The People of the Book can always benefit from a good group study session

By Betsy Frank

Betsy Frank is UHC para-rabbinic fellow and president.

Jews are known as the People of the Book.

We have a long tradition of studying our sacred texts. We engage with these texts alone and in groups.

Not only do Jews study these sacred texts as part of life-long religious education, but this tradition of studying has led many Jews to careers as academics and professionals.

Our parents have encouraged us and we have fostered learning in our children and grandchildren.

Read the Talmud, Torah and Tanakh

As Jews, our learning should include delving into texts such as the Talmud, the Torah and other books of the Tanakh.

Many books exist on Jewish practices, history and the like. We can read, watch videos and listen to podcasts on a variety of secular and sacred topics.

The synagogue often serves as the center of learning. In our own congregation, we have lay led and student rabbi-led Torah studies.

One Jewish holiday even highlights learning — the holiday of Shavuot.

Tradition tells us that Moses received the Ten Commandments on this day. Many congregations hold all-night study sessions to commemorate the giving of the Ten Commandments.

Our congregation held a more conservatively scheduled 90-minute virtual Shavuot study session on the evening of Sunday, May 16.

Take some time for TV, too

Yes, learning never ends. There is so much to learn and not enough time, even during a pandemic that disrupts our normal busy schedules.

As a side note, I think we can learn better if we intersperse our more serious study with reading a trashy mystery or entertaining ourselves with TV and streaming video. Who doesn’t enjoy a good episode of House Hunters?

Enjoy learning in any way you can. However, I do encourage you to learn with others.

Attend a Temple Torah study or join a book group. Just learn each and every day!


Betsy Frank

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