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Six Jewish Debates Are Planned in West Orange

Rabbi Mendy Kasowitz of Chabad of West Orange will recount 2000 years of Jewish history through the lens of six epic debates that rocked the Jewish world and still resound powerfully today.

Beginning Monday, October 30, at 7:30 p.m., Chabad of West Orange will be offering a new six-session course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI), titled “Great Debates in Jewish History.”

In commemoration of 70 years since archeologist Eleazar Sukenik purchased the first Dead Sea Scroll in November of 1957, the community is invited to examine and unlock the stories of these ancient manuscripts and what their texts reveal about the heated dispute between the Dead Sea Sect and the Jewish establishment.

“Judaism welcomes debate and discourse,” Rabbi Kasowitz, the local JLI instructor in West Orange, said. “This JLI course invites participants to gain fascinating insight into six mega-debates that have split the Jewish community throughout our history—and some of these matters continue to be debated today!”

“Great Debates in Jewish History” raises such questions as: Why were the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls opposed to rabbinic interpretation? What motivated the rebels at Masada? And what is the Jewish perspective on taking up arms in situations where defeat is inevitable? What role does nationalism play in Judaism? Are faith and reason mutually exclusive? What motivated the anti-Maimonideans in banning—and even burning—some of Maimonides’ works? And is religion designed to be a private and personal experience, or one to be proudly paraded in the public domain?

This course is sponsored locally by Regal Bank.

Like all JLI programs, this course is designed to appeal to people at all levels of knowledge, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning. All JLI courses are open to the public, and attendees need not be affiliated with a particular synagogue, temple or other house of worship.

Interested students may call 973-325-6311 or visit www.chabadwestorange.com/jli for registration and for other course-related information. JLI courses are presented in West Orange in conjunction with Chabad of West Orange, an affiliate of Lubavitch Center of Essex County and the Rabbinical College of America.

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