Tikkun HaNefesh תיקון הנפש
|Spiritual Guidance & Shema-nik Healing||
Repair of the Soul
Led by Rachmiel Langer
Sacred Fragments - Explorations and Conversations of Jewish Belief
In this day and age, what does it mean to believe in God? Why would I pray? What might Jewish feminism or feminist Judaism be? Where does Nature fit in our lives and where does Judaism place us in Nature? What does the Jewish tradition say about after-death; does it matter? Is there a place today for Jewish mysticism? Jewish shamanism? We'll read excerpts from various modern Jewish thinkers as they struggle with placing their experience in relation to Jewish belief. We'll discuss their views and our own as we wrestle with our beliefs and the issues that might lead us toward building a personal theology.
Likely readings include selections from:
Come join us for any or all classes. The readings will be available at Kerem Shalom and from this web page. Please read each selection in advance of the discussion.
Tuesday evenings 7:30 to 9:00 PM
Oct 24, Nov 21, Dec 12, 2006, Jan 30, Mar 13, May 15, Jun 19, 2007
at Kerem Shalom, 659 Elm St, Concord, MA
No pre-registration. Come to any or all classes.
Fee: $10 per session. Free to Kerem Shalom members.
Session 1. October 24, 2006. Theology and Midrash. Jewish theology? With its focus on action, Judaism doesn't have a strong basis in doctrinal theology - judging one's beliefs from dogma and principles. "Our God and God of our ancestors, God of Abraham, God of Sarah, God of Isaac, God of ..." continually reminds us that each person has their unique and direct relationship to God. Midrash is the rabbinic process of encountering the traditional texts with fresh eyes.This heritage supports narrative theology - starting with one's own experience and locating that story within the tradition. Together, we'll engage in the communal conversation that lends coherence to this individual struggle for meaning.
Session 2. November 21, 2006. Knowing God. What might it mean to know God? How can we know anything about God, and what could we possibly know? What are some Jewish pathways toward that experience? Reading: Excerpts from Sacred Fragments: Recovering Theology for the Modern Jew, Neil Gillman.
Session 3. December 12, 2006. Revelation. Receiving revelation at Sinai is the central defining event of Judaism that brings the community into covenant with God. Is it possible to believe in revelation; what might have taken place (or be taking place); and what might have been revealed? Reading: Excerpts from: Sacred Fragments, Neil Gillman; The Man of Today and the Jewish Bible, Martin Buber; Expanding the Palace of Torah: Orthodoxy and Feminism, Tamar Ross; and a taste of Talmud (Tractate Menahot 29b).
Session 4. January 30, 2007. Prayer. What does it mean to pray? What is the use and purpose of praying? Why would I want to? We'll consider some approaches to these questions. Reading: Excerpts from: Man's Quest for God: Studies in Prayer and Symbolism, Abraham Joshua Heschel; The Path of Blessing: Experiencing the Energy and Abundance of the Divine, Marcia Prager; and How Can Reconstructionists Pray?, Jacob Staub. Optional reading, for information from scientific studies of prayer: "Research Findings About Prayer", from Seven Prayers That Can Change Your Life, Leonard Felder, Ph.D.
Session 5. March 13, 2007. The World to Come. We'll discuss some Jewish views of the soul and the afterlife: Is there a soul; what might that mean? What happens after death – to the individual and to the community – resurrection, reincarnation, the “World to Come” (Olam HaBa), the messianic "End of Days"? Does it matter? Readings: Excerpts from: Does the Soul Survive?, R. Elie Kaplan Spitz; and The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning, R. Maurice Lamm. We’ll also glimpse at Sha’ar HaGilgulim: The Gates of Reincarnation, from the mystical teachings of Isaac Luria
Session 6. May 15, 2007. Spiritual Direction. We'll explore and experience Jewish Spiritual Direction – a contemplative practice that helps us to cultivate awareness of the spiritual in everyday life. With focus on recognizing the presence of the sacred using deep listening and discernment, it is a different process than therapy or pastoral counseling. There will be opportunity to share our spiritual paths and explore our relationships with the divine. Readings: Heart-Fire Healing web page: What is Spiritual Direction? and excerpts from Jewish Spiritual Direction: "Holy Listening," Barbara Breitman and "Chavurat Ruach (A Fellowship of Spirit)," Ann Kline.