Adult Education Classes
Torah Study: Text and Context
First and third Thursdays of each month at noon.
Join Rabbi Berman’s bimonthly Torah study group as we continue our close reading of the Five Books of Moses. We read the text in English, explore selected commentaries, and discuss important concepts.
Second and fourth Mondays of each month at 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. New students are welcome!
Hebrew Reading for Beginners
Wednesdays, October 22 to November 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Reflections of the Divine: Living a Life Full of Chesed
First Class: Caring for Those in Need
Sunday, November 2 at 10 a.m.
We begin our study of chesed with Rabbi Berman by looking at Jewish texts on caring for those in need. We will consider such questions as: What does Jewish law teach us about visiting the sick? What are we supposed to say and do when we visit someone who is ill? Is there a relationship between prayer and healing? Join us in a year-long study of Jewish text and thought on the mitzvah of chesed, meaning compassion, generosity and loving kindness.
Religious Services Class: Being an Usher
Sunday, November 9 at 10 a.m.
Here is your opportunity to learn to be an usher at Shabbat and Holiday services. We will look at the protocols of our religious services and discuss in detail the tasks required of ushers, including our customs and practices for the assignment of honors during the services. The only prerequisites are familiarity with our Shabbat morning service, a desire to help make our services run well, and a friendly and outgoing attitude.
Limmud Shabbat Weekend: Jews and Whiskey; Nazis in America
Friday & Saturday November 21-22
Join us for a double-barreled learning experience. On Friday night, following Kabbalat Shabbat services (starting at 7:30 p.m.), author, editor, and whiskey enthusiast Lawrence Stollar will talk about the involvement of Jews in the American liquor trade from colonial times to the craft distilleries. Oneg shabbat will include tastings! On Saturday, following Kiddish, Pulitizer-prize winning New York Times reporter Eric Lichtblau will discuss his new book, The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler’s Men. The book traces the flight of thousands of Nazis into America after the war and reveals startling new information about a shameful but little-known chapter in postwar history. The book will be available for purchase after Shabbat.
Chug Ivrit: Hebrew: Conversation Club
Second and fourth Wednesdays of each month starting December 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Hanukkah Shiur: Light Out of Darkness
Shabbat, December 13 after Kiddush
Out of the darkest days of winter came a holiday of victory and light. Each night we increase the light in our homes and hearts. What does it mean to stand up to darkness? Join Rabbinic Intern Elie Lehmann for poetry and writings about the Chanukah lights.
Women’s Piety and Pilgrimage: A Feminist Commentary to the Babylonian Talmud With Rabbi Jane Kanarek
Sunday, December 14 at 10 a.m.
The Talmud is often described as a book written by men for men. But it also contains records of ancient Jewish women’s religious lives. In this class, we will seek out stories of women’s piety. With Rabbi Jane Kanarek, Professor of Rabbinics at Hebrew College, we will look at stories about women, children, vows, and the Jerusalem Temple. As we together uncover pieces of a lost history, we will also learn about what it means to write a feminist commentary to the Babylonian Talmud.
CHESED SERIES: Jewish Thought on the End of Life with Rabbi Herman Blumberg and Rabbi Berman
Sunday, January 11 at 10 a.m.
Reaching the end of our lives can be painful and full of loss. Questions of medical ethics, palliative care, and personal agency in end-of-life decision making are part of our political, medical and religious/spiritual conversations. What does Judaism teach us about end of life treatment, palliative care, relief from suffering and personal agency in making decisions? How do we care for those at the end or their lives, including our own? Rabbi Blumberg, the rabbinic director of Hebrew Senior Life Hospice Care, will share his wisdom on these essential questions.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIMMUD: Hasia Diner: Wandering Jews – Peddlers and the Discovery of the New World
Friday, January 23
Join us for a fascinating lecture by Professor Hasia Diner following a late Kabbalat Shabbat service (starting at 7:30 p.m.) topped off with an Oneg Shabbat. Jews have been “on the road” for centuries, selling goods from packs on their backs and from wagons. Starting at the end of the eighteenth century, peddling provided the occupational engine that drove Jewish migrations out of Europe and the Ottoman Empire and to a series of “new worlds,” from the British Isles to Australia and South Carolina. This lecture looks at how this very particular mundane occupation transformed and shaped Jewish history and the histories of all these places.
Hasia Diner is Professor of American Jewish History at New York University, with a joint appointment in the departments of history and the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, and is the Director of the Goldstein Goren Center for American Jewish History. Her most recent book, We Remember with Reverence and Love: American Jews and the Myth of Silence After the Holocaust (2009), won several awards.
Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld
Shabbat, January 31
Rabbi Sharon Cohen-Anisfeld, Dean of the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College, will be sharing a d’var Torah and teaching at a lunch and learn on Shabbat.
Tu B’Shevat: A Communal Seder
Sunday, February 8 at 10 a.m.
Our mystical Jewish tradition compares the tree to a person reaching outward and upward towards the warmth, light and presence of God. Join Rabbi Berman for a sweet and savory seder of ancient fruits and grains from the Land of Israel. We will learn about the spiritual metaphors of these fruits and study ancient rabbinic and contemporary teachings on trees as models for personal and spiritual growth.
Purim Shiur: Concealing and Revealing - What Lies Within the Mask?
Sunday, March 1 at 10 a.m.
We continuously make choices about how to present ourselves to those around us, trading one mask for another. On Purim we take the time to explore what lies beneath them all. Come learn with Rabbinic Intern Elie Lehmann about the medieval and contemporary understandings of the mask.
CHESED SERIES: Preparing for Kallah Speaker Ruth Messinger
Sunday, March 15 at 10 a.m.
Join Rabbi Berman as we prepare for Kallah weekend! We will read and discuss the writings by, and the inspirations for the work of, Ruth Messinger.
Kallah with Ruth W. Messinger
Friday through Sunday, March 20-22
As one of the leading Jewish women advocates for social justice for more than a generation, our Kallah speaker, Ruth Messinger, reflects both
of the themes of our education program this year, chesed and women’s voices. She is president of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the world’s leading Jewish organization working to end poverty and realize human rights in the developing world. Before joining AJWS, she had a 20-year career in public service in New York City, including serving as the Democratic nominee for mayor in 1997.
Messinger is known for her leadership of the movement to end the genocide in Darfur, and is currently a leading voice for the rights and empowerment of women and LGBT people in the developing world. Lecturing widely on social and global justice issues, she helps mobilize faith-based communities throughout the United States to speak out on behalf of oppressed and marginalized people around the globe. Messinger has received honorary degrees from five major American
rabbinical seminaries. She was named to The Jewish Daily Forward’s “Forward 50” for nine years and was listed sixth in The Jerusalem Post’s list of the world’s 50 most influential Jews. The Huffington Post included her as one of the “10 most inspiring women religious leaders of 2012.”
Passover Shiur: Birth of Freedom
Wednesday, April 1 at 7 p.m.
We recite the psalms of Hallel dozens of times each year. Let’s come together with Rabbinic Intern Elie Lehmann to explore the freedom narrative of the Hallel prayer as we prepare for our annual Holiday of Freedom.
CHESED SERIES: Extending Chesed Outward – the Mitzvah of Tzedakah
Sunday, April 12 at 10 a.m.
Is there a Jewish obligation to give? What are we required to give and what are its limits? To whom do we give, and how do we know that it is the right decision? Is tzedakah a personal decision or does (or should) the community decide how and what we give? And finally, what does Jewish law and ethics teach us about fundraising (aka is Bingo halachic?) Join Rabbi Berman for our fourth class in the chesed series.
Yom Ha Shoah: Program TBD
Thursday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m.
CHESED SERIES: Living with Our Neighbors: Jewish Thought on Interfaith Relations
Sunday, May 3 at 10 a.m.
How did our ancient rabbis view other religions? How did they balance the commitment to partnership and the ethics of receiving guests into their homes with questions of boundaries and preservation of identity? How do we? Join Rabbi Berman for the final class in the chesed series.
Shavuot Shiur: Standing (Again) at Sinai
Sunday, May 17 at 10 a.m.
Every year at Shavuot we open our arms and our hearts to receive Torah anew. Through the poetry of S.Y. Agnon, Yehuda Amichai and others, Rabbinic Intern Elie Lehmann will lead us we wrestle once again to see ourselves standing at the foot of the mountain, finding new meaning in the core text of our tradition.
Tikun Leyl Shavuot
Saturday, May 23 • TBD
Join us for a special evening of coffee, cheese and late night learning during our Tikkun Leyl Shavuot, a Jewish mystical tradition.
The Spiritual Meaning of Mikveh
Sunday, May 31 at 10 a.m.
Join us at Mayyim Hayyim for a teaching on mikvah as a meaningful Jewish ritual for men and women.