Click to learn about Repentance: The Meaning and Practice of Teshuvah, the newest book by Louis E. Newman.

Reclaiming the Lost Art of Repentance

A scholar-in-residence weekend with
Professor Louis Newman

Specific titles and topics can be tailored to the needs and interests of the congregation. Click here to contact Dr. Newman regarding availability.

Repentance (teshuvah) is one of Judaism’s most central and radical ideas.  It invites us to engage in deep self-reflection and offers us the possibility of profound moral transformation.  In this series of sessions, we explore what teshuvah really entails, how we begin and how it can restore a sense of wholeness to our lives.

Friday night
“Becoming a Mensch the Old Fashioned Way:  One Step at a Time”

What does doing teshuvah require of us?  How do we begin the process and how do we know when we are done?  Long before "12 step programs" entered the lexicon, our classical sources spelled out a well defined path for coming to terms with our moral shortcomings and turning our lives around.  This session offers a step-by-step guide to the process of doing teshuvah.  This talk is valuable as a stand-alone talk, but also lays the groundwork for deeper exploration for those who attend follow-up sessions throughout the weekend.

Shabbat morning
“The Long and Winding Road:  Overcoming Obstacles on the Path of Teshuvah”

There are real physical and psychological obstacles we face when we attempt to do teshuvah.  For example, how can we do teshuvah if we can't find the people we harmed, or if they have died?  But there are also tried and true ways to address these roadblocks and help us on our journey. 

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Did Our Ancestors Do Teshuvah? (Text Study)

In this session we explore selected Biblical texts involving Sarah and Hagar, or Jacob and Esau, with an eye to whether or not they engaged in teshuvah.  How do we understand the moral transformation of these characters?

Sunday morning
“Repentance:  It's Not Just For Rosh Hashanah Anymore"

Teshuvah holds out the promise of restoring our integrity, repairing our relationships with others, and bringing us closer to God.  Exploring the value and meaning of living a life in which teshuvah becomes a regular practice for us.