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168http://www.beth-israel.org/blog/2013/10/RabbiLyonsBlog-11_01_2013
Rabbi Lyon's Blog - 11_01_2013
10/31/2013 07:00 AM Posted by:

From the Desk of Rabbi David Lyon
November 1, 2013

 

There are opportunities that come our way that we just shouldn’t miss. One of them is coming on Sunday, November 3rd, at Beth Israel. Professor Jonathan Garb of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will be speaking from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., on “The Way of Pleasure and the Way of Doubt: Hasidic Inner Work”. The lecture is funded by the Jewish Studies Program at Rice University and The Rockwell Fund. Dr. Brian Ogren of Rice University has made special arrangements to bring this public lecture to Beth Israel and the community. We are very grateful to Dr. Ogren and Rice University for the partnership that makes Dr. Garb’s lecture available to us at Beth Israel for the community.

                The lecture on Hasidism is not about ultra-orthodox Judaism, fur hats and black coats. On the contrary, Hasidism was, at its roots, a break-away from Talmudists who were meticulous about Jewish ritual observances. Hasids found God in ritual observance, too, but mostly in the joy of Jewish living. The reaction to Hasidism was the Misnagdim who resorted to even greater meticulous observance of Jewish law.

                Evidence of Hasidic joy is found in pictures you can recall of traditional Jewish weddings. From such depictions, we learn that Jews don’t only sit and study; they also dance. While Hasidic Jews were originally those who found in life’s joys all of God’s blessings; today, we use the word Hasids to describe a sect of Judaism that is meticulous in its observance of Jewish law. The vast differences between us and them, today, have very little to do with the schism that began between the Hasids and the Misnagdim in the past. Professor Garb will undoubtedly point out how Judaism is about discovering joy in the world through awareness of God’s covenant as reflected in the mostly unfamiliar world of Hasidism.

                Dr. Jonathan Garb is the Gershom Scholem Professor of Kabbalah in the Department of Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He received his doctorate in 2000. In 2010 he was awarded the prestigious Hebrew University President's Prize for Outstanding Research. Professor Garb has lectured around the world. His focus is upon modern expressions of Kabbalah. his latest books are: The Chosen will Become Herds; Studies in Twentieth Century Kabbalah (Yale University Press, 2009); Shamanic Trance in Modern Kabbalah (The University of Chicago Press, 2011); and Kabbalist in the Heart of the Storm: Rabbi Moshe Hayyim Luzzatto (Tel Aviv University Press, forthcoming).

                Treat yourself and your friends to a lively evening of learning with Dr. Garb. The lecture is free of charge and will take place at Congregation Beth Israel, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. It would be helpful if you called or emailed Kathy McMahon in my office to let us know that you are coming at kmcmahon@beth-israel.org, or 713-771-6221. I look forward to welcoming you to another rich and engaging course in adult education at Congregation Beth Israel.

 

“The Way of Pleasure and the Way of Doubt: Hasidic Inner Work”

Professor Jonathan Garb of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Congregation Beth Israel, 5600 N. Braeswood Blvd

7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m., Margolis Gallery

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