provided to Santiva Chronicle
Rabbi Dr. Stephen Lewis Fuchs of Bat Yam Temple of the Islands will offer a three-part series of classes on a subject near and dear to him: the Bible’s Book of Genesis. The seminar, under the heading “Genesis’ Earliest Stories” will be from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. Thursdays, Nov. 14 and 21, as well as Dec. 5. The sessions will be in Fellowship Hall at Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ, 2050 Periwinkle Way. There is no admission charge, and all are welcome to attend.
The topics for the three classes will be “The Magnificent Story of Creation” on Nov. 14; “Eden, A Nice Place to Visit, but Would You Want to Live There?” on Nov. 21; and “Cain and Abel: ‘The Symbol Story of the Human Soul’” on Dec. 5. There will be no class on Nov. 28.
Participants are encouraged to bring whatever Bible translation they have at hand. “It will be fun to sometimes compare different translations of the same Hebrew word because any translation involves some degree of interpretation,” says the rabbi.
While attending all three classes is optimal, participants may attend any or all of them. Rabbi Fuchs feels that the classes are an excellent way to celebrate the congregation’s return to the beginning of the Torah at this time of year.
His connection with the Book of Genesis is particularly strong. He explains, “Genesis is the foundation of all of Jewish thought. It provided me the basis of my doctoral dissertation at Vanderbilt Divinity School, which, many years later, I turned into my first book, What’s in It for Me? Finding Ourselves in Biblical Narratives.
“Genesis was also the basis of the course I taught for five years as a faculty member of the Hamilton College Elderhostel program and of the semester-opening lecture I delivered at the Abraham Geiger College in Berlin in 2014.”
Many years ago, the Columbia Public Library asked a number of individuals, including Rabbi Fuchs, to write essays for public display about their favorite book of all time. “I chose the Book of Genesis from the Hebrew Bible,” he recalls. “If I were asked that same question today, more than 40 years and many hundreds of books later, my answer would still be the same.”