Adult Education 2017 – 2018

Say not: When I have time I will study because you may never have the time.” Hillel. Lifelong learning resonates through the halls of Beth El. We offer classes and speakers for adults who love to learn. These are this year’s opportunities with additional classes and speakers added as we find them. Check the calendar and the weekly announcements for more.

Watch for 2018 – 2019 listings at the beginning of September.

Sunday Morning Programs

Rites of Passage: How Jewish Rituals Transform Our Lives

Rabbi David Thomas

We will learn what modern anthropology teaches about how rituals realize changes in our lives. We will explore traditional and modern Jewish lifecycle rituals surrounding birth, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, marriage and death to see how they conform to universal patterns.

Sundays: Oct 29, Nov 5, 19, Dec 3, 17.   9:15 – 11:00 AM

“Many waters cannot quench love; neither can the floods drown it.” Song of Songs 8:7

Cantor Lorel Zar-Kessler

Let’s learn about LOVE – ahavah! What are the roots of this powerful and complex quality – in our own souls and in our Jewish tradition? How does love endure? What pushes it far from our reach? How do we give and receive love in a world that seems so alienated from it? We’ll study, sing, reflect, learn from our tradition, and teach one another about the power of love.

Sundays: Jan 7, 21, Feb 4, 11, Mar 18, 25    9 – 11 AM

Parenting Through a Jewish Lens

Rabbi Daniel Klein, Hebrew College

Share the “joys and oys”of raising kids today with other thoughtful, concerned parents of children age 0 – 10 years. Discover how compelling Jewish texts and traditions can enrich the life of your family. Tuition: $50 person/$100 couple.Class is subsidized by Adult Ed. Scholarships and babysitting are available

Sundays: Oct. 22, Nov. 5 & 19, Dec. 3 & 17, Jan. 7  (Jan. 21 snow date) 9 – 11 AM

Year-long Learning

iEngage 4 Lecture Series – Israel’s Milestones and Their Meanings

Rabbi Thomas

This series explores the pivotal events of 1917, 1947, and 1967 as key moments when Zionism unleashed new thinking about the meaning of Jewishness for generations to come.

Sponsored in part by Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropy, a Hartman partner organization.

Wednesdays 7:00 – 9:00 PM, Nov 1, 15, 29, Dec 13, Jan 10, 24, 31, Feb 7

Adult Hebrew Learning

Janet Buchwald

For those who have a firm grounding in Hebrew grammar and want to dig more deeply into text. Through Torah and prayer, we focus on the nuances of language and work to develop a richer, more personal understanding.

Mondays from 7:30 – 8:30 PM, beginning on September 25

Learning in the Library

Cantor Lorel Zar-Kessler

Our study together combines Torah text study, round table discussion, one-on-one learning, meditation, and song. Many paths help us explore the power of cultivating our individual and communal soul traits (middot)and become more of the people and community we can be.

Wednesday mornings, 11 AM – 12:30 PM, beginning October 11

Middot Classes

Rabbi Eric Gurvis

The many middot, or soul-traits, such as patience, gratitude, trust, and humility, are the lenses through which our soul expresses itself. For some of us, this class is a continuation of three years of personal and communal study and practice of middot, mindfulness and meditation. For some, we hope this class can be a beginning step into growing personal soul traits to guide one’s  everyday life. We look forward to new directions through the guidance of Rabbi Eric Gurvis. This class is partly subsidized by a grant from CJP through Hebrew College, and it is open to non-members for a small fee.

Wednesday evenings, bi-weekly, 7 – 9 PM beginning October 18

Monday Morning Talmud Study.  9:00 – 10:30 AM

Rabbi David Thomas

What is the nature of the sacred union between two adults who enter into covenant with one another? How does the transformation from single to married take place? In English, Hebrew and Aramaic, this informal group tries to plumb the depths of the rabbinic argument to get at the core values and insights our tradition offers us on marriage to this very day. No Hebrew proficiency is required. All are welcome.

Text: Kiddushin

Shabbat Morning Torah Hevras

Chasidic Conversations with Rabbi Thomas

Explore Chasidic commentaries on the weekly Torah portion, in which the Chasidic masters of the 18th and 19th centuries wrestle with issues as timely as they are timeless. We will focus on selections from the S’fat Emet, disciples of the Maggid of Mezeritch, Kedushat Levi and others. Though we read the Torah portion and the commentary in the original Hebrew, we provide English translations. Knowledge of Hebrew is not necessary to be a full participant.

Torah Study with Cantor Zar-Kessler

Come join Torah study in the foyer with Lorel and an array of open-hearted learners of Torah. We focus on a few verses from the weekly portion, learn from traditional commentators, and mostly learn from one another as we all strive to put our hearts into Torah and the amazing teachings of Torah into our hearts.

Moving Beyond the Torah with Michael Brian Murphy, MAJS

“Moving Beyond The Torah,” led by Michael Brian Murphy, MAJS, is just that – a Hevra that no longer focuses on the Torah.  Rather, this group is an ongoing course of exploration of various 2nd Temple-era Scripture, including Old Testament, Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, New Testament, Dead Sea Scrolls, Midrash, Mishnah, and other texts in an effort to delve into what, exactly, we mean by “the Bible,” “Canon,” and “Scripture,” and how these were shaped by different forces.

Previous Special Events 2017-2018

On Muslims and Jews, a Series of Speakers and Discussions

Haroon Moghul, a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute’s Muslim Leadership Initiative, in will present a thoughtful two-part educational program on February 10 at 7:30 PM and February 11 at 9:30 AM about the commonalities and differences between the Jews and Muslims of North America.

A Conversation with Rabbi Art Green

Rabbi Green is an American scholar of Jewish mysticism and is a Neo-Hasidic theologian. He was founding dean of the non-denominational rabbinical program at Hebrew College in Boston where he still teaches. He also teaches at Brandeis and in Israel. Rabbi Green has published numerous works on theology and the world of Hasidism, past and present.  This special lecture will focus on the place of universality within the particularity of Jewish thought and prayer and is sponsored by the Kivvun alumni of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality.

Sunday: April 22.  9 – 11 AM

Scholar-in-Residence Weekend

Explore Jewish Mysticism and Zohar with Dr. Melila Hellner-Eshed

Dr. Melila Hellner-Eshed will be our teacher the weekend of May 11th. Melila is a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute and a faculty member at the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. She is also a professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem

The Jewish Arts Collaborative comes to Beth El

As an expression of our deep connection to the Jewish Arts Collaborative, we are hosting a special Shabbat evening, ARTS MATTER SHABBAT, on Friday evening, October 27.

Jim Ball, a long time Beth El member and Director of Communications for the Jewish Arts Collaborative, will present  “Lenny, Steve and Salamone:  A Jewish Journey through Music.” The evening begins with our Kabbalat Shabbat services, followed by a communal dinner and presentation from Jim Ball at 7 p.m.

Special Events

Beth El Film Series: “The Wedding Plan”

Facilitated by Art Noletti, Professor Emeritus, Framingham State University

Synopsis: Director Rama Burshtein’s celebrated comedy-drama focuses on the efforts of a plucky 32-year-old woman to find a new groom when her fiancé bows out of their wedding two weeks before the ceremony. In Hebrew with English subtitles.

Saturday evening, March 3, 7:00 – 10:30 PM