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Schedule of Foundations of Judaism Classes
2015-16

Each class will be 90 minutes in length. There are 22 topic/theme units and some may be discussed over more than one class period. Estimated total classes: 27-30.

HEBREW- All Conversion Candidates must be able to read Hebrew and learn main prayers and blessings. 25-30 minutes of each class will be devoted to Hebrew. An Oral exam will be given at the end of the course. Note: Classes will be held on Wednesday evenings beginning at 7 pm at Temple Beth Ora.

SEPT. 16: THEOLOGY – CONCEPT OF GOD, AND SIN
Will discuss the importance of repentance, sin and act of free will in Judaism. Concept of Sin and Repentance discussed in application to Holidays of Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur.

SEPT. 30: THE JEWISH CALENDAR – CONCEPT OF JEWISH CREATION
Major festivals / Sukkot the Jewish Thanksgiving. Shemini Atzeret / Simchat Torah / Shavuot: Origins of the Torah How concepts shape our beliefs about mitzvot.. Short intro video

OCT 7: THEOLOGY – GOD, FREE WILL, AND JUDAISM’S COVENANT WITH GOD
Concept (s) of God in Judaism. God’s covenant with the Jewish people. Study of relationship of God and patriarchs (FROM GENESIS). Personal relationship with God. Faith in God. What does it mean?

OCT. 14: HISTORY OF LITURGY
The Siddur- origins of prayer, order of service, Siddur; Review of Shabbat service sequence. Role of women in synagogue.

OCT. 21: HISTORY OF LITURGY (PART II)
Torah- Look at traditions of Torah reading cycle, Haftorah,. aliyot. A Look at the Physical Torah. Customs of Torah service. How it affects Jewish practice in life

OCT. 28: INTRODUCTION TO RABBINIC TEXTS
Talmud, Rashi, Shulhan Aruk. Difference between Written and Oral law. Some basics about interpretation. How to look something up.

NOV. 4: SHABBAT
Discussion about the laws of Shabbat. Look at how to celebrate Shabbat : Shabbat rituals: candles, kiddush, havadalah.

NOV. 11 – NO CLASSES REMEMBERANCE DAY

NOV. 18: KASHRUT
A study of the laws of Kashrut in Leviticus and a look at their further interpretation in the Talmud. Modern observances of this tradition is also discussed and looked at from a traditional stance. Discussion of moral implications of kashrut.

NOV. 25: HOLIDAYS
Festival of Chanukah: origins, customs, traditions, songs.

NOV. 20: THEOLOGY
Concept of Messiah in Judaism. Difference between Chanukah and Christmas. Problems associated in mixed-religious families and families with nonJewish relatives.

DEC. 2: MIRACLES AND JUDAISM
Study of miracles associated with Pesach and the story of the Exodus. Discussion about Passover.

DEC. 9: RABBINIC LITERATURE – JEWISH ETHICS
Examination on the concept of charity.

DEC. 16 REVIEW OF MINOR JEWISH HOLIDAYS
Purim, Tu’Bishvat, Yom Ha-atzmoot, Tisha b,Av, Rosh Hodesh, L’ag B’omer.

WINTER SEMESTER BREAK.

JAN. 6: JEWISH LIFECYCLE – B’RIT MILAH, AND B’RIT BAT
Tradition of naming children. Importance of Hebrew name. Adoption. Birth control.

JAN. 13: JEWISH LIFECYCLE – BAR/BAT MITZVAH
The Jewish coming of age

JAN. 20: JEWISH LIFECYCLE – COURTSHIP & MARRIAGE
Religious rituals, Jewish attitude towards sex., Maintaining a Jewish home

JAN. 27 : JEWISH LIFECYCLE – DIVORCE
Get, Agunah; modern controversies

FEB. 3: JEWISH LIFECYCLE – DEATH AND MOURNING
Philosophical discussion and religious rituals and observances. Review of Jewish theological views on afterlife, immortality of the soul. Note: A field trip will try and be arranged to view Chevrah Kaddisha Chapel & Jewish Cemetery.

FEB. 10: JEWISH HISTORY REVIEW
Biblical History: “History of God” (Video)

FEB. 17: OVERVIEW OF PENTATEUCH
Torah as a historical record, Role of Kings in Israel’s history. Role of the prophets & Prophecy.

FEB. 24: JEWISH HISTORY REVIEW (POST BIBLICAL)
Impact of Israel’s downfall and subsequent dispersion relating to Babylonian & Roman rule.
“Revolt in 66AD” (Video)

FEB. 26: IMPACT OF SPANISH INQUISITION
Cabala movement in Judaism. Short intro video.

MARCH 2: IMPACT OF ” EMANCIPATION” IN FRANCE, GERMANY AND RUSSIA
Dissolution of ghetto. Jews in a Secular World. The dangers of assimilation

MARCH 9: HISTORY OF MODERN JEWISH MOVEMENTS
Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist

MARCH 16: ISRAELI HISTORY
Overview of modern history from Dreyfus Affair, formation of State of Israel, Special video

MARCH 23: NO CLASSES – PURIM

MARCH 30: ISRAELI HISTORY
Current problems

APRIL 6: PESACH WORKSHOP- CUSTOMS & TRADITIONS
Examination of the Haggadah. How to Prepare for Pesach/ How to lead a Seder

APRIL 13: YOM HASHOA (THE HOLOCAUST)
Special Video

APRIL 20: PEASACH BREAK NO CLASSES

APRIL 27: PEASACH BREAK NO CLASSES

MAY 4: HEBREW WORKSHOP

MAY 11: NO CLASSES – YOM HAZIKRON

MAY 18: HEBREW

MAY 25: LAST CLASS

TEXT BOOKS:
“Introduction to Judaism”    
Epstein & Kukoff UAHC Press
“A Reading and Prayer Primer”     Sharfstein-KTAV
“Wanderings”     Chaim Potok
“Jews, God & History”     Max Dimont