Fall Semester 2020

October 5, 2020 – January 21, 2021

All classes are online.

For more information info@hebrewseminary.org.

Tuesdays 12:45 – 2:15pm          Cantor Rabbi Michael Davis
Begins Oct 6
Reading the Tanach as a Whole

I once had a teacher of Talmud. He had devoted his life to the study of Talmud. The breadth of his knowledge was encyclopedic. He told us that once his students brought him an end-of-year gift. Before he opened the wrapping his students told him: Rabbi, we know how much you love Talmud. So, we bought you a book that collects one volume all the biblical verses quotes throughout 2,000 years of Rabbinic literature. Every single verse that appears in Mishnah and Talmud, Midrash and Zohar, Medieval and Modern commentators – it’s all in this book!”

So, our rabbi opened the wrapping and holds it up for the class to see It was a Tanakh!

There is a point to this quip. We are so used to reading Tanakh through the Rabbinic lens that we are only vaguely aware – if that – of most of the rest of Tanakh that are not Torah readings, haftarot, liturgy or otherwise included in the rabbinic canon.

The purpose of this survey course is to read all of Torah, Nevi’im and (the non-wisdom parts of) Ketuvim as a whole.

Goals of the course are: 
To become conversant with the Tanakh as a whole.
To develop an understanding of Rabbinic editing of liturgy and the lectionary.
Students will be expected to read the assigned selections and discuss them in class.

Rabbi Davis will present reflections and commentary on the material.


Wednesdays 12:00 – 1:30pm
Rabbis Dr. Douglas Goldhamer and Shari Chen
Begins Oct 14
Pirke Avot

Rabbis Dr. Douglas Goldhamer and Shari Chen will discuss the early ethics of the Talmud, as presented in the classic Pirke Avot, Ethics of the Fathers, written circa 300 CE. Traditional and mystical commentaries will expand your understanding of Pirke Avot and reveal its timelessness and importance in the world today.

Sundays 1:30 – 3:00 pm            Rahmiel Hayyim Drizin
The Zohar on Beresheet — In the Beginning
Begins Oct 14


This Semester we will continue to delve into the beginning of the Holy Zohar, with teachings tied to Creation and the theme of “Beresheet“–“in the Beginning.”  We will learn from the wonderful Pritzker Edition translation by Daniel Matt in English by focusing on the nuances of the original Aramaic text and relating it to our current life.

Please join us as we begin our journey back to our own origins, with purposeful intent to recognize where we came from and where we are holding now.


Sundays 3:15 – 4:45 pm            
Rabbi Dr. Douglas Goldhamer & Reverend Rick and Mary Mercer
A Jewish and Christian Perspective of the Book of Psalms
Begins October 18

Rabbi Dr. Douglas Goldhamer and Reverend Rick and Mary Mercer will interpret a number of the 150 Psalms of David to open a conversation that will include a lively and free-flowing debate in support of understanding both the Jewish and Christian interpretations of the texts.  

In Christian commentaries, the Psalms of David forecasts the advent of Jesus. (Jesus is descended from the lineage of David.) Reverend Mercer is associate minister of the Missionary Tabernacle Baptist Church of Evanston, and Mary Harris Mercer is superintendent of the Missionary Tabernacle Baptist Church of Evanston Sunday school.

Join Rabbi Goldhamer and the Mercers for an entree to understanding how the Jewish and Christian traditions are similar and unique. At the same time, you may find that  you expand and fine-tune aspects of your own personal theology.  

Fall Semester 2020
October 5, 2020 – January 21, 2021
(No Classes Oct 11; Nov 26-29; Dec 20 – Jan 2, 2021)

Open to non-credit students ($150)

October 5, 2020 – January 21, 2021

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