Jewish Community Center
Location 1160 Dickinson St., Springfield, MA 01108 USA
Phone413-348 4978
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 RabbiWolff@ChabadSpringfield.org or call 413-348 4978 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 RabbiWolff@ChabadSpringfield.org or call 413-348 4978 for more info.
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Past Courses

Beyond Never Again

April 2010
Beyond Never Again

Explore the ways in which the Holocaust continues to affect our generation and colors what it means to live as a Jew today. 

The Holocaust forces us to grapple with the existence of evil and suffering. It challenges us to find faith and optimism in the face of devastation and despair. And it humbles us as we encounter heroes of the spirit who fought for truth and decency in the darkest of times..

הורות

January 2015
הורות

As parents, we worry about the well-being of our kids; about their future, and about our role in shaping it. In The Art of Parenting, we scale the challenges that face us as parents and explore timeless insights from Jewish wisdom to instill values, foster independence, and ensure the long-term success and emotional well-being of our children.

Survival of a Nation

May 2017
Survival of a Nation

Experience an inspiring and thrilling account of what was then considered the most improbable and astonishing victory in all of military history.

Drawing on ideas of great Jewish writers and thinkers from throughout the ages, Survival of a Nation presents the Six-Day War as you’ve never experienced it before.

Its six sessions confront the impossible yet important questions of our time with affectionate and fervent patriotism, while also remaining realistic, and morally anchored.

What Is?

April 2018
What Is?

Imagine that you were able to rethink everything you knew about the universe, the laws of nature, your own consciousness, and the very idea of existence and reality. Imagine the new insights you will gain, the fresh perspective with which you will embark on the journey of life each morning.

What is? does exactly that. Drawing on the wisdom of Chassidic teaching, the most basic building blocks of existence are reexamined from the bottom up, revolutionizing our understanding of life, reality, and our place in the world.

From Sinai to Cyberspace

May 2006
From Sinai to Cyberspace

A lot can change in 3,000 years. We've gone from camel backs to Cadillacs, and have entered a world of fast-paced technological advance. We've gone from a Jewish world marked by prophets and pilgrimages to a world where students study Torah in cyber-classrooms and rabbis address ethical question posed by organ transplants.

Yet the elemental questions about our tradition remain the same. How do we know what G-d wants of us in this world? Do we have any evidence that the Bible text is divine and true? How can we understand its cryptic passages? Why are the rabbis so concerned with minute details? Who has the right to interpret the Bible? How do we adapt its laws to modern times and changing influences?

The answers to these questions are addressed in "From Sinai to Cyberspace," the most popular course ever offered by the Jewish Learning Institute. Newly revised on the basis of feedback from students like yourself, this interactive course promises to intrigue and inspire as you explore the history and development of Jewish law and tradition.

The journey "From Sinai to Cyberspace" represents the inner story of our lives and of our people. We invite you to join us for the ride.

Talmudic Ethics

May 2008
Talmudic Ethics

This course is eligible for CLE credits in the following US States: AL, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, KS, MN, MO, NC, NV, NM, NY, OH, OR, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, WA and WI


When your heart is pulled in two directions, how do you know which tug to follow? The Talmud lays down principles that can help you disentangle warring intuitions so that you can clearly discern right from wrong. In this course, we invite you to experience the fascinating application of law and logic as the rabbis struggle to determine what is just.

The Kabalah of Time

February 2006
The Kabalah of Time

Examine time and the Jewish calendar through the mystical lens of Kabbalah. Time is a profound organizing element of our existence, and the cycle of the Jewish calendar provides a powerful template for personal growth.

Discover both a practical understanding of the structure of the Jewish calendar as well as mystical insights into recurrent patterns of time.

You Be the Judge

November 2006
You Be the Judge

States approved to offer CLE Credits: AL, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, IN, MN, MO, NC, NM, NV, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, WA

For over a thousand years, our mostimportant cultural activity has been the study of Talmud. It has sustained us through persecution and exile, shaping the discourse of our people and serving as the crowning achievement of our intellectual tradition. Perhaps you have been curious about the Talmud, but thought it was complex and inaccessible to anyone lacking extensive training. Not anymore. This fall, the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute is proud to launch "You Be the Judge," an innovative introduction to this magnificent work. You need no prior knowledge of the Talmud and no formal legal training. There are no prerequisites other than an open mind. "You Be the Judge" presents you with real cases brought before Beit Din, the court system of Jewish law. We provide the primary source texts from Talmud and put you in the driver's seat. You will have the opportunity to question, discuss, and argue, based on principle and precedent. You will experience firsthand the exhilarating mental exploration that characterizes traditional Talmud study. Join us this fall in the ancient study halls of Jerusalem and Babylonia. Add your voice to other voices that span the millennia. You take the lead. You Be the Judge.

The Kabbalah of Character

January 2007
The Kabbalah of Character

You are unlike any person who has ever lived before. How can you make the most of the gifts you have been given?
 
The Kabbalah of Character, a new and expanded revision of our popular course "Soul Powers," is designed to help you understand the unique mix of qualities that define your individuality. Drawing on the organizational structure of the Kabbalah, this course examines the nature of the human soul created in the image of G-d.

The Kabbalah of Character is not a quick-fix. You won't learn how to become a perfect person in eight easy lessons. But you will learn strategies for making changes that are lasting and real. Authored by Rabbi Moshe Miller, noted scholar of Kabbalah, the course invites you to choose from among a wealth of reflective approaches to chart your own path to personal growth. It includes wisdom to amaze you and stories to inspire you, as well as journal exercises and practical tools to help you apply the lessons to your own life.
So spend eight weeks learning the secrets that will help you unlock your inner potential.
Because you won't know what you can be... until you hold a mirror to your soul.

Flashbacks In Jewish History

April 2007
Flashbacks In Jewish History

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.

Biblical Reflections

May 2009
Biblical Reflections

Everybody loves a good story. A good story takes hold of the imagination and provides a window into the human soul.

The stories of the book of Genesis are the oldest stories in the world, yet they continue to inspire countless retellings and adaptations. They retain their power because they deal with the most powerful of human motives: the quests for love, purpose, identity, and redemption. They also explore the inner obstacles that threaten these goals: lust, greed, hatred and jealousy.

When you explore these stories, you will identify with characters who grapple with the feelings and dilemmas that are at the heart of the human experience. You will see how their stories are also the stories of YOUR life, reflecting your joy and your pain, your struggles and your victories. And you will learn how the Torah’s eternal values provide insight that helps you respond more thoughtfully as you face critical moments of your own.