Nissan Kornfeld knew from a young age that becoming a rabbi was his calling. The Mercer Island resident considers himself fortunate that his father is a rabbi and helped lead his son into that realm.
It’s a labor of love when making a connection with people, Kornfeld said.
“I wanted to be there for people, to be able to enhance their life, support them in their religious lives and to facilitate their discovery of meaning,” he added
Kornfeld, who is the director and rabbi at Chabad Mercer Island, will teach a six-session course, “Journey of the Soul,” by the acclaimed Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) beginning at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10. To register for the Zoom course, which will conclude on March 17, visit https://tinyurl.com/y48xts9m.
The course will focus on the question, “What happens when we die?”, and will delve into the Jewish perspective on life that begins before birth and lasts well after a person’s passing, according to a press release. The driving ideas of the course are marrying the deep heritage and traditions of Jewish learning and life together with psychological insights.
“Death is both our greatest certainty, but also such an enormous mystery,” Kornfeld said. “I believe that there is something after the moment of death and I believe that we can connect with our loved one after they die and with their memories and with their legacies. We’ll explore more what that means (in the course).”
Kornfeld said that people are thinking about death more during COVID times. It doesn’t have to be a dark, scary thing, he added. “It’s something we all do, it’s a journey: we’re born, we live, we die, it’s a reality.”
Rabbi Naftali Silberberg of JLI’s Brooklyn, New York, headquarters, said “the need has become even more pressing for a course that presents the uplifting Jewish perspective on mortality, death, and the afterlife.”
“Journey of the Soul” is an accredited course and medical professionals can receive up to nine continuing education credits. It’s open to the public, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning.
Seattle native Kornfeld ventured from his home terrain to study in various yeshivas in the United States and abroad in England and Israel before returning to the states and then this region to open Chabad Mercer Island in the fall of 2015. The Jewish organization provides educational opportunities, Jewish celebrations and fellowship, and Kornfeld said it is one of more than 20 Chabad centers in Washington state.
For more information on Chabad Mercer Island, visit www.chabadmercerisland.org.