First Teachers Announced for OU’s Online Classes in Basic Living Judaism; Classes Begin 9/15

03 Sep 2009

The first instructors for the “Online Classes in Basic Living Judaism,” sponsored by the Orthodox Union’s Department of Community Services, have been announced. They are: Rabbi Leiby Burnham, a writer and psychotherapist; Rabbi Tzvi Glucken, an author and director of a Jewish educational program in Boston; and Rabbi Label Lam, a poet and educator involved with outreach programs in the United States and abroad.

The first class of the free, comprehensive course in the fundamentals of Judaism and contemporary issues will start on Tuesday, September 15. Those who wish to register for the course should do so right away at

Frank Buchweitz, National Director of the Department of Community Services and Special Projects, declared, “The new ‘Online Classes in Basic Living Judaism’ come at the request of many individuals in communities across the United States who are seeking more information on basic Jewish values and traditions.”

The course will be conducted like a semester in college, beginning in September and concluding in December, though there will be none of the usual finals and term papers found in most college courses. However, participants will receive a certificate of completion upon finishing the program.

Each month outstanding presenters will address specific topics within the monthly theme. September’s subject will be “The High Holidays: What Does It All Mean…Is It More Than Apples and Honey?” Individual classes will include the following:

• Tuesday, September 15: “What are the High Holidays, and What Do They Have to Do with Me?” taught by Rabbi Burnham.
• Tuesday, September 22: “To Forgive or Not To Forgive? That is the Question” taught by Rabbi Glucken.
• Tuesday, September 29: “The Secrets for Strengthening Personal Relationships…Neighbors, Spouse, Relatives, Friends, and God” taught by Rabbi Lam.
October’s general topic will be “The Spiritual Dimension of Judaism.” Individual classes will cover the following:

• Tuesday, October 13: You Don’t Look Jewish! Jewish Identity and Identification.”
• Tuesday, October 20: What Does It Mean to be Jewish?”
• Tuesday, October 27: The Economy, Unemployment, Homelessness, and God: Who’s to Blame? How Do You Have Faith in a God That Allows All of These Things to Happen?”

November’s topic will be “Connecting to God,” while individual topics will include:

• Sunday, November 8: “Twittering to God.”
• Sunday, November 15: “Making Prayers Personal and Meaningful.”
• Sunday, November 22: “Ask the Rabbi Any Questions That You’ve Always Had.” Questions can be e-mailed in advance to or ask during the class.

December’s general topic is “Fundamental Symbolism of Judaism.” Individual classes will include:

• Sunday, December 6: “The Concept of Keeping Kosher.”
• Sunday, December 13: Chanukah: Why Giving is the Best Gift.”
• Sunday, December 20: Understanding Sabbath Rituals, Such As Candle-Lighting, Kiddush (Blessing Over Wine), Hamotzei (Blessing Over Bread), The Sabbath Meal, Etc.”

To register, visit or contact Frank Buchweitz at 212-613-8188 or