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URJ North Carolina Lunch & Learn Beit Midrash

Past Sessions
Thursday, March 25, 2021 12 Nisan 5781 - 12:00 PM - 2:15 PM - online
Thursday, March 18, 2021 5 Nisan 5781 - 12:00 PM - 2:15 PM - online
Thursday, March 11, 2021 27 Adar 5781 - 12:00 PM - 2:15 PM - online
Thursday, March 4, 2021 20 Adar 5781 - 12:00 PM - 2:15 PM - online
Thursday, February 25, 2021 13 Adar 5781 - 12:00 PM - 2:15 PM - online
Thursday, February 18, 2021 6 Adar 5781 - 12:00 PM - 2:15 PM - online

Join with congregations across North Carolina for this unique learning opportunity! Rabbis from North Carolina synagogues will be teaching on a variety of topics. You will have the opportunity to learn in two sessions: 12pm-1pm and 1:15pm-2:15pm with a short break in between. Sessions run Thursdays, February 18 - March 25. To read about the sessions being offered and to register, visit here: HERE. There is no charge for this program. Questions? Contact Rena Fraade at

Course Offerings

First Hour: 12 Noon - 1:00 PM
The Voices of Science and Reason in the Bible
Rabbi Ariel Edery, Beth Shalom: SW Wake
In the Bible, we hear "the voice of God", and hear the Prophets' "visions" and "revelations". In our course, we will find and explore the Biblical voices of intellectual reasoning, human experience, and rational-scientific knowledge, as found in the Bible's Wisdom books.
Treasures of the Zohar
Rabbi David Lipper, Temple Kol Tikvah: Lake Norman
We will explore some teachings about the Creation, the Human Soul, and Revelation. We will read the text in translation and it will be focused on discussion.
The Significance of Jewish Resistance during and after the Holocaust
Rabbi Fred Guttman, Temple Emanuel: Greensboro
This course will examine art, music, prayer, humor, those who saved others (including Righteous Gentiles), and cases of physical resistance, individual and organized. In the latter part of the course, we will examine post-Holocaust responses in art and theology and end with a discussion of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism in groups such as QAnon and the Proud Boys.
Chametz, Yetzer Harah, and Channeling Human Energies
Rabbi Harley Karz-Wagman, Congregation Bayt Shalom: Greenville
Passover rituals urge us to control our chametz (leavened products, our puffed up ego), a symbol for our yetzer harah (fear triggered animal impulses). We will learn to understand and control and channel the energies generated by our yetzer harah in service of our yetzer tov (inclinations towards good). That will lead us to direct all of our actions to serve God, instead of Pharaohs.
Second Hour: 1:15 - 2:15 PM
Dichotomies We've Created
Rabbi Rachael Jackson, Agudas Israel Congregation: Hendersonville
We will look at various pairs of subjects including Judaism & Science; Angels & Demons; Heaven & Hell; Abilities & Disabilities. We will view each pair as we are often confronted with them--as though they are in opposition. Our goal, however, will be to reconcile the false dichotomy which has been created."
The Greatest Teachings from Our Greatest Teacher: Next Steps
Rabbi Andy Koren, Temple Emanuel: Greensboro
Remember the days before pearls of wisdom were shared in newspaper columns, radio/TV talk shows, or social media? Judaism does. Pirkei Avot, a section of Rabbinic teaching - many of them no more than a few lines – includes the ethical advice of our most celebrated minds from antiquity. This class will look at Chapters 3 & 4 of this six-chapter work, always pausing to see how the teachings of thousands of years ago help us understand the times we now live in. No prior knowledge of Chapters 1 & 2 or any other prerequisite necessary.
Sensing Humor in the Talmud
Rabbi Matt Soffer, Judea Reform Congregation: Durham
In this class, we will explore the ways in which the realm of the Comic permeates Talmudic literature. We will approach our ancient texts through the lenses of Comic Theory to discover how our ancestors’ sense of humor was just as spirited- even essential- as our own, particularly as they grappled with their own often tragic crises.
Where Is God When Your Heart Stops
Rabbi Lucy Dinner, Temple Beth Or: Raleigh
If we attribute goodness and blessings to God where do evil and curses originate? Why would a loving God create a world with the propensity for pandemics and violent enmity?
What is Mindfulness and Is it Jewish?
Rabbi Batsheva Meiri, Beth HaTephila: Asheville
Religious practice is a practice of mindfulness, of paying attention in the present moment. This course will examine the intersection between mindfulness and Torah, Jewish Theology, and Jewish practice. We will also spend class time learning various practices students might incorporate into their daily lives.
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Thu, July 29 2021 20 Av 5781