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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
Torah Study
Slow Torah: Lay-Led Torah Study Class
Philosophy Minyan
Talmud Study
Jewish Spirituality
Reading Group
Hebrew for Adults
Saxe Family Scholar-in-Residence Weekend

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

Torah Study
Saturdays, 9:00 to 10:00 AM

On Shabbat morning, join a member of the Beth Am clergy for virtual Torah Study 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
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
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
Thursdays, 12:00 - 1:00 PM
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. Check the calendar for links to class registration pages.

Jewish Spirituality
Thursdays, 1:30-3:00 PM
Come explore various Jewish beliefs, from traditional to modern, about the meaning of our lives and our 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.

Reading Group
Fridays, 1:00-2:00 PM
Join us for explorations of various contemporary Jewish writings! This lay-led group is an outgrowth of the longest-running, continuous study group at Beth Am.  Join us Fridays from 1:00 to 2:00 PM (on Zoom) for explorations of contemporary Jewish writings.  We read aloud and discuss at length. In early November, we will begin discussing For the Sake of Heaven and Earth, by Irving Greenberg. Drop-in attendance is welcomed. For the Zoom access link, please contact Joan.

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.

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.

Sat, June 19 2021 9 Tammuz 5781