Dr. Henry Abramson, dean of Touro’s Lander College of Arts and Sciences, resumes his Jewish history lecture series in the Five Towns community this week. Abramson’s free six-session series, on Wednesday evenings from 8:30 to 9:30 at the Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst, begins Feb. 1.
The lectures combine 30 minutes of historical overviews and 30 minutes of in-depth textual study. Abramson will deliver the overviews and the in-depth study will be taught by Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, Morah d’Asra of Young Israel of Lawrence Cedarhurst, and Rabbi Yaakov Trump, assistant rabbi, as well as Abramson.
“When we learn Torah, it is important to understand content and context,” said Rabbi Trump. “Most of us were schooled in a content-heavy environment with little context. But sometimes that leaves the Torah in a vacuum. The Rashi that will be learned in these sessions will reflect what was discussed previously in a historical context. Appreciating the context enriches our understanding of where information belongs in the grand scheme.”
The series will spotlight the following Torah commentators:
Feb. 1, Rashi, whose writings on the Torah have earned primacy among all commentators.
Feb. 8, Ramban, whose sophisticated Torah commentary built upon the foundations laid by Maimonides and Rashi.
Feb. 15, Rav Sa’adia Gaon, who responded to the attraction of Islamic philosophy to Jews living in Muslim lands by composing significant works in the 10th-century Kalam style that influenced generations of thinkers.
Feb. 22, Onkelos, a convert from a royal Roman family who defied his imperial origins to join the Jewish people to whom he later gave an eternal gift of his scholarship.
March 1, Ibn Ezra, destined to a life of wandering and penury, his thought represents a phenomenal achievement in religiosity recognized by scholars in many ways, including a crater on the moon named in his honor.
March 8, Ralbag, who represented the early synthesis between the burgeoning scientific revolution of the Renaissance and traditional Torah study. His Torah commentary espouses some startling approaches to traditional theological questions.
YI of Lawrence-Cedarhurst is at 8 Spruce Street in Cedarhurst. For a full schedule, visit bit.ly/AbramsonLectures