This chabura will discuss existential questions we face as Jews in a postmodern world. Each meeting will work with three texts in order to develop a more nuanced approach to the topic: a source from Hazal (Jewish Sages), a teaching of the Besht (Chasidic Master), and a selection of poetry, fiction, or philosophy by a non-Jewish writer.

Topics discussed include:

1.      Quest for personal authenticity and experience (in a tradition that is obsessive in its demand for obedience and conformity)

2.      Discerning one's purpose (in a world with such conflicting images of purpose)

3.      Failure (in a world in which so much hangs on success)

4.      Aspiring to a personal encounter with God (when that is NOT what anyone seems to care about) 

5.      Truth and certainty, uncertainty and doubt

6.      Exile and redemption as personal experience

Rabbi Joshua Weisberg, Director of Nishmat’s Shana Ba'Aretz program, moved to Israel in the late 80's after studying at Wesleyan University. He spent the following ten years immersed in intensive Talmud study in Israeli yeshivot - Or Etzion and Beit Morasha. Rabbi Weisberg has a Masters degree in Jewish history, and wrote an award-winning thesis on the political thought of Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel. Rabbi Weisberg teaches his students to ask themselves how their Torah learning can change them, and how they are growing in their own spiritual and ethical lives.