Program Planned to Address Relevance of Judaism in Modern Society

Posted Tuesday, Jan 21st, 2014

The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute will present "To Be a Jew in the Free World: Jewish Identity Through the Lens of Modern History" in February.

Rabbi Shalom Paltiel, spiritual leader of Chabad of Port Washington, will conduct the program's six course sessions at 10 a.m. on six consecutive Sundays beginning February 2, at the Chabad House, 80 Shore Rd., in Port Washington.

Paltiel said the objective of the course is to initiate a discussion about Jewish identity, its relevance and what people can do to make it something children and grandchildren will cherish for generations.

“A recent PEW study exposed that 22 percent of Jews identify as ‘Jews with no religion’ and for many, this is a clear indication that the landscape of Jewish identity is changing rapidly” said Paltiel. 

Participants will confront questions of allegiance and issues in which Judaism and contemporary society appear to be in conflict. Looking into the past, the course explores a series of case studies, such as arguments made in the 1650s to convince Oliver Cromwell to readmit Jews to England, and how Ulysses S. Grant’s 1862 expulsion of the Jews became a defining issue in his presidential election.

“The subject of identity is close to the hearts of many in our Jewish community, yet it’s a subject that is rarely discussed nowadays.” said the rabbi. “The course provides a rare opportunity to address this issue that will benefit the wider community of Port Washington, and we invite everyone to attend.”

According to event organizers, the program is designed to appeal to people at all levels of Jewish knowledge, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning. All JLI courses are open to the public, and attendees need not be affiliated with a particular synagogue, temple, or other house of worship.

Interested students may call (516) 767-8672, email [email protected], or visit for registration and other course-related information.

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