Click to download a source sheet with quick discussion questions for Torah study:

Full classes taught on the following topics:

​The Tanakh (Hebrew Bible)

  • Misreading the Garden of Eden

  • Three Flood Stories: What is the Bible?

  • Will the Real Abraham Please Stand Up?

  • How Joseph Changed Judaism

  • Homosexuality in the Torah?

  • The Spirituality of Jewish Dietary Practices

  • Three Golden Calves: Continuity or Conspiracy? 

  • Can God Change His Mind? (3 Sessions)

  • The Development of Monotheism

The Second Temple Period

  • Esther: Strangest of Biblical Books

  • The Four Stories of Chanukah

  • The Real Story of Chanukah

  • Jesus the Jew: The Early Jesus Movement and the Rise of Christianity (3 Sessions)

  • The Rabbinic Revolution: War with Rome and the Rise of the Rabbis (3 Sessions)

The Rabbis of the Mishnah and Talmud

  • What is Oral Torah?

  • Rabbi Akiva and the Fight Over Pacifism

  • Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and the Roman Occupation

  • Rabbi Elisha Ben Avuya and Holy Heresy

  • What Happens After We Die?

  • Why do Bad things Happen to Good People?

  • Purim: Order and Chaos When Misreading the Talmud

  • Demons in the Talmud (And the Ones that Got Out)

  • Humor in the Talmud (No Laughing Matter)

  • The Shabbat System Created by the Rabbis

  • Rabbis and Prostitutes

  • The Torah vs. Our Moral Compass

  • Telling Tales: Can We Take the Talmud at its Word?

  • What Makes a True Torah Scholar?

Jewish Mysticism

  • Ascending to Heaven: Mystical Visions of God

  • A Modern Introduction to the Kabbalah

Jewish Philosophy

  • Judaism as a Spiritual Practice (Six Sessions)

  • What is the Purpose of Judaism?

  • Who Are We and What is this Place?

  • Choosing Judaism

  • Unholy Torah: Confronting Our Most Difficult Sacred Texts

  • Transformative Torah: Three Worlds of Tikkun Olam

  • Jewish Environmental Ethics

Academic Interests

As you might have already gathered, I believe that the only kind of "real" Torah is the kind that is directly relevant to our lives. That being said, I still enjoy the rigor of academic scholarship and seek to find ways to translate the latest historical research into lessons for the present. My areas of expertise include ancient Israelite religion, the Second Temple period, the gestation of early Christianity, the evolution of Rabbinic Judaism and the culture of Iranian Jewry during the creation of the Babylonian Talmud.

Rabbi Marc Kraus is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly.

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