Chabad of Venice will offer Judaism’s Gifts to the World, a new six-session course by the acclaimed Jewish Learning Institute, unearthing the Jewish roots of some of the most cherished values of Western civilization. Beginning Tuesday, January 28, at 7:30 p.m., we will face toward Jerusalem to discover how common ideas of personal responsibility, the inherent sanctity of human life, institutionalized universal education, human equality, the dignity of a day of rest and devotion to family, and a sense of purpose have their origins in ancient Judaism.


“At a moment in which we are witnessing a rise in antisemitism, it is important to explore what has been the true impact of Jews and Judaism on civilization,” said Rabbi Sholom Schmerling of Chabad of Venice. “Understanding Judaism’s historical contribution gives us a deeper appreciation for its continuing relevance and a better understanding of how the moral and ethical institutions we take for granted came into being.”


Dr. Darrin McMahon, the Mary Brinsmead Wheelock Professor of History at Dartmouth College, has praised the course as timely and important: “There can be no doubt that the Jewish contribution to the civilizations of the West and the world is immense. At a time when noxious critics would doubt that contribution, or deny it altogether, the JLI has offered a timely reminder of the many gifts the Jewish tradition has bestowed. Judaism’s Gifts to the World is a gift of its own, providing a scintillating course in the history of ideas and culture by leading experts from around the globe.”


As with all JLI programs, Judaism’s Gifts to the World is designed to appeal to people at all levels of 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. To join the course or the first class for free go to chabadofvenice.com/jli or 941.493.2770.


— Submitted by Rabbi Sholom Schmerling


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