Tuesdays With Torah

Same day: Tuesday

Same time: Noon – 1:00 PM

Same place: Wise Center

Same topic: Torah!

Take a middle-of-the-day break to feed your mind. Fascinating content led by our expert rabbis and rabbinic interns will give you a deeper understanding of the Torah and its meaning in our lives.

All classes are a combined in-person and Zoom format. Please register and feel free to attend via Zoom or in-person.

Please register for all classes using the red registration buttons. We will send you additional information 24 hours before the program.

Questions? Contact Celeste Lawler at 513.793.2997 or clawler@wisetemple.org

Class Descriptions:

2023-2024 Schedule

Tevye’s Daughters: a Mirror of Judaism’s Response to Modernity 6/13, 6/20, and 6/27 Rabbi Kamrass will kick off the summer of Tuesdays with Torah with this three-part series. Fiddler on the Roof was more than a book, a play or a movie. In many ways it was the “script” for one of Jewish history’s most challenging moment of instability and uncertainty. In our three summer sessions, Rabbi Kamrass will take us through the themes of Judaism’s varied responses to the challenges and opportunities of Enlightenment thought, when the world began to open up to Jews, and as we explore the many ways that Jews embraced that moment, and that still shape our thinking and our worldview today. As we look at the characters, we will examine the character of Judaism’s response to modernity: Reforming Judaism, Deepening Tradition, Zionism, Universalism, Assimilation, and others, all seen in the story of Tevye’s daughters.


What’s the Torah Got Cooking? 7/11, 7/18, and 7/25 In this class, taught by Rabbi Goodman, we will explore a number of biblical stories that feature food and their significance in the context of the narrative. From the fruit of knowledge in the Garden of Eden, receiving Manna in the wilderness, to the selling of a birthright for a bowl of stew, and more – there is more material than you might imagine! Through examining these stories, we will gain a deeper understanding of the Torah’s cultural and historical background, as well as the theological and spiritual implications of including food in these pivotal moments of our textual tradition. This class is accessible to learners of all levels of Jewish knowledge.


Jews and Statues 8/1, and 8/8 This class will be taught by our HUC Rabbinic Fellow, Aaron Torop. While the Torah prohibits the worship of idols, the creation of statues has a long and fascinating history in Judaism. Across these two sessions we will learn about some of the most famous statues in Judaism, including those of Aphrodite, Asherah, Moses, and Lady Liberty. We will explore how their symbolism evolves over time, as well as learn about Jewish perspectives on the relationship between art, religion, and memory in statues.


Jewish Vows in Jewish Texts 8/15, and 8/22 Join Matthew Check, our new Director of Lifelong Learning, for an exploration of “making a vow” in Jewish Literature. The first week, we’ll look at the story of Jonah and it’s relationship to Yom Kippur. The second week, we’ll look at the Nazarite Laws in the Book of Numbers and consider their collective religious and cultural significance for the Israelites and how we can relate to the tradition as modern day descendants. Accompanying each session are songs about the topics discussed (with lyrics) written by Matt and one of his songwriting partners from New York, Joanie Leeds (a Grammy Winner).


Life and Death– It’s in the Courts, in the Legislature and in the Talmud:   A Jewish View of the Death Penalty 10/10, 10/17, and 10/24 Join Rabbi Kamrass who will guide us through the complexities of Capital punishment  from the clear statements in the Bible, to the Rabbinic/Talmudic major shift away from capital punishment, to the use of the death penalty in contemporary Israel, to the case of the federal death penalty for the Tree of Life killer as we approach the fifth anniversary of that terrible event.   Capital punishment is a current issue in the Ohio legislature as well, so these sessions will help to clarify our personal opinions as informed by the evolving Jewish teachings on this issue of life and death.


Faith in Crisis 10/31, 11/7, 11/14, and 11/21 Drawing from the new curriculum produced by The Sholom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem, Rabbi Goodman will explore the themes of faith and faithlessness in times of crisis. We will tap into Jewish wisdom – ancient and contemporary — and discover that our spiritual struggles and aspirations put us in very good company! This course is accessible to learners of all levels.


Gender Identity in Jewish Life 11/28, 12/5, and 12/12 Gender Identity in Jewish Life Did you know there are (at least) six types of gender in the Talmud? Join rabbinic fellow Aaron Torop to learn about gender identity and how it shows up in Jewish life!  This space is equally for those who are still working on understanding different facets of gender identity alongside those who feel comfortable in today’s language around gender. Together we will learn, grow, and embrace the expansive diversity of gender in Judaism.


Zionism & Israeli Pop Culture 1/9, and 1/16 The observation of Israel’s “Jewishness” has always been a topic of intrigue for the community of the diaspora. Join Director of Lifelong Learning, Matt Check for a 2-session series about the topic. First we’ll delve into textual excerpts written by a few premiere zionist thinkers of the early 20th century. Then we’ll look at some modern Israeli cultural artifacts (graffiti, advertisements, etc.) and beg the question, “Is the zionist ethos being played out today in The Jewish State?”


Feminism in Israel 1/30 In this second week with our Emissary from Israel, Yaden Needman, we will be talking about feminism in Israel and how the Israeli culture poses some particular challenges and opportunities for women in Israel.


Great Jewish Debates: The Controversies of Our People with Rabbi Goodman 2/6, 2/13, 2/20, and 2/27 From the beginning of Jewish history, Jews have engaged in the art of deliberation, examination, and disagreement; From Abraham and God to Theodor Herzl and Rabbi Isaac M. Wise. Looking through the lens of the Biblical Era, Rabbinic Era, and Modern Era, this three-session class will identify and analyze some of the most heated and consequential debates of the Jewish People. Beyond the historical, political, ethical, and spiritual challenges presented, what makes these disputations so compelling is that nearly all of them are still being argued today.


A Jewish Perspective on Jesus 3/5, 3/12, 3/19, and 3/26 Who was the historical Jesus of Nazareth? This class will closely examine his life story within the context of the time and place in which he lived. What was daily life like? How would Jesus have practiced Judaism? What was the political climate? And how did a man who lived and died as a Jew become the focus of a new religion? Together, led by the Director of our Religious School Courtney Anthony, we will explore the answers to these questions and more.


How We Read (and Misread) the Bible:  A Guide to Deeper Understanding 4/2, 4/9, 4/16, and 4/30 Most readers of the Bible tend to take it literally, in part because they want to take it seriously.   Yet its words and lessons can seem conflicting, it’s theology confounding, and its context seem too complex.  But to read the Bible literally is to diminish its significance, for it was written by hands that took life and the religious narrative too seriously to simplify it to literal reading.    We Jews do not read Bible, but study it, probe it, argue with it, and ultimately feel challenged, and inspired by it.    Join Rabbi Kamrass as we walk through some of the most misunderstood sections or overlooked passages, as we seek to move from superficial literalism to the deeper meaning with which our sacred tradition invites us to reflect, to see the human complexity, the compelling messages, the irony, the humor and the invitation to inspiration.


Lost Artifacts: Beyond Indiana Jones 5/7, and 5/14 Items from the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, such as the Ark of the Covenant and the Menorah, have animated Jewish thought long after they disappeared. Together we will explore what may (or may not) have happened to these items and discuss the symbolic significance of objects, even after we no longer have them. Learn about rabbinic fellow Aaron Torop’s favorite Jewish conspiracy theory and stories we tell ourselves about our past. In each session we will learn about one object and its real and imagined history.


The Spotify Playlist of Israeli Politics & History 5/21, and 5/28 Israel also has an amazing-and-unique musical tradition for its short 75 years of existence. Join Director of Lifelong Learning, Matt Check for a dive into some classics of The Israeli Songbook in which the themes of the country’s history, politics and culture are expressed in fascinating ways that are particularly Israeli and Jewish.