Posted Tuesday, Mar 28th, 2006

Fairfax Chabad offers a class in Jewish mysticism.
Rabbi Leibel Fajnland is teaching a Kabbalah course at Chabad Lubavitch of Northern Virginia in Fairfax.

A few years ago, Doris Snyder got the feeling that she had something more to learn about her Jewish faith. She needed answers to questions about things like the Jewish concept of life after death, she said. She had attended programs at Chabad Lubavitch of Northern Virginia, a Jewish outreach organization with a campus in Fairfax, and chanced to see adult education classes offered through the organization.

"I almost tripped over Chabad," said Snyder. Before long, she and daughter Beth Axelrod were attending every one. Through Chabad, Snyder said, she has studied subjects such as the spiritual issues of right and wrong surrounding the Holocaust, and the stories of Biblical characters in everyday life.

"You come away with knowledge about things on a level you never knew existed before," said Snyder, comparing the classes to studying philosophy. "It's that feeling of never getting there, but the pursuit is extremely exciting."

Next on Snyder's plate is a Kabbalah course: "The Kabbalah of Time," which uses Jewish mysticism to explain the passage of time in people’s lives.

The classes at Chabad Fairfax are offered through the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, a New York-based organization that prepares material and teacher training for adult education classes worldwide. Rabbi Leibel Fajnland teaches one Kabbalah course each year, each time focusing on another aspect of it. Past years have focused on gender in Kabbalah and mysticism in prayer, he said.

"The point is, instead of bouncing through a whole bunch of issues and going through them not as deep as possible, taking one subject and really tearing it apart," he said.

Although Jewish mysticism has been made fashionable by celebrities like Madonna, Fajnland said, the popular version of Kabbalah is not quite authentic.
"Anything can be watered down to make it modern or hip," he said.

Snyder agreed. "You have to take Kabbalah from someone who knows it," she said.

Fajnland has a great deal of experience teaching mysticism, and explains Kabbalah simply as the "soul" of Jewish traditions. The study of Kabbalah examines the meaning behind the directives of Jewish life and the words in the Torah, he said.

Take the Sabbath, he said: "The Torah says to keep it holy. Fine, that works, but there’s a depth beyond that. Why the seventh day? What’s so special about God resting? … All of these things are issues that Kabbalists have been dealing with for generations."

The word Kabbalah stems from a Hebrew word meaning "to receive." In the Jewish faith, the mystical teachings are as old as the Torah itself, having been passed down from Moses to generations of scholars and prophets.

"In Kabbalah, what you do is climb different planes and on different levels based on what you can read," said Snyder. "Everything has meaning behind the words."

The new Kabbalah course uses the mystical teachings and the Jewish calendar to offer a new way of looking at time, said Rabbi Efraim Mintz, director of the Jewish Learning Institute.

"Time is taken for granted, by and large," said Mintz. Time is meaningful and flowing, he said, but modern life measures it by hours and days, giving way to phrases such as "wasting time" or "killing time."

"Do we attach the same intensity to time when we have it as when we don't have it?" said Mintz. Instead, a person can measure time by the moments of their life, he said, and look at each moment as an opportunity to move toward a deeper spiritual understanding.

Using the mystical view of time, said Fajnland, a person can have lived for 75 years, but can be much younger if their age was measured by the moments in their life.
The eight-week course begins Monday, Feb. 6. It looks at the reason behind the Jewish calendar, the seven-day week and the meaning of time in the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. The best part of a class like this, said Mintz, is that in 160 cities worldwide, courses begin and end on the same date. People have traveled between continents on business and still managed to attend every one of the Jewish Learning Institute classes, he said. Teachers receive the same training, and the process creates a community of teachers and learners, he said.

"There is no particular teacher to one particular city, but each is piggybacking on the wisdom and scholarship of 200 of their colleagues," said Mintz. "It's the same thing for the students."

"Teaching has always been something I love doing," said Mintz. "When you teach a concept like this you have to dig within yourself."

Fajnland hopes the class will provide deeper insight into the Jewish religion and that people, even if they do not always attend synagogue, will have a chance to come together around a common aspect of the faith.
"You come away feeling like a more complete person living in a more complete world," said Snyder.

03:54:26 on 01/27/06 by Webby


   In the Media
Naperville Sun
Wednesday, Nov 3rd, 2010
J-Wire
Tuesday, Nov 2nd, 2010
The News-Press, Southwest Florida
Tuesday, Nov 2nd, 2010
The Rice Thresher
Monday, Nov 1st, 2010
Jewishinstlouis.org
Wednesday, Oct 27th, 2010
NY Blueprint
Tuesday, Oct 26th, 2010
Winnipeg Jewish Review
Tuesday, Oct 26th, 2010
North South Brunswick Sentinel
Tuesday, Oct 26th, 2010
Vail Daily News
Tuesday, Oct 26th, 2010
Miami's Community Newspapers
Monday, Oct 18th, 2010
South African Jewish Report
Thursday, Oct 14th, 2010
St. Louis Jewish Light
Thursday, Oct 14th, 2010
Norwich Bulletin
Thursday, Oct 14th, 2010
Swampscott Reporter
Thursday, Oct 14th, 2010
J-Wire
Thursday, Oct 14th, 2010
Warwick Beacon
Thursday, Oct 14th, 2010
Jewish Ledger
Thursday, Oct 14th, 2010
Reston Connection
Thursday, Oct 14th, 2010
TribLocal.com
Tuesday, Sep 14th, 2010
lubavitch.com
Tuesday, Sep 14th, 2010
Sparta Independent
Friday, May 14th, 2010
The Vancouver Sun
Monday, May 10th, 2010
Stockton Record
Thursday, Apr 29th, 2010
Skokie Review
Thursday, Apr 29th, 2010
Jewish Review
Wednesday, Apr 28th, 2010
Jewish Press of Tampa
Wednesday, Apr 28th, 2010
Roseville Press Tribune
Monday, Apr 26th, 2010
Summit Daily News
Monday, Apr 26th, 2010
Jewish Review
Monday, Apr 26th, 2010
Lubavitch.com
Monday, Apr 26th, 2010
Madison Eagle
Monday, Apr 26th, 2010
Beliefnet.com
Monday, Apr 26th, 2010
SILive.com
Monday, Apr 26th, 2010
Boulder Jewish News
Wednesday, Apr 14th, 2010
Santa Barbara News-Press
Wednesday, Apr 14th, 2010
Daily Record
Wednesday, Apr 14th, 2010
5 Towns Jewish Times
Wednesday, Apr 14th, 2010
TheAlternativePress.com
Wednesday, Apr 14th, 2010
SILive.com
Wednesday, Apr 14th, 2010
5 Towns Jewish Times
Thursday, Apr 1st, 2010
The Montreal Gazette
Tuesday, Mar 16th, 2010
Toledo Blade
Monday, Feb 8th, 2010
Hartford Courant
Tuesday, Feb 2nd, 2010
Norwich Bulletin
Monday, Feb 1st, 2010
Cincinnati.com
Monday, Feb 1st, 2010
Asheville Citizen-Times
Wednesday, Jan 27th, 2010
Westchester.com
Wednesday, Jan 27th, 2010
Vail Daily News
Wednesday, Jan 27th, 2010
Jewish Press of Pinellas County
Wednesday, Jan 27th, 2010
New Jersey Jewish Standard
Tuesday, Jan 26th, 2010
Madison Eagle
Monday, Jan 25th, 2010
NorthJersey.com
Wednesday, Jan 20th, 2010
Recorder Community Newspapers
Tuesday, Jan 19th, 2010
The Alternative Press
Monday, Jan 18th, 2010
Cincinnati.Com
Wednesday, Jan 13th, 2010
Florida Sun Sentinel
Wednesday, Jan 13th, 2010

Friday, Dec 18th, 2009
Jewish Times of Southern New Jersey
Friday, Dec 11th, 2009
Lubavitch.com
Thursday, Dec 3rd, 2009
Lower Hudson Journal news
Wednesday, Dec 2nd, 2009
Daily Breeze
Monday, Nov 30th, 2009
JackCentral - Flagstaff, AZ
Thursday, Nov 19th, 2009
Jewish Press - August 2009
Wednesday, Nov 18th, 2009
Toledo Blade
Monday, Nov 9th, 2009
Charlotte Sun
Thursday, Nov 5th, 2009
The Westender - Brisbane's Urban Voice www.westender.com.au
Thursday, Oct 29th, 2009
The Westender - Brisbane's Urban Voice www.westender.com.au
Thursday, Oct 29th, 2009
Cincinnati.com
Thursday, Oct 29th, 2009
YourNepean.com
Wednesday, Oct 28th, 2009
NJ.com
Wednesday, Oct 28th, 2009
Orlando Judaism Examiner
Friday, Oct 23rd, 2009
SILive.com
Friday, Oct 23rd, 2009
The Riverdale Press
Thursday, Oct 22nd, 2009
Asheville Citizen-Times
Wednesday, Oct 21st, 2009
The Billings Gazette
Monday, Oct 19th, 2009
The Swampscott Reporter
Friday, Sep 25th, 2009
The Westender
Monday, Sep 14th, 2009
Palm Beach Daily News
Sunday, Sep 6th, 2009
Jewish Press
Thursday, May 21st, 2009
Jewish Press
Thursday, May 21st, 2009
Jewish Press
Thursday, May 21st, 2009
Five Towns Jewish Times Online
Friday, May 8th, 2009
www.hometownlife.com
Monday, May 4th, 2009
Jewish Times of Southern New Jersey
Monday, May 4th, 2009
chicagojewishnews.com
Friday, Feb 20th, 2009
Vail Daily
Monday, Feb 16th, 2009
YourHub.com
Monday, Feb 16th, 2009
Calgary Herald
Monday, Feb 9th, 2009
The Stonington Times
Thursday, Feb 5th, 2009
NJ.com Somerset
Wednesday, Feb 4th, 2009
baltimoresun.com
Wednesday, Feb 4th, 2009
NJ.com
Wednesday, Feb 4th, 2009

Wednesday, Jan 28th, 2009
silive.com
Monday, Jan 26th, 2009
Westender-Brisbane
Monday, Jan 26th, 2009
Jewish Times of Southern New Jersey
Wednesday, Jan 21st, 2009
wickedLocal.com- Swamscott
Tuesday, Jan 20th, 2009
Chabad Jewish Learning Institute of Winnipeg
Tuesday, Jan 20th, 2009
silive.com
Monday, Jan 19th, 2009
Jewish Times-SJ
Monday, Jan 19th, 2009
Baltimore Jewish Times - November 7, 2008
Thursday, Jan 1st, 2009
The Gazette (Montreal)
Thursday, Dec 11th, 2008
Greater Media Newspapers
Thursday, Dec 11th, 2008
Toledo Blade
Thursday, Dec 11th, 2008
jewishinstlouis.org
Thursday, Dec 11th, 2008
Daily Pilot
Thursday, Dec 11th, 2008
Singapore Outreach Program
Thursday, Dec 11th, 2008
The Westender
Thursday, Dec 11th, 2008
Vail Daily News
Thursday, Dec 11th, 2008
The Tennessean
Thursday, Dec 11th, 2008
Calgary Herald
Thursday, Dec 11th, 2008
Cincinnati.com
Thursday, Dec 11th, 2008
Canadian Jewish News
Thursday, Dec 11th, 2008
Student
Thursday, Dec 11th, 2008
Asheville Citizen-Times
Tuesday, Nov 4th, 2008
WESTENDER
Friday, Oct 31st, 2008
News Press
Friday, Oct 31st, 2008
Thousand Oaks Acorn
Friday, Oct 31st, 2008
The Baltimore Sun
Friday, Oct 31st, 2008
YourHub.com
Friday, Oct 31st, 2008
The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle
Friday, Oct 31st, 2008
Jewish Press
Friday, Oct 31st, 2008
Staten Island Advance
Monday, Oct 27th, 2008
Lubavitch.com
Friday, Aug 22nd, 2008
Calgary Herald
Thursday, May 15th, 2008
Voices
Tuesday, May 13th, 2008
5 Towns Jewish Times
Monday, Mar 31st, 2008
Hunterdon County Democrat
Tuesday, Feb 5th, 2008
Calgary Herald
Saturday, Feb 2nd, 2008
www.JewishTelegraph.com
Wednesday, Jan 2nd, 2008
Town-Crier
Tuesday, Jan 1st, 2008
www.lubavitch.com
Monday, Dec 31st, 2007
The Jewish Telegraph
Monday, Dec 31st, 2007
Calgary Herald
Thursday, Nov 22nd, 2007
Arutz Sheva (www.IsraelNationalNews.com)
Wednesday, Nov 21st, 2007
www.JewishTelegraph.com
Friday, Nov 9th, 2007
Northbrook Star
Thursday, Nov 1st, 2007
http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20071027/NEWS/710270537/1001/NEWS0105
Saturday, Oct 27th, 2007
Tallahassee Democrat (FL)
Friday, Oct 26th, 2007
Jewish Review (Portland, OR)
Friday, Oct 26th, 2007
The Gazette (Colorado Springs)
Friday, Oct 26th, 2007
The Tennessean (Nashville, TN)
Friday, Oct 26th, 2007
CJN (Cleveland)
Friday, Oct 26th, 2007
Jewish Exponent
Friday, Oct 19th, 2007
JTA News Wire
Friday, Oct 19th, 2007
Towne Crier Online (Wellington, FL)
Friday, Oct 19th, 2007
The Reporter (Broome County, NY)
Friday, Oct 19th, 2007
Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle
Friday, Oct 19th, 2007
The Jewish Exponent (Philadelphia)
Friday, Oct 19th, 2007
thestate.com
Monday, Oct 15th, 2007
The Atlanta Jewish Times
Monday, Oct 15th, 2007
Westchester.com
Monday, Oct 15th, 2007
The Jewish Review
Sunday, Oct 7th, 2007
The Jewish Review
Sunday, Oct 7th, 2007

Monday, Aug 20th, 2007
Pocono Record
Wednesday, Nov 8th, 2006
Pocono Record
Wednesday, Nov 8th, 2006
Daily Camera
Monday, Nov 6th, 2006
Sun Sentinel
Saturday, Sep 16th, 2006
Washington Jewish Week
Thursday, Mar 30th, 2006
Wrangler News
Sunday, Jan 29th, 2006
Jewish Exponent
Thursday, Dec 29th, 2005
The Californian
Wednesday, Nov 30th, 2005
The Californian
Wednesday, Nov 30th, 2005
Newday
Monday, Nov 28th, 2005
Nassau Herald
Monday, Nov 28th, 2005

Monday, Nov 21st, 2005
The Day
Wednesday, Nov 2nd, 2005

Thursday, Aug 11th, 2005
Richmond Times-Dispatch - Dec 11, 2004
Thursday, Dec 30th, 2004
Jewish News - Dec 20, 2004
Thursday, Dec 30th, 2004
Jewish Learning Institute’s interactive course to apply ancient wisdom to modern issues
Thursday, Dec 30th, 2004

Friday, Dec 17th, 2004
University-level adult education program utilizes text analysis to probe major dramas in the Book of Genesis
Sunday, Dec 5th, 2004
The Newtown Gazette
Thursday, Oct 21st, 2004
The Newtown Gazette
Thursday, Oct 21st, 2004

Friday, Oct 15th, 2004
Jewish Reflector - October issue
Monday, Sep 27th, 2004
Jewish News - Sept. Edition
Monday, Sep 27th, 2004
Richmond Times Dispatch, Sept. 18, 2004
Monday, Sep 27th, 2004





Print this page
Print
 Email to a friend
E-mail