Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Zohar Circles

A Special Morning With the Talmud and the Zohar

Sunday, August 25, 2019
10:00 am | Free
Jewish Community Library
San Francisco


Newcomers and text study veterans are invited to explore why the Talmud and the Zohar are relevant today at a special joint teaching session with Lehrhaus Chief Program Officer Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan and Prof. Daniel Matt, the world-renowned authority on the Zohar.

Wolf-Prusan and Matt will make these foundational texts accessible and will continue to demystify these intriguing texts in Talmud Circles and Zohar Circles this fall.

This is a link to the Newsweek article on Daniel Matt's translation of the Zohar:

Back in on Sunday, October 11, 2015, at the Jewish Community Library, Professor Daniel Matt presented a talk, "Introduction To The Study of the Zohar" for participating students of the Lehrhaus Philosophy Circles.  We are very grateful to have been hosted by the Jewish Community Library.

The audio recording is available for download here: The Talk

The texts Professor Matt refers to in his talk are here:

The Ten Sefirot
How to Look at Torah
Romance of Torah

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Zohar Circles

Downtown San Francisco@Noon
Introduction to the 
Zohar Circle

Join Here: CLICK

Are you Zohar curious?  Would you like to a "lunch-and-learn" circle of equally curious folks and read and discuss accessible selections from the Zohar?  If so, we have a weekly circle for you.  Professor Daniel Matt (see below for his class and biography) has selected a list of "good passages for studying or teaching in The Zohar: Pritzker Edition."  We will begin in Volume 1 of the Pritzker Edition, handouts provided.  You should also read "A Guide to the Zohar," by Rabbi Arthur Green.    

Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan, Senior Educator at HAMAQOM, will facilitate these weekly discussions.

East Bay and Peninsula Zohar Circles with Dr. Yosef Rosen and Rabbi Lavey Derby
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This year, the East Bay and Peninsula Zohar Circles will study the “early years” of the Zohar, Volume X of the Pritzker Edition. This volume is stylistically and theologically distinct from the rest of the Zohar, as it does not yet interpret the secrets of scripture solely through the lens of Kabbalah. Instead, pre-kabbalistic forms of Jewish mysticism, philosophy, and rabbinic modes of midrash are all woven together into a dazzling and innovative commentary on Genesis. This early section of Zohar is known as Midrash Ha-Ne’lam—”the Concealed Midrash.” As per the preface to Volume X, “Midrash Ha-Ne’lam stands at the very origin the Zoharic enterprise and presents the first fruits of the Zoharic world.” 

Whether you are a seasoned student of the Zohar or a curious first-timer, Midrash Ha-Ne’lam provides a unique and accessible portal into understanding the literary style and theological creativity of Zoharic literature. Themes of study will include the creation of the world through language, the journey of the soul, theological dissensus, and the emergence of Kabbalah. By focusing on this early section of the Zohar will will also be able to explore fundamental elements of the Zohar that can be mystifying in later layers of the Zohar. For beginners who want to go deep, or Zoharic veterans who want to go deeper into the spiritual mysteries of the Zohar, this is for you.        

Berkeley Zohar Circle
Yosef Rosen is an historian and teacher of Jewish creativity. His classes weave together the imaginative and social dimensions of Jewish creative genres—Kabbalah, Talmud, philosophy, and poetry—and invite students to discover their own genres of intellectual creativity. He is currently a Jewish Studies teacher at JCHS of the Bay. He has a PhD in Jewish Studies from UC Berkeley, where he completed a dissertation on representations of spiritual community in the Zohar. Before moving to the Bay seven years ago, Yosef spent many years in traditional and innovative yeshivot in both Israel and America. In his spare time he wanders the woodlands of Northern California and celebrates the hillsides of the Bay on his bike.

North Peninsula Zohar Circle

Rabbi Lavey Yitzchak Derby currently serves as Director of Jewish Life at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center. Previously, Rabbi Derby served as the rabbi of Congregation Kol Shofar in Tiburon, California, where he was instrumental in building a community built on the principles of Torah study, spiritual quest and practice, and social justice. Lavey has also served at the 92nd Street “Y” in New York, at CLAL: the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, and on the Wexner Heritage Foundation national faculty. He teaches extensively on Jewish subjects including the history of Jewish ideas, Talmud and Rabbinic thought, Kabbalah, Hasidism, contemporary Jewish spirituality and Jewish meditation. He is the eighth generation direct descendant of Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, for whom he is named, and is part of a family line of rabbis that traces back to the year 1500.

The Zohar in Aramaic Circle

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Daniel Matt
This special section of the Zohar program is led by Prof. Daniel Matt and is for students with the ability to follow the Zohar in the original (facility in either Hebrew or Aramaic). The Aramaic text will be provided (along with a Hebrew translation) and participants should also purchase Vol. 4 of The Zohar: Pritzker Edition. Class size is limited.

Professor Daniel Matt, one of the world’s leading authorities on Kabbalah, has been featured in Time Magazine and has appeared on National Public Radio and the History Channel. He has published over a dozen books, including The Essential Kabbalah (translated into seven languages), Zohar: Annotated and Explained, and God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony between Science and Spirituality.

Several years ago, Professor Daniel Matt completed an 18-year project of translating and annotating the Zohar. This work, comprising nine volumes, has been published by Stanford University Press and is entitled The Zohar: Pritzker Edition. This edition has been honored with a National Jewish Book Award and a Koret Jewish Book Award. The Koret award called his translation “a monumental contribution to the history of Jewish thought.”

For twenty years, Daniel served as professor at the Center for Jewish Studies, Graduate Theological Union, in Berkeley. He has also taught at Stanford and at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Wisdom of the Zohar: A Text Study

On Sunday afternoon, January 29, 2017, Lehrhaus and the JCCSF presented a study session with two of America's greatest scholars in Zohar and Kabbalah: Rabbi Arthur Green and Professor Daniel Matt. In an intimate setting these two friends and fellow travelers taught and discussed a selection from the Zohar and took questions from the participants and the moderator, Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan. 
Lehrhaus Judaica and the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco are grateful that this free program was made possible by the continuing support of the Lehrhaus Philosophy Circles by The Laszlo N. Tauber Family Foundation and the Koret Foundation.

(Episode 6)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Arthur Green's 'Guide' Delves into Kabbalah

"Arthur Green's 'Guide' Delves into Kabbalah," recorded December 13, 2004, on NPR's "Fresh Air."

You may recall that the Presidential election between George W Bush and John Kerry was won by Bush, however Bush's margin of victory in the popular vote was the smallest ever for a re-elected incumbent president.  Green addresses one of the campaign's accusations: that the moral high ground is held only by conservatives.  How that discussions emerges from the Zohar and leads into Hanukkah is yours to discover.