Alisa Flatow International

Course Descriptions

Alisa Flatow Program
Course Descriptions

Belief in Medieval Thought - All Levels
Instructor: Daphna Secunda
Scheduled time: 2 hours, Sunday morning
In this course we will survey the philosophical contributions of medieval Jewish thinkers on a variety of  topics, including belief in God, religious doubt, purpose of humankind, worship, prophecy, afterlife, the messianic era, and more.  We will begin our journey with the study of the rich contributions made by Rav Saadia Gaon, the pioneer of Medieval Jewish thought in the ninth century, and we will continue our travels through the worlds of R' Avraham Ibn Ezra, R' Yehudah HaLevi, Maimonides, R' Yosef Albo, Ralbag and Abravanel.

Chapters in Jewish Thought - All levels
Instructor: Rav Mendel Blachman
Scheduled time: 1½ hours, Sunday evening
Lectures on  principles of Jewish belief/ faith, based on the writings of Rambam, Ramban, Maharal of Prague and  the chassidic masters of Chabad Ishbitz and Breslov.

Chumash: The Yosef Stories - Beginners
Instructor: Simi Peters
Scheduled time: 3 hours, Tuesday and Thursday mornings
In this course, we will study the Torah portions that describe the lives of Yosef and his brothers, with the goal of understanding the themes and concepts of the narrative while gaining skills in biblical grammar, close reading of the text, and midrash and classic biblical exegesis.

Chumash: In the Footsteps of Avraham & Sarah - Intermediate & Advanced
Instructor: Dafna Siegman
Scheduled time: 3 hours, Tuesday and Thursday mornings
During our Fall Session, we will explore key events in the lives of Avraham and Sarah.  Our study will begin with a close examination of biblical texts, and add layers of interpretation in midrashim and traditional mefarshim (commentaries).  This class will emphasize skill development and methodologies of Torah study, and seeks to impart greater independence in reading and interpreting midrash and commentaries.  Each class begins with chevruta study and concludes with shiur.

Gemara: Pesachim - Beginners
Instructor: Ilana Sober Elzufon
Scheduled time: 3.25 hours, Monday and Wednesday morning
Approaching the text through intensive chavruta study and a discussion-oriented shiur, we will work together to develop the conceptual and linguistic skills to understand the dynamics of Talmudic argument.  We will study the tenth chapter of Tractate Pesachim, which discusses the laws of Seder night as well as various other topics directly relevant to our halachic practice.

Gemara: - Intermediate & Advanced
Instructor: Rabbanit Rosen
Scheduled time: 3.25 hours, Monday and Wednesday morning

Great Jewish Books - All Levels
Instructor: Ora Derovan
Scheduled time: 1 hour, Sunday morning

Halacha Survey - All Levels
Instructor: Rav Da'vid Sperling
Scheduled time: 30 minutes, Tuesday - Thursday afternoon
This course will acquaint us with both the larger context and the fine details of halacha as it is practiced daily and through lifecycle events.  Students will be encouraged to question and comment as they gain practical knowledge of how to incorporate mitzva observance in their lives. Our year-long course will begin with study of daily conduct, beginning with Modeh Ani in the morning, continuing with daily activities, and ending with Kri'at Shema at night.

Hilchot Shabbat - Beginners
Instructor: Rav Binyamin Miller
Scheduled time: 3 hours, Tuesday and Thursday afternoon
The Shlav Alef Hilchot Shabbat class is intended to help students develop their reading and analytic skills as well as focusing on the bottom line and practical halacha.  Throughout the year we will cover the more applicable melachot of Shabbat and will appreciate how classical sources are used to address modern day halachic issues.  We will not only learn the laws but also the rationale behind the melachot to provide students with a deep understanding of fundamental concepts in hilchot Shabbat.  In the beginning of the year students will be given basic sources along with word lists and as their skills progress students will get a chance to challenge themselves with more advanced sources.   

Hilchot Shabbat - Intermediate & Advanced
Instructor: Rav Da'vid Sperling
Scheduled time: 3 hours, Tuesday and Thursday afternoon
This course is aimed at acquiring in-depth skills at both learning halachic texts and understanding the halachic process. Every class is based on intensive chevruta-based study of classic halachic texts – mainly focusing on the Mishna Brura. As opposed to just absorbing a dry list of halachic facts and figures, our class develops a love for the halachic give and take, underlying principles and depth of thought that lie below the technical halachic surface. We will be learning the laws of Shabbat, through which we will acquire and improve, our textual ability to read the Shulchan Aruch and Mishna Brura. During the Spring semester we will also focus on the halachic chain of tradition, and becoming familiar with the major voices in the halachic world.

Midrash on the Parsha - All Levels
Instructor: Simi Peters
Scheduled time: 1 hour, Wednesday morning
This course will explore the Torah portion of the week through midrashic sources.  Among the goals of this course is to gain an understanding of the midrashic mind as we engage with aspects of the parsha.

Nach: Sefer Shmuel - Beginners
Instructor: Debbie Zimmerman
Scheduled time: 3 hours, Sunday & Wednesday afternoon
Together we will explore Sefer Shmuel, learning how to approach Biblical narrative, ask our own questions, and find answers. Our studies will focus largely on close reading of the text to understand the subtle nuances that are used to portray complex characters, intricate plots, and eternal prophetic messages.Our study will lead us to explore themes such as the nature of prophecy, monarchy as a form of leadership, and the ideal character of a leader. At times we will turn to classic commentaries to enrich our study. Each session is made up of chevruta study and class time.

Nach: Sefer Shmuel - Intermediate & Advanced
Instructor: Simi Peters
Scheduled time: 3 hours, Sunday & Wednesday afternoon
This course will offer an in-depth analysis of Sefer Shmuel. Among the themes which will be explored are the roles of kohen, melekh and navi in the formation of the national identity as well as the tension between hashgaha and behira in the unfolding of events. Differing midrashic and parshanutic readings of the text will be compared and contrasted with the goal of constructing a coherent understanding of the sefer.

Tefilla Workshop - All Levels
Instructor: Rabbanit Rosen
Scheduled time: 1 hour, Thursday morning
A study of what we try to achieve through Tefilla and in our dialogue with the texts in Tanach, Chazal, the Siddur and women's techinot.

Ulpan - All Levels
Instructor: Odelya Shochat
Scheduled time: 1 hour, Monday Night

Women and Mitzvot - All Levels
Instructor: TBA
Scheduled time: 1 hour each, Monday and Wednesday morning
We study halakhot pertaining to women from the sources, presenting the spectrum of normative halachic opinion, so that each student can understand it and find her place within it.

Zionism in the Eyes of Rav Kook - All Levels
Instructor: Rav Sperling
Scheduled time: 1 hour , Thursday afternoon
The teachings of Rav Kook (1865-1935) are renowned to be some of the deepest and far reaching writings in modern Jewish thought. They touch on all areas of the Jewish soul, the Jewish people, Torah, and their relationship to each other in the rebirth of the modern Jewish nation. We will be exploring his writings in depth from the original sources.During the year we will examine the central themes of Rav Kook's thoughts - the Jewish people, the land of Israel, and the process of redemption.