I see the main function of Jewish adult education as a type of intellectual “keruv” drawing the audience into the world of rabbinic study as a step to further study and involvement in Jewish life. I have always in this context found it easier to teach Talmudic stories than legal sugyot, with their complex argumentation, specialized terminology, and halakhic details. Likewise, midrash with its unfamiliar exegetical assumptions and, in many cases, requirement of detailed knowledge of Hebrew language, can be daunting to the neophyte. Stories, in contrast, are much more accessible.1Therefore, he sees as his goals in doing so to be
(1) Familiarizing lay people with rabbinic texts, including the TalmudimI found it fascinating, especially since I don't think I would've considered it in such a clear fashion. Something for me to consider in the future....
(2) Providing an interesting and engaging learning experience such that the audience will find rabbinic texts worthy of future study
(3) Teaching some Jewish values, topics and general content2
1 - Jeffrey L. Rubinstein, "From History to Literature: The Pedagogical Implications of Shifting Paradigms in the Study of Rabbinic Narratives," The Initiative on Bridging Scholarship and Pedagogy in Jewish Studies, Working Paper No. 26 (April 2010), 6.
2 - Ibid.