These days, it seems like nothing has a shelf life longer than a week. Every day brings another superhero franchise, fashion trend, or dieting fad. News cycles shift by the hour, social media feeds and timelines by the second. With everything flickering, flashing, and constantly updating, it’s little wonder life sometimes feel so impermanent.

For me, there’s no better way to slow things down than to pull back, if only for short while, and try to see things from a more timeless perspective. Our own Jewish traditions are filled with so many breathtaking insights, and they won’t fade away into irrelevance in a few days. Connecting to our own heritage, and ultimately to a divine wisdom, makes the all very human things we do feel richer, more meaningful, and part of something longer lasting.

The Torah Studies program at Center for Jewish Life tries to make this happen every single week. Each class take a topic or idea in Jewish thought to explore, tease out, and bring into play with our own lives. Each one is built around texts that we’ll learn together so that you can see these ideas for yourself, argue over them, and apply them to life your own way. Below, you can see an outline of a few of the upcoming sessions, and I’d love if you could join me for what promises to be a fun, engaging, and deeply rewarding learning experience. They are open to everyone, of all abilities, so bring along a friend too!

Shalom, and have a great week,

Rabbi Avi Bukiet

129 Lake St, Arlington MA

   
Shabbat, August 20 2022
G‑d's Security System
Understanding the Magic of the Mezuzah

Throughout the ages, Jews have affixed a small scroll on the doors of their homes, loudly proclaiming to all, “This is a Jewish home.” Discover the meaning of this important mitzvah, and just how much you can benefit from the mezuzah’s protective quality.

Shabbat, August 27 2022
Not up for Debate
Understanding Is Great. Conviction Is Even Better.

A moral compass built on reason alone stands on very shaky ground. No matter how smart and sophisticated you are, it’s possible to justify pretty much anything. The trick is to move into a different zone: the power of conviction. 

Shabbat, September 3 2022
The Universe Is on Your Side
Reinterpreting the Real Rendition of Reality

Witnesseses and testimony typically sound like the stuff of courtrooms and depositions. But a thrilling spin through Jewish law, philosophy, and mysticism yields a surprising conclusion: every Jew is a witness, testifying to a divine reality that puts the universe on the right side of the struggle between good and bad.

Shabbat, September 10 2022
One Love at a Time
To Truly Love is to Love Exclusively

The Jewish wedding ceremony is hallowed and joyous. Arguably its most iconic feature is the  ring slipped on the glowing bride’s finger. What is the symbolism of this ancient ritual? A surprising legal journey brings us to the inalienable truth that to truly love is to let go of any past loves, for the heart can only be wide open to one when it is closed off from all others.

Shabbat, September 17 2022
To Refine the Mind and Uplift the Spirit
What Two Great Chasidic Masters Contributed to the World and to You

Chasidism, its leaders, and its masters are the subject of much fascination. But what really lies at the heart of this movement, and how does it really enrich your daily life? The shared birthday of two of the greatest Chasidic masters to ever live opens a window into the depth and wonder of a revolution that can change your life.

Shabbat, September 24 2022
The Holiness of Wanting a Lot of Stuff
A Jew Only Wants to Do What G‑d Wants. Owning Stuff Is Part of That.

The High Holidays are awe-inspiring for everyone. Packed into the synagogue, we spend time praying and connecting with G‑d. But what do we ask for? Stuff. “Give me this, grant me
that. . . .” And it goes on. Is that the best way to spend such a holy time? Asking for stuff?
You bet! Discover the real reason why you want anything. It may surprise you.
 

Shabbat, October 1 2022
When a Parent Loves Their Child
Forgiveness Is Never All or Nothing

It’s that time of the year again: the time to fix past wrongdoings and right our ship, going forward. But what if you’re just not ready to fix it all? Is it OK to feel bad, say, like halfway? Instead of complete overhaul, is just small incremental change acceptable? Rabbi Akiva shares his edifying answer.

Shabbat, October 8 2022
Celebrating Life to the Fullest
The Simchat Torah Dance: To the Tune of Purpose

Simchat Torah is a holiday famous for dancing and raucous joy. But is this the appropriate way to celebrate the Torah? Discover the true joy of completing the entire Torah reading cycle. It’s not so much about what you have learned, but about the type of life it enables you to lead.