To learn the history of most cultures, you need to learn about wars and empires, warriors and city builders, and great works of art. But the history of Judaism is overwhelmingly book history. Books are central to Jewish culture. However, even though they are known as the “People of the Book”, much of the classical literature of Judaism remains closed to modern Jews.
This month, Arlington Heights Rabbi Yaakov Kotlaski introduces Jewish literature to a modern audience. He leads a class of Jews of many affiliations and backgrounds in exploring the history, authorship, and content of Judaism’s most important titles in a new course titled “Book Smart.”
“This is an ambitious undertaking,” said Rabbi Kotlarski.
When Book Smart’s first 90-minute session begins at 7:30 PM on Tuesday, January 24, students will begin a six-week survey of traditional Jewish literature. Torah, Talmud, Midrash, Halacha, Ethics, Philosophy, Kabbalah, Cassidic Mysticism.
“We meet the authors behind the big ideas of 33 centuries of Jewish history,” says Rabbi Kotrasky.
The history of Jewish literature is a broad subject, but the course is also deep.
“Not only will I learn why these works were written, I will participate in the Talmud debates, solve philosophical conundrums, and get a firsthand taste of what it is like to decipher Kabbalistic texts from the Zohar. am.”
Book Smart is developed by the Rohr Institute for Jewish Learning, headquartered in Brooklyn, New York. The institute has a reputation for delivering high quality and engaging courses. Over 400,000 people have attended his JLI courses since the organization was founded in 1998.
Rabbi Kotlarsky says he does not promise to give students overnight expertise in the works discussed in the course.
“But I can assure them that it will be an enjoyable and intellectually engaging journey, and will provide a valuable background for all future study of Judaism.”
Interested participants can learn more and register online at www.ChabadAH.org/jli or by calling (224) 357-7002.