People of the Book

Like I wrote in my previous post, Israel is a place for personal fulfillment for many Jews in many different areas.

One of the most important areas, of course, is in learning Torah. Yesterday I had the privilege to learn for the day at Michlelet Herzog in Alon Shvut (one of the yishuvim in Gush Etzion). There is a week long seminar there on Tanach (the Hebrew bible consisting of the Five books of Moses, the Prophets, and the Writings). Some of the days there are just lectures in Hebrew, and a few of the days there are lectures in both Hebrew and English.

I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The topics that I chose were interesting, the teachers knowledgable, and the organization would make any yekke proud (the classes all started on time, registration was streamlined, and there were many people around to answer technical questions).

I loved the fact that I was surrounded by people who love to learn Torah. I loved the fact that I felt young – there were young people there to be sure, but about 50% of those learning were post retirement. I got a kick out of the fact that in one lecture I glanced to my left, and saw an elderly lady taking notes – on her personal laptop (perhaps to share the “wealth” with her children and grandchildren??). And, in this day and age of “religious hysteria”, the learning was open to both men and women. In each class there were discreet signs to say where the women should sit and where the men should sit, but most of the married couples sat together anyway. Guess what? The atmosphere was respectful, and the earth did not swallow us up because men and women were learning in the same room without a mechitza. In addition the lecturers were both men and women.

I also took upon myself a small goal for next year. I am woefully ignorant of Nach (the Prophets). It seems that since we hear the parsha of the week on Shabbat, and we learn some of the Writings before each holiday (the book of Esther before Purim, the book of Ruth before Shavuot, etc.) I can hold my own with those topics. But the Prophets, even though they make up some crucial parts of ancient Jewish history, are vague. I hope to get myself an English Koren Tanach and brush up, bli neder.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. ilanadavita
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 21:02:11

    The atmosphere was respectful, and the earth did not swallow us up because men and women were learning in the same room without a mechitza.
    🙂
    Let me know what you think of thr Koren Tanach once you get it. I reviewed their Rosh Hashana Mahzor a few days ago; it looks very inspiring.

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