Prozdor Teen Open Circle Course Descriptions

Fall Trimester 2021

Sign up per course (links below) or register for the year to access all courses, all trimesters, and an all-inclusive tuition rate.


Teen Hebrew Institute (9:30 AM – 11:20 AM)

Want to take Modern Hebrew and PTOC courses? Register for PTOC full year using the link above and indicate on the form that you would like to take Hebrew. Hebrew classes will run from 9:30 AM – 11:20 AM (overlapping with one period of PTOC) at Hebrew College on Sundays, followed by Community Time and a choice of PTOC 2nd period courses (11:40 AM – 12:30 PM, see below) at no additional charge.


1st Period Courses (10:30 AM – 11:20 AM)


Artist Beit Midrash: Scribal Arts and the Torah of Imperfection
Instructor: Rabbi Laura Bellows
Location: Hebrew College
Date :
Sundays, September 19 – December 19, 2021
Cost: $350 per course
Register now

In this fusion art and text class, learn the basics of the quill-on-parchment Hebrew calligraphy used to write sifrei kodesh (Torah, tefillin, and mezuzot) while exploring the ethical questions raised by this ancient technology in today’s world. What makes something holy? Who (or what) can write a Torah? How do we account for human error (or expectations of perfection) in creating new and ancient technologies? Does intent matter? The course will culminate with writing our own texts, using the technologies we have learned.


The History and Culture of the Jews of Spain and Why it Matters
Instructor: Rabbi David Ehrenkranz
Location: Hebrew College
Date :
Sundays, September 19 – December 19, 2021
Cost: $350 per course
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The Jews of Spain have a rich and profound heritage that has affected every realm of Judaism. It is almost impossible to talk about prayer, holidays, and various customs that regulate every aspect of family life without appreciating the contributions of Spanish Jewry. We will explore and examine the history, culture and religious practices of Spanish Jews from ancient times to today. We will also study the historic relationship of Spanish Jews with their neighbors and the interplay between them. BONUS: Students will have the opportunity to enjoy a “taste” of Spanish Jewry when we study culinary traditions!


When We Cry, Does God Cry, Too? When we Laugh, Does God?
Instructor: Rabbinic Intern Jenna Shaw
Location: Hebrew College
Date :
Sundays, September 19 – December 19, 2021
Cost: $350 per course
Register now

We talk a lot about God through prayer, metaphor, philosophy, and history, but who really is God and can God have emotions or feel ours? In this class we will explore how Jews have understood God’s character through Torah text, stories and midrash, poetry and philosophy, and our own life experiences with the God that you do or don’t believe in. Bring your questions and come ready to discuss!


2nd Period Courses (11:40 AM – 12:30 PM)


Are We Really What We Eat? Jews, Food, and Justice from Latkes to Lattes
Instructor: Rabbi Laura Bellows
Location: Hebrew College
Date :
Sundays, September 19 – December 19, 2021
Cost: $350 per course
Register now

Is there such a thing as “Jewish food”? What does it look like to eat ethically, according to Jewish tradition, law, and contemporary food justice frameworks? This discussion- and text-based course will offer a contemporary justice take on kashrut and agricultural tzedakah and a Jewish look at food justice, access, eating animals, and sustainability. As we explore the material, each student will work on designing their own Jewish food ethic. If it is safe to do so and weather permitting, we engage in some experiential learning by eating!


God and The Holocaust
Instructor: Rabbi David Ehrenkranz
Location: Hebrew College
Date :
Sundays, September 19 – December 19, 2021
Cost: $350 per course
Register now

In this class we will analyze the history and development of the rise and fall of the Nazis and see if we can answer two prevailing questions that are difficult to answer: 1. Where was God? and 2. Where was humankind? We will discuss and explore a multitude of theories offered by philosophers, historians, poets, and theologians. We will focus particular attention on what Jewish sources have to say regarding a calamity of this magnitude. I would like to caution all of my students that ultimately the answer to these questions is “I don’t know.” But that response is not the end of the class — it is just the beginning. This unknowing can lead to a more methodical approach in how we engage and grapple with uncertainty, disaster, and a different type of knowledge — a knowledge of ourselves.


Is it Ethical to Steal Second Base?
Instructor: Rabbinic Intern Jenna Shaw
Location: Hebrew College
Date :
Sundays, September 19 – December 19, 2021
Cost: $350 per course
Register now

The crack of the bat, the smell of grilled hot dogs, the green grass, there is nothing more magical than baseball. Baseball is called America’s Pastime, but could the magic of baseball be a tool to help us connect to our Jewish pastime? In this class we will examine and explore a Jewish take on some of baseball’s big ethical dilemmas and whether baseball might just be a Jewish key to God, self, community, and the best steals of all time.