Congregant-led Classes

Join us this fall for a new Jewish History Course with Barry Feldman. Please check the calendar for the dates.

Recent Classes:

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 Annual Adult Education Course between Pesah and Shavuot
A Case of Mixed Emotions: Love and Fear of God in Jewish Thought
The very first word of the first paragraph of the Shema prayer instructs – indeed  commands – us to love God, with all our heart, soul and might. Yet Proverbs counsels us that the “beginning of wisdom is the fear of God.” Those visceral emotions, at least at first glance, seem conflicting rather than complementary. So which is the core and foundation of our relationship with God – love or fear?  Which approach takes priority? Both love and fear of God are crucial religious directives, but reconciling them can be challenging. No prior knowledge is required. Please come and participate in this important conversation on a crucial theme in Jewish thought through the ages.

2019 Sessions – Audio Recordings:

Barry Feldman’s Jewish History Course
“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 beginning Oct. 15. 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!)