How Did Judaism Begin?
WILMETTE — Beginning the last week of April, the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) will present Judaism Decoded: The Origins and Evolution of Jewish Tradition, a new six-week spring course that will uncover the unique formula that has sustained Jewish tradition for millennia.
Rabbi Dovid Flinkenstein of Chabad’s Center for Jewish Life and Learning in Wilmette will conduct the six course sessions on Sunday mornings, Monday evenings and Wednesday mornings beginning April 26, at its center on 2904 Old Glenview Rd., Wilmette.
“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 says, combines “high academic rigor with fundamental rooting in Jewish tradition.”
“Judaism encourages us to question,” added Rabbi Flinkenstein, the local JLI instructor in Wilmette. “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 and Bible 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 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 847-251-7707 or visit www.ChabadWilmette.com/JLI for registration and other course-related information. For additional JLI locations visit www.myJLI.com.
JLI, the adult education branch of Chabad Lubavitch, offers programs in more than 350 U.S. cities and in numerous foreign locations, including Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela. More than 260,000 students have attended JLI classes since the organization was founded in 1998.