JLI to offer “Jewpernatural” course in May

The Chabad Center will offer the four-week Rohr Jewish Learning Institute course “Jewpernatural: Signs, Spirits and Superstitions in Jewish Belief,” which explores the Jewish perspective on dreams, astrology, spirits and other mysteries. The course will begin on Monday, May 1, at 7 pm, and will be offered in person at the Chabad Center, as well as virtually. The cost for the course, which will meet on four consecutive Mondays, is $79 per person or $159 for a couple. A second class section, which would meet virtually beginning at 8:45 pm on the same Monday nights, may be offered if there is enough demand. To register, e-mail rshea@chabadofbinghamton.com or visit MyJLI.com. People are asked to register early in order to make certain course books are available for all participants. 

“Paranormal beliefs are rising fast,” said organizers of the course. “In 2016, 46 percent of Americans reported believing in ghosts, according to Chapman University. That figure has risen to 57 percent; since the pandemic, one in five Americans say they’ve personally met a ghost. And it’s not just ghosts. Topics like astrology, dream interpretation and psychic abilities are rapidly becoming mainstream.”

“The Jewish tradition has probed these issues for three millennia,” said Rivkah Slonim, course instructor. “These are legitimate questions that deserve meaningful and satisfying answers.”
Slonim added that the new course will address the “anxiety driven interest” in the paranormal. “We won’t get bogged down in the spooky details,” Slonim said, “and we can’t claim to provide absolute certainty. But we will discuss how we can find comfort and refocus our energy on what matters most.”

The trend toward the paranormal encompasses a broad spectrum of beliefs, including jinxes, demons, spirits, communicating with the deceased and astrology. “Jewpernatural” will address everything from the role of angels and the efficacy of the “evil eye” to whether the stars have much to say about your future. 

“We’re tackling a wide array of ideas,” said Slonim, “but after reviewing the materials, I’m confident we’ll be able to offer a thoughtful, satisfying, and relevant perspective rooted in authentic Jewish thought.”

JLI offers programs in 11 languages at more than 1,600 international locations in 41 U.S. states and 28 countries on five continents. More than 400,000 students have attended JLI classes since it was founded in 1998.