Last summer Temple Israel Rabbi Aryeh Azriel attended a leadership seminar in Jerusalem, the focus of which was faith in the modern world, and from March 14 through May 23, he will be leading a discussion course to share what he learned


Titled “Dilemmas of Faith: God and Spirituality in the Modern World,” the course will explore a number of questions about faith in today’s society, such as ‘Do I have to believe in God to be a good Jew?’ and ‘How do we reconcile faith with reason?’


“I think there is a need in modernity, in post-modernity, to look at faith, because Judaism, in addition to rituals and observance, needs to also address and understand the language of faith,” Rabbi Azriel said. “We are living in a world in which we are approached and constantly in touch with faith communities and I want Jews to feel comfortable with the word ‘faith.’”


The course will also examine the need for ritual practices in relation to faith. Does one need to perform these rituals in order to have faith or can one simply believe?


“I see faith and practice as one,” Rabbi Azriel said. “We need to talk about faith without practice and practice without faith. It is a challenge. I want to be able to shed light on understanding the challenge of both the faith and the practice.”


Rabbi Azriel hopes this course will encourage further discussion of what he knows is a very difficult, yet equally important, topic for many people.


“I want them to struggle, to question, to be irritated, uncomfortable,” he said. “I want to introduce a set of values and a set of questions that are important for us to engage in.”


“Dilemmas of Faith” with Rabbi Azriel is part of Temple Israel’s Adult Study with Clergy, which is held on Thursday mornings from 10 to 11:30 a.m. To register for the course, contact Program Director Wendy Goldberg at The course fee is $45 for members and $55 for non-members.