Mondays, 6:30-7:45 pm Held at Shir Tikvah. Taught by the Shir Tikvah clergy team. Sliding scale $36 - $180 per unit
Inside every Jew, the Rabbis teach, is a n’kudah tovah – a spark of holiness, goodness – a unique gift that no one else in the world has. The mystics explain that this is a spark of divine holiness, the chamber of our souls. What are those sparks inside us that animate Jewish life? How can our Jewish traditions nourish those sparks in our daily lives and work in the world?
Shir Tikvah’s Sparks series is designed for people of all backgrounds who want to dig deeply into Jewish heritage and contemporary relevance - whether you grew up Jewish or are exploring conversion. Each session has at-home reading to prepare in advance, so that when we meet we can go deeply into the topics and how they relate to our lives and world today.
This year, we are thrilled to offer three Sparks units: God, Torah, and Israel. In articulating Judaism to the modern world, Abraham Joshua Heschel explained, “Judaism revolves around three sacred entities: God, Torah, and Israel.” Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan articulated a parallel notion, that there are three interrelated modalities of expressing Jewish identity: Belonging (Israel), behaving (Torah), believing (God). Units may be taken together or separately.
Fall 2018: October 8 - December 17 Sparks of Torah: What is Torah? What are the other sacred texts of our people? Practice living in the layers of Jewish text with Rabbi Rappaport on God-wrestling, and with Rabbi Latz on how Jews engage in civil conversation and behavior in the public square.
Winter 2019: January 7 - March 25 Sparks of God: How do Jews understand “God”? What are the moments of connection? How do we pray as Jews? This course with Rabbis Lekach-Rosenberg and Rappaport touches on theology, what is Jewish prayer, and the specific prayers that comprise our Shabbat services.
Spring 2019: April 1- May 27 Sparks of Israel: How did the Jewish people become who we are today? Explore key themes in the evolution of the Israelites of the Torah into the Jewish people of today. What happened when our people encountered the enlightenment and nationalism? How and why did the various Movements develop? What issues unite and divide us? What’s at stake?
April 1: From Israelites to Jews: beginnings of Jewishness
April 8: Sepharadim & the Spanish Expulsion
April 15: European Jews encounter modernity
April 22: Response to Modernity: Evolution of the Movements