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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. Contact: Rabbi Sarah Weissman

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

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

SPRING SESSION
Hebrew for Adults
Foundations for a Thoughtful Judaism
The World of the Chasidim: Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav
Hebrew for Adults

SUMMER SESSION
Hebrew for Adults
Jewish Artists and the Feminist Art Movement

Exploration of the Mikvah: What Is It? Making It Relevant
Jewish Music: Our Values, Taught by Gabriel Lehrman

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
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. 

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.

SPRING SESSION CLASSES


Foundations for a Thoughtful Judaism (FTJ) — A Class for Parents of 7th-12th Graders, Taught by Rabbi Jeremy Morrison
Wednesdays, March 2, 9, 23, 30, 6:30-8:15 PM, Conference Room
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 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, Conference Room & Zoom
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.

Hebrew for Adults, Taught by Orna Morad
Classes Begin Tuesday, April 26 and Thursday, April 28, Zoom

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! A few sessions will be held as hybrid sessions for those who would like to attend a class or two in person. Dates of hybrid lessons TBA. Classes cost $180. If you have any questions or would like to request a scholarship, please email Rabbi Sarah Weissman. Check out the Spring/Summer 2022 course offerings, all being offered on Zoom! Registration required.

SUMMER SESSION CLASSES

Hebrew for Adults, Taught by Orna Morad
Classes Begin Tuesday, April 26 and Thursday, April 28, Zoom

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! A few sessions will be held as hybrid sessions for those who would like to attend a class or two in person. Dates of hybrid lessons TBA. Classes cost $180. If you have any questions or would like to request a scholarship, please email Rabbi Sarah Weissman. Check out the Spring/Summer 2022 course offerings, all being offered on Zoom! Registration required.

Jewish Artists and the Feminist Art Movement, Taught by Alex Lyon
Select Tuesdays, May 31- September 6, 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. Registration required by Monday, May 30.

Exploration of the Mikvah: What Is It? Making It Relevant, Taught by Rabbi Prosnit
Tuesdays, May 31 & June 7, 7:30 PM, Zoom
Sunday, June 12, 10:00 AM, Community Mikvah of Silicon Valley

Mikvah, or ritual bath, is one of Judaism’s most sacred and powerful rituals. The immersion in living waters marks a change in status. People immerse in a mikvah to celebrate moments of joy or in times of deep sorrow; to mark a conversion to Judaism or after other liminal moments in one’s life. This three-session class will examine the origins and purpose of mikvah throughout Jewish tradition. Registration required.

Jewish Music: Our Values, Taught by Gabriel Lehrman
Wednesdays, July 6 and 13, 7:00 PM, Location TBD

How can we live in a way that makes sense of our values? What is the role of music in giving us the community and motivation to turn our values into practices that we do every day? What role does prayer play into this? In this class, we will take a look at some different ways in which Jewish music has changed over time and place. We will consider the different ways that this is impacted by the local musical tastes, and how the music affects the people who use those melodies. At the end of the course, we will consider some ways to incorporate the theories of these classes into our daily lives. This will be offered in two different classes, which will build on each other but can sit on their own as well. You may join one or both classes for different material. Learn more about the sessions.

Support Adult Education

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

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.

Thu, May 26 2022 25 Iyar 5782