Ambitious course to cover over thirty-three centuries of Jewish Literature: Register today!

(AJNews) – You are invited to explore eight genres of Jewish Literature with a diverse group of community members in both Edmonton and Calgary.

To study the history of most cultures, you need to learn about wars and empires, warriors and city builders, and great works of art. But the history of Judaism is overwhelmingly a history of books. Books form the core of Judaism’s culture. But even if they’re known as “the People of the Book,” much of Judaism’s classic literature remains closed to contemporary Jews.

This month – starting January 30 – Rabbi Mendy Blachman of Chabad of Edmonton will open Jewish literature to a contemporary audience, leading a class of Jews of many affiliations and backgrounds as they explore the history, authors, and content of Judaism’s most important titles in a new course entitled Book Smart. Chabad of Alberta will also be offering this course in Calgary on Tuesday evenings and Wednesday mornings.

“It’s an ambitious undertaking,” Rabbi Blachman says, “I’m excited because I think the course will give us a richer understanding of what Judaism meant throughout the centuries and what it can mean for us today.”

When Book Smart’s first ninety-minute session kicks off on Monday, January 30, at 7:30 pm, at the Fantasyland Hotel, students will begin their six-week survey of traditional Jewish literature, covering; Torah, Talmud, Midrash, Halachah, ethics, and philosophy, as well as kabbalah and Chasidic mysticism. “We’ll meet the authors behind the big ideas of Jewish history over a period of thirty-three centuries,”

The history of Jewish literature is a broad subject, but Rabbi Blachman says the course will also go deep. “We’re not just going to learn why these works were written. We’re actually going to get a taste of what it’s like to participate in a Talmudic debate, unpack a philosophical conundrum, and decipher a kabbalistic text from the Zohar.”

Book Smart was developed by The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, which has a sterling reputation for producing high-quality and engaging courses. Over 400,000 people have participated in JLI’s courses since the organization was founded in 1998.

Rabbi Blachman says he isn’t promising students overnight expertise on the works discussed in the course. “But I can assure them it will be an enjoyable and intellectually engaging journey, giving us valuable context for all our future Jewish learning.”

For more information and to register contact: Rabbi Mendy Blachman at 780-200-5770 or email

In Calgary for more information call Chabad of Alberta at 403-281-3770.



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