About This Circle
We are the “People of the Book,” a nation of readers. Judaism regards study as a sacred act, in which we join our own minds to the minds of Jews throughout the ages, and thereby become part of the immortal tradition of Torah.
Study in Judaism does not mean amassing greater and greater quantities of information. Jewish study is a process of thinking, of inquiring and probing the ultimate questions of life: Who are we? What are we here for? How should we live? What can we hope for? These questions admit no final answers, and so our religion calls us to go on asking them throughout our lifetime.
Our sacred texts contain strange and wonderful stories and teachings from distant times and faraway lands. But most importantly, they offer us an honest encounter with another human soul. Perhaps the soul of a teacher who lived two thousand years ago; perhaps the soul of our study partner sitting across the text from us. In those meetings, we discover new depths of our own soul and new meaning for our own life.
- Find a partner for regular Jewish learning together (this is called learning in chevruta).
- Buy a Torah commentary and read the weekly Torah portion (chapters and verses can be found in the weekly CBB e-newsletter).
- Arrive at services in time for the teaching/discussion.
- Subscribe to and read regularly a Jewish magazine or newspaper (e.g. Moment, The Jerusalem Report, Reform Judaism, The LA Jewish Journal).
- Bookmark and regularly visit Jewish learning websites on the Internet (e.g. myjewishlearning.com or www.urj.org/torah/).
- Subscribe to the Reform Movement’s daily email, “10 Minutes of Torah,” at the URJ.
- Teach in the CBB Religious School (not for the faint of heart).
- Attend adult ed classes or lectures by guest speakers at CBB.
- Learn to chant Torah or haftarah.
- Buy Jewish books for your home (even if you don’t read them, your children might!).
On-Line Resources for Jewish Learning
The following is a tiny selection of the countless good Jewish learning websites
- www.myjewishlearning.com. This is an amazing website, providing teaching and commentaries on every possible subject by Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Orthodox rabbis and teachers. And the material is also “graded” as for beginners, intermediates and advanced.
- www.urj.org. This is the home site of the Union for Reform Judaism, our national movement. Here you can find “10 minutes of Torah,” “Jewish Parent Page,” “Family Shabbat Table Talk,” and in-depth exploration of the weekly Torah portion (by a different rabbi or scholar every week). Also wonderful resources on challenges facing congregations, etc.
- www.chabad.org. The website of the international Chabad/Lubavitch Hasidic movement. The movement is ultra-orthodox in its religious outlook, but extremely outward-looking in its embrace of modern technology and very sophisticated in its organization.
- www.aish.com. Aish HaTorah is an orthodox “outreach” organization, also extremely sophisticated, and offers wonderful practical guidance for people “returning” to Judaism.
- www.israelpolicyforum.org. An intelligent commentary on the Middle East, with weekly postings, from a left-leaning perspective.
- www.washingtoninstitute.org. A well-respected institute established by AIPAC to provide analysis and commentary on the Middle East, from a centrist-right perspective.
- www.haaretz.com. Israel’s equivalent of the New York Times. High quality writing. Available on-line daily.
- www.memri.org. The Middle East Media Research Institute. Daily selections from the Arab press, from a wide range of points of view. A fascinating window into the diversity of the Arab world.
For any factual question regarding Jewish history, text, etc: wikipedia!