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[Currently Suspended] The Guide to the Duties of the Heart

taught by Rabbi Sjimon den Hollander



While The Guide to the Duties of the Heart (completed around 1075 CE) is sometimes called the first work of Jewish ethics, it aims to guide us towards a spiritual dedication, taught within a philosophical outlook that has similarities with both Saadiah Gaon and Maimonides. Besides philosophical concepts, Bahya ibn Paquda frequently uses stories and concepts from Sufism (Islamic mysticism) to stir in us a spiritual mindfulness and to deepen our love of God.


Rabbi Sjimon den Hollander was born in the Netherlands. He received his Master’s degree in Arabic and Islamology from the University of Leiden. After subsequently earning a Bachelor’s degree in education, he taught Comparative Religion at Ichthus Teachers’ College in Rotterdam. More recently, Rabbi den Hollander received semikha from Rabbi Eliyahu Ben Haim and from Yeshiva University. He teaches Jewish literature at Hunter College. In addition, he does research on Islam’s perception of Judaism and writes online articles in Arabic explaining Judaism to a Muslim audience.

Revolutionary War Torah Scrolls

In 1776, several British soldiers desecrated two of Shearith Israel’s Torah scrolls.


Synagogue tradition associates this Hanukkah lamp with the First Mill Street Synagogue of 1730.