Adult Study Group

Everyone is welcome.

The Adult Study Group was established in 2011 to provide a forum for the sharing of ideas and information on religious and philosophical topics. The group meets monthly from October through June to discuss a wide range of topics from Biblical archaeology to issues of contemporary Jewish significance.

The group has about 15 regular members and others join particular sessions depending on their interests. While most of our members belong to the WRSSJCC, non-members are also welcome. New members are encouraged to join at any time. There is a nominal annual fee ($20 - single; $30 - family) to help defray expenses. For more information, contact the group leader.

First Session, Monday, October 1, 2018, 7:30 - 9:00pm

At the end of last season, the group decided to begin this year with a series of sessions about famous people in Judaism -- from the Bible or any subsequent period of history.  The topic for this class is Sarah, the wife of Abraham and the first Jewish woman.  No, Sarah wasn’t on Mount Moriah when Abraham was about to kill their son, but, as the first Jewish mother in history, Sarah coined  the verb “to plotz.” And she wasn't just plotzing, but…….read on.  

Please read two or three of these short articles - more if you like - for our October 1st session.

1. For the briefest of overviews, start with this one:

https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/sarahsarai-bible

2. Much fuller, with more information:

a) http://www.aish.com/jl/b/women/Women_in_the_Bible_Sarah.html#prophet (with an interesting short video about Sarah and prophecy)

b) https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/112508/jewish/Sarah-of-the-Bible-The-First-Matriarch.htm

A Chabad view which is colourfully explained:

3. Approaching Sarah as a product of the times and thinking in ancient Mesopotamia - two different views - contrast with #2b above

https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/sarah-in-the-bible/

4. For more exposition on Sarah and the binding of Isaac as was read on Rosh HaShanah

https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/where-was-sarah/

https://thetorah.com/the-sacrifice-of-isaac-in-context/ (not as much on Sarah as a philosophical examination of the Akedah)

5. A feminist approach to Sarah

a) https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/sarah-in-the-bible/ (same as #3)

b) https://faithlessfeminist.com/blog-posts/what-happened-to-sarah/

c) https://www.usnews.com/news/religion/articles/2008/01/25/why-scholars-just-cant-stop-talking-about-sarah-and-hagar

6. Muslims and African-Americans on Sarah and Hagar (same as 5c above)

https://www.usnews.com/news/religion/articles/2008/01/25/why-scholars-just-cant-stop-talking-about-sarah-and-hagar

7. Rabbinic commentaries on Sarah. These are compiled in the Sefer Ha Aggadah, "The Book of Legends"

https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/sarah-midrash-and-aggadah

The Study Group is guided by the following principles:

  1. Sessions are intended to be spirited discussions by the whole group. They are not lectures.
  2. Topics may be proposed by anyone, but are normally adopted by consensus.
  3. Each session has a facilitator, usually the person who initially proposed the topic. The facilitator is responsible for identifying a set of readings which will be published on the Adult Study Group web page, and which participants are asked to read before the session.
  4. If a participant, and especially a new participant, has not had an opportunity to read the selections, then that person is welcome to come to the session more as a listener than as a contributor.
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