Beyond Belief: Reflections on Jewish Faith, Reason, and Experience

Six Tuesdays Jan 17th thru- Feb 21st 8:00-9:30pm @ The Chabad Russian   Synagogue 7636 Santa Monica Blvd  


 Beyond Belief: Reflections on Jewish Faith, Reason, and Experience


Our beliefs color the way we see the world and help us to make sense of the inevitable challenges that confront us. Our  upcoming winter course, Beyond Belief: Reflections on Jewish Faith, Reason, and Experience, is designed to help students take a closer at how Jewish beliefs can help bring meaning to their lives and guide their choices.


The course will provide the Torah's perspectives on many of the most important questions that are asked by those of every religious faith:

How did the world get here? If the Universe has a Creator, does He run the world, or has He stepped into the background and left things up to physical and human nature? How does G‑d communicate with us? What is a prophet? Are there any prophets living today? Who wrote the Torah? Where does the text we read today come from? Are we rewarded and punished for our behavior? What is the meaning of the Jewish concept of a Messiah? Is there an afterlife?


Maimonides, the pre-eminent Jewish thinker, systematically identified thirteen key beliefs that touch on all of the questions above, and that serve as the foundation of Judaism to this day. Taken together, they are a set of necessary and sufficient building blocks that allow us to construct a deep and nuanced understanding of what it means to live as a Jew.


In this course, students examine the logic and role each principle plays in shaping their world view. Students will also have the opportunity to grapple with ideas that sometimes seem remote, and to gain insight into the process by which these and other beliefs are shaped and expanded. Most importantly, this course will also address the inner struggle that many people feel when considering issues of faith.


Beyond Belief reclaims faith as a uniquely Jewish value, while recognizing that it is not a static formulation to be unthinkingly accepted. Jewish faith is a dynamic, powerful force within us that must be continuously fed by thinking, feeling, and doing. Beyond Belief provides multiple pathways into the exploration of faith-building. Both thoughtful and practical, Beyond Belief is an innovative look at faith that should not be missed.


Like all our courses, Beyond Belief presents the fundamentals of Judaism in a way that is both challenging yet accessible. Students will have the opportunity to encounter classic primary texts and engage in thoughtful, open discussion.