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Professor David Shyovitz Will Discuss Judaism and the Occult

Professor David Shyovitz

Professor David Shyovitz

From Friday through Sunday, March 16-18, 2012, visiting scholar Dr. David Shyovitz will present four provocative learning sessions on the topic “Judaism and the Occult: From the Middle Ages to Middle America” at Congregation Etz Chaim, 1710 S. Highland Avenue, Lombard. Dr. Shyovitz will be Etz Chaim’s 22nd annual Sophie and Jack Edwards Scholar-in-Residence, hosted by the Congregation’s Adult Education Committee. All are welcome and there is no charge to attend.

During the weekend, Dr. Shyovitz, who is an Assistant Professor of History at Northwestern University and a leading expert in his field, will share results of his studies on how medieval beliefs influence the practice of Judaism today.

He will delve into ideas including Jewish and non-Jewish conceptions of the next world: how belief in medieval monsters helped medieval Jews explore the workings of the natural world, of the human body, and of the divine; and how Jewish, Islamic and Christian thinkers have addressed whether the existence of God can be scientifically proven.

The Scholar-in-Residence weekend program includes four learning sessions with Dr. Shyovitz:

Friday, March 16th: 8:15 PM Shabbat Service Sermon
Playing God: The Tabernacle, the Golem, and the Magical Hebrew Alphabet

Saturday morning, March 17th: 9:30 AM Light Breakfast
Do Jews Believe in Hell: Reading a Medieval Jewish Ghost Story

Saturday evening, March 17th: 7:30 PM Light Refreshments
What does it mean to Believe in God? Ancient, Medieval, and Modern Approaches

Sunday, March 18th: 9:30 AM Breakfast
The Lion, the Witch, and the Werewolf: Medieval Jewish Monsters and their Meanings

At Northwestern University, Dr. Shyovitz holds joint appointments in the Department of Religious Studies and the Crown Center of Jewish Studies. He earned degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, is the recipient of numerous distinguished honors, and has presented at conferences around the country and internationally.

For more information on the “Judaism and the Occult” program sessions, go to, email, or call the synagogue office at 630-627-3912.

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