In an effort to rejuvenate the age-old connection to the Land of Israel among Jewish communities in the Diaspora, a leading adult education network dedicated its upcoming course to the Holy Land. The course, which will explore biblical references to the land, along with rabbinic exegesis about it through the ages, will begin in November.

The newest offering by the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute titled "The Land and the Spirit: Why We All Care about Israel." Developed by Rabbi Aaron Herman, co-director of the Chabad of Cary Learning Center in Cary, N.C., and a team of 12 editors and research staff, the course promises to examine what Israel was meant to be, and what Israel means to the Jewish people today.

"Israel retains its hold on our spirit," said Rabbi Efraim Mintz, the New York-based director of the Rohr JLI and himself a course instructor in New Jersey. "Whether Israel makes us feel proud or disappointed, hopeful or concerned, all Jews care about its fate and its future. Whatever our political or religious bent, we know that Israel matters.


"If you have ever wondered about Israel and its place in the world - and in your heart - then we designed this course for you," he added.

Mintz said that he anticipates more than 10,000 students to enroll in the new course, which will be offered in more than 250 cities.

In a flattering endorsement, Sir Martin Gilbert, a British historian and biographer of deceased Prime Minister Winston Churchill, lauded the authors for expounding on "the spiritual values and centrality of the Land of Israel" through what he called "a fascinating range of religious and secular texts." He expressed his conviction that the course material "will serve a noble cause in stimulating thought and encouraging understanding."