New JLI class wrestles with faith

The next class from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute will explore questions of faith in the 21st century world.

“Wrestling With Faith” will be offered at Chabad Centers around the region, with Baton Rouge recently being approved to offer the international courses.

According to the course overview, “most people, even the devout, struggle with beliefs about G-d. It is easy, for example, to affirm the basic tenets of Judaism during a prayer service, but when it comes to trusting G-d with our daily decisions, many share a secret, painful fear that G-d isn’t really looking out for them.”

Also, there seems to be a polar argument of science versus faith, with an assumption that the two are incompatible. “The course acknowledges the often unspoken doubts and fears that all people share,” and invites digging deeper for answers.

The first session is entitled “I Have Trouble Believing In G-d,” which also explores why people should bother having a relationship with the divine.

Other sessions deal with whether G-d really cares about Jewish observance, the seemingly-primitive Jewish notions of a “chosen nation” and gender roles, how to relate to G-d when there is suffering and tragedy in the world, how a scientific mind can reconcile unprovable beliefs with compelling scientific evidence that seems at odds with a literal reading of the Bible, and how a finite person can relate to in infinite G-d.

JLI courses “are intellectually rigorous, yet highly accessible to beginners in Jewish studies,” Rabbi Peretz Kazen from Chabad of Baton Rouge said.

Bais Ariel Chabad Center in Birmingham will offer the course on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. starting Oct. 24, or Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. starting Oct. 25. Registration is $89. For Wednesday sessions, there is a 25 percent discount with two or more registrations.

The Chabad Jewish Center in Metairie offers the class on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. or 7:30 p.m., starting Oct. 23. The first week of November, class will be that Wednesday, Nov. 7. Registration is $70.

In Baton Rouge, classes will be held at the Main Library on Goodwood, on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. starting on Oct. 23. Registration is $89, with a 15 percent discount for couples.

Next year, “Crime and Consequences” and “With All My Heart,” about the world of prayer, will be offered.

As of press time, there were no details on classes at Chabad of Mobile.