LIVINGSTON, NJ — Temple B'nai Abraham's TBA's Congregational Learning offers classes in History Through Text with Rabbi Kulwin throughout the year at Temple B'nai Abraham, 300 East Northfield Road, Livingston. All sessions are free and open to the community.​

Taught in blocks of several weeks, each class will also be a stand-alone unit so that an inability to attend all (or even most) of the sessions will not be an impediment to an enjoyable and simulating learning experience.

The Jewish Religion is the topic which will be explored. When I say “Judaism,” I know what I mean, but is that what you mean when you say it? And are either of those the same as what our forebears meant millennia, centuries, or even just decades and years ago? Ever since Abraham, Judaism has meandered, twisted and turned, met dead ends in back alleys and sped forward on straightaways, constantly (and perhaps inevitably) evolving.

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In these sessions, we will explore Judaism has meant at different times and in different places. Hopefully, the course we chart will not only educate us but lead us to a better personal understanding of what Judaism means to us.

Rabbinic Judaism will be explored on Thursday, February 8, 7:00-8:30 PM. While some ancient sects, notably the Karaites and the Samaritans, still exist, Rabbinic Judaism, formulated by the rabbis of the Talmud, prevailed. The basis of what we call Orthodoxy, Rabbinic thought created rules of interpretation so rabbis could systematically apply Biblical teachings not only to worship but to daily life. Study of several Talmudic passages will illustrate core beliefs of Rabbinic Judaism.

Judaism Before Modernity will be discussed on Thursday, February 15, 7:00-8:30 PM. Jewish prayer books from 9th century Germany, 13th century Spain and 17th century Poland may have looked similar, but the minhag, the worship customs of each community, differed, sometimes greatly. The Hasidim and the Mitnagdim, for example, were all observant, but threatened each other with excommunication (and worse). We will examine rabbinic literature, prayer texts and first-person accounts to gain both an understanding of the Judaism of the time and how it set the stage for what was to come next.

To register go to www.tbanj.org. For information, call 973-994-2290.