Beginning on Monday, November 2, at 7 pm, Chabad of Binghamton will offer a six-session course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute titled “Secrets of the Bible: Iconic Stories, Mystical Meanings, and Their Lessons for Life.” The cost for the course that will be held via Zoom is $59 per participant, which includes the textbook.
Interested parties are asked to write to rslonim@Jewishbu.com as soon as possible to register and reserve a textbook; the complete mailing address should be included in the e-mail. Registered participants will be able to receive a link to play back the class at a different time if Monday at 7 pm does not work well for them.
“We are in the midst of a situation that has many of us feeling trapped – physically, emotionally and psychologically. Very little is as it used to be and we pine for ‘normal.’ Without getting too philosophical, I think these times call for us to move beyond all the ‘normal’ and grasp onto something transcendent that can nourish our minds, hearts and souls – and connect us to each other and to something higher,” said Rivkah Slonim. “People tend to read biblical stories as they do primitive mythology. Our course invites participants to look deeper and discover the underlying themes and relevant life lessons that these stories were designed to convey. I think it will be very nourishing.”
The course presents readings of the stories of Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge; Noah and the great flood; the lifelong feud between Jacob and Esau; Joseph’s multicolored coat; the golden calf; and Korach’s rebellion. For each of these stories, it seeks to answer the questions: What is the deeper meaning behind the story? How does it shape the Jewish worldview? And what wisdom does it hold for people today?
Throughout its six sessions, “Secrets of the Bible” will explore life themes, including human subjectivity and bias, the underpinnings of relationships, negotiating spiritual growth with practical impact, why inspiration is fleeting and how to make it last, understanding equality and privilege, and navigating parallel spiritual and material life paths.
“‘Secrets of the Bible’ presents wonderful ancient biblical stories in fresh and modern ways that deal with universal human dilemmas,” explained Dr. Erica Brown, director of the Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership at George Washington University. “The wisdom it shares should not remain a secret.”
“‘Secrets of the Bible’ brings to an intelligent lay readership texts so formative to so many cultures worldwide that they cannot be ignored even by cultures looking on from without,” commented Dr. Joel Rosenberg, a professor of biblical literature at Tufts University. “By embracing post-biblical Jewish tradition, the course recognizes an interpretative process that begins with the Bible itself (interpreting its own past) and goes on to awaken the interpretive impulse in later readers exploring the experience of their own era.”
Like all JLI programs, the course 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 particular synagogue, temple, or other house of worship.
JLI, the adult education branch of Chabad-Lubavitch, offers programs in more than 800 locations in the U.S. and in numerous foreign countries, including Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, 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 the organization was founded in 1998.