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Adult Education

Congregation Beth Am is an inclusive learning community, committed to the shared practice of lifelong Jewish study that is nourishing to the mind, heart and soul. Our goal is not only to gain Jewish knowledge, but to taste its abundant rewards — to understand how Judaism can help us live better, more joyful and purposeful lives.

About Adult Learning Opportunities
Congregant-Facilitated Learning
Hebrew for Adults

Jewish Spirituality Study Sessions
Adult Study Retreat at Asilomar
Saxe Family Scholar-in-Residence Weekend
Talmud Study
Torah Study

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 myriad of 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. Contact: Rabbi Sarah Weissman

Congregant-Facilitated Learning: Join us Fridays from 1:00-2:00 PM in the Beth Am Library for explorations of various contemporary Jewish writings, such as Spinoza, Liberalism and the Question of Jewish Identity by Steven B. Smith and Maimonides — Between Philosophy and Halakhah by Rav Joseph Soloveitchik. This lay-led group is an outgrowth of the longest-running, continuous study group at Beth Am. Drop-in attendance is welcomed. 

Hebrew for Adults: 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! Orna Morad, our beloved Hebrew teacher, is an expert at teaching adults, even those who have limited time to study. Visit the HAMAQOM website for the schedule of classes. If you have any questions or would like to request a scholarship, please contact Rabbi Sarah Weissman, (650) 493-4661.

Jewish Spirituality: Do you have an interest in looking at Jewish life from a spiritual and philosophical perspective? If so, consider joining Jewish Spirituality on Thursday afternoons from 1:30 to 3:00 PM in the Conference Room. The study sessions are facilitated by a member of the group. While Jewish Spirituality centers study and discussion around books, it isn't a book club, but rather a study group that approaches topics and ideas that relate to Jewish life.

All are invited to join in the reading and discussion, and there are no prerequisites or requirements beyond a desire to explore, share and learn from others in a kind environment that welcomes openness and diversity of ideas. Says longtime member Don Allen, "This is a wonderful, open, welcoming group that explores how we see and experience life, using material from Jewish and Judaism-related books that we select, read aloud and discuss the implications to us and our lives." 

Adult Study Retreat at Asilomar: Every summer, congregants and staff join together for a relaxing, inspiring and fun weekend on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula. Celebrate Shabbat together with prayer, learning, singing and schmoozing. 2020 Dates: July 17 - 19

Saxe Family Scholar-in-Residence Weekend: Each year, Beth Am brings a renowned scholar to the community for a weekend of learning related to the year’s adult education theme. Past scholars-in-residence have included: Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President Emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism; Alan Morinis, Director of the Mussar Institute; Rabbi Sharon Brous, senior rabbi of the groundbreaking community IKAR; Rabbi David Saperstein, former Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; and Rabbi Rachel Adler, PhD, the Rabbi David Ellenson Professor of Jewish Religious Thought, Professor of Modern Jewish Thought and Feminist Studies at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Talmud Study: Every Thursday afternoon from 12:00 - 1:00 PM in the Conference Room, come study selections from the Talmud and other rabbinic sources with Rabbi Sarah Weissman. 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. Bring lunch with you, if you’d like.

Torah Study: Every Shabbat morning from 9:00 to 10:00 AM in the Beit Kehillah (currently by Zoom and live stream), a large and enthusiastic group comes together for Torah Study. Members of the clergy alternate to teach this class, which focuses on a thoughtful reading of the entire Torah, exploring the historical, ethical and spiritual questions raised by the text. Learn more about Torah Study.

Sat, October 31 2020 13 Cheshvan 5781