Beyond the Bible course explores history not often studied

January 19, 2023

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In Sunday School, it is typical to learn the highlights of the sacred memories of the Jewish people of the Biblical period. Then, it gets a bit fuzzy.

After the Bible, what was there? Some rabbis, perhaps? It gets clear again with the modern era, the past quarter millennium of Judaism’s long history.

The Jewish learning experienced as young students often skips over the most formative period in Jewish history after the Bible—the millennium in which the traditional Judaism that still influences Jewish lives first took shape.

A collaboration between Dr. Bill Feldman, president of the Tidewater Chavurah, Rabbi Michael Panitz of Temple Israel, and Sierra Lautman, director of Jewish Innovation at United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, resulted in a four-session course to explore this history. Over the four weeks, 25 students met at the Sandler Family Campus to explore the history of the Jewish people in the centuries beyond the conclusion of the Biblical era. They explored how today’s Judaism and Jewish community arose out of the specific historical challenges that were faced in the millennium-plus bracketing the beginning of the Common Era.

-Sierra Lautman


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