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From Trauma to Triumph:
The 16th Century Jewish Renaissance of Tsfat
In Person at Hebrew College


From Trauma to Triumph:
The 16th Century Jewish Renaissance of Tsfat

Program: Hebrew College Me’ah Select
Instructor: Rabbi Benjamin Samuels  (Read Bio)
Dates: 6 Mondays, 6/17, 6/24, 7/1, 7/8, 7/15 & 7/22
Time: 9:30-11:30 a.m. EST
Course fee: $300, financial aid is available
Location: In Person at Hebrew College
Hosted by: Hebrew College

At times of crisis, we look for models of resiliency. One such exemplar can be found in 16th century Tzfat, a hillside city in the Upper Galilee of the Land of Israel. In the aftermath of the Spanish Expulsion in 1492, after the Ottomans began to rule the land, a small group of elite scholars endeavored to transmute Jewish national trauma into triumph through an extraordinary spiritual and scholarly renaissance. They aspired to apprehend the mind of God and the medium of God’s involvement in the world through a revolution in mystical understanding (Lurianic Kabbalah). They sought to unify world Jewry and advance the ultimate redemption through the restoration of authentic rabbinic ordination (the Semikha Controversy) and legal codification (Shulkhan Arukh). Through their intense spiritual yearnings and evocative poetry, they inaugurated liturgical and ritual change (our Friday night “Kabbalat Shabbat” service). They wrote biblical and talmudic commentary, moral codes, spiritual diaries, and transmitted oral narratives. In this six-session series, we will study this elite scholar circle, their historical circumstances, spiritual achievements, and enduring legacy. Perhaps we will find in their inspiring model Jewish pathways to redeem our own current Jewish traumas with Jewish renaissance.

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