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Published on February 10th, 2013 | by Natan Margalit


Spring Semester Beit Midrash: Sign up now!

Organic Torah announces the Spring 2013 semester of
Beit Midrash Torat Chayyim!

“Rabbi Natan is masterful at establishing an environment that promotes real learning.”
– Leann Shamash, Synagogue Education Director, Class Participant

“Fabulous class!  The concept of Organic Torah brings out the depth of the text.”
– Rabbi Katy Allen, Hospital Chaplain, Class Participant

Beit Midrash Torat Chayyim is a new institution that offers an ancient/modern approach to learning.  We offer graduate-level study in the tradition of a beit midrash, which is a place where Jews have debated ideas and explored texts for generations in a lively atmosphere of joy in learning.  The core texts of Judaism are central: we study in the original language, with the help of dictionaries and each other, in a lively hevruta style (in pairs) and in open discussion. Beit Midrash Torat Chayyim is pluralistic and open to all who wish to enter into the centuries-long, on-going Jewish conversation of Living Torah – Torat Chayyim.

Rabbi Natan Margalit, instructor
Location: Temple Beth Zion (TBZ),1566 Beacon St., Brookline, MA 02446

Rabbinic Writings: Kiddushin
Tuesdays, 9:00am – 10:30am
10 class sessions, beginning Feb. 26

In this class students will work on the skills to read the classics of Rabbinic literature: the Mishnah, Midrash, and Talmud.  We will study Tractate Kiddushin and will focus on the Mishnah as our base text, with excursions into other rabbinic genres, biblical texts and commentaries.  Following an organic approach, we will explore the internal patterns of the text, uncovering core ideas such as the distinction between gift and commodity, the connections between marriage, community and ethics, and the shifting boundaries of Jewish peoplehood.

Chassidut on the Weekly Parshah: Mei HaShiloach
Wednesdays, 9:00am – 10:30am
10 class sessions, beginning Feb. 27

In this class we will explore the radical spiritual psychology of the Ishbitzer Rebbe, Rabbi Mordecai Yoseph Leiner of Isbica, Poland. He is known for pushing the limits of the traditional Jewish worldview with his teachings on free will (or the lack thereof), halakhah and intuition.  We will read the original text, following the weekly parshah.

Please Note:  If you received an e-mail about the previous semester’s classes, we apologize; we erred with our blog software.  Thank you for your patience with us in the process of starting this new center for Jewish learning!

Notes for all classes

Basic Hebrew reading ability is required, as we will engage in the exciting process of working through the classic texts in the original.  Discussion will be in English.  To encompass a range of Hebrew skills, the instructor will provide translations of key words and we will work with the help of dictionaries, hevruta partners and classmates.

To get the full benefit from the classes, preparation of the texts outside of class, either with a partner or on your own, is recommended, as well as some outside reading (in English).  Student projects, either written or oral, may be undertaken by those who wish to obtain credit through other institutions, or for those who wish to do them their own benefit. Classes will be recorded and posted on a private website to facilitate discussion, questions and review among participants.

Tuition: $450 per course, or $200 for online-only.  Please make checks payable to  Organic Torah  and mail to the address below, or visit our website at  to make your registration payment online.

Or contact us to arrange for your group to set up classes by conference call.  Work-study fellowships available.

Register and pay by February 20 to get $50 off full tuition, or $25 off online-only!

Beit Midrash Torat Chayyim is a project of Organic Torah, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  Your donations to fund Beit Midrash scholarships are also gratefully accepted.

We are grateful to Temple Beth Zion (TBZ) for their generosity in housing Beit Midrash Torat Chayyim.

Organic Torah, Inc.
c/o Rabbi Natan Margalit
81 Brookside Ave.
Newtonville, MA 02460

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