Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Talmud Boyz

TALMUD WATCH: Talmud Boyz learn and bond studying religious texts (Debra Lefkowitz, Massachusetts Sharon Avocate).
They first met more than 15 years ago. At the time, all were residents of Sharon and members of its Conservative synagogue, Temple Israel.

A family doctor, college professor, engineer, psychologist and medical illustrator. All seeking the intellectual challenge and discipline of studying Jewish texts for a few hours every week, squeezed between their early-hour fathering responsibilities and later-morning professional obligations.

Striar Jewish Community Center in Stoughton quickly became the logical location for their meetings. Some of the men exercised at the facility, others passed by en route to school drop-offs or work; and all felt at home at the Jewish facility.


Their weekly meetings originally focused on the Talmud, an ancient, dense and complex document, which in its entirety consists of 63 tractates or discussions running more than 6,200 pages long. The group wasn’t sure that they were up for the challenge, but they plunged into what one participant humorously refers to as self-misdirected study.

They spent the first few years selecting sections of interest, reading a couple of lines in Hebrew and English, trying to decipher the text’s often cryptic and always multi-layered meanings, and make sense of its teachings in the context of Jewish history, today’s world, and their own lives.