LEARNING ELEVATES THE SOUL - DEDICATE A DAY OF LEARNING
|Honor the Memory of a Loved One or Person of Your Choice. Celebrate a Simcha - Bar/ Bat Mitzvah, Wedding, Graduation, Birthday or Anniversary - especially for those in your life who don’t need another material gift. If you wish to sponsor a class download a dedication form here or call us at 305-576-4030 x 128.|
This week’s classes are sponsored* by
In Memory of
Ellen Zarren z”l
Beloved mother of Rabbi Efrat Zarren-Zohar
Our Rabbis teach us that learning in memory of a loved one helps to elevate their soul as well as our own.
Yehi Zichrona Livracha L’Tamid-
May Ellen’s memory forever be a blessing.
*If you wish to sponsor a class, please call us at 305-576-4030 x 128, 117.
The Kabbalah of Multiplied Learning
It’s not Pesach quite yet, but here’s a good question: What’s the very best thing you can give an educator? Answer: the opportunity to multiply outstanding education in the world! So when my Miami adult education volunteers asked me how I wanted to be honored for my 20 years in the rabbinate and my 15 years as director of Miami’s Melton School, I said: “Endow a Melton curriculum in my honor.” What better way is there to increase the value of a gift than to pass it on to hundreds, if not thousands, of others? And that’s how the newest Rachel Wasserman Course—Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah: Secret Knowledge in Judaism—came to be.
And what an honor it is!!! This semester, I am blessed to be teaching Melton’s Mysticism curriculum to two different classes and loving it. Though the topic is very difficult both to comprehend and to teach, the faculty guide is extremely helpful. The selection of texts is interesting and wide-ranging. And the curriculum author, Professor Hartley Lachter, has included intriguing questions for discussion at several points in each lesson.
Melton’s Director of Curriculum and Faculty Development, Rabbi Morey Schwartz, has been very supportive with suggestions for further reading and approaches to teaching this challenging material. And the students are enjoying finally having a context for understanding one of the most talked-about, but least-understood aspects of Judaism in the modern world.
An additional benefit to teaching this curriculum has been that the subject matter has challenged me to do some personal spiritual soul-searching that has neatly coincided with the two-year course of study I am undertaking with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Since mysticism is all about opening up one’s consciousness in multiple ways, I decided to begin each lesson with a meditation, a kavannah, or a niggun in an attempt to access greater mindfulness and heightened perceptions. In addition, I finish each class with an optional assignment, such as: “Seek out instances of paradoxes in life” or “Ask yourself ‘what is God trying to teach me?’ when something happens to you” or “Can something intangible be real—and if so, how do you know?”
All in all, having a curriculum endowed in my honor has only highlighted what a privilege it has been to serve as a director and member of faculty in our Miami Melton School. I feel blessed to be the impetus for enabling potentially thousands of students across the globe to study Torah (in its widest sense) through the merit of this wonderful course.
Rabbi Efrat Zarren-Zohar is a Melton Regional Director as well as the Director of the Miami Melton School.