Faces of the Goddess: exploring images of the divine feminine in medieval kabbalah

Title: Faces of the Goddess: Exploring Images of the Divine Feminine in Medieval Kabbalah
(6 sessions)
Instructor: Rabbi Sarah Gershuny
Program: Open Circle Jewish Learning Texts and Traditions
Day and Time: Wednesdays, 8:00-9:30 pm Eastern; 6:00-7:30 pm Mountain
Dates: 2/21, 2/28, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20, 3/27, 2024
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $240

Many people think that Goddess-worship is a 20th or 21st century Jewish reclamation. However, our mystical tradition has always held a complex picture of divinity, and the kabbalistic Tree of Life explicitly designates certain sefirot, or aspects of the godhead, as “female.” In this class we will dive deep into Shaarei Orah, Gates of Light, a 13th century kabbalistic text written by Rabbi Yosef Gikatilla. Explaining how different Biblical names of God give us clues about the very fabric of reality, Shaarei Orah contains history’s first systematic exposition of the sefirot in text. Through it, we will explore several faces of the Goddess, including the Garden, the Well, the Bride, the Foundation Stone, the Ocean, the Ark, the Mother, the Grapevine, the Moon and of course, the Shechina. Together we will unpack these images of divine presence in the world, discussing how we relate to them and to our understanding of God. All source materials will be provided in a new English translation as well as in the original Hebrew.

Hebrew College Open Circle Jewish Learning is for learners of all backgrounds.

Canadian and other registrants from outside of the US: please email Cindy Bernstein to complete your registration. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Radical Judaisms: Paths Not Taken

Radical Judaisms: Paths Not Taken (5 sessions)
Program: Open Circle Jewish Learning Texts and Tradition
Instructor: Aron Wander
Day and Time: Sundays, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. Eastern
Dates: 2/25, 3/3, 3/10, 3/17, 3/31, 2024
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $200 Scholarships available
Register:
A Kabbalistic Communist, an Orthodox anarchist, a Chabad pacifist — these are some of the characters we’ll meet in “Radical Judaisms: Paths Not Taken.” Each of them sought, in their own way, to blend traditional Jewish text, ritual, and law with a commitment to a dramatically different world. The integrations they proposed may be hard to imagine today, but they were once possible, if perhaps unlikely, paths the Jewish people might have taken. Each week, we’ll look at how one of these thinkers (re)interpreted a Jewish holiday in order to see the ways in which they wove together tradition and utopia, Talmud and revolution, halacha and humanism. What light do their proposals shed on the political choices and compromises Jewish communities have made in the past century? Are there elements of their visions that might still be possible to actualize? What new paths for Judaism will we forge?

Hebrew College Open Circle Jewish Learning is for learners of all backgrounds.

Hebrew College Open Circle Jewish Learning classes are for learners of all backgrounds.

Canadian and other registrants from outside of the US: please email Cindy Bernstein to complete your registration. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Creative Practice Studio in a Jewish Paradigm

Creative Practice Studio in a Jewish Paradigm (6 sessions)
Program: Open Circle Jewish Learning Young Adult/Arts and Culture
Instructor: David Mahfouda
Day and Time: Wednesdays, 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Dates:  3/13, 3/20, 3/27, 4/3, 4/10 & 4/17, 2024
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $150 Scholarships available

In this six-week Zoom and studio course, we will investigate and reflect on our own relationship with creativity — alongside themes that have accompanied creative practice and the Jewish imagination for millennia. We will read texts that pertain to: the roles that listening, rest, repair, and praise play in spiritual practice and in the creative process; what happens when creations go out of control; the relationship between artistic freedom and spiritual grace; and the poetics of darkness and light. We will also make small, optional weekly experiments in our own lives and artistic practices, to share with the group if we choose. We will draw liberally from Torah, Talmud, and Jewish liturgy, in addition to texts written by Audrey Lorde, Tara Brach, John Berger, Christopher Alexander, and other contemporary authors and artists.

Hebrew College Open Circle Jewish Learning classes are for learners of all backgrounds.

Canadian and other registrants from outside of the US: please email Cindy Bernstein to complete your registration. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Ani Yosef: I am Joseph

Course Title: Ani Yosef: I am Joseph
Program:
Hebrew College Open Circle Jewish Learning: Texts and Traditions
Instructor:
Naomi Gurt Lind (Read bio)
Day and Time: Sundays 12pm-1:30p.m. Eastern
Dates: March 3, 10, 17, 31, April 7, 2023 (5 sessions)
Session: Winter/Spring 2024
Location:
Online via Zoom
Fee: $200 Financial scholarships available

Ani Yosef: I am Joseph is an exploration of the character of Joseph through Biblical, midrashic, and contemporary literature. Through our engagement with core texts and off-the-beaten-path ones, we will get intimate with the Joseph story and its many teachings about issues that are just as relevant today as they were in the Bible: parental favoritism, the far-reaching consequences of youthful mistakes, assimilation, emotional repression and release, and much more. This is a course for folks who like to read closely, think deeply, and speak reflectively. Our time will be spent in patient reading and thoughtful conversation. Note that the course takes place on five Sunday mornings over six weeks (i.e. there is a skipped week in the middle).

Hebrew College Open Circle Jewish Learning is for learners of all backgrounds.

Canadian and other registrants from outside of the US: please email Cindy Bernstein to complete your registration. We apologize for the inconvenience.