Adult Jewish Institute to begin sessions

BY JILL KASSANDER, SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH LIGHT

The Rabbi Robert P. Jacobs Adult Institute of Jewish Studies will be held 7-8:30 p.m. on five consecutive Wednesdays starting on Oct. 18, with 21 Jewish educators teaching 18 diverse classes.

“We have a great range of offerings this year,” said St. Louis Rabbinical Association administrative director Steve Sorkin. “It is a wonderful opportunity to meet many of the newer rabbis and educators in town who bring their own unique interests and specialties to the class offerings. For instance, Rabbi Michael Alper is teaching a class looking at human sacrifice in ancient Israelite culture.”

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One class gives new meaning to the old punch line of “three rabbis, four opinions.” It is the first time the institute has ever had a class taught by three rabbis, according to Sorkin. Rabbi Mark Fasman of Shaare Zedek, Rabbi Randy Fleisher of Central Reform Congregation and Rabbi Hyim Shafner of Bais Abraham Congregation will answer basic questions about Judaism from their own perspectives. They will look at some basic issues such as Torah, Jewish law and similarities and differences between the branches of Judaism. They will also tackle some of the hot button issues such as interfaith marriage and homosexuality.

Once again the institute will have days overlapping with the Jewish Book Festival. Classes end a little earlier on those two evenings to give participants time to hear the two authors. On Nov. 8, David Brog will offer insights on why Christians support Israel. The following week Jeffrey Goldberg will share his conversations from his 16-year friendship with a Palestinian leader.

Participants will also have the opportunity to choose to take a class offered by a new local author. Rabbi Joseph R. Rosenbloom, rabbi emeritus and senior scholar of Temple Emanuel, will be discussing his new book, The Secret Bible. The book looks at the events in the Bible that deal with interactions between humans as opposed to the events with God and Israel.

Some financial assistance is available and some transportation assistance is available for senior adults. Free childcare is available for parents who request it and pre-enroll in classes.

The Institute is sponsored by the St. Louis Rabbinical Association in cooperation with the congregations of St. Louis and the Central Agency for Jewish Education and meets at Temple Israel at Ladue and Spoede Roads.

The registration fee is $49. Advance registration is required and can be accomplished online at www.cajestl.org.

For more information call Barbara at CAJE at 314-442-3752.