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From Andalusia to Cairo: The Life, Works and Thought of Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (RaMBaM)
Tuesday, November 15, 2022 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am
An event every week that begins at 10:00 am on Tuesday, repeating until Tuesday, December 6, 2022
Alas, it is impossible to overstate Moses Maimonides’ influence on Judaism. At the height of the Islamic enlightenment, Moses was born (1138) in Cordoba, Spain to Maimon the judge. His family fled a decade later when the tolerant Islamic regime was overthrown by a fanatic sect. Finally settling in Cairo, Maimonides served as physician to the Sultan, Saladin, during the Christian Crusades in the Land of Israel. The product of high Islamic culture and deep Jewish learning, Maimonides transformed Jewish literature and Jewish thought. He systematized, codified, and rationalized the Jewish traditions which he had inherited. In shocking ways, he turned Judaism into a religion. This four-week course will immerse us in the family, life, times, works, and thought of Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (RaMBaM). We’ll travel from the poetry-infused life of Andalusia to the medical clinic RaMBaM ran outside of Cairo. We’ll look at his commentary, code, philosophy, and letters. Finally, we’ll see how his son’s attraction to Sufi mysticism was both predictable and an uncanny precursor to post-Enlightenment Judaism.
Rabbi Dr. Shai Cherry serves as rabbi and Creative Educational Officer of Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. After eighteen years in academics, Cherry shifted from university teaching to the pulpit in 2019. Rav Shai’s early academic research focused on Judaism and Darwinism. His first book,Torah through Time: Understanding Bible Commentary from the Rabbinic Period to Modern Times, redirected his focus from creation to revelation—how is God’s word and will understood in changing circumstances? Finally, how do we respond to what we understand to be God’s will? To address that question, Cherry attended the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and was ordained in 2009. His latest work, Coherent Judaism: Constructive Theology, Creation, and Halakhah brings these threads together to offer a vision of 21st-century Judaism. Formerly on the faculties of Vanderbilt University and the University of San Diego, he is the featured lecturer for The Great Courses’ “Introduction to Judaism”.
CSP Partners: Beth Israel (San Diego, CA), Brotherhood Synagogue (Gramercy Park, NYC), Congregation Beth Shalom (Seattle, WA), Congregation B’nai Tzedek (Fountain Valley, CA), Congregation B’nai Israel (Tustin, CA), Jewish Collaborative of Orange County, CA, Shomrei Torah Synagogue (San Fernando Valley, CA), Temple Bat Yahm (Newport Beach, CA), Temple Beth El of South Orange County (Aliso Viejo, CA), Temple Beth Emet (Anaheim, CA), Temple Beth Ohr (La Mirada, CA), Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA), Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA), Temple Beth Sholom (Santa Ana, CA), Temple Emanuel (Newton, MA), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY), University Synagogue (Irvine, CA), Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA) & Walnut Street Synagogue (Chelsea, MA)