Shabbat: Prayer and the Soul

A Dynamic Study of Shabbat Tefillot

LSJS Jan – Mar 2013

From the LSJS website:

How do we talk to the God of Creation on the Day of Rest?

This course looks at seven sections of the siddur that we encounter every Shabbat: Who wrote them? Why were they included in the siddur? Do we appreciate and embrace the ideas they contain? Have their meanings changed over time? Are they still relevant?

“The Shabbat is given unto you, not you unto the Shabbat” (Mechilta 31:13).

This course will enable you to get more out of your siddur prayer and develop your appreciation of God’s great gift to us, the Shabbat.

For the course on Yom Tov prayer, click here

Session 1: Introduction and Kiddush

Session 2: Kabbalat Shabbat

Session 3: Friday Night Amidah and Zemirot

Session 4: Shabbat Morning

Session 5: Shabbat Musaf and Lunch

Session 6: Shabbat Minchah and Seudah Shelishit

Session 7: Havdalah and Motzo'ey Shabbat

21st-Century Halachah

How does Jewish Law Stay Relevant and Meaningful for Today and Beyond?

LSJS Nov – Dec 2012

From the LSJS website:

Halachah is the architecture of Jewish life. It guides our daily routine from what we eat and how we dress to what we say and how we treat others.

Yet surely the greatest modern challenge of Halachah has been its response to the dramatic and irreversible changes in society while staying true to our tradition.

This course takes on three cutting-edge modern concerns and shows how ancient sources and modern responsa address them in sensitive, coherent and innovative ways.

Session 1: Tekhelet and the Discovery of the Murex Snail

Session 2: Spontaneous Generation

I am indebted to Rabbi Natan Slifkin for his excellent material on this topic

Sessions 3 & 4: Using Electricity on Shabbat

Session 5: The Shabbat iPad

Session 6: Teaching Torah to Women


19th-Century Existential Angst - Dostoevsky and Ishbitz

The Quest for Authenticity, Contemplating the Abyss and the Value of Laughter

LSJS October – November 2012

Dostoevsky, whose ‘Crime and Punishment’ defines the psychological novel, and Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Leiner, the controversial Rebbe of Izbica, were contemporaries from entirely different worlds.  Yet surprisingly, their writings address similar issues, reflecting the existential angst of their time.  In this short series, Rabbi Belovski will compare the approaches of these two writers in areas such as death, laughter and the pursuit of authenticity.


Class 1: The Quest for Authenticity

Class 2: Contemplating the Abyss

Class 3: The Value of Laughter

Outrageous Introductions

Radical Rabbinic Ideas in Great Introductions

LSJS May – June 2012

From the LSJS Website

On this intriguing course, Rabbi Dr Harvey Belovski will investigate the often surprising and always challenging contributions made to modern Jewish thought by little-known introductions to classic works.

Discover how Rabbi Yitzchak Abarbanel rocked the boat by considering whether Devarim is a full part of the Torah.

See how Rabbi Avraham Bornstein – the founder and first Rebbe of the Sochatchover Hasidic dynasty – set tongues wagging by stating that learning Torah should be both pleasurable and enjoyable.

Explore how Rabbi Aryeh Leib Heller discussed how halachah has developed as the world around it changed.

You will also delve into other iconoclastic introductions by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato, Rabbi Shimon Shkop and Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman (Ramban) and ask how these redefined the parameters of traditional Jewish thought.

Course Outline

Session 1: The Ramban's Introductions to the Books of the Torah

Session 2: The Abarbanel's Introduction to Devarim

Session 3: The Ramchal's Introduction to Mesilat Yesharim & Derech HaShem

Session 4: Rabbi Aryeh Leib Heller's Introduction to the Ketzot HaChoshen

Link to Benedict Roth's working translation here

Session 5: Rabbi Avraham Bornstein's Introduction to Egley Tal

Session 6: Rabbi Shimon Shkop's Introduction to Sha'arey Yashar

The translation used in this class is not available on-line. An excellent alternative, by Rabbi Micha Berger, appears here.

Session 7: The Piaseczno Rebbe's Introduction to Chovat HaTalmidim

The translation used in this class is a copyrighted text and not available on-line.  It is available here.

Stealing from the Internet

Discover how Jewish Law is meeting the Challenges of Cyberspace

LSJS Jan – Mar 2012

From the LSJS Website:

The Internet and the inexorable growth of modern technology have produced some fraught and fascinating dilemmas for Jewish law.

Just what exactly do modern halachists have to say about issues of copyright law in cyberspace?

What are their sometimes controversial rulings on software pirating, downloading music and surfing the Net using a neighbour’s connection?

Find out what the law is about automated commerce on Shabbat and shared ownership in shady businesses.

Explore the possibilities when it comes to balancing religious obligations with the modern realities of Internet commerce.

On this course you will:

Consider whether halachah recognises intellectual property and other intangibles

Examine an acrimonious copyright dispute that made Jewish legal history

Discuss how halachah views the ‘pirating’ of music, videos and software

Wrestle with the ‘eBay dilemma’ – the auction that ends on Shabbat

Compare a man convicted of ‘piggy-backing’ on a Wi-Fi connection with his 3rd-century counterpart

Course Outline

Session 1: Introduction to Copyright and Intellectual Property

Session 2: More Copyright, Software Piracy and Intellectual Property

Session 3: Erasing God's Name from a Disk, Screen or Website

Sessions 4 & 5: Internet Commerce & Shabbat

Session 6: 'Piggybacking' on a WIFI Connection

Session 7: Electricity on Shabbat: Rabbi S.Z. Auerbach v. Chazon Ish