By Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle
The Jewish Learning Institute, a worldwide adult educational program of the international Chabad Lubavitch movement, launched an effort this fall to teach the Tanya, the movement’s foundational text, to Jews everywhere.
And the curriculum for this effort was developed by Milwaukeean Rabbi Shais Taub, rabbi at The Shul East and director of the Institute for Jewish Literacy of Lubavitch of Wisconsin.
The Tanya, as it is familiarly known from the book’s first word, was written by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (d. 1812), the first Lubavitcher Rebbe.
“This is a text that is the most foundational mystical text in the Jewish world for day-to-day living,” Taub explained in a telephone interview. However, from the way it is written, “people have problems breaking through the density of the material, the esoteric concepts.”
To help clarify this work, Taub about two years ago created a “map” of the work. (See Chronicle, Jan. 27, 2006) This proved so impressive to leaders of the JLI that they invited Taub to create a curriculum for a six-week class on the book.
Taub presented the curriculum to the JLI’s convention on Aug. 12. This class, called “Soul Maps,” will be offered “in different locations all over the world” — by more than 300 instructors in 34 U.S. states and 15 countries, according to Taub.
“In Chabad, everybody is excited that finally this book, which is so dear and cherished by Chabadniks, finally will be taught so that others will really get it,” said Taub.
Taub also said that this class will be offered this coming November in Milwaukee at The Shul in Bayside and at the Peltz Center for Jewish Life in Mequon. For more information, contact Taub at Lubavitch of Wisconsin, 414-961-6100.