Right now, no matter where you live or work, you can enjoy Torah study during your lunch break. The environment is informal, the content is accessible and the people are welcoming. Bring your curiosity and ask questions or simply listen. Downtown Lunch and Learn is a convenient opportunity for those who can’t take advantage of other daytime adult learning programs offered through Wise Center due to their work schedules. 

In October Courtney Anthony presented “A Bintl Briv: A Bundle of Letters,” detailing the experiences of Jewish immigrants to the United States through their own words. The challenges people faced as they arrived in this country, adapted to their new lives, and became Jewish Americans were compelling. In December Rabbi Lewis Kamrass discussed “Jewish Peoplehood: When we began and how we evolve.” Rabbi Kamrass covered how the Jewish people took shape, how those boundaries change over time, and how those ever-evolving ideas impact the changing sense of Jewish identity even today.

On Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, Rabbi Michael Danziger considers “What’s a Mishnah, Anyway? An Introduction to Rabbinic Thought.” The Rabbis of the early centuries of the Common Era play a tremendous role, to this day, in our Jewish lives.  Who were they, and how did they both change and preserve Judaism following the destruction of the Temple? Rabbi Danziger also takes a brief look at the Oral Law in writing, and the teachers who recorded it.

Rabbi Karen Thomashow examines “Unorthodox” on Thursday, March 4, 2021. The Netflix hit mini-series is a fascinating portrayal of a young Orthodox woman from the Satmar Chasidic community in New York. It is multi-layered in its dealing with youth, religion, and gender, among other large topics of great interest. This session will take up a few moments from the main character’s life, and study them through the lens of traditions of Reform Judaism. No prior knowledge of the show, or the book it is based on (“Unorthodox” by Deborah Feldman), is necessary.

Finally, on Thursday, April 8, 2021, Jonathan Falco, Wise Temple Rabbinic Intern, presents “Got Kosher?” The story of Kashrut in America is one of adaptation and innovation, a merging of traditional practice with the American palate. Discover the intersection between the Jewish tradition and the world of American food, such as how products like Coca-Cola became kosher and the development of kosher certification in the age of the modern food industry.

Currently, all Downtown Lunch and Learn sessions are being offered as virtual events from 11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

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