Sfat Emet: Vital Testimony (Part 2) 

A live, interactive course led by

R. Prof. Elie Holzer



Spring 2020


Biblical and Rabbinic discourses utilize numerous variations of the word edut (testimony), expanding it far beyond the confines of its original legal meaning.


In this course we  explore the Hasidic writings of the Sfat Emet (authored by R. Yehuda Leib Alter, 1848-1905) by studying the use of the term edut (testimony) as an essential experiential concept that lies at the intersection of existential, psycho-religious and ethical dimensions of life. Edut attunes our eyes, ears, and hearts to the numinous dimension of existence, transforms our awareness of being in the world and awakens us toward the gift, the responsibility the fragility and the call of our existence.


With inspiration from additional philosophers and authors, we will explore and discuss the ways in which the concept of edut might help us revitalize Jewish religious life against the backdrop of our currently spiritually hungry and complex world, rather than revert back to the comfort of traditional religious teachings.



THURSDAYS from 9-10:15 a.m. ET

January 2020: 23.

February 2020: 6, 20.

March 2020: 12, 26.

April 2020: 2, 23.

May 2020: 7, 21.

June 2020: 4.

Studying with Elie Holzer engages both the mind and the heart. As you work through elegant and complex texts you can feel the impact on many levels. And when class is over the thoughts and feelings that have been experienced stay with you through the week, into Prayer, Shabbat and your encounters with others. It is truly a privilege to be his student.

Dr. Jane Shapiro

Founder Orot: Center for New Jewish Learning, Skokie, IL

Elie's class is a rare and precious opportunity for me to quench the thirst of my mind and soul in the company of other's who seek to drink from the same well. His thoughtful and "fresh" pedagogy extends to the sources we prepare in advance and the framing of each class. He is truly a mentor for what is fast becoming my deeper understanding of spiritual practice.

Pearl Mattenson

PCC, Director, Rosov Consulting

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Elie’s sensitive reading of the Sefat Emet along with selections from philosophy and literature gives me the chance to breathe deep every Wednesday morning. It is the kind of Torah that opens my soul.

Rabbi Barry Dov Katz

Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale, NY

The experience had great meaning, depth and inspiration for me. Your classes and the preparation for them created a kind of Shabbat during the week. The Sfat Emet is wonderful and your teaching illuminates his ideas and complements them and expands them in new directions. 

Eric Mattenson

Former Senior Director, Walgreens Lean Six Sigma, Skokie IL

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© 2017 Shma Koleinu