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Adult Learning with Rabbi Alon

Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah are behind us and I’m excited to begin my Adult Ed classes. This year I’m inviting you to join me in three classes:

This class is a new territory for me, since it combines learning and practice. Last Fall I flew to Chicago for a special seminar to learn how to facilitate it effectively. It was one of the most spiritual experiences I ever had. Because of the special nature of this class the number of participants is very limited and it has a cost that goes directly to the Mussar Institute.

I was introduced to the teachings of Mussar early on in my Jewish studies. But only recently did I understand that the way my teachers taught me the material was akin to the way my daughter took Physical Education in high school – online. While she acquired some knowledge relating to the human body and nutrition, it had no effect on her physical fitness. In the teachings of the Mussar movement we find some of the deepest intellectual ideas, but learning them without the appropriate practice will not advance us spiritually.

So, what is Mussar? In modern Hebrew, it means Ethics, but it is much more. Mussar is a thousand years old school of thought that helps us to honestly reflect on and recognize our characteristic and traits to allow us to move from where we are to where we want and should be. The premise is that all our traits can be placed on a spectrum. For example, let’s take the spectrum pride-humility. The idea is not that we should move from pride to humility, but rather, find where we are now on the spectrum and where we should go. Too much humility is as bad as too much pride, and we therefore should find the right balance between them (see more details in the ad on page 15). 

Sunday Torah Study:
On Sundays, when our wonderful Religious School is in session, I invite the parents and other adults to learn some Torah. I will be leading an hour of a discussion-based study either on the weekly portion or another Jewish theme. Everyone is welcome to buy a bagel from our Youth Group and join us. No RSVP or long-term commitment is required.

Intro to Judaism:
Last May we celebrated an Adult B’nei Mitzvah with 17 of our friends. When I asked them how they wanted to continue their Jewish Education, many of them told me that they feel the need for a comprehensive knowledge of Judaism. That may include Jewish history, understanding the meaning and practice of festivals, Jewish philosophy and more. I loved the idea and decided to invite anyone who wants to embark on this journey. The course will run for 16 weeks. Everyone is welcome: Jews and non-Jews, those who had Bar/Bat Mitzvah and those who have not, those who have prior knowledge and those who don’t.

I am looking forward to seeing you in these classes.

Rabbi Alon Levkovitz

Wed, December 2 2020 16 Kislev 5781