Supporting Christians Who Want to Study The Bible With Jews
Rabbi Tuly Weisz, founder and director of Israel365, is at the forefront of connecting Christians with the Land of Israel. His latest effort is called Study Genesis – a response to the trend of Christians studying the weekly Torah portion alongside the worldwide Jewish community.
According to Weisz, Study Genesis is about “connecting Christians with the parsha (weekly Torah portion) which more and more are studying each year.” The project does that by “providing the Jewish perspective on Bible studies and introducing Christians to top-notch Jewish educators. At the same time,” Weisz believes, “introducing top-notch Jewish educators to Christian students” is both a meaningful and worthwhile endeavor.
And the many peoples shall go and say: “Come, Let us go up to the Mount of Hashem, To the House of the God of Yaakov; That He may instruct us in His ways, And that we may walk in His paths.” For instruction shall come forth from Tzion, The word of Hashem from Yerushalayim. Isaiah 2:3
“It actually says they will be streaming towards Jerusalem, and [Torah will be] streaming from Jerusalem. With these virtual courses, we’re streaming Torah content on Sefer Bereshit [Book of Genesis] to the world, [which] is an innovative fulfillment of that prophecy.”
Alternate Approaches To Studying The Bible
“Not everybody engages with the Bible in the same way,” Weisz told Israel365 News. In response, he incorporated ten different approaches into the Study Genesis program.
“Rather than offering the same usual course offerings,” he explained, “I was looking and hoping to develop something more out-of-the-box, which is why we are offering Cooking through Genesis, Arts and Crafts through Genesis, Political Leadership through Genesis and Singing through Genesis, along with the other traditional approaches to teaching the Book of Genesis. We’re looking to really offer something for everybody.”
Although this is only the second week of the project, Weisz reports that, “we’ve gotten such great reviews and feedback from our students. People are waking up early to take the classes. Also, our teachers are really getting a kick out of having such a diverse student body. People from all over the world, including Nigeria and Hungary, are taking these classes, which is fantastic.”
Student and Faculty Feedback
Clare Booker has been enthralled with the opportunity to learn through the Study Genesis program. In a recent email to Weisz, she wrote, “I am so amazed at HaShem’s (God’s) goodness and I truly thank Israel365 for bringing life through the Torah, teachings, praying, the virtual tours. Thank you so much for your humble hearts and your hunger for HaShem to share His goodness, His mercy, His truth, His compassion and Grace and His merciful love freely through these Zoom meetings! Todah Rabbah! I cannot wait for next week’s Teaching! Shalom!”
Ruthie Lieberman, who teaches Political Leadership Through Genesis, shared, “This is a terrific project. It synthesizes the sources and modern approaches to the texts. My course is an attempt to study biblical text with ideas on political action today.
“[I was] asked to share some insider stories, and I go behind the scenes in our advocacy work. It’s fun and not something you usually hear about, so I hope it helps people connect with the biblical text and with the idea that we all have something to contribute.”
Devorah Katz teaches Cooking Through Genesis. She told Israel365 News, “It is exciting to take Sefer Bereshit and explore it from a different angle, that of the intersection of food with each week’s Torah reading. It is even more exciting to explore Sefer Bereshit with Israel365 and its Christian community.”
Rabbi Elan Adler’s course is Learn Hebrew through Genesis. He is also enjoying the opportunity to teach Hebrew to a Christian audience. “It’s satisfying to teach our interested Christian friends the words of our holy language through the lens of studying the Book of Genesis. Each lesson incorporates not only learning several new Hebrew vocabulary words but also includes commentaries that will enrich the discussion about the narrative of that Torah portion.”
The Study Genesis program includes 10 weekly courses presented over the 12-week period that the Jewish community is also studying the Book of Genesis. Two classes are offered each day, Sunday through Thursday.
In addition to those already mentioned, the Study Genesis program includes Encountering The Promise through Genesis taught by Sondra Oster Baras, Praying through Genesis with Rabbi Shlomo Katz, Touring through Genesis with Akiva Gersh, Salvation through Genesis with Rabbi Pinchas Winston and Growing through Genesis with Rabbi Avraham Trugman.
Students who register in advance receive a reminder email before each class session begins. There is no cost to register for any of the live classes.