The Coastal Senior College will offer “Man’s Quest for God: Exploring Jewish Prayer” on Thursdays, Oct. 20 through Nov. 17, from noon to 2 p.m., hosted at the Camden Public Library.

While the origins of Jewish prayer are found in the Hebrew Bible, today’s prayer book took shape after the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE. The class will examine how the sages of the Talmud gradually crafted a liturgy of praise, petition, and yearning; discuss its underlying theology; and explore fundamental questions such as whether a non-believer can pray. The class will also listen to the recordings of Ashkenazic cantorial music, North African religious poetry, Sephardic chants and Hassidic “soul-songs”, and consider how neo-Hassidic rabbis and folk singers are influencing Jewish liturgy today. Call the Senior College at 207-596-6906 or 1-800-286-1594 or visit their website to enroll.

Instructor Steve Shaw is a graduate of the University of Michigan where he studied both philosophy and forestry. He holds a rabbinical degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where, for many years, he served as Director of the Seminary’s Department of Community Education. Most recently, he worked as a philanthropic consultant, dealing with Israel’s Bedouin Arab community in the Negev. Shaw now makes his home in Waldoboro.