Among the most central and important experiences of in all of Jewish life is learning. Study lies at the core of Judaism, for it leads to a deeper engagement with our tradition, an honest and open minded encounter with Jewish ideas about the world we live in, and even to deeper faith. Studying Jewish texts creates and nurtures an intimate relationship with the great teachers and sages of the past, as if they were sitting next to us in the moment. For Jews, education is the silver bullet not because it leads to material empowerment but because it leads to spiritual empowerment. Study enables us to understand more deeply why Judaism is such an important context in which to live our lives.
That’s why I’m so excited about bringing Project Zug to Oheb Shalom. Project Zug connects Jews with each other – and with Jewish tradition – through paired learning. This innovative program, sponsored by Mechon Hadar in New York, enables people to study a topic of their own choosing from a long and interesting catalog of offerings, with a person of their choosing and at a time, place and pace that responds to their schedule and needs. No study opportunity could be more convenient to people who are already busy with work and family commitments.
Here are some FAQs about Project Zug:
- Who will I learn with? You can learn together with someone you know, perhaps a family member. Or your study partner can be someone that from Oheb Shalom. Whomever you choose, it’s important that the two of you choose your topic together and that you’re both excited about it.
- How does Project Zug work? Courses are either 4 or 10 sessions in length. Each course offers study sheets with questions, designed to be learned in 30-45 min– and 4 short (less than 10 min!), high quality online videos of the teacher framing your learning. You can study in person, online through video chat or even by phone. Learn anytime, from anywhere, at your own pace!
- What kinds of courses are offered? All of the courses offered by Project Zug are exciting and are taught by incredibly talented and passionate people. Here are some examples:
- The Balancing Act: Being a Jewish Parent
- Visiting the Sick: A Talmudic Exploration
- How Do We Increase Peace in the World?
- Judaism: Identity, Pluralism and Peoplehood
- Weep, Pray, Love: Rachel in the Bible and Beyond
- On the Connection Between Women, Men and Water in Jewish Tradition
- Mindfulness in Judaism
- Do I need a computer? If two people want to study together and neither one has a computer, Oheb Shalom will print the study sheets for you. The teacher’s presentations can only be viewed online. If you have a computer but are not proficient in using it, you can ask for a tutorial to get up to speed!
- How do I sign up? The fall cycle of learning starts November 13, 2016. Oheb Shalom is covering the costs– so registration is FREE to you (enter coupon code ohebshalom5777)! Registration is open now at projectzug.org
Project Zug will be formally launched at Oheb Shalom at the annual Rabbi Alexander M. Shapiro Memorial Breakfast and Lecture on Sunday, November 6 at 10:00 AM. Our guest speaker for this year’s lecture will be Rabbi Avi Killip, the Director of Project Zug for Mechon Hadar.
In the new Jewish year that has begun, I hope you will make Jewish learning one of your priorities. With Project Zug, it’s easier than ever!