recluse and the hunter—and understand their lifelong conflict. Why does Isaac prefer the materialistic Esau? And why does the wholesome Jacob resort to deception to obtain his father's blessings?

Story Four Your life and its goals: are they compatible?

You may love what you do, or where it gets you, but seldom both. Uncover this tension in the strange relationships between Jacob and his wives and between Joseph and his brothers, and explore ways to navigate the delicate balance between personal growth and practical impact.

Story Five Why is inspiration so short-lived?

Infidelity under the wedding canopy is the story of our lives. Why do New Year’s resolutions barely last a day? We are so easily impressionable, yet our stimulation doesn’t linger. Discover a powerful hack for creating lasting impact from two sets of tablets and the worship of a golden calf.

Story Six Does a higher station make You a better person?

If all people were created equal, why do some occupy more elevated positions than others? You weren’t dealt the same hand as your neighbor; does this make you inferior to them? Explore Korach’s challenge to Moses’s leadership to gain insight on privilege and every person's unique contribution to society.

Dates & Times
The course date hasn't yet been announced for this location. Please email rabbi@westvillechabad.com or call 203-389-8472 for more info.
Upcoming Course: Journey of the Soul

Who hasn’t wondered what happens when we die? We know what happens to the body. But what happens to the soul at birth and again at death?

- Is there really a “better” place after this one?
- Do our loved ones continue to connect with us?
- Can I relate to an afterlife if I’m not spiritual?

At once practical and powerful, reflective and relatable, Journey of the Soul teaches a Jewish perspective on life that begins before birth and lasts well after a person’s passing.

It’s a journey we all take, and it’s yours to explore this winter.

Course Details
Lesson 1 Demystifying Death

Why are humans so anxious about death and dying? For many, the abrupt finality of death makes life itself seem futile. By exploring how our life force—our immortal soul—never ends but merely shifts roles, we begin to view life and death as two harmonious steps on the same journey.

Lesson 2 Taking Leave

Is death painful for souls? Is my presence felt when I visit a grave? Judaism’s pre-burial and burial rituals accompany the soul’s gradual transition from a limiting physical life to a completely spiritual one. We discuss those rituals and how, once freed, the soul’s connection to the living continues in new and powerful ways.

Lesson 3 The Mourning After

What is the Jewish grieving process and what is the significance of its various traditions? This lesson provides a meaningful Jewish perspective on grief itself, as well as practical shiva etiquette both for mourners and for those who wish to comfort them.

Lesson 4 Where We Go

For centuries, human beings have been motivated by the promise of heaven and frightened by the threat of hell. Discover what Jews believe about where every soul goes and how Kaddish aids a soul in reaching true peace.

Lesson 5 Where We Go Again

Reincarnation: more than a fascinating topic, Judaism provides a practical way to imagine this mystical process, and explains why it is important both to departed souls and to our lives today.

Lesson 6 Life Is Short(ish)

By now we’ve come to appreciate death as the next phase in our ongoing personal missions. In our final lesson, we use what we’ve learned to revisit our priorities in this current phase and find ways to fill every moment with everlasting significance.

Dates & Times
The course date hasn't yet been announced for this location. Please email rabbi@westvillechabad.com or call 203-389-8472 for more info.
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Past Courses

Judaism Decoded

May 2015
Judaism Decoded
Just as science follows the scientific method, Jewish tradition has its own system to ensure its authenticity remains intact.
Judaism Decoded sheds light on the mysteries surrounding biblical interpretation. How do we know our interpretation is true? If it is true, why is it subject to differences of opinion? And with so many interpretations to choose from, how do we know which one reflects its original intent?
Discover the sheer elegance of the “source code” on which Torah law is built; enjoy the razor-sharp reasoning, intelligent debate, and compelling arguments of the Talmudic dialectic; and get a fascinating, behind-the-scenes glimpse of the most intellectually sophisticated religion in existence.