Sunday, August 06, 2006

Jewish institute to open Boulder branch

Copper is site of national retreat

By Melanie M. Sidwell
The Daily Times-Call

The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, the largest network for adult Jewish education, is planning to open a Boulder branch this fall. Course-registration deadline is Monday.

Rohr JLI is also accepting registrations for its first National Jewish Retreat, which will be held Aug. 16-20 at Copper Mountain.

“Nothing of this scope has ever been done before,” said Rabbi Hesh Epstein, chairman of the retreat-
planning committee.

Epstein said about 150 people have registered for the five-day retreat, which will offer workshops with 25 master teachers. Participants also will have the chance to hike trails with instructors, watch films outside and celebrate Shabbat on a mountaintop with song and prayer.

The retreat will allow students to converge in one location and share their learning experience. Some of the topics to be featured include “Deciphering of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” “Jewish Marriage: Myths and Truths,” “Debunking ‘The Da Vinci Code’” and “Keeping Kosher in the Modern Age.”

“People have an insatiable desire to learn and reconnect to their heritage from the words of the Bible and Talmud to Jewish literature,” Epstein said, adding that another retreat topic will be the ethics and morality of warfare in light of the conflict in the Middle East.

Featured speakers include talk show host Michael Medved, Diane Medved and Hillel Goldberg of the Intermountain Jewish News.

The Rohr JLI has created a large, international learning community, its administrators say, by offering courses in more than 250 locations around the world, with nearly 40,000 students enrolled since its inception in 1998.

Boulder will soon join the ranks of JLI locations.

Rachel Cohen, a local lawyer and member of the JLI committee, said the institute highlights current issues with a Jewish perspective for adults with a variety of education levels and backgrounds.

Cohen said she was excited about the Boulder JLI branch, which is slated to begin this fall.

Chany Schneider of Lubavitch of Boulder County, who will instruct the program, said the coursework will begin in November, continue with “The Kabbalah of Character” in January and conclude with “Flashbacks in Jewish History” in May 2007.

The fall course, “You Be the Judge,” will be held eight consecutive mornings beginning the week of Nov. 5; a location will be announced later, Schneider said.

“This sequence is designed to provide a deeper understanding and appreciation of Jewish thought, heritage and tradition,” she said, “and enables students to achieve basic Jewish literacy, as well as an understanding of cardinal Jewish beliefs and observances.”

Those interested in the Boulder JLI coursework can e-mail or visit

For more information about the National Jewish Retreat, visit JLI is offering a special rate of $225 for the weekend for Colorado participants; however, lodging is not included. For more information, contact the Lubavitch of Boulder County at www.lubavitchof or 303-494-1638.

Melanie M. Sidwell can be reached at 303-684-5274, or by e-mail at

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