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SPICE: The Plow, The Pistol, and The Prayerbook: Major Trends of Ideology and Spirituality in Jewish Culture

Past Sessions
Thursday, May 23, 2024 15 Iyar 5784 - 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Thursday, May 16, 2024 8 Iyar 5784 - 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Thursday, May 9, 2024 1 Iyar 5784 - 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Thursday, May 2, 2024 24 Nisan 5784 - 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

This mini-course will explore three significant threads of the Israeli-Zionist tapestry. These threads intertwine and contain physical, ideological, and spiritual aspects. We will explore these threads using texts, visual examples, and examples from my own family history.

The Plow represents the importance of the land, socialism, and the regeneration of a nation. The Pistol represents the importance of self-defense, the army, and the conquest of the wilderness. The Prayerbook represents the resurrection of the Hebrew, the development of new rituals, new literature, and new prayers.

Rumors say that Rabbi Ofer Sabath Beit-Halachmi is a descendent of the biblical King David. Although Ofer doesn’t have red hair or any other concrete proof of this lineage, like King David, Rabbi Ofer’s creative liturgy has been published and is used widely both in America and in Israel. Rabbi Ofer’s and Rabbi Rachel’s children all have names connecting them to the Davidic dynasty so the idea of such a lineage is likely to continue in future generations. Ofer is a 4th generation Israeli who served as an officer in the IDF on every border of Israel and beyond. He earned graduate degrees in Talmud and in Jewish Education. Ordained in Jerusalem at HUC, Ofer served as the rabbi of Congregation Shir-Chadash outside of Jerusalem (Israel) for nearly a decade. Rabbi Ofer co-founded the “Aspaklaria” organization and methodology of using the arts for Jewish education and community building. He has worked with many Israeli artists and curated numerous art exhibits in Israel. Ofer is a beloved teacher in congregations around the world. You can learn more about him and with him on his website:

Registration Information:
All SPICE courses must be registered for and paid for in their entirety. SPICE fees are per head, not per household, with a 50% off fee for second registrants within the same household. A minimum of 15 enrollees per course are required in order to hold the course. If a course must be cancelled, those registered will be notified and a SPICE credit will be issued.

Reservations may be made via email to or by telephone to Sherri Bell, SPICE Chair at 410-303-2483. Payment may be made in one of three ways:

1. Check Mail it to Sherri Bell 1 Clifton Court Pikesville, MD 21208 Your check should be made payable to Har Sinai-Oheb Shalom Congregation with SPICE and the course name written on the memo line.

2. Credit card Please note that the synagogue charges a 3.1% credit card use convenience fee.

3. Bill your synagogue account Members only.

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Thu, May 30 2024 22 Iyar 5784