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Chabad Course Explores Israel's Spiritual Side
The Atlanta Jewish Times
Posted Monday, Oct 15th, 2007

Chabad Course Explores Israel's Spiritual Side
Friday, October 05, 2007

Rabbi Ari Sollish
A new six-part adult-education course from Chabad-Lubavitch's Rohr Jewish Learning Institute will explore the spiritual connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel starting at the end of October.

Unlike courses that focus on the history or the culture of Israel, "The Land & the Spirit: Why We All Care About Israel" will explore the mystery of the deep connection between Jews everywhere and that small patch of land in the Middle East.

"Many people love their homes and their countries, but once they relocate, that love begins to fade," said Rabbi Ari Sollish, the director of Chabad Intown's Intown Jewish Academy. "Yet no matter where they have lived, Jews have continued to dream about the land of Israel. 'The Land & the Spirit' looks to answer why that dream has persisted across borders and generations."

The course looks at the central place of the Holy Land in the mission of the Jewish people throughout history. It addresses what it means for a land to be holy and the implications for the people living within that land and living in exile from it for millennia.

"Whatever their political bent, people all across the globe have an opinion about Israel, whether positive or negative," said Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman, the director of Chabad Intown. "Whether people feel hope or despair, pride or concern, people care about Israel. By probing the spiritual connection Jews have with the Holy Land, we hope our students will come away with appreciation for why Israel matters so much to them."

The classes will explore what Israel was meant to be and what it means for Jews today and in the future. Each class examines a topic by taking the class to a particular place in the Holy Land. The lesson plan:

• "The Promised Land" - Visit Beersheva to learn why God promised Israel to the descendants of Abraham before a Jewish nation existed.

• "Living on the Land" - Visit Hebron to learn about life in Temple times and the contradictions of that life.

• "The Holy Land" - Visit Tiberias to learn what it means for a land to be holy.

• "Whose Land Is It Anyway?" - A visit to the West Bank city of Nablus (Shechem) raises issues of who has a legitimate claim to the land.

• "A Land Like Other Lands?" - A visit to the city of Safed shows how Israel and the Jewish people are meant to be distinct and serve as a beacon to the world.

• "Israel and the Diaspora" - A visit to Jerusalem shows how Israel remains a part of us and our future, regardless of whether we live there.

"The Land & the Spirit" is being offered by Chabad Intown and Chabad of Cobb on six Tuesdays starting Oct. 30 and at Chabad of Alpharetta and Congregation Beth Tefillah in Sandy Springs on six Wednesdays starting Oct. 31. The cost is $79 in Alpharetta and Sandy Springs, $89 in Cobb, and $99 intown, with discounts available for couples. Registration includes a student textbook.

"We are so sure that people will enjoy it," Rabbi Sollish said, "that we invite anyone interested to attend the first lesson free, with no obligation."

To learn more about the course and to register, visit myjli.com/index.php, or contact Rabbi Sollish at abbiari@chabadintown.org or (404) 242-8838.

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