“My heart is in the east,” described Judah Halevi about his longing for the land of Israel, the land that has captured the imagination and interest of the world since the beginning of time. In this course, we will explore the significance of Eretz Yisrael from the perspective of the Tanach and the Talmud and discuss its ancient and modern-day history. We will investigate the four holy cities of Israel through a combination of textual study and virtual tours, and get to know the different types of people that make up the fabric of Israeli society. We will focus on Israeli-Diaspora relations and immerse ourselves in the potent issues facing Israel today. This course is sure to engage, inspire, and create rich dialogue with experts and scholars in the field.
Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg, Rabbi Chai Posner, Aryeh Ben David, Ami Braun, Dr. Laura Shaw Frank, Dr. Noam Weissman, Rabbi Steven Exler, Rabbi Yisrael Motzen, Avi Melamed, Nachliel Selavan and Dr. Yael ZieglerVIEW THE YAFFE SCHOLARS 2020-21 FIRST SEMESTER COURSE DESCRIPTIONS HERE
More to come!With sensitivity to the financial challenges created by COVID-19, we are thrilled to offer this extensive course at a greatly discounted rate. If you have ever wanted to participate in this series, this is the year to give it a try
!BT IN THE AM - MondaysOctober 19, 26; November 2, 9, 16, 23; December 7, 14, 21; January 11, 25; February 1, 8, 22; March 1, 8, 15, 22; April 12, 19, 26; May 3, 10, 24 CLASS 1: 10:00-10:45 am Tehillim: The Magic and the Meaning, Chana Slavaticki
The book of Tehillim expresses the range of human experience and has been a source of hope, inspiration, and meaning throughout Jewish history. In this course, we will explore the life and legacy of King David as described in the book of Samuel and connect it to the psalms he wrote in the book of Tehillim. We will also focus on the poetry of prayer and the chapters of Tehillim that are part of Jewish liturgy. Israeli tour guides will take us on virtual tours that will provide a historical context and enhance our appreciation of Psalms and the “sweet singer of Israel.”
CLASS 2: 10:55–11:40 am
Session 1: A Jewish Perspective on the Year of Coronavirus, Rabbi Mitchell WohlbergOctober 19, 26; November 2, 9, 16, 23; December 7, 14, 21
Coronavirus has not only had an effect on us physically but has touched us socially, economically and religiously as well. The virus and its side effects have given rise to issues and questions that made all of us stop, think, and ask ourselves: “What are we to believe?” The year of corona has brought with it issues ranging from Black Lives Matter to Jewish law, to triage and cancel culture.
Join us in discussions regarding:
• Plagues and Jewish history
• Responses to pandemics in Jewish law
• Triage: Who shall live and who shall die
• Economy vs. safety: Your money or your life
• “Cancel culture” and everyone’s right to an opinion
• Tearing down statues and treading on history
• Anti-Semitism in black and white
• God’s role in the world He createdSession 2: Moral Dilemmas: Then and Now, Dr. Zipora SchorrJanuary 11, 25; February 1, 8, 22; March 1, 8
How do the stories in the Bible inform our moral and ethical choices? How does the past enrich the present? What can we learn from ancient sages that helps us to make sense of modern dilemmas? This course will present biblical figures making choices that reflect the human condition. We will analyze the text and view it through the lens of contemporary society, exploring articles that help us understand modern life through ancient wisdom.
• Adam and Eve: He said, she said; reflections on honesty in relationships
• Rebekah, Isaac, Jacob and Esau: Deception or Divine plan? Does the end justify the means?
• Joseph and his brothers, Abraham and Sara: Telling the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth?
• Amalek: Is there a different moral standard for your sworn enemy?
• Jonah: Can you escape your fate?
• Esther: Sacrifice of virtue for the greater good?
• Job: Theodicy, or why do bad things happen to good people?Session 3: A Rabbi and His Eema Talk Torah, Rabbi Chai Posner March 15, 22; April 12, 19, 26; May 3, 10, 24
“Hear my child the discipline of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother (Torat Eemecha),” writes King Solomon in the book of Proverbs. Rabbi Soloveitchik explained that the “Torah of your mother” refers to the lived experience of G-d and Torah in a Jewish home. In this spirit, Rabbi Chai Posner will engage in conversation with his mother Estelle Posner, on a variety of Torah topics relevant to everyday life, growth mindset, and positive thinking. BT IN THE AM - Wednesdays10:00-10:45 amOctober 21, 28; November 4, 18; December 2, 9, 23; January 20, 27, February 3, 10, 24; March 3, 10; April 14; April 28; May 5, 12Semester 1: Jews from Asian and African LandsDates: October 21, 28; November 4, 18; December 2, 9, 23; January 20, 27
Join Rabbi Dr. Eli Yoggev as he discusses the culture, practice, history, and philosophy of Jews from Asian and African lands. The course will cover Ethiopian, Yemenite, and Mizrachi Jewry—with an emphasis on the subgroups within the latter.
Semester 2: Video ValuesFebruary 3, 10, 24; March 3, 10; April 14; April 28; May 5, 12
Watch popular videos like never before analyzed and filtered through a uniquely Jewish lens. A mixture of fun and depth, Rabbi Dr. Eli Yoggev will teach Jewish values against the backdrop of Bruce Almighty
, Groundhog Day
, and more!Mercaz Monthly Clubs on WednesdaysNovember 11; December 16; January 13; February 17; March 17; April 21; May 26Current Events Club - 10:00-10:45 am
BT in the AM is excited to offer a monthly Current Events Club for all of our mercaz "newsies." Join veteran journalist and BT instructor Phil Jacobs in colorful dialogue and discussion on everything from politics to pandemics, from Pikesville to Petach Tikveh, and everywhere in between.
Mercaz Book Club - 10:55-11:45 am
The Book Club will feature an impressive selection of books of Jewish interest, facilitated by a rotation of presenters, including Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg, Rabbi Chai Posner, Dr. Zipora Schorr, Halaine Steinberg, Shira London, and Rochelle Sullivan. Read and discuss the season’s best, most thought-provoking books.
Among the books to be reviewed are:
Finding My Father: His Century-Long Journey from World War I Warsaw and My Quest to Follow
, by Deborah TannenCaste: The Origins of our Discontents
, by Isabel Wilkerson Eli’s Promise
, Ronald H. Balson Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
, by Brene BrownLike Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation
, by Yossi Klein Halevi The Choice: Embrace the Possible
, by Edith Eger For more information, contact the Mercaz office: email@example.com, 410-413-2321