JLI In the News

The "L" word and other lies.
Jewish Learning Institute
Posted Thursday, Mar 1st, 2012

 Ask any teenager the definition of love, and chances are you will find yourself trapped in a Justin Bieber song. Ask that same teen to describe romance and you will be guided through an elaborate scene from a chick flick involving candlelit dinners, long-stemmed red roses, and holding hands in the rain. It’s a fantasy, of course, made up of images that pop-media has been marketing to us in a big red bow. Thanks to a few things—like Hallmark, romantic comedies and the CW network—we are constantly exposed to an overly quixotic idea of love and romance, and not offered heaps of insight into what it actually means.

Even Carrie Bradshaw, fictional Sex and the City columnist is at loss for answers in this department. Every episode is loaded with questions about men, women, and the pitfalls in relationships—yet six seasons later she still can't help but wonder. As Hollywood continues to tout false impressions of what a healthy relationship is supposed to look like, it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between lust and love. In a society where the “L” word is as ubiquitous as Starbucks in the city, one can’t help but wonder: Which “L” word are they referring to?

Until programmers create an iPhone app that detects true love, we are left to seek relationship advice from magazines, reality television, and Dr. Phil.  As moving as The Notebook is, relationships rarely unravel like that in real life. Sadly, we’ve discovered that the secrets to sustaining real, soulful relationships aren’t sealed in a red Netflix envelope, or stowed in a romance novel.

This winter the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) is presenting a new series for teens that will explore dating advice from an unlikely source…. The Bible!  

Secrets from Sinai is a six-part learning program that offers a novel perspective on love and intimacy for the modern age. Sure, it’s been a while since man roamed the Garden of Eden, and we’ve lost the robes, and traded in camels for cars and manna for sushi and sake. But the dynamics between men and women have been the same since Adam and Eve. This series explores the relevance of Torah’s wisdom, which hasn’t changed in over three millennia.

Secrets from Sinai is being offered in 40 cities around the world for Jewish high school students. “Creating a forum for an open discussion about partnerships and sexuality is too important to ignore”, says Rabbi Benny Rapoport, director of the JLI Teens department of the JLI. “As pop media continues to sell a commercialized and superficial brand of love, there is a growing need to promote the profound aspects of love and relationships.”

This course not only combats bad advice and other lies regarding the “L” word; it also addresses the many myths about love and intimacy in Judaism.  To find out what Judaism says about love, dating, breakups, and building life-long relationships, join the highly anticipatedSecrets from Sinai course.

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