Zoom courses to explore Sephardic Jewry and Maimonides


Delve Deeper will offer two Zoom courses this fall, one on the Jews of North Africa and the Middle East and the second on Maimonides. 

The first course, “Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews: From 1492 to the 20th Century,” will explore the history of Arab/Middle Eastern and Sephardic Jews (the Jews from Iberia) from the expulsions from Spain in the late 15th century to the lives of their descendants in Israel. 

The second course will take an in-depth look at Maimonides’ mindset, life and cultural world. Maimonides was a deeply influential Sephardic rabbi, philosopher and physician who lived several centuries before the expulsions. 

Delve Deeper is an education initiative that offers university-level Judaic courses to adult learners. Delve Deeper programs are presented in cooperation with the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island and area synagogues, including Congregation Beth Sholom, Temple Beth-El, Temple Emanu-El, Temple Habonim, Temple Sinai and Temple Torat Yisrael. 

The first course will be taught on Monday evenings by Prof. Yaron Ayalon, Ph.D., who is the director of the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program and an associate professor of Jewish and Middle Eastern Studies at the College of Charleston, in South Carolina. The virtual course will meet 10 times from September through December.

Alan Verskin, Ph.D., an associate professor of history at the University of Rhode Island, will teach “Moses Maimonides: Rabbi, Philosopher, and Community Leader” on Thursday evenings. This course will meet 12 times from September through December.

Both courses will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Zoom, with the first course meeting on Mondays, beginning Sept. 19, and the second on Thursdays, beginning Sept. 15. The cost for each course is $250. Partial and full scholarships are available from the Bliss Gross Horowitz Fund of the Rhode Island Foundation. Contact Morty Miller, at mortymiller1945@gmail.com, or the rabbi of a sponsoring synagogue about the scholarships.

To register for Professor Ayalon’s course, go to tinyurl.com/yc49yxfh. To register for Professor Verskin’s course, go to tinyurl.com/yfmueh8p. You may also contact Larry Katz, at lkatz@jewishallianceri.org, to register for either course.

For more information about the courses, contact Miller.

LARRY KATZ (lkatz@jewishallianceri.org) is the director of Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.