Great Debates That Rocked Jewish World Coming to West Hartford

Posted Wednesday, Oct 25th, 2017

 WEST HARTFORD — Chabad of Greater Hartford will be hosting an exploration of 2000 years of Jewish history through the lens of six epic debates that rocked the Jewish world and still resound powerfully today.

Beginning Monday Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m., Chabad of Greater Hartford will be offering a new six-session course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, titled Great Debates in Jewish History.
In commemoration of 70 years since the discovery of the first Dead Sea Scroll in November of 1957, the community is invited to examine and unlock the stories of these ancient manuscripts and what their texts reveal about the heated dispute between the Dead Sea Sect and the Jewish establishment.
“Judaism welcomes debate and discourse,” said Rabbi Shaya Gopin of Chabad, who will be instructing this series.
Great Debates in Jewish History raises such questions as:
• Why were the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls opposed to rabbinic interpretation?
• What motivated the rebels at Masada? And what is the Jewish perspective on taking up arms in situations where defeat is inevitable?
What role does nationalism play in Judaism?
• Are faith and reason are mutually exclusive? What motivated the anti-Maimonideans in banning — and even burning — some of Maimonides’s works?
• And is religion designed to be a private and personal experience, or one to be proudly paraded in the public domain?
“Our goal is to invite participants to seek out the rationale behind both sides of each debate — even sides they may disagree with,” explained Rabbi Gopin. “In doing so, we hope to unite the community around the very issues that have divided us for so long,”
Like all JLI programs, this course is designed to appeal to people at all levels of 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 860-232-1116 or visit for registration and for other course-related information.
The first session is 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 30 and is open to the public for free without any need to commit to the entire series.
The sessions take place at Chabad of Greater Hartford, 2352 Albany Avenue in West Hartford.
The fee for the series is $99.

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