Soul stirs for guidance in daily lives

Posted Friday, Oct 23rd, 2009

Soul stirs for guidance in daily lives

Six-week course will offer insights for practical spiritual connection

Friday, October 23, 2009

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Beatrice Smith scans the news and the world around her, notices lawlessness, chaos and greed and wonders how to remain spiritual through it all.

It boils down to a one of the many questions relating to the function of the soul, which will be explored in a six-week course offered through Chabad Lubavitch of Staten Island at the Joan and Alan Bernikow Jewish Community Center beginning Nov. 4.

"It all relates to how we transform the physical to the spiritual," said Mrs. Smith, a Willowbrook resident who has completed other courses on spirituality. "We believe we have to bring Godliness into this world, lifting the world to the spiritual level so that it's more holy and we are all closer to God."

Rabbi Shmuel Bendet will lead the latest course, SoulQuest: The Journey Through Life, Death and Beyond, developed by the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI).

Through the Talmud and Kabbalah as well as several other Jewish classic texts, Rabbi Bendet will lead participants to understanding the journey of the soul as the source of life.

"Many people have been given the idea of the soul in religious surroundings but very little fact or information is given about the soul itself," said Rabbi Bendet of Chabad Lubavitch and local JLI instructor.

This world is merely one step in the soul's journey, say course creators.

Death is not the end.

Throughout the course, participants will learn the origins of the soul, where it is going and what it is doing currently. Understanding the different stages of the soul's journey, allows people to live lives our own lives more fully, Bendet said.

The mission of the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute is to inspire Jewish learning worldwide and to transform Jewish life and the greater community through Torah study. The goal is to create a global network of informed students connected by bonds of shared Jewish experience.

While the basis for the teaching is Jewish, the course is open to everyone, regardless of religion, noted Rabbi Bendet.

"We have received consistent requests from students to create a course that addresses these issues of the soul head on," he said. "Sooner or later, everybody must reckon with questions of their own mortality."

Cost is $100 per person or $180 per couple, which includes a textbook. Scholarships available on first-come, first served basis.

The JCC is located at 1466 Manor Rd. Call 718-370-8953 for more information and to register.

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