Chabad course in RSF explores life, death and the afterlife

Posted Friday, Jan 15th, 2021

This winter, Rabbi Levi Raskin of Chabad Jewish Center in Rancho Santa Fe will offer Journey of the Soul, a new six-session course by the acclaimed Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) that will answer a question which has occurred to every self-reflective person: What happens when we die?

Beginning Monday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m., students who enroll in this course will embark on a journey that will edify them and put them at ease with the topics of life and the afterlife. Practical and powerful, reflective and relatable, Journey of the Soul teaches a Jewish perspective on life that begins before birth and lasts well after a person’s passing.

The course will be offered over Zoom. Sign in information will be provided at the time of enrollment.

“Death is both mysterious and inevitable,” said Raskin. “Understanding death as a continuation of life reveals the holiness of life while putting everything in a dramatically new context. The soul is on one long journey that is greater than each particular chapter.”

Journey of the Soul considers what happens to the soul at birth and again at death, whether there is a “better place” after this one, whether our loved ones continue to connect with us, the Jewish understanding of reincarnation, and how to relate to an afterlife even if we’re not spiritual.

The subtitle of Journey of the Soul, “How to look at life, death, and the rest—in peace,” is indicative of an approach to the topic which is at once serious, but also relaxed and sometimes whimsical.

“The topic of death and the afterlife is one that has always fascinated thinking people,” explained Rabbi Naftali Silberberg of JLI’s Brooklyn, New York, headquarters. “But particularly during these tumultuous times when, sadly, so many have lost loved ones to COVID, the need has become even more pressing for a course that presents the uplifting Jewish perspective on mortality, death, and the afterlife.”

Dr. John Martin Fischer, distinguished professor of philosophy, University of California, Riverside, finds Journey of the Soul to be “of interest to any human being, since we all think about dying, death, and the afterlife. . . . The Jewish tradition offers unique answers to the intellectual issues and also strategies for coming to terms with death. I highly recommend the course.” Dr. Simon Shimshon Rubin, director of the International Center for the study of Loss, Bereavement, and Human Resilience at the University of Haifa considers Journey of the Soul “a timely and timeless opportunity [that] cannot help but deepen our appreciation of human connections and the way in which we find and make meaning in life.”

As with all of JLI’s programs, Journey of the Soul 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 synagogue, temple, or other house of worship.

People interested in participating may call 858-756-7571 or visit for registration and for other course-related information.

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