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September 1, 2014
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Gesher Graduate Program

GESHER GRADUATE PROGRAM

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The Gesher Graduate Program is a dynamic, engaging and life-changing Jewish learning opportunity at the J! Gesher courses are designed for, but not limited to, graduates of the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School. Exciting choices of study for Fall 2009 include in-depth text study of various books of the Tanakh including the Book of Genesis and the Book of  Deuteronomy. Other options include an Introduction to Jewish Mysticism, Contemporary Jewish Literature, Jewish History, Introduction to Biblical/Prayer Book Hebrew, Contemporary Jewish Perspectives and more! Gesher courses are taught by some of Dallas' most talented Rabbis and educators. For further information about this amazing learning opportunity, please contact Rachelle Weiss Crane at rweisscrane@jccdallas.org or 214-239-7128.


Wednesday Morning Gesher Course Descriptions (by instructor)

KAREN ABLON and RABBI NANCY KASTEN
Ruth Lurie, Guest Instructor in Trimesters 2 and 3
9:00 to 10:30 am

Jewish Mindfulness
Revealing Our Best Selves: Tools for Developing Everyday Awareness
Our contemporary world combines limitless choice with the blurring of clear boundaries and limits. This combination creates challenges that feel new, but have been experienced in other ways by Jews throughout the ages. In the course we will explore the ways in which making choices and creating limits can help us be the kind of people we want to be. Jewish text, prayer, meditation, movement, breathing and more will be taught and practiced as tools for awareness and direction in our lives.

We ask that students with physical limitations contact the instructors before the first class session to discuss adaptations so that every student can be a full member of our class community for the entire class each week.

TRIMESTER 2 (January 8 – March 12): Remembering Amalek: Enemies and Friends 

TRIMESTER 3 (March 19 -28): Awareness as a Source for Healing


CANTOR DON CROLL

TRIMESTER 2 (January 8 – March 12):
9:30 to 10:30 am
They might be Jewish! World figures who may or may not have Jewish ancestors.
We've known for years that there are many Jews in show business but what about politicians and others in the public eye throughout the ages? A revealing look at famous men and women who knowingly or not have a Jewish bloodline. And what's all this about Christopher Columbus being a Crypto-Jew?


CANTOR DON CROLL

TRIMESTER 3 (March 19 - March 28):
9:30 to 10:30 am
Decoding the Exodus:  Proof that the Exodus story really happened, or is it?
Exodus Decoded is a documentary created by Jewish Canadian filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici, in which archeological evidence is presented that proves not only the truth behind the story but also the location of the real Mt. Sinai and what the ark of the covenant looks like. We will watch the film and discuss the validity of his presentation. For the last class there will be a surprise visitor.


GAIL STOLOVITSKY

TRIMESTER 2 (January 8 –March 12)
9:30 to 10:30 am
Stories from the Book of Judges
From  Moses to Joshua to who?  Who was in charge of the Jewish people before King Saul and King David? We learned some of the stories, such that of Samson and Delilah, as children and will examine them through adult eyes. Other stories are so horrific that you'll wonder why they were included in the Bible. Why is this book included in the section of Prophets? Bring a complete Tanakh and be prepared to look at these stories in a variety of ways. 


GAIL STOLOVITSKY

TRIMESTER 3 (March 19 – May 28)
9:30 to 10:30 am
Song of Songs and Book of Lamentations
These are two books of the 5 Megillahs are not often studied. Song of Songs is traditionally read on Passover, and Lamentations is read on the evening of the Fast of the Ninth of Av [Tisha b'Av]. First half of the course, we will study the greatest love poetry in the Bible and then will examine the dirges over the loss of the Temple in Jerusalem. Bring a complete Tanakh and lots of questions.  


    GAIL STOLOVITSKY

TRIMESTER 3 (March 19- May 28)

10:45 - 12:15 pm

Melton Scholars Curriculum
10:45am to 12:15pm
Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah: Secret Knowledge in Judaism
Thanks to Madonna and other contemporary celebrities, Kabbalah today is one of the best known facets of Judaism, yet also one of the least well understood.  As a result, despite the public chatter about Kabbalah, for many, this important aspect of the Jewish tradition remains a "closed book."  This new Melton Scholars course enables participants to gain familiarity with the rich history of Jewish mysticism, and understanding of many of the texts that have been so central to that tradition.  Presented chronologically, the course provides an opportunity for discussing the progression of Jewish mystical tradition over hundreds of years. Discussions surrounding the texts will relate to enduring Jewish challenges, issues of pressing relevance for Jewish life both past and present. The course will expose participants to some of the ways that the particular lens of the mystical and esoteric has been employed throughout Jewish history to discover the relevant, deeper meanings of Judaism, as students consider the extent to which Jewish mysticalteachings speak to the deepest mysteries of human existence, offering rich, meaningful explanations for so many of life's eternal universal questions.


RABBI PERETZ SHAPIRO

TRIMESTER 2 (January 8 –March 12)
10:45-11:45 am
The Kabalah of Character
The soul is charged with the mission to live up to the Divine image in which it is made, as a verse in Psalms (39:7) declares: "Only by way of the Divine image can one progress." Accordingly the sequence and nature of the sefirot (soul powers) present us with a perfect paradigm for personal growth and development. Our course will chart the inner paths and patterns of the soul as we begin our course of personal development according to the Kabbalah.


 

RABBI PERETZ SHAPIRO

TRIMESTER 3 (March 19 – May 28)
10:45 to 11:45 am
To Labor or to Accomplish - Lessons in the mystical book "Tanya"
There are days when one indeed feels inspired by Judaism and spirituality, and there are days when they are a real bore. There are times when nothing seems more important than studying Torah or praying, and there are times when nothing seems greater than a steak and a good ballgame. There are moments when one is disgusted by the world’s immorality, and there are moments when one is tempted by it. So who are we? Are we to ignore our beastly temptations, or come to terms with them? And how is it that people possessing a G‑dly soul can be filled with such animalistic desires? It is the book of Tanya that guides us through our dual personality. It gives us the insight to understand and overcome the struggles we deal with on a day-to-day basis.


GERRI PATTERSON

TRIMESTER 2 (January 8 –March 12)
10:45am -12:15 pm
Short Stories Two:  A Window to the Jewish Experience
Back by popular demand, this class will use Jewish short stories as a vehicle to study Jewish life and culture.  We will examine Jewish folktales, Yiddish, Russian, American and Israeli writers and the world in which they lived.  We will see how the stories created a commentary on the social issues of their day, sometimes in a critical way.    This class will also include some of the great writers of the past 150 years such as I.B. Singer, I.J. Singer, Isaac Babel  and SY Agnon.  It is not necessary to have taken Short Stories in Spring 2013 to enroll for this class. 

 

TRIMESTER 3 (March 19 – May 28)
10:45am – 12:15 pm
Melton Scholars Curriculum
Jewish Denominations: Addressing the Challenges of Modernity
Throughout most of its history, Judaism could be described as an “ethnic church,” whose members emphasized their common ancestry and upheld the same basic beliefs and religious practices.  This amalgamation of tribal identity and creed was sustained by the social and economic limitations enforced against the Jews by the host nations where they settled, as well as local and cultural norms. The last three centuries, often referred to as the modern period, have witnessed dramatic political and societal transformations. These changes have engendered far more diversified representations of Judaism and Jewish identity than in the past.  This course, traces the history of the emergence of denominational Judaism in response to Modernity using original texts.  Learners gain an understanding of the environment in nineteenth century Europe which gave rise to Reform Judaism and the traditionalist response.  As the lessons progress the setting changes from Europe to North America and the development of Conservative and Reconstructionist Judaism as well as the divisions and re-alignment in American Orthodoxy are explored.  By the end of the course the history of every aspect of Jewish Denominations and People hood has been addressed in a meaningful way.


MARK STOLOVITSKY

TRIMESTER 2 (January 8 –March 12)
10:45am -12:15pm
The Christian/Jewish Relationship: Year 1 to 2014
Why do Jews have a collective discomfort with the image of a cross?  What are the mother/daughter dynamics in the relationship between Judaism and Christianity? Questions like these and more will be addressed in this course as we study the changing image of Jews found in the stories of Christianity throughout history; and the ways this has impacted the Jewish/Christian relationship.

 


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For complete listing of classes and information in the Jewish Education Curriculum, please click here.

To download a .pdf of the Jewish Education Brochure, please click here.

 



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