Jewish Learning Institute course discusses death, afterlife in Judaism

Several years ago, the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute introduced “Journey of the Soul,” a course discussing what Judaism says about life, death and the afterlife. Rabbi Mendel Ceitlin from Chabad in Metairie, who taught the course back then, said “it became the number one Jewish learning course ever taught,” with over 30,000 participants worldwide.

That course is returning and will be taught online and in person at several locations in the region, starting on Jan. 20 in New Orleans and in February elsewhere.

The first session, “Demystifying Death,” talks about the soul and how it shifts roles, making life and death two “harmonious steps on the same journey.”

Other sessions discuss the transition of souls from the physical world to the spiritual, the significance of traditional Jewish grieving processes and shiva etiquette, what happens to the soul after life and how the Kaddish plays a role, if there is a role for the mystical process of reincarnation, and how to fill living moments with lasting significance.

The course will be offered at Beit Ariel Chabad in Birmingham, with virtual sessions on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. from Feb. 3 to March 17, led by Rabbi Yossi Friedman. Registration is $89.

In Baton Rouge, the course will be available virtually or in person at the Richmond Inn and Suites, Mondays at 8 p.m. starting Feb. 8. Registration is $89, with a 10 percent discount for couples. For those who need it, there is a “no questions asked” 50 percent scholarship by using the code TORAH while registering. Rabbi Peretz Kazen will lead the sessions.

Ceitlin will lead the classes at the Chabad Center in Metairie, Tuesdays starting Feb. 2 with a week off for Mardi Gras. The 10:30 a.m. classes will be done virtually, while the 7:30 p.m. series will be both in person and online. Registration is $70, with a 10 percent discount for groups of at least two, and for returning students.

The course will also be at Chabad Uptown in New Orleans, led by Rabbi Mendel Rivkin, on Wednesdays from Jan. 20 to Feb. 24. Zoom sessions will be at 3 p.m., while the in person classes are at 7 p.m. Registration is $70, with a couple’s discount of 10 percent.

Physicians, social workers and psychologists can earn CE or CME credits by taking the course. Registration is available here.