Adult Learning

“Say not: ‘When I have time I will study,’ because you may never have the time.” — Hillel

Shabbat Morning Torah Hevras

Torah Study with Rabbi Josh Breindel

Join our rabbi for an ongoing conversation about the intersection of ancient texts and modern life. Together, we’ll approach the weekly Torah portion through the lens of midrash (rabbinic narrative), mysticism and a dash of pop culture. After exploring a segment of the portion, we’ll unpack it with classical and modern commentaries that stimulate conversation and provides insights into our text’s enduring power and relevance. All are welcome as we enter this new year guided by ancient teachings and modern insight.

Hasidic Texts (lay-led)

Explore Hasidic commentaries on the weekly Torah portion, wrestling with issues as timely as they are timeless. Torah text and commentary are studied in Hebrew with English translation. Knowledge of Hebrew is not necessary to be a full participant.

Everyday Torah (lay led)

Join us on the first and fourth Shabbat of each month as we delve into and discuss the weekly Torah portion.  The group is lay led on the first Shabbat and by Rabbi Judy Spicehandler on the fourth Shabbat. It will take place on Zoom.

Historical Judaism (lay led)

We have been studying post-biblical Jewish writings and writers, in order to better understand the Torah, its background and the antecedents of contemporary Judaism.  We are currently reading excerpts from works by Rabbinic, Karaite, and Judeo-Arabic thinkers in the Geonic to early medieval period.


Additional Learning Opportunities

Judaism in America: A look at the latest data, Part 1
Wednesday, January 26, 2022 at 7:30 pm

Come learn the key findings of the 2020 Pew study of trends in American Judaism and share your thoughts and questions. Beth El member Ira Silver will lead this conversation as a prelude to a February 5 talk by Brandeis Professor Leonard Saxe, who was an advisor to the Pew study. Presented by the Adult Education Committee.

Zoom link

The Myth of the Vanishing Jew: Pew’s 2020 Portrait of U.S. Jewry
February 5 at 7:30 p.m.

Leonard Saxe, a Brandeis professor who was an advisor to the 2020 Pew study of American Jewish life, will discuss its findings and their implications for the future of congregational Judaism.

Zoom link to follow. Sponsored by the Adult Education Committee.

Jewish Fantasy and Sci-Fi Book Club
Last Wednesday of the month at 7:30 p.m.

Explore the strange new worlds of Jewish fantasy and science fiction with Rabbi Josh Breindel and Stephanie Bennett. Each month, we’ll offer a new title to read and join together to explore its themes and perspectives on Jewish life and culture. All are warmly welcome on this  wondrous journey! Our first title will be Central Station by Lavie Tidhar on February 23. Questions? Email Rabbi Breindel.

Zoom link  

Hasidic Tales
Thursdays at 11:00 a.m.

The stories of the Hasidim are wellsprings of inspiration, spiritual uplift and profound insights.  You are warmly invited to lend your voice to this ongoing conversation as we blend our lived experience with these evocative (and often delightful!) teachings. All texts are in English and are posted on our webpage; don’t hesitate to join this rare and beautiful experience! Texts for our weekly study can be found here.

Talmud Study Hevra (cooperatively lay-led)
Mondays at 10:30 a.m.

Join in with our informal study of the foundational layers of Jewish practice and ethics. Together, we explore the law (halacha), stories (aggadah), personalities, politics, and the principles and process of argument and decision-making, connecting our historical background with our contemporary experiences. You don’t need to have studied any Talmud before. Nor do you need to know Hebrew or Aramaic — we work from the Steinsaltz edition, with its clear translations and detailed explanatory notes. Come swim in the sea of Talmud with us!

Adult Hebrew Learning with Janet Buchwald 
Mondays from 7:30–8:30 p.m. 

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 rich, personal understanding.