“Tricks and Treats and Things That Go Bump In The Night”

A Shabbaton of Jewish Magic, Fantasy and Superstition

October 24-27, 2019
25-28 Tishri 5780
Rabbi Shelton Donnell & Wendy Bocarsky

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Everyone likes a good ghost story or a throat-clutching horror movie. Ghosts, and goblins, witches and monsters under the bed are all part of the secular holiday of Halloween. But, did you know that Jewish tradition also has a scary, fanciful and sometimes surreal side? For our October Shabbaton we will explore Jewish magic, fantasy and superstition and some of the more bizarre texts, tales, and traditions that enrich our culture.

Thursday, October 24- 7:00-9:00 PM
“An Evening With A Good Book”

Wandering Stars, Jack Dan (editor). This is the first in a series of books with stories of Jewish magic, science fiction and fantasy with contributions by famous Jewish authors such as Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison and Isaac Bashevis Singer. This is a real departure from our previous book selections, but promises to be both entertaining and enlightening, raising such questions as — can an alien be Jewish? If that intrigues you, then you will enjoy “On Venus Have We Got a Rabbi!” And there’s more to trick and treat you in this unusual volume.

Friday, October 25- 6:30 PM
Sermon Topic: “Dybbuks, Devils and Demons in Jewish Tradition”

Sunday, October 27
“Ghouls, Goblins and Golems” with Rabbi Shelton Donnell
1:30-2:55 pm

Hidden through the Talmud, Midrash and other texts from the Rabbinic Tradition, there is a treasure trove of delightfully strange, fanciful and, yes, bizarre leaps of fantasy. Some of the texts may surprise you, some may disturb you, but all will certainly entertain you and stimulate your imagination and give you a view of our tradition that you don’t usually encounter.

“My Friend the Witch Doctor” with Wendy Bocarsky
3:00- 4:30 pm

To quote Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis, “Preventing and curing illness is a universal preoccupation.” Jewish tradition is rich with examples of alternative medicine including amulets, incantations, folk medicine, and so-called “wonder workers.” Most of this is highly controversial in today’s world of modern medicine! We will explore examples of the weird and wacky world of Jewish folk healing that predated modern medicine. So, take two cloves of garlic and call me in the morning.

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