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This course is being held in partnership with The Witness Institute


The Torah begins with the story of creation, and Jewish canonical works of many periods weave Halacha and Aggada, law and legend, into a singular tapestry.


Why are stories and storytelling so important? How can stories, especially those that transcend time and space, work on us, change us, deepen or even heal us? What do Midrashic and Hasidic sources say about the power of stories? And how, in a time of crisis, might we use stories to heal our world?


In this online course with Rabbi Ariel Burger, we explore together tales from the biblical, rabbinic, and Hasidic periods, including some lesser-known stories that challenge and complicate simplistic notions about God, what it means to be human, ethics, and meaning. Among them we will find tales of conflict, of miracles, of hope in the face of despair, and of redemption. We will consider the relationship between law and narrative, and the ways in which stories have helped Jewish thinkers as they wrestle with difficult Torah texts.


Each class includes careful text study, time for reflection and discussion, and take-home exercises.


All texts are provided with clear line-by-line translations, and no prior knowledge or experience with the subject matter is necessary. This course is open to novices and advanced learners of all backgrounds and orientations.

How does it work?

The course consists of four recorded sessions, of approximately 1-1.25 hours each. Participants can enjoy the recordings at their own leisure and convenience.


Each session includes studying primary texts, reflection and discussion. Participants will also be given clear instructions for take-home exercises, to help continue to develop and integrate the themes of the class.


Registrants gain lifetime access to all the course materials, including the recordings of every class.


"I thoroughly was moved by the classes I attended with Rabbi Ariel Burger and oftentimes I was moved to tears. He is by far one of the great gifted teachers who possesses the quality of utmost humility which is so rare to find in someone with such knowledge."

- Tali Ann Katz, CSP, Orange County, CA

"My time learning with Rabbi Burger was inspiring. Using art and stories, his teaching beckoned my imagination and creativity. I felt newly invited to bring my whole self to my Jewish identity and community."

- Genevieve Greinetz, M.A. Jewish Studies

"Rabbi Burger is a master at both telling and teaching the wisdom stories of Jewish tradition. I have been in class as he has taught the stories of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov and the stories of his teacher, Elie Wiesel. Rabbi Burger has a deeply thoughtful approach with deep reverence for his material as well as his students. He diligently prepares and is always thinking ahead. Once people have studied with Rabbi Burger, they keep returning for more. People who have attended his sessions come away moved and inspired. In addition to sharing his extensive knowledge and deep questions, he is a focused listener. He sees Jewish story-telling and learning as a journey we take together."

- Rabbi Joseph Meszler, Temple Sinai of Sharon

"Of the 500+ educators I’ve worked with, Ariel is really special."

- Arie Katz, Irvine, CA


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