December 19, 2008

Jewish Press, Omaha, NE

Living life in the fast lane

Have you ever felt that your life is in the fast lane that you have no time to press on the brakes, to stop and figure out where you're going? Thirty bright individuals slowed down last Monday night to take stock of their life's direction, at the Jewish Learning Institute's Soul Maps "self-discovery" course given by Rabbi Mendel Katzman at the Chabad House.
The fascinating course is being met with much enthusiasm amongst the students. Nancy Schlessinger of notes, "I enjoyed the first class and found it very interesting and insightful. Nancy is attending the class with her husband, Dr. Joel Schlessinger. She adds, "I look forward to exploring the Tanya through the remaining classes with Rabbi Katzman."
The course is essentially an overview of the Tanya, an 18th century book of Kabbalah and wisdom authored by Rabbi Schneur Zalmen of Liadi.  A precursor of the modern self-help genre, Rabbi Schneur Zalmen authored the Tanya as a substitute for his personal mentorship.  Course participants will experience a total of six sessions of spiritual counseling from a master of Kabbalah and the nature of the soul.  Students will explore the source of guilt and conflict and confusion and find useful strategies for developing joy, purpose, and direction in everyday life.
Rabbi Katzman is enthusiastic about the course as well.  "I am thrilled that we were able to renew our affiliation with the Jewish Learning Institute to present this compelling course", he said.  "I am personally invigorated and rejuvenated by the positive energy generated by the study of the Tanya which I have been doing to some extent since childhood."  He is also very gratified to see "how the ideas were received."
Students of all ages questioned, discovered and absorbed the first tier of dynamic concepts upon which the course is based. "The first class covered concrete foundational concepts in a concise manner," said Philip Wolf of National Indemnity Group who studies with Rabbi Katzman on occasion. 
The Soul Maps course is designed for regular and infrequent students alike. Dr. Dan Schuller likes the "pragmatic approach" presented at the course and finds the first class "basic in many aspects but still inspiring." First time JLI student Robert Mosenkis muses, "I grew up at Chabad and have always felt that Rabbi Katzman does a great job of keeping his 'talks' intellectually stimulating while at the same time easily graspable by all. I am looking forward to the rest of the course."
Soul Maps, a project of the International Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, is a powerful program being taught in hundreds of cities across seven continents. Locations include Singapore, Athens, and Malibu, California. Wolf is impressed with the course materials which are "very clear and professionally presented." Philip Wolf is a JLI student with his wife, Nancy. He echoes his fellow students by adding, "I look forward to the next class." If you are interested in this or other adult education at Chabad House, visit or call Carol at 330-1800