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S18C8 They Said WHAT? How the Commentators Read the Text for Meanings(s)

This will be a focused exploration of selected sections from the Torah (5 books of Moses) using commentary of classical sages, including the Sefat Emet, and Rashi. We will identify five weekly sedrah (portions) and hone in on the story as written, and what the commentators found in their intensive, often hyperliteral reading of it. It is fascinating to see how they thought, what questions troubled them, what they could derive from the material, and what meaning they made of it. Their answers may not speak to us today, but the questions they ask, and the thought process they use are still relevant and valuable.

Instructor: Rabbi Joe Blair has been the spiritual leader of Beth El Congregation in Harrisonburg for fifteen years. He has taught for JMU's Lifelong Learning Institute multiple times, offering a variety of courses focusing on Judaism. He was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and awarded a M.H.L. degree. He holds a J.D. from William and Mary, and a M.C.S., and B.A. degree from the University of Virginia. He tries to share his excitement about the material with humor and compassion, accepting all, recognizing that others do not necessarily share his viewpoint or beliefs, nor must they.

Suggested Reading: Please bring a version of the Bible that you are comfortable using as our core text. It must contain the Five Books of Moses. There will be some handouts in class.


Payment Information: Payment is due at time of registration and must be made by credit card (AMEX, MasterCard, Visa and Discover.) There is a $5 credit card convenience fee assessed at the time of payment. You will be redirected to the payment web site after clicking submit. Please have your credit card ready. Once payment is successfully completed, you will receive a payment receipt and a registration confirmation by email.

Withdrawal/Refund Policy: You may cancel your registration up to one week before the class start date, and receive a full refund (minus any credit card processing fees.) After that date, no refunds will be given.

For registration questions, please contact Lifelong Learning Institute at or 540/568.2923.

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