Last Sunday evening, Rabbi Matt presented a fascinating talk: Ancient Jewish Astrology: Fatalist or Optimist? He explored how various Jewish sages and commentators treated astrology and whether Judaism condones or condemns the practice. According to Rabbi Matt, the jury is still out. In the past, astrology was widespread among most ancient cultures, and Jews were no exception. He explained to the 40 or so Zoomers in attendance how our early sages incorporated astrological ideas into their thought, e.g., how the day you were born on may impact our future; how the signs of the zodiac correlate to the layout of the tent of the Ark in the desert; how the total number of candles lit in a ḥanukkiah, excluding the shamash, is a mystical number, i.e., 36; and which of the 12 tribes of Israel your birth sign lines up with….
Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 7 pm—The Congregation Emanu-El Adult Education team invites you to a presentation Ancient Astrology: Fatalist or Optimist by Rabbi Matt Ponak on Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 7 pm.
Does Judaism teach that our lives are determined by the stars? Did it ever? The answer is not so simple. While Jewish teachings greatly value free will, the word mazal, as in “Mazal Tov,” literally means “constellation”. At one point, to wish someone “mazal tov,” meant to wish them good fortune under the influence of the astrological signs. So what does Judaism say about astrology? Join Rabbi Matt Ponak as he explores Talmudic stories and teachings of how Jews were and were not subject to the fate of the heavens.
Rabbi Matt Ponak is a musician, teacher, and lover of life. He serves as the Education Director and Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Emanu-El. Rabbi Matt has studied with many of this generation’s leading teachers of Jewish mysticism including Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, R. Arthur Green, R. Zvi Ish-Shalom, R. Tirzah Firestone, and R. Rami Shapiro. Also holding an MA in Contemplative Religions from the Buddhist-inspired Naropa University, Rabbi Matt weaves world wisdom with ancient Jewish insights. His upcoming book, “Torah for the New Age,” translates and comments on Jewish mystical texts that resonate with the consciousness and yearnings of our times.
The presentation will be on Zoom.
To join online, CLICK HERE
To join by phone: 1 778 907 2071; Meeting ID: 839 1579 8300; Passcode: 446221
Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 7 pm—Congregation Emanu-El Adult Education Team invites you to the first of our 2020/21 “one-off sessions” on Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 7 pm featuring a discussion of Kafka, Nachman, Kabbalah and Neuroses by Lee Henderson, an Associate Professor of Writing at the University of Victoria. Lee will discuss Franz Kafka, his writing, his life, and the influence of Jewish mysticism and kabbalah on his themes and style, and in particular, Kafka’s familiarity with the great Hasidic storyteller from a century earlier, Rabbi Nachman.Continue reading Kafka, Nachman, Kabbalah and Neuroses
June 30, 2019, 8 – 10 pm (Doors open 7:30 pm), Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard Street, Victoria — Presented by the Garden City Electronic Music Society, this electronic music event will feature ambient and atmospheric electronic explorations inspired by Jewish mysticism, presented in quadraphonic sound. Artists include Dominion of Being (Joseph Sheppard & Heather Mitchell), and Surrounded By A Radiance (David Bodrug). Admission by donation. This event is supported by grants from the BC Arts Council, Capital Regional District, the City of Victoria and the Jewish Federation of Victoria & Vancouver Island. For information: 236-882-2326