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There is so much that 4,000 years of tradition and wisdom can teach us.  Young or old, observant or not-so-much; whether you already know a lot or are just starting out – you’re not alone. Jump in. No wrong answers –

"With the knowledge and empathy I have gained at the Friday Study Group, my understanding of life has also grown. We are a community where I can live my values."-Carol Cohen

 This week's learning

Dec
10
Fri
Online Friday Noon Study Group
Dec 10 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Friday December 10, 12-1

When our group met on December 3, we had a lively discussion of Chapter 16 and most of Chapter 17 in Genesis.  Among the issues we discussed were

  • Sarai’s apparent infertility and her request that Abram take Hagar, her Egyptian slave, as a wife so that he could have an heir.  “Abram heeded Sarai’s voice” (16:2), perhaps to insure shalom bais (domestic tranquility).

  • When Hagar becomes pregnant with Abram’s child, Sarai severely chides Abram because, as a barren woman, she had become an object of  scorn in her slave’s eyes. (Oddly, this attachment of blame to Abram does not get discussed The Torah: A Woman’s Commentary).  Abram tells Sarai she can deal with Hagar however she wants to, and Sarai treats her badly.

  • An angel of the Lord comes to inform Hagar, who has run away to the wilderness to escape the ill-treatment.  The angel tells her to return to her mistress.  This advice reinforces the caste system by subjugating Hagar into accommodating the existing powers.

  • The angel further makes promises to Hagar on behalf of God, letting her know that her “descendants shall be too numerous to count.”  The language clearly echoes that of the promises God made to Abram.  We noted that, probably for reasons related to gender, an angel, instead of God, made this annunciation of birth (a type-scene in the history of heroes from many different cultures; see http://www.arts.magic-nation.co.uk/annunciation13.htm)

  • We noted that, while the angel’s prediction that Hagar’s son, Ishmael, “shall be a wild ass of a man” positively connotes animal virility, the prediction that Ishmael will dwell “in opposition to all his kin” certainly seems less positive–setting up a binary opposition between Ishmael and Isaac like the one established between Sarai and Hagar.

  • Thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael, God reinforces his covenant with Abram (changing his name from Abram–“exalted father”–to Abraham–“father of multitudes”).  God asks Abraham to seal the deal via the rite of circumcision–a critical feature of Israelite self-identification.  We concluded our discussion by noting that since this circumcision ritual (brit milah) was limited to male participants, contemporary Jewish women have developed their own ceremonies for welcoming themselves into the covenant (brit rechitzah; see https://www.kveller.com/article/alternative-rituals-for-naming-ceremonies/).

When we meet on December 1o, the group will look at Genesis 17:16 through Genesis 19.  This covers God’s promises to Sarai/ Sarah, God’s preference for Isaac over Ishmael, a second birth annunciation–this time about Isaac and Sarah’s reaction, God’s plan for Sodom, Abraham’s attempt to intercede, and the misadventures of Lot and his family.

Our informal group meets via Zoom every Friday from 12-1. Check the CBI web page for a link.  All are welcome to join us, regardless of their level of expertise.  Please bring whatever copy of the Bible you might have (the more different translations the livelier the discussion).  If you have questions, please contact Jay Jacoby at jbjacoby@uncc.edu

 

 
 

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Dec
11
Sat
Torah Study with Justin Goldstein
Dec 11 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

Join us for an in-person, masked and socially-distanced exploration of the weekly Torah portion led by Justin Goldstein immediately following Kiddush lunch.  All are welcome!

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Dec
17
Fri
Online Friday Noon Study Group
Dec 17 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Friday December 10, 12-1

When our group met on December 3, we had a lively discussion of Chapter 16 and most of Chapter 17 in Genesis.  Among the issues we discussed were

  • Sarai’s apparent infertility and her request that Abram take Hagar, her Egyptian slave, as a wife so that he could have an heir.  “Abram heeded Sarai’s voice” (16:2), perhaps to insure shalom bais (domestic tranquility).

  • When Hagar becomes pregnant with Abram’s child, Sarai severely chides Abram because, as a barren woman, she had become an object of  scorn in her slave’s eyes. (Oddly, this attachment of blame to Abram does not get discussed The Torah: A Woman’s Commentary).  Abram tells Sarai she can deal with Hagar however she wants to, and Sarai treats her badly.

  • An angel of the Lord comes to inform Hagar, who has run away to the wilderness to escape the ill-treatment.  The angel tells her to return to her mistress.  This advice reinforces the caste system by subjugating Hagar into accommodating the existing powers.

  • The angel further makes promises to Hagar on behalf of God, letting her know that her “descendants shall be too numerous to count.”  The language clearly echoes that of the promises God made to Abram.  We noted that, probably for reasons related to gender, an angel, instead of God, made this annunciation of birth (a type-scene in the history of heroes from many different cultures; see http://www.arts.magic-nation.co.uk/annunciation13.htm)

  • We noted that, while the angel’s prediction that Hagar’s son, Ishmael, “shall be a wild ass of a man” positively connotes animal virility, the prediction that Ishmael will dwell “in opposition to all his kin” certainly seems less positive–setting up a binary opposition between Ishmael and Isaac like the one established between Sarai and Hagar.

  • Thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael, God reinforces his covenant with Abram (changing his name from Abram–“exalted father”–to Abraham–“father of multitudes”).  God asks Abraham to seal the deal via the rite of circumcision–a critical feature of Israelite self-identification.  We concluded our discussion by noting that since this circumcision ritual (brit milah) was limited to male participants, contemporary Jewish women have developed their own ceremonies for welcoming themselves into the covenant (brit rechitzah; see https://www.kveller.com/article/alternative-rituals-for-naming-ceremonies/).

When we meet on December 1o, the group will look at Genesis 17:16 through Genesis 19.  This covers God’s promises to Sarai/ Sarah, God’s preference for Isaac over Ishmael, a second birth annunciation–this time about Isaac and Sarah’s reaction, God’s plan for Sodom, Abraham’s attempt to intercede, and the misadventures of Lot and his family.

Our informal group meets via Zoom every Friday from 12-1. Check the CBI web page for a link.  All are welcome to join us, regardless of their level of expertise.  Please bring whatever copy of the Bible you might have (the more different translations the livelier the discussion).  If you have questions, please contact Jay Jacoby at jbjacoby@uncc.edu

 

 
 

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Dec
21
Tue
Lunch & Learn with Rabbi Mitch
Dec 21 @ 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm

Lunch & Learn with Rabbi Mitch

Tuesday, December 21 at noon. 

Please bring your own vegetarian or kosher lunch, your listening ears and your opinions (don’t be shy!).

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Dec
24
Fri
Online Friday Noon Study Group
Dec 24 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Friday December 10, 12-1

When our group met on December 3, we had a lively discussion of Chapter 16 and most of Chapter 17 in Genesis.  Among the issues we discussed were

  • Sarai’s apparent infertility and her request that Abram take Hagar, her Egyptian slave, as a wife so that he could have an heir.  “Abram heeded Sarai’s voice” (16:2), perhaps to insure shalom bais (domestic tranquility).

  • When Hagar becomes pregnant with Abram’s child, Sarai severely chides Abram because, as a barren woman, she had become an object of  scorn in her slave’s eyes. (Oddly, this attachment of blame to Abram does not get discussed The Torah: A Woman’s Commentary).  Abram tells Sarai she can deal with Hagar however she wants to, and Sarai treats her badly.

  • An angel of the Lord comes to inform Hagar, who has run away to the wilderness to escape the ill-treatment.  The angel tells her to return to her mistress.  This advice reinforces the caste system by subjugating Hagar into accommodating the existing powers.

  • The angel further makes promises to Hagar on behalf of God, letting her know that her “descendants shall be too numerous to count.”  The language clearly echoes that of the promises God made to Abram.  We noted that, probably for reasons related to gender, an angel, instead of God, made this annunciation of birth (a type-scene in the history of heroes from many different cultures; see http://www.arts.magic-nation.co.uk/annunciation13.htm)

  • We noted that, while the angel’s prediction that Hagar’s son, Ishmael, “shall be a wild ass of a man” positively connotes animal virility, the prediction that Ishmael will dwell “in opposition to all his kin” certainly seems less positive–setting up a binary opposition between Ishmael and Isaac like the one established between Sarai and Hagar.

  • Thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael, God reinforces his covenant with Abram (changing his name from Abram–“exalted father”–to Abraham–“father of multitudes”).  God asks Abraham to seal the deal via the rite of circumcision–a critical feature of Israelite self-identification.  We concluded our discussion by noting that since this circumcision ritual (brit milah) was limited to male participants, contemporary Jewish women have developed their own ceremonies for welcoming themselves into the covenant (brit rechitzah; see https://www.kveller.com/article/alternative-rituals-for-naming-ceremonies/).

When we meet on December 1o, the group will look at Genesis 17:16 through Genesis 19.  This covers God’s promises to Sarai/ Sarah, God’s preference for Isaac over Ishmael, a second birth annunciation–this time about Isaac and Sarah’s reaction, God’s plan for Sodom, Abraham’s attempt to intercede, and the misadventures of Lot and his family.

Our informal group meets via Zoom every Friday from 12-1. Check the CBI web page for a link.  All are welcome to join us, regardless of their level of expertise.  Please bring whatever copy of the Bible you might have (the more different translations the livelier the discussion).  If you have questions, please contact Jay Jacoby at jbjacoby@uncc.edu

 

 
 

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YEP! (Youth Engagement Program)

Forget Sunday School. YEP! is an innovative and exciting multi-generational, hands-on Jewish educational experience for parents and their children. Once a week during the school year, families come together for experiential learning that that fosters deep relationships among families, our congregation and the greater community, while strengthening Jewish identity on a personal level. 

Learn more and reserve your place now!

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Preparation

One of the beautiful aspects of raising Jewish kids in Asheville is that they tend to grow up with a sense of groundedness. Their bar/bat mitzvah is not an over-the-top competition. It's just one of life's milestones. It's not a culmination of their Jewish learning and engagement - it's the beginning.

Bar/Bat mitzvah study is introduced early on, at least several years prior to the event. Our kids study with Josefa Briant, a former soloist in the Batsheva Dance Company (Tel Aviv) with a deep sense of spirituality. They meet as a class to acquire the skills needed to lead services. About a year out, kids begin studying one-one-one to learn their Torah portion and haftorah and begin to meet with Rabbi Justin to get a taste of what Jewish study with a chevruta (partner) is all about. After it's over, many decide to remain engaged. That is our measure of success.  

Post Bar/Bat Mitzvah Learning

The post b'nei mitzvah group is for those young adults 13 and over who have already become bar/bat mitzvvah. The student-led group meets the first Tuesday of the month with Rabbi Goldstein in a setting that is open, safe and confidential. Topics for discussion revolve around creating, growing and sustaining meaningful relationships and use both text study and discussion as tools with which to explore Jewish life and Jewish values.  For more information, please contact Rabbi Goldstein.

"I find it quite remarkable that people are both open and respectful! Open? That happens. Respectful? Not everywhere!! But always here!" - Judith Hoy

Learning for Adults

Do you ever wonder what it’s all about? Curious what Judaism has to say about today’s thornier problems? Always wanted to learn to speak Hebrew? Yiddish? Or maybe you just want to get more out of Shabbat and the other holidays. You’re in the right place. We get together weekly, monthly or whenever we can. Many, but not all, groups are led by Rabbi Justin. And not all take place at the synagogue.

Weekly/Monthly Learning

Click on a program to learn more

Learning Throughout the Year

Scholar-in-Residence

At least once each year, the CBI hosts a Scholar/Artist-in-Residence for a weekend. Previous scholars/artists include: Rabbi Harold Kushner; Israeli writer/entertainer, Danny Maseng; dancer and creator of MOVING TORAH, Andrea Hodos; storyteller and folklorist, Pennina Schram.  

Holiday Study

The holidays provide opportunities to deepen our understanding of who we are - as individuals and as a people. We take advantage of as many as we can, including Tu b'Shevat, Purim, Pesach, Shavuot, Tisha b'Av, and more.  

Dinner and a Movie

 Start with a dairy pot-luck dinner, add a few dozen of your friends, then settle in for a movie that's sure to make you laugh, cry, love, cringe or, at the very least, think.

"The culture of learning at CBI is vibrant, non-dogmatic, participatory, respectful, relevant, and evolving within the context of our growing congregation. The intellect and the spirit are equally honored." -Dr. Robert Kline