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Entering the Garden: Intro to Jewish Mysticism

Dr. Justin Sledge is a scholar of religion and philosophy, and host of the popular YouTube series ESOTERICA, which explores subjects related to alchemy, magic, mysticism, hermetic philosophy, theosophy and the occult. Spend your summer getting acquainted with 2000+ years of Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism, with Dr. Justin Sledge!

We are excited to host another class with the sought-after educator Dr. Justin Sledge, host of the popular Esoterica YouTube channel. This time, we're tackling a subject of much interest and fascination: the Jewish mystical tradition. 

The mystical dimension of Judaism has endured from Israelite shamans to contemporary times.  This 10-week class will serve as an introduction to the major concepts, texts and traditions of Jewish mysticism, especially the Kabbalah.  No prior knowledge of Jewish mysticism is required or expected.  The aim of this class is to equip you to dive into aspects of Jewish mysticism you find most interesting on your own.  Hopefully it will be interesting and fruitful for both folks interested in the history of Jewish thought academically but also for anyone wishing to deepen their relationship with the history for Jewish spirituality.

TOPICS COVERED INCLUDE: History and analysis of theophany and Israelite shamanism, Apocalyptic Judaism, merkavah mysticism, Jewish magical texts, Sefer Yetzirah & Sefer Bahir, Early Kabbalah, The Zohar, Lurianic Kabbalah, Sabbateanism & Hasidism. 

This series is held in partnership with the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue and the Reconstructionist Congregation of Detroit, and is partially sponsored by the D. Dan & Betty Kahn Foundation  


  • PLEASE RSVP by 6/19 to ensure your spot! 

  • Class will meet weekly via Zoom on Wednesdays at 7 PM, beginning on July 7. 

  • This 9-week class is available free of charge to members of T'chiyah, the Downtown Synagogue and the Reconstructionist Congregation of Detroit . (If you're interested in membership at T'chiyah, please click here.)

  • Non-members are asked to make a donation according to their means by clicking here. For this 10-week class, we recommend a donation of $108, which equates to approx. $10/class. Subsidized participation is available at $54. We invite contributors with greater economic means to contribute $180 for more to support Dr. Sledge's specialized expertise in rendering obscure material accessible for learners of all levels.

  • Syllabus to be announced. Texts will be available in English translation and, when available, original source languages (Hebrew and Aramaic).

  • We have a LIMITED number of spaces open to non-member participants. Please note that we will offer priority seating to T'chiyah members and folks who have made a financial contribution. 

About Dr. Justin Sledge:

Dr. James Justin Sledge is a professor of philosophy and religion at several institutions in the Metro-Detroit area, popular local educator, and host of the popular Esoterica YouTube channel. Dr. Sledge was born and raised in a proud working-class Mississippi family.  He learned the fundamental value of labor from his father who was a pipe-fitter and the crucial  importance of un-waged labor from his mother. A first generation college student, Dr. Sledge earned his undergraduate degree at Millsaps College then went for a DRS in religious studies (Western Esotericism and Related Currents) at the Universiteit van Amsterdam and a MA and PhD in philosophy at the University of Memphis. 

Dr. Sledge has two different but equally important fields of research:

  • Dr. Sledge’s work engages with Religious Studies specifically in the so-called “Western Esoteric Tradition” or Hermetic Tradition in religious and philosophical thought.  In this line of research he seeks to grasps the philosophical commitments which underpin the alleged workings of magic, esoteric influence, spirit possession, alchemy, etc.  This field of inquiry brings him primarily into contact with philosophers and intellectuals regrettably disregarded by the modern philosophic canon.
  • His work also intersection between metaphysics, ethics and radical political philosophy.  His dissertation reflects this interest through a careful analysis of the meta-ethics of Karl Marx.  There Dr. Sledge argues that Marx’s emerging materialist theory of history ultimately pins him as electing a kind of ethics of virtue with the ethical dialectic of this epoch being solidarity-reification.

​He is currently preparing material on the Ancient Near Eastern Prophetic Tradition, spirit possession in the early modern Jewish world, and is slowly working through the Zohar (which he will be doing the rest of his life).​ Outside of his academic and YouTube work Justin is a calligrapher, home brewer, Go player, DM, HAM radio technician (KE8NAW) and habitual trouble-maker. He lives in Detroit, Michigan with his amazing partner Rabbi Alana Alpert, two kiddos, and pup Mississippi.


⬇️Please use the form below to RSVP by 6/19. We will send out Zoom access info closer to the event. If you have any questions, feel free to email Jake at [email protected] ⬇️

July 07, 2021 at 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Jake Ehrlich ·

Who's RSVPing

Sandra Gross
Raya Samet
Stacey Shehin
Denae Henson
Roslyn Schindler
Riley Wilson
Syma Echeandia

Will you come?

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  • Sandra Gross
    rsvped 2021-05-23 14:45:59 -0400
  • Raya Samet
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  • Stacey Shehin
    rsvped 2021-05-23 14:44:24 -0400
  • Denae Henson
    rsvped 2021-05-19 16:27:17 -0400
  • Roslyn Schindler
    rsvped 2021-05-19 13:27:41 -0400
  • Riley Wilson
    rsvped 2021-05-19 13:03:10 -0400
  • Syma Echeandia
    rsvped 2021-05-19 12:46:33 -0400