Exploring the origins of our people

by | Sep 8, 2022 | What’s Happening

Thursdays, October 27–November 17; 12–1:30 pm

 $60 for all four sessions; Simon Family JCC

Where did the Jewish people come from? For many centuries, the answer to that question could come only from the sacred books of our tradition. But over the past 225 years, we have been able to harness other tools to learn the story of our origins. Archaeology, history, literary criticism, folklore studies, and anthropology have all enriched our understanding of the emergence of the People Israel in the Ancient Near East.

The Konikoff Center for Learning at the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater is hosting an adult education course, Origins: Ancient Jewish History in International Context to grapple with this history. Dr. William Feldman, lay leader of Tidewater Chavurah, first suggested the course. Working with Sierra Lautman, UJFT’s senior director of Jewish Innovation, I developed the curriculum and will be the instructor.

What is the importance of “international context?” The Bible speaks of the People Israel as emerging, not in the timeless mists of prehistory, like the characters of pagan mythology, but in historical time. That history is the story of the peoples and nations of the region— their conflicts, their lifestyles, their traditions, and their developments. When we understand how the People Israel fit into its environment, and sometimes, how it differed radically from its contemporaries, we come to know ourselves better.

The four sessions of the course cover several eras: from the Bronze Age (second millennium, B.C.E.) to the political triumphs of the monotheistic empires of Christian Rome and the Islamic Caliphate.

Join us and explore the history behind the narrative.

To learn more or to register, visit JewishVA.org/KCL.

Rabbi Michael Panitz