Where Does the Soul Go After It Departs This World?

Posted Wednesday, Oct 21st, 2015

JLI offers a new course in Lafayette on the spiritual side of existence
Submitted by Rabbi Dovber Berkowitz

Some questions are universal to the human experience. Is there life after death? What happens to the soul after we die? What is it like for those who have traveled over to the Great Beyond? These are but a few of the questions addressed in the newest course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI).

Beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, JLI will present "The Journey of the Soul," the institute's new six-session course conducted by Rabbi Dovber Berkowitz of Chabad of Contra Costa at the Contra Costa Jewish Day School, 955 Risa Road in Lafayette. The course will also be offered at 10 a.m. at Chabad of Contra Costa 1671 Newell Ave. in Walnut Creek.

"Journey of the Soul" provides spiritual insight into the soul's journey through life, death, and beyond, as well as ancient Jewish wisdom that sheds light on the philosophical, emotional, and practical aspects of coping with death and mourning.

"Science knows very little about the soul and what happens to it post mortem," said Berkowitz. "It's about what is truly valuable and meaningful in life, which is relevant to everyone, and many have expressed their curiosity to learn about the topic, so we're expecting a very good turnout."

Death of a loved one puts us in touch with our mortality, and often changes our perspective of life, explains Jay Lewis, manager of Gan Shalom Cemetery in Briones and managing funeral director of Sinai Memorial Chapel in Lafayette, which is a sponsor of the course. "Despite this daunting reality, I find that many people want to explore how Judaism addresses these important matters," Lewis said. 

Professor Sheldon Solomon of Skidmore College, who co-authored the book "The Worm at the Core: On the role of Death in Life," said, "This course strikes me as a very fine juxtaposition of ancient theological wisdom with contemporary empirical science. My sense is that this will be an interesting and rewarding educational and personal experience." 

The course is being offered in joint sponsorship with the Washington School of Psychiatry, enabling medical and mental health professionals to earn up to 7.5 AMA, APA, CBBS, and ASWB continuing education credits for their participation.
Like all previous JLI programs, "Journey of the Soul" 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 (925) 269-9554 or visit www.myJLI.com for registration and other course-related information. JLI courses are presented in Contra Costa in conjunction with Chabad of Contra Costa.


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