Chabad offers JLI course “Journey of the Soul”

Chabad of Binghamton will offer “Journey of the Soul,” a new six-session course by the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute that will seek to answer a question that occurs to many self-reflective people: “What happens when we die?” The six-week course, which will be offered on successive Mondays at two time slots, 7-8:30 pm and 8:45-10:15 pm, will begin on Monday, February 1. The course will be offered over Zoom. Sign-in information will be provided to enrolled participants. 

“Death is both mysterious and inevitable,” said Rivky Slonim, the local JLI instructor. “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. I think this course is a journey that we will all find edifying and reassuring. It is both powerful and practical, reflective and relatable.

“‘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, “ added Slonim. The subtitle of the course, “How to look at life, death, and the rest – in peace,” is indicative of an approach to the topic that 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, NY, 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 at 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.

The cost for the course per person is $59, which includes the text book. People interested in participating must register by calling Chabad at 797-0015 or writing to Registrants should include complete mailing address for receipt of book and indicate their preferred class time slot.

In New York state, physicians and psychologists will be able to earn continuing education credits for this JLI course, which has partnered with Einstein College of Medicine – Montefiore Medical Center. Each class will be a self-standing event for which participants will earn 1.5 credits; participants must be present during the class (they cannot listen to a recording at another time) and must be registered for the continuing education credits before the start of the course. Those interested in earning the credits must indicate that when signing up for the course.

JLI, the adult education branch of Chabad-Lubavitch, offers programs in more than 1,600 international locations in the U.S., Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Panama, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and Venezuela. More than 400,000 students have attended JLI classes since we were founded in 1998.