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Pidyon Programs

Pidyon offers programming in all aspects of Jewish living, including...
Acceptance of Torah | Living a Life of Torah | Jews and non-Jews | Life and Death
Understanding G-d | Relating to G-d | Spirituality and Mysticism | Love and Marriage

Rabbi Dovid Bendory, founder and executive director of Pidyon, has developed Piydon's Lectures, Classes, and Seminars to meet the needs of the spiritually captive Jews of our time. A sampling of Pidyon's materials are presented here. Contact us for information on hosting a Pidyon Lecture, Class, Seminar, or Shabbaton in your community.

Listen to sample classes on Spiritual Reality, Spiritual Freedom.

The topics below can be presented in class, lecture, workshop, or seminar format depending on the nature of the audience. Most topics can be taught at a basic level for those just beginning their Torah education, at an advanced level for those who are prepared to delve into the original Hebrew sources in depth, or somewhere in between. When you speak with us to plan a visit, we will work with you to assemble an appropriate program for your community.

Questioning and Acceptance of Ol Malchut Shamayim — Accepting the Yoke of Torah

Why not? The Philosophy of a Ba'al Teshuva
For those of us raised outside of the Torah world, we spend much of our lives rejecting Torah on the grounds that we have no reason to incorporate exotic religious rituals into our lives. This seminar examines the question of "Why should I keep shabbos?" by turning it on its head... instead we ask: "Why not?"

Blown Away: The Story of a Ba'al Teshuva
What would inspire a smart, talented, Princeton-educated, secular Jew to become Torah observant? Rabbi Bendory's autobiographical anecdotes enable you to walk the path with him from a nihilist philosophy of rejectionism to a life of Torah and mitzvot. In following his story, you may just find that you learn a thing or two about yourself.

Torah min HaShamayim
One of the hardest Jewish concepts to accept in modern times is that Torah was given by Hashem on Mt. Sinai. This class explains the concept in full, examines why we find it so challenging today, and gives evidence for its truth.

Rabbinic Authority and the Oral Law
Emunas Chochamim, trust in Rabbinic Authority, is a critical component of the life of any Torah Jew. But where do rabbis get such unbridled authority? After all, even great rabbinic authorities are people, and all people are subject to error. Judaism has no doctrine of infallability — so shouldn't I judge for myself?

Proofs of the Oral Law
In modern times, many consider that there was some sort of "Divine Inspiration" involved in the Revelation at Mount Sinai. What really happened there? How do we know that an "Oral Torah" was given, and how do we know what was in it? How can we know if today's Judaism represents a consistent transmition of that tradition?


Living a Life of Torah

What is Jewish Morality? What is "Good"?
So many of us assert that we are "Good People" and many say that this is enough — that Jewish ritual observance is not necessary if we can be "Good People." Explore Jewish morality with Pidyon — just how does a Jew know what is "good", and what are the implications of this knowledge?

Repairing the World: How do I do Tikkun Olam?
One of the many jobs that Jews have is to "repair the world," commonly refered to as "Tikkun Olam." Just what does it mean to "repair the world," and how do we do it?

Spiritual Reality
We are very used to the physical world, a world of physics governed by rules that we understand. There are a parallel set of rules that govern the spiritual world. Just what are the rules that govern Spiritual Reality? Are they binding? Learn about the Spiritual Reality of the world we live in and how to tap into it for limitless growth.

What is Yiras Shamayim and how do I develop it?
The Talmud teaches that "Everything is in the hands of G-d except for fear of G-d." What is this "fear of G-d" and why isn't it in G-d's hands? What does it mean that fear of G-d is in our hands? And if everything else is in G-d's hands, doesn't that mean we have no free will?

Emunah and Bitachon
Emunah is generally translated as "belief." Just what does it mean for a Jew to believe? Once a Jew believes, just what is bitachon and how is it manifest?

Spiritual Consequences
Everything we do — every action we take (or don't take), every word we say, is recorded in the Heavens. What exactly does that mean? What are the consequences of these records? This class unlocks the secrets of what happens when we die.

Kavana and Chet — Just what is a "Mitzvah"?
Why does Judaism impose so much ritual and structure? If I am a good person, why do I need all that ritual?


Understanding G-d

What does Hashem do all day?
G-d created the world a long time ago. Just what has He been doing since then!?

What does G-d wear?
Did you know that G-d wears clothes? Ever wonder what they look like? Learn what G-d wears — and why — and you'll never look at the world the same way again. Learn to recognize's G-d's clothes when you see them and you'll be able to see G-d — even when He seems to be hiding.

Hashem's Prayers
Says G-d: May it be My Will that My Compassion overcome My Strict Justice. Why does G-d pray? What does it mean that G-d prays? What do we learn from G-d's prayers?

Free Will: Ours and His
Free Will is a fundamental principle of Judaism. Just what is free will? How and when do we use it? You may be surprised to learn that you aren't as free as you think you are. What does it mean to be free, and how do we achieve freedom? Is G-d free?

Thirteen Levels of Prophecy
Rabbi Bendory's signature lecture series on Prophecy. There are thirteen levels of prophecy that are available to us. Learn what it takes to gain insight into the Divine Will. You can be a prophet... but it takes work...


Spirituality and Mysticism

Kadesh Atzm'cha b'ma d'Mutar Lach — The Physical and Spiritual Worlds
Are we physical or spiritual beings? Do we live in a physical or spiritual world? Learn how to achieve Holiness in everything you do.

Spirituality and Mysticism
Just what is "Spirituality"? What is "Mysticism"? What does it mean to live a more spiritual life and how do I do it?

Understanding Creation
If you were raised in the secular Western culture, you likely have a very tainted understanding of Creation. Delve into the story of Creation as presented in the Torah and you will gain insights into who you are and why you are in the world.

Understanding Eden: Eating from the Tree of Knowledge
If there is one Bible chapter that Western Civilization utterly misunderstands, it is the story of Adam and Eve. Learning the truth about Adam, Eve, and Creation as presented by the Torah will redefine everything you thought you knew about life in this world.


Life and Death

What happens when we die?
What do Jews believe about life after death? What does that tell us about life and living?

Olam HaBa (The World to Come)
What do Jews believe about the World to Come? What does that tell us about life and living?

Gilgul Neshomos — The Transmigration of Souls
What do Jews believe about reincarnation? What does that tell us about life and living?


Jews and non-Jews

The Difference between a Jew and a non-Jew
Judaism says that Jews are "the chosen people." Chosen for what? What is the difference between a Jew and a non-Jew, and just what does that mean in terms of religious practice and our place in the world?

Living as a Jew in a non-Jewish Working World
Jews are around 1/4% of the world's population. Just what are we doing here!?

Dina d'Malchuta Dina: Morality, Discrimination, and Kiddush Hashem in Our Times
Understanding what it means to live as a Jew in a non-Jewish world.

Jewish Business Ethics
Lo Tikach Shochad and MiDavar Sheker Tirchak — We must be remarkably honest in all that we do. Jewish honesty and ethics go beyond not only the letter but also the spirit of secular law. Just how high is the standard and how does one keep it?

Tzedakah and Ma'aser
We have a halachic obligation to give charity. Just how is it fulfilled? Topics include when to give, how much, to whom, and how.


Love and Marriage

Love and Marriage
Western society's definition of love — the definition that most of us live by — is antithetical to the Jewish definition of love. Just what is love? How does one find it? (This seminar comes in two different flavors, one for singles, one for married couples.)

Dating and the Single Life
What is dating all about? What does Judaism have to teach about it? In this seminar on dating and intimacy, Pidyon discloses one secret of the Jews' survival through the millenia: the Torah's tips on dating, love, and marrital imtimacy. Due to the nature of this content, this seminar is only offered to single-sex groups. In the course of a weekend, it can be offered separately for men and women in the community. The separate sessions are then followed by a co-ed session dealing with less intimate material.

Marriage
Take Pidyon's Challenge: You give us eight weeks; we'll change your lives forever. For married couples only, this eight-week series is guaranteed to turn your good marriage into an ecstatic, never-ending honeymoon.

Tznius, Pritzus, Fashion, and Body Image
Just what does Judaism say about dressing up, looking nice, and physical attraction between the sexes? Can I live a kosher life and still be attractive?


Relating to G-d

Tefilla: Speaking to G-d
Tefilla (prayer) is the key to developing your personal relationship with Hashem. What does it mean to pray as a Jew? Why do we pray? Does G-d need our prayers? If so, what does that say about G-d, and if not, why pray? What happens if I don't pray?

Teshuva: Turning to G-d
Teshuva is the process of turning (or returning) to G-d. How is teshuva accomplished?

Understanding the Akeidah — Giving to G-d
Just how much should we be prepared to give to G-d? Abraham almost sacrificed his own son. Is that what it takes? How are we to understand the Akeidah, and what impact does our understanding of the Akeidah have on us today?


Like what you read? Contact Rav Dovid to bring him to your community for a lecture, class, or shabbaton.