Accredited for Continuing Legal Education (in most states)

Course Overview:

Apply mind-bending, brain-twisting, hair-splitting Talmudic reasoning to solve real-life modern dilemmas—situations that actually happened yet seem impossible to solve. What do you do when your gut tells you one thing, and your brain tells you another? Prepare for a mental expedition to mind-wrestle with situations that force us to choose between two reasonable truths.

Analyze, discuss, and debate Talmudic texts with live interactive polling for an authentic taste of original, dynamic Talmud study.


 Join us for Six Mondays  
Starting January 30, 2017

7:00-8:30 p.m.

1090 E. WALNUT ST. 

$99 (textbook included) 
$20 Early-Bird discount! (Until January 17th)
Join the first class free (with no obligation to continue)

For more information: 
Call: 626.539.4578 

Course Rationale :

It happens every so often that you read a news story, observe a case, or hear of a dilemma, and it grips you, forcing you to consider right versus wrong, and justice versus injustice. As people with an internal moral compass and an inner sense of fairness, we are well equipped to delve into these matters intelligently. And the opportunity to discuss and debate there issues with those who have differing viewpoints is often stimulating and deeply meaningful.  This is why we, at the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, are launching Talmudic Interactive, a brand-new course that provides a platform to explore, discuss, and debate six modern and gripping legal-ethical dilemmas with intersecting moral imperatives. To deepen the conversation, we explore not only contemporary viewpoints, but also examine perspectives from the foundation of Jewish wisdom, the Talmud. Using the time-tested method of guided study, students will partner with each other to sift through texts, evaluate relevance, and determine applicability, with the goal of issuing a robust and elegant legal verdict to modern real-world case studies. The Talmud is a compilation of Jewish legal and moral scholarship, transmitted, debated, and preserved through the ages. It serves as a fount of insight, guidance, and inspiration in the development of Judaism’s inner life, and it is the foundation of Judaism’s principled jurisprudence in constructing a just and loving world. The Talmud positions itself to help us solve the dilemmas that arise from conflicting legal and moral claims. This is because the Talmud seeks not only the right answers, but also the right questions; because it asks not only what, but also why; because it rejects the incoherent and embraces the coherent while still standing humbly in the presence of mystery; and because it is willing to suppose, imagine, and test the boundaries of the intellect.

Many legal systems throughout history were rigorous and firmly rooted, yet they were too brittle or shallow to survive the many changes that history eventually required. The Talmud, though founded upon unchanging principles, is flexible and highly adaptive. Its students are uniquely trained to sift through the logic of contrasting claims, examine their underpinning theories, arrive at reasoned conclusions, and only so establish legal precedent. To take this course, participants require no prior Talmudic knowledge or legal training. We provide the source texts from the Talmud along with the analyses of brilliant Jewish legalists through the ages. We then put participants in the driver’s seat, inviting them to argue, scrutinize, question, engage in dialogue, compromise, and solve the problems. By contrasting the differing methodologies and resulting conclusions of Talmudic and secular law, students will be able to tease out the premises, assumptions, and operating theories that underpin each system and therefore enhance our appreciation of both. Great figures of modern law and political theory were deeply influenced by the Talmud. Pico della Mirandola in Renaissance Italy studied with rabbis. Hugo Grotius, the Dutchman who is one of the founders of modern international law, sat in the circle of Rabbi Menasseh ben Israel in Holland. John Selden, whose name appears often in the annals of English law, studied the Talmud even when imprisoned in the Tower of London and derived many principles from it. And this wisdom continues to inform, intrigue, and inspire humanity today. It sharpens our awareness of the legal issues that affect society in the modern age, and it empowers those who study it to rise to the occasion to introduce fresh applications of ancient principles to improve and brighten our tomorrow.