Jewish Learning Institute explores origins of Judaism starting May 6 in Rancho Santa Fe

Posted Thursday, Apr 30th, 2015

 The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute will present “Judaism Decoded: The Origins and Evolution of Jewish Tradition,” a six-week spring course that will uncover the formula that has sustained Jewish tradition for millennia.

Rabbi Levi Raskin of Chabad Jewish Center of RSF will conduct the course sessions at 7 p.m. Wednesdays starting May 6.

“Just as science follows the scientific method, Judaism has its own system to ensure authenticity remains intact,” explained Rabbi Zalman Abraham of JLI’s New York headquarters. “We wanted to shed light on the mystery that surrounds biblical interpretations. This really is an eye-opening course.”

With the world changing at a rapid pace, “Judaism Decoded” tackles the intricate questions of whether rabbis can unilaterally change Torah, and how Jewish tradition reacts to new circumstances and modern-day dilemmas.

“Judaism Decoded” is “an extraordinarily sophisticated examination of Talmudic methodology, tackling the toughest questions about the nature and legitimacy of rabbinic law,” said Dr. Eugene Kontorovich, a law professor at Northwestern University and contributor to the influential Volokh Conspiracy law blog. The course, he said, combines “high academic rigor with fundamental rooting in Jewish tradition.”

“Judaism encourages us to question,” added Rabbi Levi Raskin, the local JLI instructor in RSF. “Torah law is built on a complex source code, and we’re going to examine it in detail. But we’re going to reach back even further: How do we even know the Torah is true in the first place?

“This course is going to address these controversial questions head-on. I don’t think anyone will want to miss this.”

Like all previous JLI programs, “Judaism Decoded” is designed to appeal to people at all levels of Jewish knowledge, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning. All 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 858-756-7571or visit for registration and other course-related information. JLI courses are presented in Rancho Santa Fe in conjunction with the Chabad Jewish Center of RSF.

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