Beth El’s Adult Education programs offer variety as well as depth. Classes are available on introductory levels in Hebrew, prayer and basic Judaism. Whether you are interested in ancient texts or modern dilemmas, whether you prefer intimate classes or larger lectures, there is something for you.
Beth El has study groups of all ages and backgrounds that meet on a regular basis to study a variety of Jewish topics. New members are always welcome. Examples include: Men’s Study Group (monthly with Rabbi Davis, lay coordinator, Steve Heller), Women’s Study Group (monthly with Rabbi Davis, Donna Leviton), ARB (monthly, with Rabbi Davis, Phil Greenberg), Nosh and D’rash (Bi-monthly casual lunch and Torah discussion at Beth El on 1st and 3rd Monday of every month) with Rabbi Olitzky. Lay coordinator is Roger Rubin (RSVP is encouraged, cost of lunch is $5). A weekly course on Talmudic studies is led by Sherwood Malamud as well as chavurot organized and held at homes frequently attended by clergy and other leaders of our Beth El community.
Engaged and recently married couples are invited to participate in four 2-hour workshops jointly conducted by the Jewish Family and Children’s Service and our Beth El staff. The workshops consist of exercises, discussions, and Jewish study of important marital issues such as communication, intimacy and sexuality, and building a Jewish home and family.
Introduction to Judaism
An introduction to Judaism for Jews-by-birth, people considering conversion or those who simply want to learn more, is led by Rabbi Davis. Curriculum includes Jewish history and philosophy, life cycle events, basic patterns of Jewish observance and the Jewish holidays. The class meets Tuesday evenings, 7:30 – 9:00 pm beginning in the fall. Beginning Hebrew meets from 6:30 – 7:30 pm. Introduction to Judaism is taught in conjunction with Adath Jeshurun Congregation and Sharei Chesed Congregation. Contact Rabbi Alexander Davis or Liz Rappaport for more information
Learning to Chant
Have you always wanted to learn to chant Torah, Haftarah, Megillat Esther or any of the six cantillation systems? We’ll teach you how! Individual and group study will be arranged based on interests. Contact Cantor Abrams for more information.
Sacred Chanting is a spiritual practice that is both meditative and contemplative, as well as a great way to lower your blood pressure. We sing chants and melodies using Hebrew phrases from the Bible that help us to understand the text on a deeper level and open our hearts and minds spiritually. Ongoing and takes place monthly. Contact Cantor Abrams for more information.
To be fully engaged in life, we need to activate and pay attention to mind, body and spirit. In Jewish life, these needs are often met through Torah study, community and worship. The latter is arguably the hardest of the three. Traditional services meet the needs of some. But others find that contemplative practice speak more to the heart.
From November, 2016 through May, 2017 we are excited to offer an experience of contemplative practice grounded in Jewish tradition every Tuesday, using a variety of modalitities to enliven the spirit. No previous experience necessary. To be put on an email list, or for more information, please contact Cantor Abrams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1st Tuesdays – Sacred Chanting: Singing the Texts
Dates: 11/1, 12/6, 1/3, 2/7, 3/7, 4/4, 5/2
6:30 – 8:00 pm
Facilitated by Cantor Abrams
Sacred chant is a way of focusing that helps us enter into the holy intention of a phrase from a prayer or text. By using simple melodies and repeating sacred phrases, chanting can be a powerful tool to open our hearts, become more calm and centered and to heal whatever ails us. You do not have to be a singer to take part.
2nd Tuesdays – Jewish Art for the Heart
Dates: 11/15, 12/13, 1/10, 2/14, 3/14, 5/9
6:30 – 9:00 pm
Facilitated by Cara Strauss and Cantor Audrey Abrams
We are all creative beings. Tapping into that part of our brain to create objects of expression can be both enlightening and freeing and helps to reveal what our heart wants to say. In this group we will use simple art techniques to make a sh’viti (a contemplative image), a blessing container, and more. No artistic experience necessary. Donations for supplies may be requested.
3rd Tuesdays – Meditation Circle
Dates: 11/22, 12/20, 1/17, 2/21, 3/21, 5/16
6:30 – 8:00 pm
Facilitated by Barbara Levin Krupp, PhD, LP and Cantor Audrey Abrams
Meditation is a practice to develop a disciplined mind and a compassionate heart. In this circle we will practice traditional mindfulness and Jewish meditation techniques. We will study both Mindfulness texts and Chasidut to help us deepen our practice. “L’kha dumiya tehilah” – For You silence is praise. (Psalm 65)
4th Tuesdays – Middot Vad
Dates: 11/29, 12/27, 1/24, 2/28, 3/28, 4/25, 5/23
6:30 – 8:00 pm
Facilitated by Cantor Abrams
Middot are defined as ethical qualities, referring to humility (anavah), patience (savlanut), loving kindness (chesed) and more. In this vad (group) we will explore these qualities within ourselves and learn practices that help us become our best selves. Please bring a journal.
Due to the nature of this learning, sign up is required and a commitment for the entire year is encouraged. Space is limited to 15 people.
Additional Contemplative Offerings:
Iyun Tefillah – Prayers from the Heart
Dates: 10/22, 12/10, 1/7, 3/11, 4/8, 5/13, 6/17
Facilitated by Cantor Abrams. 9:15 am – 10:15 am
A contemplative, slow, quiet and mindful experience, centered around the prayers of the morning service. Enrich Shabbat with a sense of gratitude and a deeper connection to God.