Chabad offers ‘Great Debates in Jewish History’ course

Chabad will offer a new six-session course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI), titled “Great Debates in Jewish History,” at two locations in the greater St. Louis area. Participants will be able to learn about 2,000 years of Jewish history through the lens of six epic debates that gripped the Jewish world and still resound powerfully today.

The six-session course will meet from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on six Tuesdays, beginning Oct. 31, at the Morris & Ann Lazaroff Chabad Center, 8124 Delmar Blvd. in University City. In Chesterfield, the sessions will meet from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on six Wednesday evenings, beginning Nov. 1, at Pepose Vision Institute, 1815 Clarkson Road in Chesterfield.

“Judaism welcomes debate and discourse,” said Rabbi Yosef Landa, Regional Director of Chabad of Greater St. Louis. “This course invites participants to gain fascinating insight into six mega-debates that have historically divided the Jewish community. Some of these issues continue to be debated today.”

In November of 1957 archeologist Eleazar Sukenik purchased the first Dead Sea Scroll. Great Debates in Jewish History will address questions such as what do these texts reveal about the heated disputes between the Dead Sea Sect and the Jewish establishment? Why were the authors of the scrolls opposed to rabbinic interpretation? What motivated the rebels at Masada, and what is the Jewish perspective on taking up arms in situations where defeat is inevitable? 

Additionally, what role does nationalism play in Judaism? Are faith and reason mutually exclusive? What motivated the anti-Maimonideans in banning some of Maimonides’s works? Is religion designed to be a private and personal experience, or one to be proudly paraded in the public domain?

The course is designed to appeal to people at all levels of knowledge, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning. All Chabad courses are open to the public, and attendees need not be affiliated with a synagogue to attend.

Interested students may call 314-495-3515 or visit for registration and for other course-related information.