How a Jewish Learning Program Surprised Me

July 13, 2017

Source: eJewish Philanthropy


When our synagogue, Bet Torah in Mt. Kisco, NY, announced a learning project with Project Zug, an online-based paired learning platform powered by Mechon Hadar, I really had no idea what to expect. We have had many adult education programs over the years, but nothing that was as self-directed as this looked to be. It was to be spread out over more than ten weeks and required significant amounts of discipline. I wasn’t sure if I was up to making this big a time commitment. And, it was timed to lead up to an evening of study on Shavuot, the nature of which had not been defined. So, I had a little bit of trepidation as I decided to sign up for the class. However, there were a lot of topics to choose from, and many of them were definitely interesting. There was quite a spread from Talmud and Food, to the Music of Leonard Cohen, to an Introduction to Midrash.

I decided to give “A Food Tour of the Talmud” a go. I have been studying Talmud for several years, and figured that this would be right up my alley. Also, I didn’t specify a preferred partner. I thought it would be interesting to see who the folks running the program would choose to partner with me. As it turned out, I caught a real break. Eli was someone I had seen at shul, but didn’t really know at all. It turned out that he was a gourmet chef and had limited knowledge of Talmud, while my knowledge of food is pretty much limited to, “Please pass the kugel.” This turned out to be shiduch (match) made in heaven.

Looking back, I have to say that I really enjoyed the experience. Although I have been reading Talmud for quite a while, the discussion questions forced me to look at many of the topics in a new light, one that I wouldn’t have discovered on my own. Also, I got a chance to make a new friend. That may be the longest lasting benefit of the course. We have decided to continue our studies together in the coming months. The fact that Eli brings homemade ice cream doesn’t hurt.

Read the whole article at eJewish Philanthropy.

Updated: Jul. 19, 2017