Naropa University Oakland

Master of Liberal Arts Program in Creation Spirituality




CSP 655         1 Unit


Instructor: Charles Burack, PhD; (510) 654-8643


Class Schedule: Spring 2003, April 26-27


Course Description: This course will explore the basic ideas and practices of the major Jewish mystics -- the Kabbalists. We will examine the Kabbalists’ experience of God, their mapping of God’s creative powers onto human beings, their understanding of the mystical and magical nature of scriptures, and their spiritual practices: prayers, blessings, rituals, contemplative techniques.


Course Objectives: To deepen your understanding of Jewish mystical ideas and practices. To give you an experience of Jewish meditation, prayer, study, healing, poetry and song. To catalyze personal and social transformation. To relate Jewish mysticism to normative forms of Judaism and to other mystical traditions.


Course Requirements:

            1. Attendance                                                    10%

            (Attendance at each session of the weekend is required to gain course credit.)

            2. Readings                                                       20%

            3. Class participation                                          40%

            4. Final paper (4-5 pages)                                   30%


Required Texts:  Cooper, David. God Is a Verb (Riverside)


Recommended Texts: Gottlieb, Lynn. She Who Dwells Within (Harper)

                                  Matt, Daniel. Essential Kabbalah (Harper)




1.                                           Saturday Morning: historical overview of Judaism and Kabbalah; key Jewish concepts and practices (including: divine names/qualities, God-wrestling, Torah, holidays, diet, social service, blessings, prayers)

2.                                           Saturday Afternoon: the mystical Tree of Life; powers and stages of divine creativity and evolution; the powers and evolution of the human soul; the spiritual principles of unity, flow, and dynamic balance/harmony

3.                                           Sunday Morning: the feminine face of divinity (Binah, Shekhinah); transforming evil; mending and healing the shattered universe (tikkun olam); Shabbat

4.                                           All sessions will be interlaced with chants, prayers and meditations.