Jewish texts deal with significant questions about the meaning of life, from the theological and the philosophical to the legal and practical, guiding not just how we look at the world, but how we live in the world. Classes are offered most days of the week, many taught by Rabbi Cohen, several others led by community members.

Our weekly classes are below. Please see our Scholar-in-Residence Program and Events here: https://www.cbiberkeley.org/learn/scholars/


Classes:

All previous CBI class recordings are here

Tuesdays  // 12PM // in person @ CBI 
Topics in Talmud: Baba Kamma, Perek HaChovel
Rabbanit Meira Wolkenfeld   

The eighth chapter of tractate Baba Kamma deals with compensation for personal injury. It begins with a discourse on the verse “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” which the rabbis of the Talmud interpret as referring to the requirement of monetary compensation. They struggle with whether their interpretations of the verse are convincing, providing a model for thinking about difficult biblical passages. The chapter deals with topics relevant to creating a just society in the modern world, including retributive versus restorative justice, and how to conceptualize and calculate compensation for shame.

Tuesdays // 1PM // in person @ CBI 
CBI’s Mah Jongg group meets weekly and is open to players that know how to play and already have their National Mah Jongg Play Card. Beginners are welcome to join as well, Marti Zedeck will be teaching every Tuesday. To join, please be in touch with Marti.

Thursday, November 3 // 3PM // via CBI Zoom (please email office@cbiberkeley.org for link)
Foundational Halachic Sources on Abortion
Rabbanit Leah Sarna 

Rabbanit Leah Sarna is faculty and the Director of Teen Programs at Drisha. She previously served as Director of Religious Engagement at Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation in Chicago. She was ordained at Yeshivat Maharat, and holds a BA from Yale. She has been awarded the Pomegranate Prize in Jewish Education by the Covenant Foundation and was a Wexner Graduate Fellow. Rabbanit Sarna’s published works have appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Lehrhaus, and The Jewish Review of Books.

Fridays // 9AM // in person @ CBI
Talmudic Wisdom: Tractate Sotah
Rabbi Yonatan Cohen

Tractate Sotah primarily explains the ritual of the bitter water, a trial by ordeal of a woman suspected of adultery by providing close Halakhic readings of biblical verses. Rich in Aggadic references, Sotah also includes material relating to central biblical figures and events. Time and time again, talmudic discussions offer a lens into the rabbis’ views on religious, moral, and theological questions, delving into major themes, such as the futility of sinning in secret, the harmfulness of pride, the evil of flattery, divine retribution, and the superiority of the service of God from love over the service from fear. What starts as an analysis of marital infidelity ultimately turns into a profound reflection on Israel’s own infidelity and the state of deterioration into which the Jewish people sank in the period immediately before and after the fall of the Temple.