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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

Please scroll down to view our ONGOING CLASSES, open to all and designed for participants to drop in when they can, with no prior knowledge necessary as well as our FALL SESSION CLASSES, starting in September and October of 2022. Check the calendar for dates and links to class pages.

Please consider making a donation to support Beth Am's adult education programming. Learn more.

Click on the plus symbol to reveal a description for each class.

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 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. Just bring your curiosity, yourself and your love of learning and studying Torah, real slow.

The Philosophy Minyan will continue for a third year this fall as a Wednesday lunchtime monthly series on Zoom. All are welcome to join in an interactive and thought-provoking exploration of topics at the intersection of philosophy, Jewish thought and contemporary issues. No advance reading is required and participants will receive online access to all the class materials following each session.

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.

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.

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 book, read it aloud and discuss it. For the Zoom access link, please contact Joan.


Click on the plus symbol to reveal a description for each class.


Whether you have basic Hebrew or you are nearly fluent, we have a Hebrew class for you! All classes will be held virtually this semester. Please contact Orna if you need help determining which level is right for you. For scholarship requests, please email Rabbi Sarah Weissman. Check out the Fall 2022 course offerings, all being offered on Zoom! Learn more and/or register; class cost, $225.

It’s not too late to start from the beginning! Students will learn to read Hebrew, starting with the Alef Bet. Come learn the meanings of prayers, improve your reading skills and enrich your Judaic knowledge with others in a fun and inclusive class. Learn more and/or register by October 10; class cost, $500.

Welcome to Beth Am and The Orchard’s Introduction to Judaism Class. This course, taught by the Beth Am clergy, is for anyone who wishes to learn (or re-learn) more about Judaism. All are welcome: non-Jews, Jews, interfaith couples or those considering conversion. Students will learn the basics of Judaism in a friendly and informal atmosphere. We’ll explore fundamental aspects of Jewish practices, such as holiday observance and lifecycle celebrations. We’ll also discuss Jewish understandings of God and religious beliefs, important Jewish texts, Jewish history, literature and the significance of Israel in Judaism today. The class is also a wonderful way to become part of our community, meet new people and develop relationships with the Beth Am clergy. Learn more and/or register by October 25; class cost, $180-$270.

Did you miss out on celebrating becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah as a thirteen-year-old? Did you have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah but wish it had been more meaningful? It’s not too late! Join our adult B’nei Mitzvah class and deepen your personal understanding of what it means to be a Jew and a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, one who takes responsibility for mitzvot (holy obligations). Learn more.

Have you ever found yourself wondering when to stand, when to sit, or when to bow during Friday Night Shabbat services? Or why we do these things? Join Rabbi Heath Watenmaker as together we explore the choreography, structure and themes of our Friday Night Shabbat liturgy. We'll also discuss how better understanding these elements can help foster a more personal connection to the liturgy and the sacred time of Shabbat. Each session will cover different content, and will meet for half an hour before Friday night Shabbat services. Learn more and/or register.

Engaging 5-part virtual course providing history of Jews and Arabs in the land of Israel, and evolution of the current Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Learn more and/or register.

Have you ever wondered how some people are able to navigate challenging times and remain positive and resilient, especially today? Through techniques, tested and refined in hundreds of research studies and real life, self-compassion provides a compelling set of resources for relationships, work, health and life. Come participate to learn how. Learn more and/or register; class cost, $36.

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.

Mon, November 28 2022 4 Kislev 5783