Sign In Forgot Password

Adult Education

Adult Learning Opportunities
At all ages and stages, shared Jewish learning offers us intellectual challenge, moral guidance, spiritual enrichment, and the opportunity to form deep and sustaining friendships. Beth Am’s learning opportunities are designed to build relationships, helping us connect more deeply with our history, with the traditions of the Jewish people and with one another. Learning at Beth Am is structured as a journey that is both accessible and challenging, inviting those at every level to progress and grow in their Jewish knowledge and practice. Our learning is a Jewish spiritual path, leading us to explore sacred questions of meaning and purpose, our place in the world, our relationship to a Power beyond ourselves.

There are numerous learning opportunities at Beth Am, from drop-in classes to more formal courses. Many of our offerings are free and open to the general public; others have a fee or are meant specifically for Beth Am members. If you are interested in attending a course but need help with the fee, please don’t hesitate to contact Rabbi Sarah Weissman — we will work something out. And if you have a great idea for a new class or speaker, let her know that too. We are always working to expand and improve our adult learning opportunities. Check out our 2021-2022 Adult Education opportunities brochure! Contact: Rabbi Sarah Weissman

Support: Please consider making a donation to support Beth Am's adult education programming.

Torah Study
Slow Torah: Lay-Led Torah Study Class
Philosophy Minyan
Talmud Study
Jewish Spirituality
Reading Group

Hebrew for Adults
Judaism 101... For Everyone
Mishkan Project — A Writing Workshop

Oy, Climate Change! What Can WE at Beth Am Do Now to Make a Difference?
Foundations for a Thoughtful Judaism

The Origins of the Torah and How to Read It, Part II
A Tool Box for Reading Torah
Jewish Artists and the Feminist Art Movement
The World of the Chasidim: Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav

ONGOING CLASSES: These classes are open to all and are designed for participants to drop in when they can, with no prior knowledge necessary.

Torah Study, Led by Beth Am Clergy
Saturdays, 9:00 AM

On Shabbat morning, join a member of the Beth Am clergy for Torah Study, either in person or on Zoom. We will focus on a thoughtful reading of the entire Torah, exploring the historical, ethical and spiritual questions raised by the text. Every session offers learning, lively interchange and ample opportunity for questions and discussion. People of all levels and backgrounds are welcome, and Hebrew knowledge is not required. Learn more about Torah Study.

Slow Torah: Lay-Led Torah Study Class, Coordinated by Loren Ford
Sundays, 9:00 AM
Slow Torah is a new lay-led class that continues the Beth Am tradition of studying the Torah verse by verse. The class rotates discussion leaders (on a volunteer basis) each week, and participants are encouraged to share sources or insights related to the verse(s) we're studying. All are welcome, whether you’re new to Torah study or a longstanding member of the Shabbat morning Torah Study class. Drop-in attendance is fine and no previous background is necessary. Just bring your curiosity, yourself and your love of learning and studying Torah, real slow. Check the calendar for links to class registration pages.

Philosophy Minyan, Led by Shelley Hebert
Once Each Month on a Wednesday, Noon-1:30 PM
A lunchtime series that explores topics at the intersection of philosophy, Jewish thought and contemporary issues. Check the calendar for class dates and links to class registration pages.

Talmud Study, Led by Rabbi Sarah Weissman
Thursdays, 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Come study selections from the Talmud and other rabbinic sources. The focus is on understanding what the texts meant to our ancestors and what they might mean to us today. No prior Talmud experience is necessary. The class is designed to allow participants to drop in and study whenever they can. Join in person or via Zoom. Check the calendar for links to class registration pages.

Jewish Spirituality, Led by Carol Emerich
Thursdays, 1:30-3:00 PM
Come explore various Jewish beliefs, from traditional to modern, about the meaning of our lives and our world. Through the exploration of a variety of texts, we study what it means to lead a Jewish life in the modern world. The class is participatory — all students are encouraged to express their beliefs. This lay-led class is designed to allow participants to drop in and study whenever they can. Check the calendar for links to class registration pages. For more information, contact Carol.

Reading Group, Led by Joan Karlin
Fridays, 1:00-2:00 PM
Join us for in-depth explorations of contemporary Jewish writings! This lay-led group is an outgrowth of the longest running, continuous study group at Beth Am. We choose a beak, read it aloud and discuss it. Virtual drop-in attendance is welcomed. For the Zoom access link, please contact Joan.


Hebrew for Adults, Taught by Orna Morad and Lisa Rauchwerger
Whether you’d like to learn the Aleph Bet, be able to follow along in the prayerbook at services, or chat with your Israeli friends in Hebrew, we have a class for you! If you have any questions or would like to request a scholarship, please contact Rabbi Sarah Weissman, (650) 493-4661. Check out the Fall 2021 course offerings, all being offered on Zoom! Registration is now closed. Please stay tuned for future classes coming in January of 2022.

Introduction to Judaism: Judaism 101... For Everyone, Taught by Beth Am Clergy
Tuesdays, October 5 - April 5, 7:30-9:00 PM, Zoom
This course is for anyone who wishes to learn (or re-learn) about Judaism. Students will learn the basics of Judaism in a friendly and informal atmosphere. We’ll explore Jewish practices, beliefs, history, literature and the significance of Israel in Judaism today. There will also be a few field trips and other experiences to help supplement the class learning. The class is a wonderful way to become part of the Beth Am community, meet new people, and develop relationships with the Beth Am clergy. Registration required.

Mishkan Project  A Writing Workshop, Facilitated by Kristen Yawitz
Wednesdays, October 6 - November 17, 7:00-8:15 PM

We are in a wilderness moment, a time of not knowing. The global pandemic, climate change impacts, social and political turmoil have many of us looking for—and not finding—a roadmap for how to navigate uncertainty that’s sticking around. The Israelites constructed the Mishkan, or Tabernacle, in a wilderness moment. This 7-week writing workshop will consider that collective building of a portable space for the Sacred as one meaningful roadmap. Registration required.

Oy, Climate Change! What Can WE at Beth Am Do Now to Make a Difference?
Sundays, October 17 and 24, 1:00 PM

Climate Change is a hot topic, and not just because the planet is warming! We see the disastrous impact of excess greenhouse gases from the extremes of wildfires, hurricanes, droughts, floods, heat waves and habitat loss in the USA and around the world. Our Jewish tradition asks us to take action, individually and together as a community, to ensure a sustainable planet. What can we do now to make a difference? Registration required.

Foundations for a Thoughtful Judaism (FTJ) — A Class for Parents of 7th-12th Graders, Taught by Rabbi Jeremy Morrison
Wednesdays, October 27, November 3, 10, 17, 6:30-8:15 PM
Developed by the Shalom Hartman Institute, Foundations for a Thoughtful Judaism is a ground-breaking course designed to give even beginners access to deep Jewish thought. This sophisticated curriculum is not a 'how-to' Judaism; instead, we will explore together philosophical questions on Jewish peoplehood, faith, ethics and practice that are at the heart of Jewish tradition. This course is for parents with children in 7th - 12th grade and coincides with our Teen Education Program. Registration required.


The Origins of the Torah and How to Read It, Part II: Leviticus and Deuteronomy, Taught by Rabbi Jeremy Morrison
Wednesdays: January 12, 19, February 2, 9, 7:00-8:30 PM
In this four-session course, Rabbi Morrison will elucidate methods for reading the Torah that are central to Reform Judaism’s orientations to reading sacred texts, but are not frequently utilized in synagogue settings. Participants will discuss myth and metaphor and the Torah’s literary history in order to uncover the ancient meanings of Priestly and Deuteronomic texts, and to determine their relevance to modern day Jews and the world in which we live. You do not need to have taken Part I (Genesis and Exodus) in order to enroll.

A Tool Box for Reading Torah: A Class for Parents of 6th-7th Graders, Taught by Rabbi Jeremy Morrison
Sundays, February 6 and 13, 10-11:30 AM

Join with Rabbi Morrison to explore the orientations to reading the Torah that the clergy are teaching to our middle-school students and inform much of the teaching of Torah in our community. This is a great opportunity to meet Rabbi Morrison as well as other parents of our middle school cohort, and to engage with the Book of Genesis in thought- provoking ways.

Jewish Artists and the Feminist Art Movement, Taught by Alex Lyon
Mondays, February 7, 28, March 14, 28, April 11, 25, May 9, 23, 6:00-7:15 PM, Zoom

While women have been creating art for centuries, often these works were relegated to the category of craft and not considered as important to the world of art as the works of men. By the 1960s, coupled with a socio-political climate focused on equal and civil rights, the art world in the United States began to shift, with women artists shifting to feminist topics and creating collaborative spaces of their own. This series will focus on Jewish American women artists of the 1960s and 1970s, the Feminist Art Movement, and the role that Judaism played in many of these artists’ personal and professional lives. Each class will feature exercises in deep looking, biographical and methodological information about the artists, and reflection and discussion of a pre-assigned reading.

The World of the Chasidim: Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav, Taught by Rabbi Sarah Weissman
Thursdays, March 24, 31, and April 7, 7:00-8:30 PM
Nachman of Bratslav (1772-1811) was one of the most influential chasidic rebbes, known for his Torah scholarship, piety, storytelling, and charisma. We’ll explore some of the central ideas of chasidism through the lens of Rebbe Nachman’s life and writings. Registration required.

Support Adult Education

The Lori Levinson Luft Adult Education Fund supports lifelong learning programs, provides scholarships for congregants in need of assistance and helps Beth Am to develop and launch new programs.

The Rabbi Akselrad Lectureship Fund supports lecturers and programs that focus on social justice, ethics and/or human relations.

The Saxe Family Scholar-in-Residence Endowment Fund supports an annual scholar-in-residence program at Congregation Beth Am.

The Susan Gaskill Adult Jewish Learning Fund provides scholarship assistance as needed to any adult member of Congregation Beth Am for the purpose of participating in Jewish study opportunities outside of congregational programs. The fund also supports professional development for Beth Am teachers.

Please consider making a gift to one of these funds in honor or memory of a loved one.

Fri, December 3 2021 29 Kislev 5782