Congregant-led Classes

Marc Ashley: “The Last of the Miracles: Did God Retire After Hanukkah?” Dec. 5, 2021
Click HERE to view video
Click HERE for source sheet
Miracles apparently were plentiful in the early development of Judaism, yet seem to have faded with time. Were the events of Hanukkah the last miracles in Jewish history? Did God retire from miracle-making when those initial Hanukkah lights were extinguished more than two millennia ago? Hanukkah represents a critical juncture in Jewish thinking, as it may constitute the last residue of God’s miraculous intervention in history.

Barry Feldman Jewish History Course, Jan-Feb 2021
Landmark Books, Places & Moments in Jewish History
Jan. 10
: Click HERE to view (partial recording) “The Second Great Migration: Moving out of the Lower East Side to Greater New York”;
Feb. 7: Click HERE to view “South Carolina is the New Zion: Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, an American Synagogue in Transition”;
Feb. 21: Click HERE to view “An-Sky’s Expedition, ‘The Dark Continent’: An Exploration into the Past Folklore of Eastern Europe”

Dr. Barry Coller, 2020
A Letter to My Grandchildren, 2020

Marc Ashley’s Dec., 2020 Hanukkah Lecture
The Essence of Hanukkah: Perspectives on Light(ing) with Marc Ashley
The only mitzvah unique to the holiday of Hanukkah is lighting the Hanukkah menorah. A focus on light is undoubtedly at the foundation of our celebration. The concrete events underlying Hanukkah may be specific, but its messages about light have extended beyond that particularized story. Traditional sources have connected Hanukkah to formative lights outside the confines of the original miracle, ranging from the creation of the world to the messianic future. Click HERE to view archive of the event.

Marc Ashley’s 2020 Pre-Tisha B’Av Lecture
Lamenting Our Sins or Our Suffering?
Tisha B’Av seems to be an anomaly on the Jewish calendar. Coming in the wake of Shavuot that joyously celebrates the gift of our Torah, and falling amidst summer warmth and bloom, this 25-hour fast is the saddest day of the year. But what is the nature of the sadness we should be feeling? What, indeed, is the spiritual essence of this distinctive day? Read more. Click to view lecture

Marc Ashley’s 2020 Tikkun Leyl Shavuot Lecture
The Messiah’s Lineage: Megillat Ruth, Jewish Identity, and Chosenness
Given in Memory of Sharon R. Seiler, z”l
It is customary to study Torah all night long on the eve of Shavuot. Dating back at least to the medieval period, and perhaps with roots deeper in Jewish history, this longstanding tradition celebrates the study of the Torah that was the embodiment of the revelation at Mount Sinai, which in the classical view occurred on Shavuot. Our Tikkun Leyl Shavuot each year helps us recreate, on a recurring basis, the singular Sinaitic experience of divine revelation that is the epitome of Jewish history. Read more.

Marc Ashley’s 2019 Annual Adult Education Course between Pesah and Shavuot
Click HERE to view past classes and source materials

Barry Feldman’s Jewish History Course, Nov. 2019
“Crime and Kehillah: Accusation and Response.” In 1906, New York City Police Commissioner Theodore Bingham asserted that half the city’s criminals were Jews. New York’s Jewish population was considered a menace to more “polite” (that is, “native”) society. In response, city residents formed the New York Kehillah, or “Community.” It was an attempt to organize communal activities under a single umbrella and present a united, productive group of Jewish New Yorkers and Americans. Using primary documents to spark discussion, this class will examine the successes and challenges of the Kehillah.

Torah Reading Class with Mark Somerstein
An 8-session class in Torah reading, led by Mark Somerstein, is being offered each year. Mark is an experienced, patient teacher and professional Torah reader. We will use proven techniques to enable you to read a pre-selected Torah portion upon graduation, and be able to prepare any other selection independently. (Survival rates of previous classes are encouraging!)