Season Four

  WEEKLY ON WEDNESDAYS, AT 7:30 PM

Hi!

These days, it seems like nothing has a shelf life longer than a week. Every day brings another superhero franchise, fashion trend, or dieting fad. News cycles shift by the hour, social media feeds and timelines by the second. With everything flickering, flashing, and constantly updating, it’s little wonder life sometimes feel so impermanent.

For me, there’s no better way to slow things down than to pull back, if only for short while, and try to see things from a more timeless perspective. Our own Jewish traditions are filled with so many breathtaking insights, and they won’t fade away into irrelevance in a few days. Connecting to our own heritage, and ultimately to a divine wisdom, makes the all very human things we do feel richer, more meaningful, and part of something longer lasting.

The Torah Studies program at  Chabad of anne arundel tries to make this happen every single week. Each class take a topic or idea in Jewish thought to explore, tease out, and bring into play with our own lives. Each one is built around texts that we’ll learn together so that you can see these ideas for yourself, argue over them, and apply them to life your own way. Below, you can see an outline of a few of the upcoming sessions, and I’d love if you could join me for what promises to be a fun, engaging, and deeply rewarding learning experience. They are open to everyone, of all abilities, so bring along a friend too! REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, July 20 2022

You Have It in You

Remember: Your Soul Came First

“I can’t do it, it’s too hard, and I don’t have what it takes!” Sound familiar? It turns out that the prophet Jeremiah said the same thing to G‑d Himself. G‑d’s answer? A stirring string of verses opening the haftarah imparts the rousing message that your soul came before all the challenges you will ever face, so you have all the firepower you need.

Wednesday, July 27 2022

Chosen Nation

Sorting through the Myths

Is it racist to make the claim that we’re the “Chosen Nation”? What does that even mean in the first place? A closer look at the Chosen Land (spoiler: Israel) uncovers an edifying take on this much-abused idea. Far from privileged pretentiousness, to be chosen is a responsibility and a demand.

Wednesday, August 3 2022

Ivory Tower Meets the Proletariat

Blending Passion with the Prosaic; Holiness with the Everyday

There are always those who are particularly passionate about religion and G‑d, and then there’s . . . everyone else: just typical people trying to do the right thing and get by. Is that enough? Must we all be passionate and holy? Discover a middle ground that is far from middling.

Wednesday, August 10 2022

Good Neighbors Make Good People

Your Environment Matters. Choose Wisely.

“Jewish law” is a term often thrown around when talking about Judaism. But what, exactly, makes Jewish law “Jewish” per se? A deep look at the moral underpinnings of Jewish law reveals an important lesson to be culled from a ruling about neighbors: you are greatly impacted by your surroundings. Make the environment you wish to see in this world.

Thursday, August 18 2022

G‑d’s Security System

Understanding the Magic of the Mezuzah

Throughout the ages, Jews have affixed a small scroll on the doors of their homes, loudly proclaiming to all, “This is a Jewish home.” Discover the meaning of this important mitzvah, and just how much you can benefit from the mezuzah’s protective quality.

Wednesday, August 24 2022

Not up for Debate

Understanding Is Great. Conviction Is Even Better.

A moral compass built on reason alone stands on very shaky ground. No matter how smart and sophisticated you are, it’s possible to justify pretty much anything. The trick is to move into a different zone: the power of conviction.

Wednesday, August 31 2022

The Universe Is on Your Side

Reinterpreting the Real Rendition of Reality

Witnesseses and testimony typically sound like the stuff of courtrooms and depositions. But a thrilling spin through Jewish law, philosophy, and mysticism yields a surprising conclusion: every Jew is a witness, testifying to a divine reality that puts the universe on the right side of the struggle between good and bad.

Wednesday, September 7 2022

One Love at a Time

To Truly Love is to Love Exclusively

The Jewish wedding ceremony is hallowed and joyous. Arguably its most iconic feature is the ring slipped on the glowing bride’s finger. What is the symbolism of this ancient ritual? A surprising legal journey brings us to the inalienable truth that to truly love is to let go of any past loves, for the heart can only be wide open to one when it is closed off from all others.

Wednesday, September 14 2022

To Refine the Mind and Uplift the Spirit

What Two Great Chasidic Masters Contributed to the World and to You

Chasidism, its leaders, and its masters are the subject of much fascination. But what really lies at the heart of this movement, and how does it really enrich your daily life? The shared birthday of two of the greatest Chasidic masters to ever live opens a window into the depth and wonder of a revolution that can change your life.

Wednesday, September 21 2022

The Holiness of Wanting a Lot of Stuff

A Jew Only Wants to Do What G‑d Wants. Owning Stuff Is Part of That.

The High Holidays are awe-inspiring for everyone. Packed into the synagogue, we spend time praying and connecting with G‑d. But what do we ask for? Stuff. “Give me this, grant me that. . . .” And it goes on. Is that the best way to spend such a holy time? Asking for stuff? You bet! Discover the real reason why you want anything. It may surprise you.

thursday, September 29 2022

When a Parent Loves Their Child

Forgiveness Is Never All or Nothing

It’s that time of the year again: the time to fix past wrongdoings and right our ship, going forward. But what if you’re just not ready to fix it all? Is it OK to feel bad, say, like halfway? Instead of complete overhaul, is just small incremental change acceptable? Rabbi Akiva shares his edifying answer.

thursday, October 6 2022

Celebrating Life to the Fullest

The Simchat Torah Dance: To the Tune of Purpose

Simchat Torah is a holiday famous for dancing and raucous joy. But is this the appropriate way to celebrate the Torah? Discover the true joy of completing the entire Torah reading cycle. It’s not so much about what you have learned, but about the type of life it enables you to lead.