Adult Education Classes

2015-2016 / 5776

Special Holiday Learning Programs

The festivals are an important part in the life of the synagogue. This year, we will offer the following special adult learning programs as part of the synagogue's holiday programming.

Selichot: Movie, Discussion, and Services

Saturday, September 5 - 8:30 p.m.

Join the congregation for a viewing of the award-winning Israeli film Ushpizin, followed by a discussion led by Rabbi Berman, with Selichot services beginning at about 11 p.m.

Tu B'Shevat: A Communal Seder

Sunday, January 17 - 10 a.m. Join Rabbi Berman and Rabbinic intern Leora Abelson for a sweet and savory seder of ancient fruits and grains from the Land of Israel. This year, our seder will focus on themes of social and environmental justice.

Passover: Preparing for Pesach

Saturday, April 16 - after Shabbat services On Shabbat Hagadol, in preparation for Pesach, Rabbi Berman will offer a shiur after kiddush lunch, Reflections on the Fifth Son.

Yom Ha Shoah: Max Michelson: Reflections of a Survivor

Wednesday, May 4 - 7:30 p.m. We are honored to have Max Michelson, Newton resident and Holocaust survivor, as a special guest speaker at this year's Holocaust Remembrance program. Max is the author of a memoir City of Life, City of Death, Memories of Riga, which describes his childhood and youth in pre-World War II Latvia, and tells of his experiences during the Holocaust. It is an ode to his lost family; it is the speech of their muted voices and a thank you for their love.

Tikun Leyl Shavuot

Saturday, June 11 - TBD Join us for a special evening of coffee, dairy delicacies and late night learning during our Tikkun Leyl Shavuot, a Jewish mystical tradition.

Hebrew and Text Classes

Our ongoing classes have developed loyal and devoted followings, but we are always interested in having new students. Come once, or every class, but check us out. All are welcome!

Torah Study

First and third Thursdays of each month starting October 15 - noon Study Torah with Rabbi Berman and a congenial group of congregants. We do a close reading of the text in English, occasionally delving into the Hebrew to examine the meaning of a word. Commentary and halakhah are considered, and discussion is encouraged. As we resume our study, we are approaching the end of Numbers (B'Midbar).

Biblical Hebrew

Second and fourth Mondays of each month starting October 12 - 7:30 p.m. Study Biblical Hebrew grammar and texts with Bruce Rosen, former Biblical Hebrew Instructor at Brandeis University. The main goal of the class is to help improve our understanding of the plain meaning of the Biblical text, its vocabulary and grammar, using study guides. Participants need to be able to read Hebrew; prior knowledge of modern Hebrew is helpful, but not required.

Chug Ivrit: Hebrew

Conversation Club Second and fourth Wednesdays of each month starting October 14 - 7:30 p.m. An ongoing conversational Hebrew group led by author and educator Aya Schlair, a native Israeli. Members have varying levels of proficiency with Hebrew. The Chug provides a comfortable milieu for Hebrew immersion while sharing in discussions about travels, books, films, news articles, hobbies, family stories and more. Contact David Stollar ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) for more information or to join.

Friday Night Limmud: Jewish Communities Around the World

Join us for a late Kabbalat Shabbat Service (starting at 7:30 p.m.), followed by a talk by a congregant about his or her experiences growing up and living in a Jewish community outside the United States. A delicious Oneg Shabbat follows. In the past, these talks have not only been enlightening about different Jewish (and non-Jewish) cultures, but also have given the congregation an opportunity to learn more about some of the incredibly interesting people in our community.

Sara Berman

(pre-state Israel) Friday, November 6

Ben Battat

(Lebanon) Friday, January 29

Vitaly Zakuta (Ukraine)

Friday, February 26

Reyim Community Beit Midrash

This year we are launching a new concept for our Limmud programming. Though Beit Midrash is typically translated as a “house of study,” we can also call it a “home of investigation and inquiry.” The Beit Midrash is rooted in ancient rabbinic tradition as a sacred space for Torah and marked by its unique learning style called hevruta, or learning partnership. Our Beit Midrash will meet Sunday mornings, once a month. We are thrilled to bring many prominent scholars to Reyim throughout this inaugural year, who will teach a shiur (lesson), guide our hevruta text study, and lead us in a community conversation on dynamic questions of Jewish law, ethics, spirituality and history.

Celine Ibrahim-Lizzio: Moses and His Mother – A Qur'anic View

Sunday, October 18 - 10 a.m. Celene Ibrahim is the Islamic studies scholar-in-residence jointly appointed to the faculties of Hebrew College and Andover Newton Theological School, and co-director of the Center for Inter-Religious and Communal Leadership Education. She lectures and publishes widely on topics including the histories and theologies of interreligious relations, Islamic religious leadership and higher education, Islam and Muslims in North America, Islamic family law, Muslim feminist theology, and Qur'anic studies. A graduate of Princeton (BA) and Harvard (M.Div.), Celine is completing a doctorate at Brandeis University in Arabic and Islamic civilizations and also serves as the Muslim chaplain at Tufts University.

Rabbi Micha'el Rosenberg

Sunday, November 15 - 10 a.m. Rabbi Micha'el Rosenberg is Assistant Professor of Rabbinics at Hebrew College. He formerly served as rabbi of the Fort Tryon Jewish Center and an adjunct professor of Talmud and codes at the Jewish Theological Seminary, both in New York City. He has taught Bible, Talmud and halakhah in a variety of settings, including the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, the National Havurah Institute and the Northwoods Kollel and Beit Midrash of Ramah Wisconsin, and has a particular interest in the intersection of Jewish studies and legal theory. An alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship program and Harvard College, Rosenberg holds a doctorate in Talmud and Rabbinic literature from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Professor Rosenberg will teach about current legal and ethical issues through the lens of ancient rabbinic texts, classic Jewish thought and halakhah.

Susannah Heschel

Sunday, December 13 - 10 a.m. Susannah Heschel is the Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College. Her scholarship focuses on Jewish-Christian relations in Germany during the 19th and 20th centuries, the history of biblical scholarship, and the history of anti-Semitism. Her numerous publications include Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus, which won a National Jewish Book Award, The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany, and Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays of Abraham Joshua Heschel. The recipient of several honorary doctorates, she has also taught at Southern Methodist University and Case Western Reserve University, and received her PhD in religious studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Currently she is a Guggenheim Fellow and is writing a book on the history of European Jewish scholarship on Islam. In 2015 she was elected a member of the American Society for the Study of Religion. She lives in Newton and enjoys davening at Temple Reyim. Professor Heschel will teach about her father, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

Rabbi Berman: The History and Meaning of Zachor (Memory)

Sunday, January 10 - 10 a.m. Rabbi Berman will teach about the writings of Professor Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, including his 1982 classic, Zachor, which raises questions such as: Is there such thing as Jewish history? When did it start? Has the Jewish community been interested in recording its past, or has it been more invested in the project of a spiritual communal consciousness?

Rabbi Jonah Steinberg: Menschlichkeit is Next to Godliness - The Wondrous (Potential)

Glory of Humanity in Biblical, Rabbinic, and Hasidic Sources Sunday, February 7 - 10 a.m. Rabbi Jonah Steinberg is the Executive Director of Harvard Hillel. He served as Visiting Instructor of Talmud and Rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, taught at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies of the American Jewish University, and headed the program in Rabbinic Literature and Civilization at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College before becoming Associate Dean of the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College. Jonah has received the New Scholar Award from Harvard's Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion and has published articles exploring rabbinic sources and traditions and ways in which this legacy can inspire us today. He received his MA, MPhil. and PhD degrees from Columbia University.

Tamar Biala: Jewish Sacred Texts by Israeli Women

Sunday, March 6 - 10 a.m. Author and educator Tamar Biala is the co-editor of Dirshuni: Midrashei Nashim, the first-ever collection of midrashim written by contemporary Israeli women. She recently edited a second volume of Dirshuni, which contains dozens of new midrashim, written by a wide and changing range of authors. She has taught at IASA, Jerusalem's high school for gifted students, at the Hartman Institute's teacher training program, in pluralistic batei midrash in Israel, and for the Israel Defence Forces. She also served for several years on the board of Kolech, the Religious Women's Forum, and was a scholar in residence at the Hadassah Brandeis Institute. She received her BA in Jewish studies and in literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and her MA in Women's Studies and Jewish Studies at the Schechter Institute. Tamar will be teaching a collection of powerful, witty and diverse midrashim from her book, Dirshuni.

Rabbi Berman: Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism

Sunday, April 10 - 10 a.m. Rabbi Berman will teach about the writings of the Gershom Sholem, the first Professor of Jewish Mysticism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, exploring questions such as: What is Jewish mysticism? What were the historical and social contexts in which it emerged? How was it reframed and retold and, according to Sholem, misinterpreted by Hasidism?

Reyim Community Beit Midrash

Celine Ibrahim-Lizzio - October 11

Micha'el Rosenberg - November 15

Susannah Heschel - December 13

Rabbi Berman - January 10

Jonah Steinberg - February 7

Tamar Biala - March 6

Rabbi Berman - April 10


Mah zeh Mezuzah?

Date TBD In this two-part hands-on class, attendees will discuss with Rabbi Berman the religious and historical significance of the mezuzah we affix to our doorposts and make their own mezuzot from beautiful glass tiles with Reyim member and craftsman David Goldwater. Adults and teenagers are welcome.

Special Programs

Tzion: The History of Zionism and Israel – Year Two

Tuesdays, starting October 27 - 7:15 p.m. After a highly successful first year, Tzion returns to Temple Reyim for the second year of the course. There is no need to have taken the first year to sign up for, and enjoy, the second year. The first year, from Tanach to Palmach, covered the period from biblical times to the establishment of the State of Israel. It focused mainly on seeing the ways in which Zionism emerged as a set of ideas about Jews and Judaism but became social, i.e., contributed to the building of a new Jewish society in Palestine. Early Zionists embodied a host of different, at times conflicting philosophies and agendas that have persisted to this day.

The second year surveys the intellectual and social history of the State of Israel from its founding in 1948 to the present. In particular it emphasizes three central dynamics of state and society building: i) creating a Jewish and democratic state, ii) developing an economy that incorporates socialist ideals and practices concerning fairness with capitalist notions of freedom and entrepreneurship, and iii) the ongoing question of what is Jewish about Israel, a state that incorporates both aspects of traditionalist Judaism and modern Hebrew culture and modes of identity. The Arab-Israeli conflict finds its way into all three of these themes, rather than being a focus unto itself.

This year the classes will be split between Rabbi David Starr, the founder and director of Tzion, and Professor Jacob Meskin, who taught the first year of Tzion at Temple Reyim. Besides directing Tzion, Rabbi Starr is a visiting Research Associate of the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry at Brandeis, an instructor at Gann Academy, and serves on the faculty of the Wexner Heritage Program. He was also the founding Dean of Me'ah at Hebrew College. He holds a doctorate in history and Jewish studies from Columbia University and rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Teaching Tzion last year, Professor Meskin demonstrated why he is one of Hebrew College's outstanding teachers. He is Assistant Professor of Jewish Thought and Education, and Academic Director of Adult Learning. He received a PhD from Princeton University and has taught at Rutgers University, Princeton University, Yeshiva University and Williams College, among other places.

As before, the class will meet for two hours once a week for 20 weeks, starting Tuesday, October 27th. At the conclusion of the course, we will have the opportunity to join area-Tzion programs and other Reyim members on an exciting trip to Israel, scheduled for May 8-20, 2016. Tuition for the year is $400 ($300 per person for couples). As always, if cost presents a hardship, please contact Rabbi Berman. To sign up (including returning students), or for more information, come to the parlor meeting on September 9th at 7:30 p.m. or contact Ian Noy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 617-916-9424.

Kallah with Dr. Michael A. Grodin on Jewish Medical Ethics

Friday through Sunday, April 1-3 This year's scholar-in-residence, Dr. Michael A. Grodin, will be lecturing and leading discussions on medical ethics through a Jewish lens. He will explore contemporary and often controversial topics in bio-ethics, such as reproduction, surrogacy, IVF, organ transplants, genetics, and end-of-life issues. The field of Jewish medical ethics affords us the opportunity to explore the complex interface of philosophy, theology, halakhah, and secular law and ethics. Dr. Grodin has been on the faculty at Boston University for over 35 years. He serves as Professor of Health Law, Bioethics, and Human Rights at the BU School of Public Health, as well as Professor of Family Medicine and Psychiatry at the BU School of Medicine. Dr. Grodin has received the distinguished Faculty Career Award for Research and Scholarship and twenty teaching awards, including the Norman A. Scotch Award for Excellence in Teaching. In addition, Dr. Grodin is the Director of the Project on Medicine and the Holocaust at the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies. Four times named one of America's Top Physicians, he has received four national Humanism in Medicine and Humanitarian Awards. Dr. Grodin completed his B.S. degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, M.D. degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and postdoctoral and fellowship training at UCLA and Harvard University. Dr. Grodin's primary areas of interest include the relationship of health and human rights, medicine and the holocaust, and bioethics.

Social Action

Climate Change, Social Justice and Religious Communities: A Talk by Rabbi Art Green

Date TBD Inspired by Pope Francis' Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality, rabbis from the across the Jewish ideological spectrum issued a Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis calling for a new sense of eco-social justice, a tikkun olam that includes tikkun tevel, the healing of our planet. Rabbi Art Green, the Rector of the Hebrew College Rabbinical School, was one of the leaders of the effort, as well as of Hebrew College's recent Environmental Call to Action. Rabbi Green will explore the connection between social and environmental justice in the Jewish faith and other religious traditions, the role of religion in inspiring action to address climate change, and how synagogues and other religious communities might address these issues.

Religious Services

Building Your Synagogue Skills

Dates TBD The Religious Services Committee at Temple Reyim is committed to offering congregants a chance to increase their ability and confidence to be able lead prayer services and to increase participation among synagogue members. Whether you just want to “buff up” or learn from “scratch,” watch for more information on classes on building your synagogue skills that will be offered both this fall as well as in the spring.