March 2018

The Bible has been the cornerstone text for both the Jewish people and Western Civilization for thousands of years. It is amazing how often it is referred to today. From the entertainment world to the political arena, the Bible is forever being quoted. Many movies have retold Biblical stories, including two not so great big screen productions, Noah or Exodus: Gods and Men (I don’t recommend the latter, Noah wasn’t half bad…really). Of course, I usually state that the Exodus story in the Bible was modeled after The Ten Commandments! Moses did look like Charlton Heston. And Christianity is of course, based on the New Testament that has roots in the Hebrew Bible. But what is “The Bible” and why is it so “holy?” The answer: Come to our exciting Weekend of Learning on March 9-11th as prominent Judaic Scholar, Dr. Michael Satlow of Brown University will illuminate for us “How the Bible became Holy.”

Dr. Satlow’s presentation over Friday night and Saturday morning is based on his stimulating and thought-provoking 2014 book, How the Bible Became Holy.

In preparation for our Weekend of Learning, we have Dr. Satlow’s book in the office ahead of time. He will be honored to sign them for you, too. A softcover copy cost is $20.  Please call Fern to reserve a copy for you. If you are one of our special $54 Scholars level sponsors, a personalized autographed book is included.

Before this wonderful Weekend of Learning, I want to share some basics about the Bible. We call the Bible, Tanakh. It is made up of three major sections: Torah, Prophets, and Writing. The word Tanakh comes from the beginning letters of the Hebrew word for each section.  Ta = Torah; Na = Neviim/Prophets; and Kh = Kituviim/Writing. When I refer to the Tanakh in the secular world, I use the term, Hebrew Scripture or Hebrew Bible. This is in juxtaposition to using the words: Old Testament, which the Christian world uses to differentiate from their “New Testament” which is exclusively a Christian text. The New Testament is not part of, nor ever was part of, our canon. I teach this notion to our religious school and in all my adult education classes.

Finally, the “Bible” contains our people’s relationship with the Divine. It has kept us alive and thriving for thousands of years. Come learn how and why the Bible is “our Holy Bible.”

Rabbi Dr. Laurence Bazer