New JLI Course To Address Dissonance Between Religion And Western Values

Posted Thursday, Oct 18th, 2018

“Wrestling with Faith,” a new six-session course by the acclaimed Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, will address common challenges people have in their relationship with G-d.

Beginning the week of Oct. 21, participants will examine beliefs in Judaism that many struggle with because they seem primitive or outdated. How can we reconcile scientific findings with ideas that cannot be proven in a lab, or the role of religion regarding gender roles, relationship choices and other such controversial issues.

“We recognize that almost everyone has some degree of skepticism when it comes to religion,” said Rabbi Zally Lazarus of Chabad of West Houston and the Friendship Circle of Houston.

“We’ve created this course for participants to think critically about these challenges – to approach them with an array of insightful perspectives – so we can articulate our beliefs to ourselves and to the next generation with clarity and conviction.”

“Wrestling with Faith” explores questions such as: Why do I need G-d if I can live perfectly well without Him? Does G-d really care about the nuances of Jewish practice? Doesn’t the concept of “Jewish chosenness” seems racist?

How can we relate to a loving and caring G-d amid the experience of tragedy and suffering? How do we reconcile compelling evidence for evolution and the age of the universe with a Bible that tells a different story? And, is it even possible to develop a relationship with a G-d I cannot perceive with my five senses?

“People often deal with such issues by going on the defense,” explained Rabbi Lazer Lazaroff, director of Chabad of Texas Medical Center and Aishel House. “In this course, we stay away from that. Instead, we embrace the challenges wholeheartedly and seek a broader context through which to understand the issues.”

Jennifer Wiseman, a senior astrophysicist and the director of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion, commented about the course: “At a time when science and technology dominate the mechanics and framing of our modern lives, it is more important than ever to ask the bigger questions of life’s purpose and values.

This course enables the seeker to embrace the achievements of modern science, while seeking the higher gifts of wisdom, meaning and a personal relationship with G-d.”

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.

For more information or to register, go to or contact a nearby Chabad House, above.

Wrestling with Faith classes begin week of Oct. 21

Sundays, 10 a.m.
Chabad Outreach Center
11000 Fondren Rd.
Rabbi Moishe Traxler, instructor

Sundays, 10 a.m.
Chabad of Sugar Land
4501 Cartwright Rd., Ste 770
Missouri City
Rabbi Mendel Feigenson, instructor

Mondays, 7 p.m.
CHAI Learning Center of West Houston
12645 Whittington Dr.
Rabbi Zally Lazarus, instructor

Mondays, 7:30 p.m.
The Shul of Bellaire
5307 Bissonnet St.
Rabbi Yossi Zaklikofsky, instructor

Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m.
Chabad of Uptown
4311 Bettis Dr.
Rabbi Moishe Traxler, instructor

Tuesdays, 7:15 p.m.
Chabad of The Woodlands
25823 Budde Rd. The Woodlands
Rabbi Mendel Blecher, instructor

Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m.
Chabad of Sugar Land
4501 Cartwright Rd., Ste 770
Missouri City
Rabbi Mendel Feigenson, instructor

Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m.
Chabad of the Bay Area
2047 W. Main St.
League City
Rabbi Yitzchok Schmukler, instructor

Wednesdays, 7:30 p.m.
Chabad of Texas Medical Center
1955 University Blvd.
Rabbi Lazer Lazaroff, instructor

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