Chabad of Brooklyn Heights
Location 117 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 USA
Phone718-596-4840 x18 or 347-622-3599
Upcoming Course: Judaism: The Soundtrack
Dates & Times
The course date hasn't yet been announced for this location. Please email myJLIinBrooklyn@gmail.com or call 718-596-4840 x18 or 347-622-3599 for more info.
Upcoming Course: Book Smart

A panoramic overview of 3000 years of Jewish learning, this course introduces you to the works that earned us the title “The People of The Book.” You will experience the different genres that shape Jewish life, including Tanach, Midrash, Talmud, Halachah, Philosophy, Kabbalah, Musar, Chasidism, and meet the influential personalities who drove thirty centuries of Jewish scholarship. Whether you’re meeting these texts for the first time or as a seasoned scholar, this course will inform and enrich all your Jewish learning.

Course Details
Lesson 1 The Torah

We begin by addressing the question, “What is the Torah?” We discover how the whole of Jewish teaching (“the Torah” in its broader meaning) derives from the Chumash (“the Torah” in its narrower meaning). We also discuss the relationship between the “Written Torah” and the “Oral Torah,” and how these two components of Torah constitute a “partnership” of Divine revelation and human toil of the mind.

We then introduce the twenty-four books of the Tanach. We explain the differences between Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim, and review the contents of each. We also see how the roots of the different “genres” of Torah—Midrash, Halachah, Kabbalah, Musar, etc.—are all in the “Written Torah,” as will be further demonstrated in each of the next five lessons.

Lesson 2 The Midrash

“Midrash” is both a methodology and a body of literature. In this lesson, we explore both aspects of Midrash. We study the various methods by which additional layers of meaning contained within the words—or between the lines—of the Torah are expounded. We also acquaint ourselves with some of the major Midrashic works that record the expositional teachings by the sages of the Talmudic era (approximately 100 BCE to 500 CE).

Midrash includes Halachic (legal) expositions, which extrapolate the details of the Torah’s laws from the text, as well as Agadic Midrashim—moral, philosophical, and mystical teachings, as well as historical narratives and parables. We study examples from both of these varieties of Midrash, including a number of intricate legal expositions, and an esoteric parable relating to a celestial battle over the creation of the human being and the paradox of goodness and truth.

Lesson 3 The Talmud

More than any other work, the Talmud defines “Jewish learning.” In this lesson, we review the history of the Talmud, explore the structure of this intricate and fascinating work, with its 63 volumes of teachings and deliberations by hundreds of sages over a period of six centuries on virtually every subject under the sun. We also engage in the in-depth study of a Talmudic sugya (“subject discussion”) and experience the unique twists and turns of the Talmudic dialectic.

In the process, we discover how Talmudic learning leverages the “flaws” of the human mind—its circuitous reasoning, its contentiousness, and its inconsistencies—to reveal the multifaceted nature of the Divine wisdom and apply it to the complexities of human life.

Lesson 4 Halachah

Halachah is the “bottom line” of Torah, where the biblical commandments, rabbinical ordinances, and Talmudic deliberations translate into the dos and don’ts of daily life. Halachah addresses every part of a Jew’s life, from waking to bedtime, from birth to burial, from everyday activities to the most extraordinary situations.

In this lesson, we explore the history of Halachah, from its sources in the Written Torah, through the Halachic Midrashim, the Talmud and its commentaries, the various “codes” compiled through the centuries, and the many thousands of Halachic responsa authored through the centuries. We survey the great variety of issues and dilemmas that Halachah addresses. We then bring it all to life via a case study that traces a Halachic issue from its biblical origins through more than a dozen citations across the entire spectrum of Halachic literature.

Lesson 5 Musar and Jewish Philosophy

Musar is the body of Torah teachings that deals with ethics, character development, and spiritual self-improvement. The field of Jewish philosophy, also known as “Chakirah,” includes works devoted to discussing the philosophy and ideology of Judaism. While these constitute two distinct areas of Torah literature, there is also a certain degree of overlap between them; indeed, some of the fundamental works of Jewish philosophy are also works of Musar, and vice versa.

In this lesson, we review the history and the primary authors and works in these two fields. We then study a number of texts covering three related topics in both these fields: the doctrine of creation ex nihilo (“something from nothing”), bitachon (trust in G-d), and the emotion of anger.

Lesson 6 Kabbalah and Chasidism

Kabbalah is the Torah’s mystical dimension, containing its most powerful and empowering ideas. But for many centuries, the teachings of Kabbalah were carefully guarded secrets, transcribed only in the guise of esoteric terminology and metaphors, and taught only to a small, exclusive circle of mystics in each generation. Chasidism is both an extension of Kabbalah as well as a field of Torah in its own right, revealing the inner “soul” that unites the Torah’s various components and applying its most abstract spiritual teachings in personally meaningful ways.

In this lesson, we survey the history of Kabbalah and Chasidism. We address the question of why these teachings were kept secret, and why and how they were eventually revealed. We then explore one of the core subjects of Kabbalah—the doctrine of the “Ten Sefirot”—beginning with a mysterious passage in the Zohar, followed by a series of Kabbalistic and Chasidic texts that examine the great paradox of G-d’s relationship with us, and the body-soul dichotomy that defines our own lives.

Dates & Times
The course date hasn't yet been announced for this location. Please email myJLIinBrooklyn@gmail.com or call 718-596-4840 x18 or 347-622-3599 for more info.
Upcoming Course: Jewpernatural

As we understand the natural world better, we have only grown more fascinated by mysterious topics like the meaning of dreams; the existence of angels, demons, and extraterrestrials; and the power of the evil eye. With record interest inspiring curiosity, dread, and mockery, this course probes the Talmud, Jewish philosophy, and kabbalah to provide Jewish
perspectives and guidance for those curious about these perennial questions.

Course Details
Lesson 1 Dreams & Direction

We all dream as we slumber, but do the scenes of our dreams impart messages with lasting significance? And can we control our own dreams, perhaps to reduce nightmares and the like?

In this lesson, students will learn that traditional Jewish sources assert that the degree of meaning our dreams contain correlates with the degree of focus and meaning of our daytime thoughts. The occurrence of nightmares can be reduced through improving the quality of our daytime thoughts, strengthening our faith, and developing a positive Jewish bedtime ritual.

The lesson underlines the basic Jewish belief that there is no destiny that cannot be changed. Even if we are convinced that a particular dream forebodes negative events, we should know that prayer and good deeds can change any destiny.

Lesson 2 Stars & Signs

Since the dawn of time, the endless sea of twinkling planetary configurations has been read to shed the secrets of individual Homo sapiens, or to eavesdrop on the celestial pulling of puppet strings attached to our lives. Do the stars in fact influence our natures or provide information regarding our unknown futures?

This lesson shows that there is strong—although not unanimous—support in Jewish sources for the basic validity of astrology. However, any Jewish belief in astrology is tempered by the fundamental Jewish beliefs that human beings always retain free choice regarding their moral conduct, and no destiny is absolute. As a result, even the Jewish authorities that give astrology some validity caution us not to turn to it for information, and to focus instead on faith in G-d, Who shapes our destinies based on our actions.

Lesson 3 Jinx & The Evil Eye

Cultures across the map and down the eras have maintained a belief in the negative powers of an “evil eye” and curses, and produced diverse methods of protection from it. What does Judaism have to say? Is there an evil eye, and what might be its effect? Can people harm others by cursing them?

In this lesson, students will learn that there is strong—although not unanimous—support in Jewish sources for the notion that the evil eye and curses can have damaging effects.

The most prominent Jewish theory for explaining the effects of evil eyes and curses is that they attract added Heavenly scrutiny to an individual—and therefore an audit of their behavior in relationship to the blessings they have in their lives.

The lesson then demonstrates a corresponding and effective approach to providing protection through being more private and refraining from unnecessarily flaunting our blessings.

Lesson 4 Para & Normal

Is there other intelligent life out there in the universe? Does Judaism believe in angels and demons? Can we communicate with the souls of our deceased loved ones?

This lesson teaches that the question of the existence of extraterrestrial life does not have serious theological ramifications in Judaism, and there are traditional sources either way. The important Jewish principle is that we human beings are the purpose of creation.

Regarding angels, traditional sources describe them as spiritual entities that play a role in processing prayers to G-d and His flow of blessings to us. Demons are depicted as impure spiritual forces that cause harm. But both angels and demons lack any independent authority, and thus they should not be subjects of our focus. It is we humans, created in the image of G-d with the gift of free choice, that have the most meaningful relationship with G-d.

Finally, students will learn that Judaism believes that the human soul is eternal and continues to exist after death. We can “communicate” with the deceased by performing good deeds in their honor, thereby giving them pleasure and advancing them in their new world, but any form of direct communication with the spirits of the dead is forbidden by Torah law.

Dates & Times
The course date hasn't yet been announced for this location. Please email myJLIinBrooklyn@gmail.com or call 718-596-4840 x18 or 347-622-3599 for more info.
Endorsements Endorsements, Reviews and Comments of JLI's Courses and Programs.
Past Courses

The Kabbalah of You

October 2012
The Kabbalah of You

 Are you all you can be? How can you unleash the infinite power of your soul within? This course provides a mystical roadmap to living a life of happiness, fulfillment, and self-actualization by revealing how you can thrive and be more than just alive.

The Art of Marriage

May 2012
The Art of Marriage

Judaism views a loving marriage as a spiritual as well as a human ideal. 

“The Art of Marriage” is a six session course that will show participants how to attain that for themselves and their spouses, with timeless lessons from both modern and ancient Jewish texts such as the Talmud and Zohar.

 

 

Living with Integrity

February 2013
Living with Integrity

Are you obliged to keep all commitments? What are the responsibilities of the sandwich generation? Are the ungracious deserving of our charity? How far should we go to give the benefit of the doubt? A discussion on personal ethics and the Jewish view on laws that test the limits of our integrity.

This course is eligible for CLE credits in the following US States: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

This course is also eligible for CPD credits in England and British Columbia.

Life in the Balance

November 2013
Life in the Balance

Modern medicine has brought us near miracles. It's also brought us some of the most difficult decisions we'll ever have to face. Are we obliged to prolong life even at the cost of terrible suffering? Should we legalize the sale of organs, such as kidneys, to save the lives of transplant patients? May a woman with a multiple-fetus pregnancy opt for fetal reduction, thus forfeiting the lives of some to possibly save others? When it seems that every available option is morally questionable, how do we decide?

 

Paradigm Shift

May 2014
Paradigm Shift

Paradigm Shift is an elevator ride to the heights of what is possible. Synchronize yourself with the mission for which you were placed on earth, and learn to recognize the inherent goodness and perfection in yourself, in others, and in every circumstance of your life.

Distilled into six succinct lessons, this empowering course offers a revolutionary outlook on life, culled from the wisdom of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory.

This course is offered in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Rebbe’s passing.

To Be a Jew in the Free World

February 2014
To Be a Jew in the Free World

What was it like for our ancestors to say goodbye to the shtetl, to set out to discover new lives for themselves, along with all of the liberties the free world had to offer? At the dawn of the enlightenment, how did our parents adapt their Judaism to the developments of a modern age? And what can we learn from their struggles to connect deeply with our own Jewish identities?

 

 

Money Matters

February 2012
Money Matters

Is Judaism socialist or capitalist? Who is responsible for preventing poverty? Is unionization a Jewish ideal? Must Walmart pay its workers a livable wage? Where would you draw the line? An ethical, Talmudic, and legal debate on the economic issues of our time.

Fascinating Facts

November 2011
Fascinating Facts

Does Judaism believe in guardian angels? Why do Jews use matchmakers? Who wrote the handwriting on the wall? A fun course in Jewish cultural literacy, full of surprising facts, myths, and mysteries surrounding Jewish tradition and practice.

The Land and the Spirit

November 2007
The Land and the Spirit

Explore the spirit of a land that has pulsed with energy and mystery since the dawn of time, a land that has captured our imagination throughout history, a land that breathes with the glory of our past and the dreams of our future. Join us as we examine what Israel was meant to be, and what Israel means to us today.

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.

MyShiur: Tractate Shabbat

February 2010
MyShiur: Tractate Shabbat

Medicine and Morals

November 2010
Medicine and Morals

- A man wonders if his dying father should remain on life support.
What would you do?

 - A parent wonders if they should tell their child he has a potentially serious genetic disorder.
What would you do?

 - A woman wonders if she’s morally obligated to give a kidney to her cousin who has to undergo dialysis daily.
What would you do?

Chances are, like most people, you don’t know what you would do — or even where you would turn for guidance. But with medicine’s increasing role in our lives, most of us will have to face such issues at some point or another.

That’s why you’ll want to know about a remarkable new course called Medicine and Morals: Your Jewish Guide through Life’s Tough Decisions. It’s based on two premises: (1) that Jewish wisdom has much to say about these matters; and (2) that the best time to deal with them is now, while the pressure is off.

Actually, there’s a third premise: that today's complex medical issues are fascinating, profound, and likely to kick up amazingly lively classroom discussion.

No easy questions. No easy answers. Medicine and Morals, is your chance to get real with the subject of medical ethics —discuss actual case histories, and get a sense of direction to weather the toughest challenges you’ll ever face.

Medicine and Morals: Your Jewish Guide through Life’s Tough Decisions, coming this October to your local JLI chapter.


This course is eligible for CLE credits in the following US States: Alabama, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin

Canadian physicians attending this activity may record MOC (Maintenance of Certification) Section 1 credits.

This course is approved for CPD (Continuing Professional Development) credits in the United Kingdom by the Royal College of Physcians for medical professionals, and by both The Law Society and the Bar Standards Board for Solicitors and Barristers. Special thanks to the United Kingdom Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (UKAJLJ).

Oasis in Time

May 2011
Oasis in Time

We invite you to explore the mystical, psychological, social, and cultural dimensions of Shabbat as we unlock a model for achieving balance and serenity in the modern age.

Over six weeks, we’ll uncover timeless principles for how to achieve a life of inner peace while making each workday more productive and fulfilling.

Sign up today for a remarkable experience.

Toward A Meaningful Life

February 2011
Toward A Meaningful Life

Life can be a treadmill - as we go through the motions day after day without ever asking why or seeking what really matters to us. This course, prepared by the author of the best-selling book, Toward a Meaningful Life, is determined to change that. Here are strategies, tips, and suggestions for not only discovering where your true meaning lies, but in actually making it a part of your daily existence. Whether you are dealing with family relationships or job satisfaction, this course  will help you look beyond a crisis to find the lessons within. Most important of all, these sessions will help you see life as the mysterious, challenging, and satisfying wonder that it really is.

Beyond Belief

February 2008
Beyond Belief

Our beliefs color the way we see the world and help us to make sense of the inevitable challenges that confront us. The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute's upcoming winter course, Beyond Belief: Reflections on Jewish Faith, Reason, and Experience, is designed to help students take a closer look at how Jewish beliefs can help bring meaning to their lives and guide their choices.