Local Chabad offers 7-month course for Jewish women

MANATEE -- For Jewish women looking to expand their knowledge, spirituality and happiness, the Chabad of Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch will be offering a seven-month course starting in November suiting that desire.

"It's About Time: Kabbalistic Insights for Taking Charge of Your Life" focuses on topics of sleep, emotional mastery, dieting, happiness, communication and implementing knowledge. The course was created by the Rosh Chodesh Society and will be taught locally by Chanie Bukiet, who has offered several classes at the Chabad.

"The ladies that have been coming to the classes are amazing," Bukiet said. "They're not looking to have a nice house or material things. They want to find meaning, improve themselves and be happy."

Starting Nov. 13, the class will meet once a month with a topic fitting that month's energy as determined by Kabbalah.

Bukiet said several women have already signed up for the $75 course. Participants will receive textbooks and other reading material, while learning in a multimedia environment with slide show presentations and relevant videos, she added.

Barbara Cohen, who has been attending classes at the Chabad of Bradenton since she moved to the area from Ireland in 2005, said she is looking forward to the course.

"I enjoy learning about Jewish traditions. I find it very calming and elevating spiritually," Cohen said. "There is so much moral confusion in our society. I find that taking these classes and learning all of the positive things in Judaism can guide us

in our daily living."

Cohen said she is especially looking forward to the April lesson titled "Knowing the Unknowable: Bridging the Gap Between Faith and Reason."

"Every faith has to do things that to outsiders may seem illogical, but there's a reason for it," Cohen said.

While Cohen gravitates to furthering her knowledge, she also enjoys the social aspect of meeting other Jewish women.

"I happen to come from a traditional background, but there are people there who grew up with very little knowledge or experience with Judaism," she said. "By the end of the courses, there is a great bond between all of the women."

Bukiet said the newest offering is mainly for women 18 and older at any level in the Jewish faith.

"It's interesting to see the younger women because older women gravitate to them and welcome them with open arms," Bukiet said. "The older women enjoy the youth, vitality and energy. The younger women benefit from experience because there is no knowledge like wisdom."

Cohen said Bukiet is the "glue" that creates those bonds and helps them live outside of the learning environment.

"She's a wonderful young woman, as well as a wife and mother," Cohen said. "She's the same age as my daughter-in-law, and I just find it interesting that she is less than half of my age, but I can sit and listen to this young woman and be very impressed by her wisdom. She's very nonjudgmental and that's how she runs her classes. People come from all different backgrounds and all different strands of Judaism, and there's something for everyone to learn in the classes."

Classes, held at the Chabad of Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch, 5712 Lorraine Road, are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays closest to the new moon: Nov. 13, Dec. 11, Jan. 15, Feb. 12, March 12, April 9 and May 7.

For more information or to sign up, call 941-752-3030 or email info@chabadofbradenton.com.

Elizabeth Johnson, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. Follow her on Twitter @EJohnsonBHcrime.