Our sages were of the opinion that the study of Torah for its own sake (lishma) is more meritorious than studying Torah for other motives (Berachot 17a).
Temple Israel, Cape Town conveys this noble ideal by using the title Lishma for our weekday adult study sessions which take place every Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6.30pm to 8:45pm. Each evening consists of an hour of siddur Hebrew from 6.30pm - 7.30pm, followed by a fifteen minute break for food (where there is no food there is no Torah — Pirkei Avot 3:17) and from 7:45pm – 8:45pm we offer Jewish Studies.
While Lishma caters for all who wish to study our sacred traditions, it also incorporates our Jews-by-Choice Programme thus each cycle of study sessions runs from January to the following February. Lishma does not take place during school holidays in order to cater for parents with school-going children and of course classes do not run on chaggim.
The students of the Jews-by-Choice appear before our beit din at the end of February after having written an examination on the material they have studied during the year. Applications for the JBC class must be in by the beginning of November in order to be considered.
The subjects covered in the Jewish Studies section of Lishma are:· Judaism in the Synagogue · Biblical Women · Judaism in the Home · Model Shabbat Dinner at Home · Shabbat and Festivals · Birkat haMazon · Life Cycle Events · Waking and Bedtime Prayers and Traveller’s Prayer · Jewish History · Se’udah Shelishit and Havdalah · The Jewish Concept of God · Hanukkat HaBayit · Jewish Literature · Progressive Kashrut · The Structures of Temple Israel · Social Action · Structures of the Cape Town Jewish Community · Israel Today · Crash Courses for each Festival and Fast Day as they occur during the year.