The Gates Are Unlocked: The Yom Kippur Experience in the Talmud
Wednesday evenings from 7:30 - 9:00 in the Library.
Study of the last chapter of Tractate Yom Kippur, delving into philosophical reflections on repentance, as well as practical questions
dealing with the observance of the fast.
Join us for our 29th year studying Talmud together! No previous participation is needed.
Anyone may join the class at any time. No prior knowledge of Talmud, Hebrew, or Aramaic is required.
If you can't make every class, please join when you can; it's easier than you think to be a Talmud learner and to enjoy the material. Contact Rabbi Bolton
directly with any questions. All you need to bring is your life experience. Bring your family, friends, and
associates, and share the news.
If it's possible for you to do so, although you need not do so to attend the class, it's recommended that you acquire the ArtScroll Schottenstein Talmud volume containing the last chapter of Masekhet Yoma. The volume is available in both the full size and Daf Yomi size (content is identical but type is smaller in the Daf Yomi version). The ArtScroll item number is TYO2 for the full-size version, and DTYO2 for the Daf Yomi size. The volume can be acquired directly from ArtScroll at www.artscroll.com or any one of a variety of other online sources.
Registration is NOT required for this class.
Exploring the Siddur: History, Meaning and Commentaries on the Jewish Prayerbook
Thursday mornings, following minyan, from 8:40 - 9:40 am in the Library.
Explore the history of our prayer book, the meaning of the prayers, and Jewish law and teachings about prayer in a new class led by Rabbi Scott Bolton. Prior attendance is not required.
Registration is NOT required for this class.
The Shank Bone: The Phantom Limb of the Passover Seder
Rabbi Mordecai Schwartz, Ph.D.
Thursday, March 22, 2018, at 7:00 pm
that we employ with sacrifices is sharing a meal
with God. For human
beings sharing food is
a form of intimacy and
a way of developing
relationships; it is a sign
of caring, love, and generosity. What happens
when this sign is removed, and we are forced
to continue without it? We keenly feel the
absence of the Paschal Lamb throughout the
Passover Seder. In this session of Talmudic
Takes we will spend time looking at a few of
the places where we can notice the absence
of the Paschal Lamb most strongly. We
will also try and uncover its meaning and
significance in the present time.
Talmudic Takes, led by Rabbi Schwartz,
PhD, Beit Midrash Director at JTS, are
scholarly presentations about major themes
of our holidays. The goal is to expand on
profound ideas and practices that enrich the
holidays. Rabbi Schwartz led our two-year
hevruta program. Please join us for this
unique opportunity to study with a master
teacher of Talmudic and Rabbinic texts in
preparation for Passover. Talmudic Takes is
open to everyone.
Registration is not required.
Congregational Second Seder 5778
Second Seder: Saturday, March 31, 2018, at 8:00 pm
We invite you, your family and your friends to join Or Zarua for this year's Congregational Second Seder, led by Rabbi Bolton.
OZ Members & Guests: Adults $75 / Children 8 and under $50
Nonmembers: Adults $125 / Children 8 and under $50
Registration is required by Monday, March 26, 2018.
To sign up online, click
- or -
Call 212-452-2310, Ext 39.
Three Sundays between Pesah and Shavu'ot - April 22 & 29 and May 6 at 10:00 am
Or Zarua congregants generally are avid learners, eager to grapple with
traditional and modern texts, from the Torah to the Talmud and beyond, that form
the religious and intellectual bedrock of Judaism. Some congregants are also
eager to share their learning with fellow members.
For more than a decade now at Or Zarua, congregant Marc Ashley has taught an
annual adult education course on several Sunday mornings between Pesach and
Shavuot. During this spring period leading up to the yearly commemoration of
the revelation of the Torah at Mount Sinai, the perfect time for contemplation
and introspection regarding our religious beliefs and practices, Ashley's course
has covered a variety of core theological, legal and historical issues. With a
recurring focus on the origins and authority of the Torah she'be'al peh (the
Oral Law in Judaism), we have examined wide-ranging issues including the
ideological foundations of denominational differences, parameters of Jewish
pluralism, reasons for the commandments, sources of authentic Jewish knowledge,
subjective dynamics of halakhic decision-making, and seminal historiography of
The fundamental Jewish principle
that we are rewarded and punished
by God for the choices we make
is premised on the equally core
assumption that we have free will
to choose to do good or evil. For surely, if
our decisions are predetermined by causes
beyond our control, God could have no
rational basis to hold us accountable for
them. Indeed, if divine providence over our
lives is all consuming, then free will may
To put it in biblical terms: If God
hardened Pharaoh's heart and deprived him
of the freedom to make his own decision
about liberating the Israelites, how was it
fair that God punished Pharaoh and the
Egyptians with the plagues?
If God is all-powerful and all-knowing,
then the notion of human free will may not
be tenable. And it would be unjust for us to
be held accountable for our actions if God
has determined them in advance. So which is
it - is God omniscient and omnipotent, or are
human beings freely capable of shaping their
own destinies? Paradoxically, Judaism seems
to embrace both concepts concurrently.
God's control over history plays out on
both an individual and national scale. God's
defining role in historical events, implicating
people and nations, is reflected in the stories
of Passover and Purim. God hardened
Pharaoh's heart and miraculously intervened
in Jewish history to bring about the Passover
exodus. No less miraculously, even if the
divine name is absent from Megillat Esther,
God seems to have orchestrated Purim's
palace intrigue and collective salvation.
Despite God's purposeful intervention
in the details of history, our tradition also
highlights how much of our fate rests
in our own hands. The entire system of
Jewish commandments, accountability
and repentance would be nonsensical if
we lacked the free will to decide whether
or not to do good. It is in that dynamic –
and mysterious – intersection of divine
providence and moral decision-making that
the paradox of free will comes to life.
Please join us on three Sundays in April and May as congregant Marc Ashley leads his annual adult education course. We'll survey classical Jewish texts and modern commentaries as we explore the continuing relevance of the provocative topic of free will.
No prior knowledge of any kind is required for these annual adult education
courses. Please join us for stimulating discussions of crucial issues in Jewish
life, as together we help sustain and nourish a community of learners and
learning at Or Zarua.
Classes will meet in the Or Zarua Library.
Attendance at all classes is NOT required; if you can't attend all sessions, come to the ones you can attend. Please contact Marc Ashley with any questions.
Registration is not required.
Or Zarua History Wanted
Or Zarua is recording its oral history and creating an archive. If you have information, memorabilia, photos, or other material to be included, please contact the Oral History Committee by email to either Phyllis Solomon or Caroline Golden.
Refu'ah Shleymah, Comfort and Caring Calls
It's not always easy to reach out at times when we are ill or facing personal challenges. Nevertheless, our Hesed Committee and Hevra Kadisha Committee, as well as Rabbi Bolton, seek to extend our community's caring network. We would like all Congregants to know that if you are ailing or going through a particularly challenging time, our community would like to offer encouragement and words of support. For home-bound Congregants, or those with limited abilities to attend classes and programs at Or Zarua, let us help connect you, say hello, arrange a time for phone study, or set up visits. To get the connection started, call Deborah at 212.452.2310, Extension 12.
Rabbi Wechsler is on Sirius XM Stars Radio each Sunday.
Subscribers to Sirius Radio can access this program on Channel 102,
and XM subscribers can tune in to Channel 155 on XM Radio. Non-subscribers to
Sirius Radio can obtain a free three
day trial at www.sirius.com .
Songs and Niggunim -
Including Joey Weisenberg niggunim.