Rabbinic Pastor

Ve-yesh Sod La-Davar: Themes of Jewish Mystical Tradition (Readings in English)

This course is an engaged study of the development of Jewish mysticism, its symbolic universe, meditation practices, and social ramifications. While we will survey Jewish mystical traditions from the early Rabbinic period through the modern, the heart of the course is that many-branched (post)-medieval stream known as kabbalah.

Hasidic Texts and Spiritual Practice

This course examines Hasidic approaches to the major ideas and pathways of Judaism.  We will explore the central themes in Hasidism through studying selected texts authored by great Hasidic masters from the 18th century to the present.  This journey will lead to an in-depth understanding of the unique Hasidic approaches to Jewish values and practices and an appreciation of Hasidism’s profound theological and psychological insights.

Introduction to Hasidut (readings in English)

This course examines Hasidic approaches to the major ideas and pathways of Judaism.  We will explore the central themes in Hasidism through studying selected texts authored by great Hasidic masters from the 18th century to the present.  This journey will lead to an in-depth understanding of the unique Hasidic approaches to Jewish values and practices and an appreciation of Hasidism’s profound theological and psychological insights.

Introduction to the Siddur

Entry into the ALEPH Rabbinic Program and completion of the Rabbinic Pastor and Cantorial programs require a basic understanding of our liturgy and its central concepts and terms. In this course, we will explore basic terms such as matbe'a ha-t'fillah, chiyyuv, sh'ma u-virchote'ha, and heiche k'dushah. We will look at what makes a shacharit service whole and how weekday, Shabbat, and holiday services are similar to and different from each other.

Entering Deeply into the Shema: Teachings and Practices

The Shema: Often the first prayer we learn as a child, and the last offered on our deathbed, it is both mantra and consciousness raiser. Uttered not so much to God as to ourselves, it is a reminder that beneath all the variation, all the distinctions and separations, there is a deeper Unity that binds. In this course, we will explore key readings and practices of the Shema: moving from rabbinic and philosophical notions to (especially) the mystical. All key teachings will be provided in the Hebrew or Aramaic original; English translations will also be available.