Chair - Judy Landman and Judith Turkewitz
One of the hallmarks of life at Shelter Rock is our ongoing commitment to Jewish learning, a commitment that manifests itself in a wide range of different learning opportunities. We try to vary the days and times of our various offerings so as to make it possible for everybody to find at least opportunities for Jewish learning that suit their schedule. And we are always open to new ideas and suggestions regarding broadening the scope of our offerings or creating new opportunities for people to study and to learn. At Shelter Rock, we believe that the thoughtful, focused study of text is one of the great avenues Jewish people may travel toward spiritual growth…and we see it as part of our mission to make access to that avenue available to all who would study and learn with us. We hope you’ll agree to learn with us at Shelter Rock!
Spring 2016 Schedule
Monday Mornings, 9:45–11:00 am – Mishnah
This year will we will be tackling Tractate Pesachim, the tractate in the Mishnah that deals with the customs and laws of Passover. The goal will be to conclude our study before Pesach so that participants will have a rich source of material to bring to their seder meals. If we manage to finish in time, we’ll move on to Tractate Yoma about the laws of Yom Kippur.
Tuesday Evening, 7:00 pm – Rambam's Mishneh Torah, The Laws of Purim
Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah, compiled at the end of the 12th century CE, is a comprehensive Jewish law code that covers nearly every aspect of Jewish life for both the individual and the community. This year, the class, along with Rabbinic Intern Mitch Berkowitz, will explore just one small section of his work, which covers the laws related to the celebration of Chanukah and Purim as a way of making the holidays themselves more meaningful.
Friday Morning, 7:45–9:00 am
This year, we will be working through the recently published compendium of observations on the text of the Torah by the late Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, one of the great luminaries of Modern Orthodoxy in the twentieth century. A rich, fascinating work compiled by Arnold Lustiger, this is Torah commentary at its most insightful and challenging. We’ll start with Genesis…and see how far we get!
Shabbat Day – Lunch & Learn on Parshat HaShavua, the Weekly Torah Portion, after services
Once a month, we will end our Shabbat morning service early and adjourn to the Kiddush room for an interactive class on that morning’s Torah portion to be led either by Rabbi Cohen or by Rabbinic Intern Berkowitz. This program was begun last year and has proved successful as a nice change of pace from our regular weekly regimen. On weeks featuring this kind of Torah study, there will not be a sermon during the service…and the Musaf Amidah will not be repeated in full. Together, that should allow us to finish our service around 11:30 am, then begin Torah study at noon. All are very welcome!
In the course of the year, this kind of interactive, text-based Torah study will be held at Shelter Rock on October 1 (Rabbi Cohen), October 22 (Rabbinic Intern Berkowitz), November 26 (Rabbinic Intern Berkowitz), December 24 (Rabbi Cohen), January 28 (Rabbinic Intern Berkowitz), February 11 (Rabbi Cohen), March 26 (Rabbi Cohen), April 22 (Rabbinic Intern Berkowitz), and May 27 (Rabbi Cohen).
Shabbat Afternoon – Talmud
Rabbi Cohen leads a weekly class in Talmud that is currently working its way through Tractate Megillah. The Talmud is a complicated book…but with the right teacher and the right sense of fellowship, its study can be inspiring and uplifting. Class is held at a neighborhood home, but not always at the same home. Nor is the time fixed, although it is always in the late afternoon. The venue is announced in shul on Saturday morning, but you can always just phone the synagogue office to ask on Thursday or Friday, at which time you can also find out the exact time. This class has been meeting for a long time now, but newcomers are very welcome. No knowledge of Hebrew is required, nor are participants expected to have any prior experience of Talmud study.
Evenings of Learning
This year, Shelter Rock will continue its series of Evenings of Learnings, each held at a hospitable congregant’s home, and each featuring an introduction to an upcoming event or holiday. We have already begun this series with a class led by Rabbi Cohen about the customs and ceremonies of the High Holiday season that took place on September 26. Scheduled for the rest of the year are the following Evenings of Learning:
- March 20, place T.B.A. Rabbinic Intern, Mitchell Berkowitz will teach about Purim and the various mitzvot and customs connected with the holiday.
- June 12, place T.B.A. Rabbi Cohen will teach about the cycle of fast days that we follow in the course of the year: the Fast of the Tenth of Tevet, the Fast of the Seventeenth of Tammuz, Tishah Be’av, and the Fast of Gedaliah.