WHAT WE LEARN
For Millennia, Jews have looked to our sacred texts and sources for inspiration and wisdom. As the story of our people and as a moral and spiritual guide book, The Torah challenges us to see ourselves as members of an ancient people entered into a sacred covenant with the Divine. Because every letter and every word in the Torah has meaning and because we all have a part to play in uncovering the multiple levels of wisdom found in the Torah, every person has unique and holy insights and connections to contribute to Torah learning.
Halacha, commonly translated as "Jewish law", is a living, breathing source of connectedness to the Divine, Jewish tradition and history and the Jewish story. Both universal maxims and legal minutiae have animated Jewish life since the time of the Mishnah at the turn of the common era. The study of Rabbinics allows us to stand in the shoes of our ancestors and see the world through their eyes while exploring our own unique sense of connectedness and commandedness.
The Jewish mystical tradition is rich and diverse, and Jewish mysticism has taken many forms. The first forms of Jewish mysticism emerged in the early centuries of the first millenium. Merkavah mysticism was the most common early form. Merkavah mystics aimed at understanding and experiencing the vision of the divine throne discussed in the first chapter of the biblical book of Ezekiel. Another form of early mysticism focused on exploring the mysterious methods that God used to create the world. Sefer Yetzirah, the most important work of creation mysticism, describes the creation of the world through the arrangements of letters and numbers. We will explore these and more.
Each moment is filled with opportunities to connect to Judaism and the Divine. On holy days, life-cycle milestones and everyday living, Jews seek to live in two worlds: The secular and the religious. IJKL offers a myriad of learning opportunities to help you make meaningful connections throughout your everyday routine and find ways to heighten the joy of the festivals and other sacred moments of celebration..
Jewish history is the history of the Jews, and their religion and culture, as it developed and interacted with other peoples, religions and cultures. Although Judaism as a religion first appears in Greek records during the Hellenistic period (323 BCE – 31 BCE) and the earliest mention of Israel is inscribed on the Merneptah Stele dated 1213–1203 BCE, religious literature tells the story of Israelites going back at least as far as c. 1500 BCE. Travel with us back in time as we explore our beginnings and discover what we have become as a people.
Israel is, at once, both a wellspring of hope and promise and a challenging area of conflict. We seek to celebrate Israel's rich history as both a democratic and Jewish state while also struggling with her capacity to fully live up to both of those callings. From the ancient walls of Jerusalem to the shores of Tel Aviv; from the seeds of growth blooming in the desert to the gravestones of our greatest sages, Israel calls us home and invites us to become partners in celebrating an ancient holy land and a modern metropolis.
As we search for ways to come closer to the Divine, we turn to prayer, study and meditation as sources of inspiration. Jews have always sought to know God and have imagined God in their lives in many ways throughout the millenia. At IJKL, our study of theology and how we can understand and draw closer to the Divine is infused with heart, soul and might.