JLI course on “Judaism’s Gifts to the World” to begin Jan. 27 and 29

“Judaism’s Gifts to the World,” a new six-session course by the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, will be offered at the Chabad Center in Vestal. The classes will begin on Monday, January 27, at 7 pm, and Wednesday, January 29, at 9:30 am, and continue for six weeks. The course seeks to unearth the Jewish roots of “some of the most cherished values” of Western civilization, including how common ideas of “personal responsibility, the inherent sanctity of human life, institutionalized universal education, human equality, the dignity of a day of rest and devotion to family, and a sense of purpose” have their origins in ancient Judaism. 
“At a moment in which we are witnessing a rise in antisemitism, it is important to explore what has been the true impact of Jews and Judaism on civilization,” said Rivkah Slonim, the local JLI instructor in Vestal. “Understanding Judaism’s historical contribution gives us a deeper appreciation for its continuing relevance and a better understanding of how the moral and ethical institutions we take for granted came into being.” 
“Judaism’s Gifts to the World” seeks to explore tensions between social and individual responsibility, the implications of monotheism, the sacredness of human life, the meaning of social equality, how Sabbath observance laid the groundwork for the modern weekend, and the underpinnings of morality. 
“It is widely known that Judaism gifted monotheism to the world, but for many, that’s where the Jewish contribution ends,” explained Rabbi Mordechai Dinerman, the director of curriculum at JLI’s New York headquarters, who is also the course’s editor. “Even this contribution is often viewed rather narrowly as a religions contribution, which is only meaningful to those interested in religion. But as this course demonstrates, the universal change effected by the Torah is much broader.” 
Dr. Darrin M. McMahon, the Mary Brinsmead Wheelock professor of history at Dartmouth College, has praised “Judaism’s Gifts to the World” as “timely and important”: “There can be no doubt that the Jewish contribution to the civilizations of the West and the world is immense. At a time when noxious critics would doubt that contribution, or deny it altogether, the Jewish Learning Institute has offered a timely reminder of the many gifts the Jewish tradition has bestowed. ‘Judaism’s Gifts to the World’ is a gift of its own, providing a scintillating course in the history of ideas and culture by leading experts from around the globe.”
As with all JLI programs, “Judaism’s Gifts to the World” is designed to appeal to people at all levels of knowledge, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning. All JLI courses are open to the public and attendees need not be affiliated with a particular synagogue, temple or other house of worship. The course fee is $79, which includes the textbook.
To register, e-mail rslonim@Jewishbu.com, call 797-0015 or visit www.myJLI.com. 
JLI, the adult education branch of Chabad-Lubavitch, offers programs at more than 800 international locations. More than 400,000 students have attended JLI classes since JLI was founded in 1999.