EDWARDS — The course titled To Be a Jew in the Free World: Jewish Identity Through the Lens of Modern History begins this week.
Rabbi Dovid Mintz, of the Chabad Jewish Center, will conduct the six-class course at 7:15 p.m. on six consecutive Wednesdays starting today at the Inn at Riverwalk at Edwards.
“A recent Pew study exposed that 22 percent of Jews identify as ‘Jews with no religion’ and for many, this is a clear indication that the landscape of Jewish identity is changing rapidly,” said Rabbi Zalman Abraham, of Rohr Jewish Learning Institute’s headquarters in New York. “Our objective with this course is to initiate a discussion about Jewish identity, why it is still relevant and what we can do to make it something our children and grandchildren will cherish for generations to come.”
In To Be a Jew in the Free World, participants will confront questions of allegiance and issues in which Judaism and contemporary society appear to be in conflict. Looking into the past, the course explores a series of fascinating case studies, such as arguments made in the 1650s to convince Oliver Cromwell to readmit Jews to England and how Ulysses S. Grant’s 1862 expulsion of the Jews became a defining issue in his presidential election.
To Be a Jew in the Free World is unique in that it will likely represent the first nationwide effort to bring the Jewish community together to address these important issues since the findings of the Pew report were released in October.
“The subject of identity is close to the hearts of many in our Jewish community, yet it’s a subject that is rarely discussed nowadays,” said Rabbi Dovid Mintz, the local Rohr Jewish Learning Institute instructor in Vail. “The course provides a rare opportunity to address this issue that will benefit the wider community of the Vail Valley and we invite everyone to attend.
Like all Rohr Jewish Learning Institute programs, To Be a Jew in the Free World is designed to appeal to people at all levels of Jewish knowledge, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning.
All courses are open to the public, and attendees need not be affiliated with a particular synagogue, temple or other house of worship.
Interested students may call 970-476-7887 or visit www.JewishVail.com for registration and other course-related information.