01: A Taste of Judaism is a highly successful program introducing nominal and secular Jews to the Jewish religious life.
The course, started over 4 years ago by the Reform branch of Judaism, has been taken by 14,000 people around the U.S. The introductory course is offered at synagogues and was originally expected to be taken by non-Jews who were converting from interfaith marriages. But today “A Taste of Judaism” is split 50-50 between gentile converts and Jews who want to learn more about their faith.
A survey of the first 2,000 people to take the three-week course found that two-thirds of the students went on to take more Jewish educational programs. Nearly 1 out of 5 of those surveyed eventually joined a synagogue.
(Source: Boston Globe, Jan. 2)
02: Metafilmics is a new company that specializes in making “metaphysical” and spiritual films.
The most well-known of these films is “What Dreams May Come,” starring Robin Williams and concerning a husband and wife traveling through different “astral planes” of the next world. Metalfilmics, founded by producers Barnet Bain and Stephen Simon in 1996, plans to produce films with a “metaphysical undercurrent . . . We want to look at ancient mysteries, the myth of creation, Atlantis, Egypt, Mayan Civilization . . . The main messages I want to convey are that we create our own reality, and also that we take responsibility for everything that happens in our lives,” says Simon.
One forthcoming film is titled “Between Lives,” which depicts souls choosing the parents for their upcoming incarnated selves.
(Source: Hinduism Today, February)