This Fall we are offering a brand new class in Temple Sholom’s Adult Education curriculum, “Mostly Midrash.” It has two educational goals.
First, we want to help people learn the process of “text study.” If the Torah were written plainly and with no poetry or ambiguity, it would be much simpler to read it and know what it means to be a Good person. But it would also be so boring that we would have left it behind thousands of years ago.
The Torah’s complexity and ambiguity are the sources of its eternal attraction. What do these stories, told and retold by our ancient ancestors, have to tell us about our community, our religion and how to be Good? That is the challenge.
Jews have, for centuries, studied these texts. It is something we, as a people, have gotten very good at. That’s why there are so many magnificent commentaries on the Torah. But maybe you don’t think this is a skill set that you have honed yet. Good, because that is what this class will offer.
Second, we are concerned that there are many congregants who would like to learn Torah, but can’t commit to a seven or eight week class. So, this new class will start anew each week. In other words, come as few or as many times as you like. You will always be challenged with a new bit of Torah to think through with other people, but it won’t matter if you haven’t been there in the last few weeks. Each week will be a new adventure. You may be surprised at how much taking up this challenge for a week might add to your life.
It is part of our tradition to learn Torah together. So, come join us when you can. Fall Semester, Second Period. In Mendelsohn Hall. Just drop in. No RSVP necessary.
I look forward to studying text together with you!
(FYI this week – October 13 – there is no adult ed – the temple is closed because of the Marathon)
Dan Swartzman has been teaching in our Adult Education program for many years. Dan is a professor at UIC, where he teaches ethics, law and nonprofit management. He and his family have been members of Temple Sholom for 23 years