About 60 people, mainly women, listen intently to Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg as she teaches her class on the weekly Torah portion at the Jerusalem College for Adult Education.
University students sit next to retirees, young mothers and professionals as Zornberg discusses Exodus and what is meant by the Jews having left Egypt b'hipazon (hastily).
She calls upon the traditional commentaries -- midrash and Rashi. But her signature is also mixing in heavy doses of original interpretations, pulled from the secular disciplines of psychology, philosophy and English literature. Zornberg contrasts the closed, self-contained Egyptian pharaoh, who could not admit to human needs, to the human trait that allows for doubts, passions and limitations.