A Date with Eternity
And G-d said, “Let there be luminaries in the expanse of the heavens, to separate between the day and between the night, and they shall be for signs and for appointed seasons and for days and years.”
Genesis 1:14

For thousands of years, Jews cast their eyes heavenwards each night. They were familiar with the evening constellations, the phases of the moon and the paths they traced in the darkness. Once a month, witnesses would play a role in the declaration of a new month and there were complex calculations regarding leap months. It was a stage of intimacy with the natural cycles of the seasons and the stars.

Time has always fascinated human beings. From the moment we noticed the cycles of the rising and setting of the sun, the moon and the constellations, we have wondered how they moved in the sky, and how we could better measure the most precious ingredient of life: time.

We will begin our star trek with astronomical basics and the history of astronomical systems from a general and Jewish perspective; we will look at how we have measured time (since time immemorial) and will then move through the establishment of calendars with special reference to the Jewish calendar – in all its forms: from the sightings model to the fixed calendar. We will also address some of the inconsistencies and controversies associated with our calendar. Also included will be an off-site astronomical lecture.

Begin to grasp the complexity and elegant sophistication of the system as a whole, and trace a timeline which stretches from Genesis’ luminaries to today.

Including a visit to the planetarium.

Join the Academy, guest lecturer, Steven Sidney, and Rabbi Ramon Widmonte in partnership with Sandton Shul on a journey into time, astronomy and the Jewish calendar.

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The Academy is a vibrant, modern-orthodox program for Jewish thought, scholarship and education and that inspires our community with a lifelong love of Jewish learning. About us…

In association with Mizrachi South Africa and the London School of Jewish Studies (President: Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Dean: Rabbi Dr Raphael Zarum, Honorary President: Emeritus Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks)