By Marti Gacioch
La Jolla’s new Sinai Circle learning center hopes to shine a contemporary light on the ancient writings of the Torah and the soul of
through a series of classes and lectures designed for modern living. The center, located at the Chabad of La Jolla, 909 Prospect St., No. 210, opened in late September, but only recently celebrated its official grand opening.
According to Rabbi Baruch Ezagui, the center’s goal is to offer an accessible environment where people from all denominations and backgrounds can learn how the authentic writings of the “Holy Books,” can be applied in their daily lives. The staff also includes Debbie Ford (creator of the Shadow Process Workshop and founder of The Ford Institute, a personal and professional training organization) and Audi Gozlan (a certified yoga instructor who teaches and leads Kabbalah Yoga workshops around the world).
“Sinai Circle’s dream is to create a name that’s synonymous with inspiration, with meaning, and a welcome environment where people can come and leave with something substantial that belongs to them so they don’t feel like they’re dependent on an institution, or a center, or a guru or a lifestyle,” Rabbi Ezagui explained.
The idea to create such a learning center came to the Rabbi after a member of La Jolla’s Jewish community shared his epiphany that the Torah held a personal place in his life. “That’s when I began to think that maybe the Torah wasn’t as accessible as I thought it was already, so our objective is to create an environment where we break the myth that the secrets of life are esoteric and beyond reach,” he said. “Anyone can sit in our classes and realize that the Torah wasn’t just talking to Moses; it was talking to them.”
To realize the dream, Sinai Circle is offering lectures, classes and a series of three, six-week courses throughout the coming year that will address contemporary issues. Classes will be held every Monday, and each course will focus on a different area of life. Their first six-week course, “Fascinating Facts: Exploring the Myths and Mysteries of Judaism,” is now in progress.
“We’re taking a look at the entire structure of the religion of Torah and Biblical wisdom, so that in six weeks people can gain an understanding of what is a myth, and what is a fact, and what is the background of the Torah and what it means on a contemporary level,” Ezagui said.
The second six-week course, “Money Matters: Jewish Business Ethics,” will begin in January. “It will address anything and everything finance-related,” Ezagui said. “The Torah can give clarity to anything business-related that might be questionable in a moral or ethical setting.”
The final six-week course, “The Art of Marriage,” will be offered in May. “This series will address the concept of love, and we’re going to bring forth all the great sources of Torah in its wisdom to examine all the areas of love — respect, intimacy, communication and marriage,” Ezagui said. “And not only a marriage between husband and wife, but the concept of love in general; the Torah will give a person a love experience like no other love they’ve experienced before in their lives.”