Classes to explore basics of Judaism

By Belinda M. Paschal -

PIQUA — If you’ve ever wondered about the story behind the Hanukkah candles or why Jewish families mourn death a certain way, Congregation Anshe Emeth can answer those and other questions.

The Piqua synagogue, located at 320 Caldwell, St., will be offering two classes on basic Judaism taught by student rabbi Tina Sobo, who holds a master’s in religious education from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, and will be a fully ordained rabbi in May.

“This is the second year for the classes. We did it last year because we had the same student rabbi and she’s really into education and was willing to to the classes again,” said Eileen Litchfield, president of Congregation Anshe Emeth.

The first session, “Jewish Ritual Objects 101,” will be held from 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 9, and use a “show and tell” approach to exploring some of the objects that Jews use as part of worship and tradition.

“For example, on top of the Torah scroll, there’s a decorative object, and the Hanukkah menorah … she’ll be explaining the holidays in relation to these things,” Litchfield said. “I thought that was a great idea. It’s really visual.”

On May 7, also from 1-2:30 p.m., participants can learn about “The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning,” which will delve into Jewish beliefs regarding what happens after death, as well as practices surrounding death and mourning.

Sobo will present for about an hour, then allow a Q&A session afterward.

The sessions are open to anyone who wishes to learn with an open mind. The goal is to share information, not impose beliefs.

There is no cost to attend; however reservations are encouraged. Last year’s classes attracted about 40 people to each session, Litchfield said.

For more information or to make reservations, contact Litchfield at (937) 623-1234 or

By Belinda M. Paschal

Reach Belinda M. Paschal at (937) 451-3341.

Reach Belinda M. Paschal at (937) 451-3341.