The Marcus Jewish Community Center is delving into comparative religions and Jewish history with the new offerings from the Lisa F. Brill Institute for Jewish Learning for the 2017-18 school year.
In religious studies, the Brill Institute is adding “The Star and the Crescent: The Long Relationship of Judaism and Islam,” including their areas of conflict and commonality; “Jewish Denominations: Addressing the Challenges of Modernity,” such as gender issues, Israel and assimilation; and “Comparative Religions,” which will examine the rituals, traditions and texts of the world’s largest religions.
New in history are two courses that look for larger lessons in specific Jewish places and times: “The Lower East Side: A Window Into American Jewish Immigrant Culture,” offering insight into the immigrant experience of the 19th and 20th centuries; and “A Hidden World Discovered: The Cairo Geniza,” seeking understanding of Jewish life during the Middle Ages from the fragments of manuscripts found in the Ben Ezra Synagogue storeroom.
“We are thrilled to provide an array of new courses with gifted teachers and presenters for people of all ages and denominations looking to study Jewish topics,” said Talya Gorsetman, the new director of the Brill Institute. “Our classes positively and inclusively enlighten people who are interested in exploring their Judaism.”
More than 450 students a year take Brill classes at the Marcus JCC and its partner locations: the Metro Atlanta Community Mikvah; the Davis Academy; Atlanta Jewish Academy; The Temple; Temple Emanu-El; Temple Sinai; Congregation Etz Chaim; Congregation Shearith Israel; Congregation Beth Shalom; Congregation B’nai Torah; and Young Israel of Toco Hills.
Some courses at some synagogues are available only to members of those shuls. For example, one of the “Jewish Denominations” classes will be open only to members of The Temple, Congregation Shearith Israel and Young Israel so they can learn from one another.
Day and evening classes are available. The course instructors include rabbis, Emory professors and other Jewish scholars. Fees vary by course.
Courses available to the general public in the fall are “The Lower East Side,” “American Jewish Immigrant Culture,” “A Hidden World Discovered,” “The Star and the Crescent,” “Comparative Religions,” “Taste of Judaism,” “Derech Torah: An Introduction to Judaism,” “The Saga Continues: The Books of Samuel,” “The Meaning of the Bible,” “2017: A Year of Anniversaries for Israel,” “Melton Year 1: Rhythms and Purposes of Jewish Living,” “Melton Year 2: Crossroads of Jewish History & Ethics of Jewish Living,” “Main Ideas From the Prophets,” “Crossroads of Jewish History (Part 2),” “Melton Year 1,” “Foundations of Jewish Family Living,” “The Book of Job: A New Perspective,” “Melton Year 1: Rhythms of Jewish Living (Parts 1 and 2),” “Melton Year 1: Purposes of Jewish Living” and “The Tradition Lives On: Mikvah in the 21st Century.”
Courses in the spring are “The Holocaust as Reflected in Diaries and Memoirs,” “Loving Yiddish Through Song,” “A Hidden World Discovered,” “Jews in America: Insiders and Outsiders,” “Do You Believe in Miracles?” and “Melton Year 1: Purposes of Jewish Living (Part 1).”
“There is truly something for everyone,” Gorsetman said. “Whether you are just beginning to delve into Judaism or simply want to deepen your knowledge, we have a class for you. The Brill Institute truly provides an environment which encourages open discussion and engagement, and I am thrilled to be coming on as the new director.”