Downtown Lunch and Learn was established 14 years ago as a way for Wise Temple congregants who work or live in the city (or nearby) to have a thoughtful break in the day. It is a convenient opportunity for those who can’t take advantage of day time adult learning programs at Wise Center. 

Unique topics are offered throughout the year, and while they require advanced reservation, everyone is welcome. The next few months offer fascinating discussions on God, relationships, and even American history, all within a Jewish context. 

On Thursday, March 14, Rabbi Elana Perry, Wise Temple’s Director of Family Engagement will lead “Finding God in Unexpected Places” as she illuminates a pathway to God via the Hebrew alphabet. Sometimes we may feel keenly aware of God’s presence in our lives, and other times we may walk through life in a haze, unaware of, or disconnected from, the Divine presence around us. Did you know that one single letter in the Hebrew alphabet can point the way toward a connection with God? Come to study Jewish texts, both ancient and modern, and discover how one letter can unlock a myriad of mysteries.

Wise Temple Rabbinic Intern Rachel Gross-Prinz will discuss the complexities of modern relationships on Thursday, May 2 with “Midrash 2.0.” Long before the #metoo movement, the Talmud told the tale of a learned rabbi walking through a town seeking a ‘bride for one night.’ The rabbis of the Talmud were characters in and weavers of mind boggling tales that invite us to fill in the blanks, and wrestle with the complexity of our own relationships and lives. The session will take a look at Knesset Member Ruth Calderon’s collection of modern midrash/short stories based on these Talmudic tales – and see how a feminist reclaims a long ago world for our own time.

Wise Temple’s Religious School Director Courtney Anthony will focus on “Thomas Jefferson, Religious Freedom, and the Levy Family” on Thursday, June 6. Although the Declaration of Independence may be the best known document authored by Thomas Jefferson, he also wrote, and was equally proud of, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. This statute laid the groundwork for separation of church and state in the United States, opening the door for Jewish citizens to participate fully in all aspects of American life. The prominent Levy family – including Uriah Levy, the first Jewish Commodore in the U.S. Navy – were so grateful to Jefferson that they purchased Monticello after he died and preserved it for the American people. This is a wonderful opportunity to explore a fascinating story from our nation’s history.

All Downtown Lunch and Learn events require advanced reservations and take place from 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. downtown at a local law firm.

For more information, call Wise Temple.

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