December 13, 2023 Adult Learning GROW Series: December 2023

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  • Date
  • time Eastern Time
  • location 9-10 AM PST
  • cost Free
  • organizer Hebrew College Adult Learning
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For the second program in Hebrew College Adult Learning’s free, monthly GROW series, we examine Hanukkah and Christmas from the inside. We hope you will spend an hour with us for this and future programs in our series, to gather, reflect, observe, and wrestle with topics that will deepen your Jewish learning.

December Program

candlesProgram: Illuminating Christmas and Hanukkah from the Inside
Date: December 13, 2024 | 12-1 PM/9-10 AM PST | Zoom
Instructors: Rabbi Dr. Michael Shire & Reverend Tom Reid
Join us: Register now

The Rev. Tom Reid and Rabbi Michael Shire will discuss Christmas and Hanukkah from their respective religious and spiritual experiences. What are the underlying spiritual assumptions and foundations that are experienced during these times of joy and celebration? What is significant from an insider’s point of view and what is problematic or challenging about our celebrations and spiritual work during this period of the year.

Our Instructors

Rabbi Michael ShireRabbi Dr. Michael Shire is the Academic Director for Hebrew College’s Master’s in Jewish Education program. He grew up in Birmingham England and completed his B.A. Hons in Hebrew Literature and Jewish History at University College, London. He continued his studies at Hebrew Union College both in New York and Los Angeles completing a M.A. and Ph.D. in Jewish Education. His research work, later to be published, proposed a curriculum orientation for spiritual enhancement in Jewish educational settings. He concurrently served as director of education at Temple Beth Hillel, a large Reform synagogue in North Hollywood, California. On returning to Great Britain in 1988, he took up the post as the national director of the Centre of Jewish Education developing the infrastructure, day schools and professional and academic learning of Jewish education in the UK. Following further study, he was ordained as rabbi at Leo Baeck College in 1996.

In 2001, he merged the Centre of Jewish Education with the rabbinic training school, Leo Baeck College, and became its vice-principal for an additional eleven years. He became the professor and dean of the Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education in 2011 and subsequently was appointed as chief academic officer of Hebrew College from 2015-2020. He is founder of the Torah Godly Play pedagogic methodology and serves as trustee of the Pursuit of History, the Association of Institutions of Graduate Jewish Education.

Tom ReidReverend Tom Reid (he/him) is Director of the Building Interfaith Leadership Initiative (BILI) Launchpad Fellowship with the Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and serves as pastor of Newton Presbyterian Church in Newton Corner, Massachusetts. Tom also represents the PC (USA) a member of the Interreligious Relations Convening Table of the National Council of Churches. Before changing careers to ministry and interreligious engagement, Tom spent over ten years working in a variety of fields including: clean energy and innovation in Boston, environmental and green building consulting in Boston and Dubai, and business education in Madrid, Spain.

Originally from Kansas, Tom is a proud alumnus of the University of Kansas, holding a BA in Environmental Studies, Latin American Studies, and Spanish. He also holds an MA in Contemporary European Politics, Policy, and Society granted by the Euromasters Consortium and funded by a Fulbright grant to the European Union and an MDiv from Boston University School of Theology with a certificate in Religion and Conflict Transformation. Tom is passionate about the environment, social justice and anti-racism work, learning as many languages as possible, and exploring restaurants wherever he may find himself. He lives in Cambridge, MA with his husband, David.

save the dates

Future Free, Monthly GROW Programs

Dr.-Susie-TanchelDate: January 10, 2024 | 12-1 PM EST/9-10 AM PST | Zoom
Program: Unexpected Encounters
Instructors: Dr. Susie Tanchel
Join us: Learn moreRegister now

In our time together, we will explore select biblical texts in which a person receives an unexpected revelation from God. Through our study, we will glean possible ways in which these ancient texts are relevant for our lives in the present time. No knowledge of Hebrew is required. Please bring an open mind and heart.

hebrew in a bookDate: February 14, 2024 | 12-1 PM EST/9-10 AM PST | Zoom
Program: What can the New Testament teach us about first century Judaism?
Instructors: Alan Avery Peck
Join us: Register now

Jesus, the Christian messiah and son of God, was also a first century Galilean Jew who stood firmly within the Judaism of his day. Jesus’ message responded to and resonated within his people’s—the Jews’—distinctive theological, cultural, and political circumstances. As much as the New Testament tells the story of Christian origins, it thus reflects deeply on first century Judaism. Christians who ignore Jesus’ Jewish context cannot fully understand what was at stake in, or the urgency of, Jesus’ message. And Jews who ignore the New Testament miss the opportunity fully to grasp Jewish belief in the period that yielded the Judaism we still practice today. Thus our focus today: What can the New Testament teach us about first century Judaism?

passover-seder-plateDate: March 13, 2024 | 12-1 PM EST/9-10 AM PST | Zoom
Program: Building Resilience for Stories
Instructors: Margie Bogdanow
Join us: Register now

Research shows that learning and knowing about family history helps build resilience in children of all ages. Judaism is a religion of stories. We tell the same Torah stories over and over and each time they have new meaning with the Passover Seder being the most famous example. As grandparents, sharing our stories is one of the most important things we can do for our grandchildren. Today our stories can be told in many ways, from sitting on a lap to sitting at computers across the world. They can be shared in words, in music and in pictures. Join other grandparents to reflect on our stories, explore the Jewish wisdom around the value of storytelling, and share practical approaches to becoming impactful stewards of our family narrative.

Rabbi Sharon Cohen AnisfeldDate: April 10, 2024 | 12-1 PM EST/9-10 AM PST | Zoom
Program: TBD
Instructors: Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld
Join us: Register Now

** Watch for details and instructors for our programs on May 8 and June 5, 2024.