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November 2, 2011 By:
The Return of a Global Day of Learning
Jews across the region are invited to take part in a number of public events marking the second annual Global Day of Jewish Learning on Nov. 13.
The event was conceived last year to mark the completion of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz's monumental translation of the Talmud. Drawing on the success of that worldwide effort, which brought Jews from a diverse spectrum of beliefs and backgrounds together to study, the New York-based Aleph Society, which supports Steinsaltz's work, decided to keep it going.
In the spirit of Steinsaltz's call, "Let my people know," the theme of this year's Global Day is the unity of the Jewish people, as seen through the Shema prayer.
Community organizers from 40 different countries have already posted more than 200 related events on www.theglobalday.com.
Overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants last year drove the decision to follow through on the idea to make it an annual event, said Zeesy Schnur, a spokeswoman for the Aleph Society.
"This was a program that actually brought people together," Schnur said.
Locally, Jewish Learning Venture (formerly ACAJE/JOP) counts at least 10 events -- up from seven last year. The community learning kicks off on "erev" Global Day with a film and live stand-up comedy from Yisrael Campbell, who grew up Catholic in the Philadelphia suburbs before converting to Judaism and moving to Israel. Events on Sunday cater to adults, teens and, for the first time, children.
"It's such a great topic to bring children into the conversation because it's the first prayer they learn," said program director Lynne Balaban. Interfaithways, which has 50 synagogues involved in its fifth annual Shabbat programming that weekend, will also be promoting the theme, Balaban said.
For a listing of the public events, see www. jewishlearningventure.org, check the Exponent community calendar this week and next, or contact Balaban at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-320-0379.
Those who prefer to learn from home can also ponder "big questions" on the international website and join in a virtual discussion by posting comments. While there won't be streaming video of Steinsaltz this year, the site will contain other video presentations as well as copies of suggested curriculum.
New this year, the site will also showcase a gallery of submitted artwork that explores the "visual texture and vocabulary" particular to the artist's Jewish community. The "Global/Local" exhibit is in partnership with the Jewish Art Salon and Jewish Art Now.