In his parting instructions to his people, Moses stresses the importance of historical perspective, for the present is an outgrowth of our past. By studying history, we are able to relate to current issues with greater understanding.
The story of the Jewish people is a story of a nation that has contributed to world history far more than might be expected from its small numbers. Indeed, it is remarkable how often the Jews have been found at the epicenter of world events. Many surveys of Jewish history have responded to this fact by considering the impact of Jews upon other nations and their contributions to history at large.
This course, however, looks at the Jewish encounter with other cultures in light of what these interactions have meant to us as Jews. The protean ability of the Jewish people to adapt to wildly different contexts has growing relevance to all of us as we enter an era of globalization and increasingly permeable borders.
This April, the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute is proud to launch a new course, "Flashbacks in Jewish History." Each of the six lessons considers the Jewish people as they grapple with surrounding cultures. Rather than focus on the geopolitical, we have kept an eye towards themes that resonate with contemporary Jewish experience. We expect even those students who do not consider themselves history enthusiasts to find the readings compelling and relevant.
We yearn to feel happy, self-assured, and enthusiastic, yet we’re consumed by feelings of doubt, regret, insecurity, and suffering. Do our delicate positive emotions have a fighting chance at being in control? This course explores negative emotions in a completely new light, offering spiritual mechanisms that allow us to remain upbeat no matter what life brings.
Addressing Impostor Syndrome
Positive emotions are paramount for successful living, but genuine happiness and contentment are highly elusive. A common challenge is discomfort with our own accomplishments simply because we feel hypocritical. This lesson explores why positivity is critical, charts a path to tackling impediments to happier living, and unveils the means of embracing and effectively expressing our innate authenticity.
Addressing Shame, Frustration, and Feelings of Inadequacy
Self-disappointment can be debilitating: we long to view ourselves as ethical individuals but are frustrated at perpetually wrestling with character flaws such as pettiness, greed, thoughtlessness, anger, lack of integrity, or spiritual insensitivity. Reflecting on our flaws produces a destructive sense of shame and inadequacy. This lesson explains the intended role of character flaws in the human condition and explores methods of maintaining genuine optimism and positivity despite their lingering presence.
Addressing Unhealthy Guilt
We all slip up at times, sometimes drastically, and it is natural and healthy to experience regret or guilt. However, if such emotions become paralyzing and distressful, they seriously impede our efforts to maintain positive and successful living. This lesson explores the inner workings of guilt and regret and delivers a transformative method of tackling guilt and spinning it into a catalyst for positive change.
Addressing Pain, Anguish, and Anxiety
Harsh reality can bring genuine suffering and sadness, swiftly deflating the most optimistic attitudes. Well-meaning reminders that time heals, or that G-d knows what is best, do little to heal the searing pain of open wounds. This lesson explores methods of shifting our internal perspectives to allow the sun to shine in our lives despite the stark reality of our suffering.
Finding Happiness and Fulfillment
Despite considering ourselves successful in terms of health, finances, and relationships, we sometimes fall into a funk, feeling unexplainably lackadaisical or unhappy. This lesson explores the inner workings of happiness and examines our instinctive methods of securing satisfaction. It then delivers a shift in perspective that sets a workable goal of inner contentment and fulfillment.
Remodeling Our Approach to Love and Relationships
Relationships are the most rewarding and challenging features of human life. Healthy relationships are critical to positive emotions, but they are highly elusive. This lesson introduces a significant shift in the way we view the foundation upon which all of our relationships are based. This new perspective empowers us to enjoy better, lasting, and more genuine relationships, even with individuals with whom we share little in common.
Once considered preposterous, many of Judaism’s revolutionary teachings are today’s universal values that are taken for granted. The history of the gradual transition of attitudes on values is as instructive as it is fascinating. An analysis of Jewish contributions past and present allows us to define ways in which Judaism can continue serving as a beacon of light and wisdom for all humanity.
The Bible is rich in tales, from the Garden of Eden to Noah’s Ark, from the selling of Joseph to Moses’s breaking of the Tablets. But what do these stories truly tell us? Review six famous and infamous biblical stories, and investigate the questions and mysteries they raise under the lens of the Torah’s mystical insights. The results bear both cosmic significance and practical relevance.