Study ClassOxford Judaic Studies Initiative - Classes



We are delighted to invite you to take part in an exciting Oxford Jewish learning initiative offering students, alumni and the wider community to schedule a 20-30 minute session to study the subject of your choice at your convenience with Rabbi Eli Brackman.

Please find below a list of topics for your interest and fill out a form with the date, time and phone number for you to be reached.

Before the class, the source material will be sent to you by email and you will be called at the time submitted.

You may also study in person or host a class in your house or office. 

Please browse the list of topics below and fill out the form by clicking here.

If there is a topic that is not listed here that you wish to study or if you have any other questions, please email [email protected] 




Jewish History, Ethics and Thought



  1. Josephus & the Talmud
  2. The Babylonians and the Jews
  3. The Greeks and the Jews
  4. Rome and the Jews
  5. Introduction to Philo
  6. Aristotle and Judaism: on the soul and eternity of the universe
  7. The concept of consent in Judaism (When does human life begin? Does Judaism have a gradualist view of life? The concept of concept in Jewish law)
  8. A Jewish view on multiculturalism
  9. The ethics of language: the categorical imperative and Judaism
  10. Judaism and human rights
  11. Suicide and Judaism
  12. A Jewish view on ethics in battle
  13. Perspectives on the Holocaust
  14. How did G‑d allow the Holocaust to happen?
  15. Rabbinical responses in the Holocaust: Ethical dilemmas
  16. Free choice versus determinism
  17. Dreams and Judaism
  18. Signs and symbols
  19. A Jewish view on charity
  20. Alcohol and Judaism
  21. Tsunami disaster: Where is G‑d?
  22. The significance of the Temple Mount
  23. A Jewish view on youth education
  24. Does Judaism support a monarchy
  25. Chabad and Aliya to Israel
  26. Coping with stress at university
  27. Is Judaism a radical religion?
  28. Is Judaism an exclusive religion?
  29. A Jewish view on retirement
  30. Superstition and Judaism
  31. Religious cartoons, idolatry and Judaism
  32. Marijuana and Judaism
  33. What does Jewish humour say about Judaism
  34. Gambling and Judaism
  35. A Jewish view on global warming
  36. Money and Judaism





Medical Ethics



  1. Abortion & Judaism
  2. Medical Malpractice & Judaism
  3. Birth Control & Judaism
  4. Vivisection and Fox Hunting: A Jewish Perspective
  5. Donor Sperm: Benevolence or Adultery?
  6. Terri Schiavo: Does a Person Have a Right to Die?
  7. Organ Transplant & Jewish Law
  8. Plastic Surgery & Judaism
  9. Donor Organ Cards & Jewish Law
  10. Ancient Medicine and Judaism
  11. Euthanasia & Judaism





Concepts in Jewish Law



  1. Is G‑d Above the Law?
  2. Wine, Whisky and Jewish Law
  3. Animal Rights & Jewish Law
  4. Capital Punishment & Jewish Law
  5. Holy Sites in Jewish Law
  6. Hurricane Katrina & Lost Relatives in Jewish Law
  7. Human Rights and Jewish Law
  8. Russian anti-Semitism & the Abridged Version of Jewish Law
  9. An overview on Aliyah (moving to Israel) according to Jewish Law
  10. Hinduism and Jewish Law
  11. Western Law versus Jewish Law
  12. Entering a synagogue on Shabbat under security surveillance
  13. Copyright, intellectual property and Judaism





Women & Relationships



  1. Women in Judaism
  2. Be Fruitful & Multiply: How many?
  3. Is Judaism a Sexist Religion?
  4. Women & Kabbalah
  5. Is a match made in Heaven?
  6. Incestuous Relationship in Judaism
  7. The Woman in Jewish Thought
  8. Jewish View on Sexuality
  9. Is the institution of marriage outdated?
  10. Relationships and Judaism
  11. Adultery in Judaism
  12. The Agunah (chained women) problem
  13. Polygamy & Judaism








  1. Tisha B’Av in History
  2. Chanukah: The view of Maimonides versus the Talmud
  3. The nature of miracles through the lens of the Kabbalah (Chanukah)
  4. Does Judaism believe in original sin? (Yom Kippur)
  5. Is perfection attainable? (Yom Kippur)
  6. Yom Kippur: A happy or sober occasion?
  7. The laws & mysticism of Yom Kippur
  8. Mordechai the theorist versus Esther the pragmatist
  9. Why does Passover have three names?
  10. An introduction to the laws of Passover
  11. The mysticism of the counting of the Omer
  12. The power of silence (Shavuot)
  13. Thanksgiving and Judaism (Shavuot)
  14. Fast Days: Destruction or Rebuilding? 







  1. The canonisation of the Bible
  2. A brief introduction to the Torah
  3. Who wrote the Bible?
  4. An introduction to King David & his many wives
  5. A brief introduction to the Books of the Prophets
  6. An introduction to the Book of Joshua 




The Weekly Torah Reading


  • Classes on every portion of the Torah according the reading of the week






  • What is the Jewish concept of prayer?






  1. Rashi & Midrash
  2. Rashi & Nachmanides: Sephardic versus Ashkenazic analysis of the Scripture
  3. Rashi & Maimonides
  4. An Introduction to Rashi – Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki 1040-1105
  5. Historical dispute between Rashi & his grandson Rabienu Tam
  6. The great dispute over the position of the Mezuzah between Rashi and Rabeinu Tam
  7. Rashi & Kabbalah  






  1. An introduction to Maimonides
  2. What are Angels according Maimonides
  3. Intelligence in the Heavenly spheres
  4. Resurrection of the dead according to Maimonides
  5. Are the commandments logical?
  6. Maimonides letter to the Jewish community of Yemen
  7. Forced conversion and hypocrisy in Judaism
  8. Biblical Anthropomorphisms
  9. Was Maimonides a mystic?  






  1. The concept of an agent in Jewish law
  2. Is quality greater than quantity: Rabban Gamliel versus the Sages
  3. Is the saying of Amen greater than the Blessing?
  4. Introduction to tractate Shabbat






  1. Concealed love and the flood
  2. Maimonides and mysticism
  3. Should celebrities study Kabbalah?
  4. The novelty of the Kabbalah
  5. A guide to happiness
  6. The Kabbalistic nature of Abraham
  7. What is a soul?
  8. Introduction to the Chassidic work of the Tanya by Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi
  9. A person with two souls
  10. What is the definition of righteousness?
  11. Story of two souls: equality or hierarchy?
  12. Is it possible to comprehend G‑d?
  13. What are the Ten Sefirot?
  14. A guide to true love
  15. An introduction to the grand Rabbi Josef Isaac Schneersohn