Open Circle Jewish Learning Fall 2021 Courses

20s & 30s

From Ruth to RBG: Jewish Women and Justice (6 sessions)

Instructor: Elisha Gechter
Dates: Oct. 18, 25; Nov. 1, 8, 22, 29, 2021
Day and Time: Monday evenings, 8-9:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $90 | Register now 

Many of us are inspired by the Jewish injunction to make the world a better place – tikkun olam. Come study a dozen shining examples of women throughout Jewish history who worked towards that aim, each in her own time and her own way. From the Biblical Ruth who sought justice for her new family in a time of loss, to Ruth Bader Ginsberg who sought justice for the most vulnerable Americans from the highest seat in the court, we will discuss how their lives and actions inspire us. Dive into the stories of women across identities, observances, regions and time periods by exploring Jewish texts that illuminate their challenges and triumphs. Discover where this Jewish in junction for justice comes from and how the actions of these women apply to our own lives.

The [Jewish] American Songbook (6 sessions)

Instructor: Elliot Lazar
Dates: Nov. 4, 11, 18; Dec. 2, 9, 16, 2021
Day and Time: Thursdays, 4:30-6 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom
Cosponsor: Jewish Arts Collaborative
Fee: $90 | Register now

What do the songs “Summertime”, “Over the Rainbow” and “White Christmas” have in common? They are all part of the “Great American Songbook,” the canon of significant early-20th-century American jazz standards and popular songs. But what else do they have in common? All these songs were written by Jews. -yes, even “White Christmas”!  “The Great [Jewish] American Songbook” will explore the work and lives of those Jewish artists who shaped the musical landscape of the last century, from Gershwin to Garfunkel, Cohen to King, even the likes of Adam Lambert, Adam Levine and David Guetta! How has their Judaism influenced their music? And how has their music influenced our lives as American Jews? Open to music lovers of every generation!

Kol Yisrael: Exploring the Narratives of Israel’s Ethnic Minorities (6 sessions)

Instructor: Mikhael Kesher
Dates: Oct. 12, 19, 26; Nov. 2, 9, 16, 2021
Day and Time: Tuesday evenings, 8-9:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $90 | Register now 

The ingathering of the exiles was arguably the greatest achievement of Israel’s first fifty years, bringing together Jews from around the globe to form an unprecedentedly ethnically diverse society. But what tensions were created by the absorption of Jews from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the former Soviet Union? How did Israel’s non-Jewish citizens adjust to their new affiliation with the Jewish state? And how are Israel’s ethnic minorities forging and reforging their place in Israel’s national melting pot today? Join us for a series of encounters with ethnic minorities in Israel, exploring key tensions between “becoming Israeli” and maintaining an identity rooted in their unique historical narratives. Together we will discuss and reflect, layering the experiences of each group to better understand Israel’s past and present, and to imagine its future.

The Soul in Action: Mystical Wisdom for Today’s Challenges (6 sessions)

Instructors: Rabbi David Curiel and Rabbi Getzel Davis
Dates: Oct. 12, 19, 26 Nov: 2, 9, 16, 2021
Day and Time: Tuesday evenings, 8-9:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom, with some opportunities to meet in person.
Fee: $90 | Register now

Pride. Meekness. Anger. Complacency. What soul trait blocks you from being the person you want to be? Join Rabbis David Curiel and Getzel Davis for an experiential Jewish mysticism combining Jewish meditation and middot(soul traits/personal attributes). We will study Likutei Etzot, a distillation of the teachings on middot by Rebbe Nachman of Breslev. Each week we will address a different middah (singular for middot) and reflect together on how to work on it. We will conclude each class with embodied meditation to integrate and reflect on each trait in our lives. The hope is to also gather in person on occasion to engage in Rebbe Nachman’s meditative outdoor practice known as hitbodedut.

Why and How Jewish Identity Deepens: A Guide to Supporting “Jews of No Religion” (7 sessions)

Instructor: Akiva Nelson
Dates: Oct. 31; Nov. 7, 14, 21; Dec. 5, 12, 19, 2021
Day and Time: Sunday afternoons, 3-4:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $105 | Register now

What can the American Jewish community do to support cultural Jews, aka “Jews of No Religion,” in their Jewish journeys? As this group grows as a proportion of the American Jewish community, this question is more important to the Jewish future than ever before.

Instructor and rabbinical student, Akiva Nelson (who once identified as a “Jew of No Religion”) interviewed 23 people who came from this background but later significantly deepened their connection to Judaism. Pulling from interviewees’ stories and cutting-edge sociological research, we’ll explore why and how this miraculous transformation occurs.

If you are a secular/cultural Jew and want to understand pathways to deepening your connection to Judaism, or if you’re a religious educator, student, or clergy member seeking to serve secular/cultural Jews, join us! 


Social Action

American Jews and Racial Justice: Where We are now and how we got here (10 sessions)

Instructors: Tema Smith (fall) and Dr. Marc Dollinger (spring)
Dates: Sept. 30, Oct.28, Nov.18, Dec.9, Jan.13, Feb.10, March 17, Apr.7, May 5, June 2
Day and Time: Thursday evenings, 7:15-8:45 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $180 | Register

In this two-part course, explore the current status of the Jewish response to ongoing racial inequity and trace its historical trajectory. Part One: Finding our place: Jews in the Struggle for Racial Equity- With a renewed awakening about the pervasiveness of systemic racism in our society, questions about where the Jewish community fits in are appearing more and more.  How does the social construction of race impact the Jewish community?  Are white-presenting Jews considered white?  How does the Jewish community show up for Jews of Color?  And where does antisemitism fit into this spectrum of oppression? In this unit, we will dive into some of these hot-button topics and emerge with a deeper understanding of each of our places in the fight for justice.

Part Two: America Jews and Race: A Historical Perspective-Learn about the most important historical moments for American Jews and questions of race. Explore how white-presenting Jews have, and have not, been considered privileged in U.S. history.  Dive deep into the civil rights movement of the 1950s and early 1960s, learning new insights into both southern Jews and northern Jewish participation in racial justice causes. Learn about the apparent break-up of the Black/Jewish alliance in the mid-1960s with a close reading of the Black Power movement and its inspiration for American Jewish public identity. Finally, examine actual historical documents going back 360 years revealing the interconnection between Jews, race, and racism, that show us how “becoming American” often meant participation in racist systems.

American Jews and Racial Justice: Where we are now and how we got here – Part One (6 sessions)

Instructors: Tema Smith (fall)
Dates: Sept. 30, Oct.28, Nov.18, Dec.9, 2021; Jan.13, Feb.10 2022
Day and Time: Thursday evenings, 7:15-8:45 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $108| Register

Part One: Finding our place: Jews in the Struggle for Racial Equity. This is the first of a two- part course exploring the current status of the Jewish response to ongoing racial inequity and trace its historical trajectory. With a renewed awakening about the pervasiveness of systemic racism in our society, questions about where the Jewish community fits in are appearing more and more.  How does the social construction of race impact the Jewish community?  Are white-presenting Jews considered white?  How does the Jewish community show up for Jews of Color?  And where does antisemitism fit into this spectrum of oppression? In this unit, we will dive into some of these hot-button topics and emerge with a deeper understanding of each of our places in the fight for justice.

American Jews and Racial Justice: Where we are now and how we got here – Part Two (4 sessions)

Instructor: Dr. Marc Dollinger (spring)
Dates: March 17, Apr.7, May 5, June 2, 2022
Day and Time: Thursday evenings, 7:15-8:45 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $72| Register

Part Two: America Jews and Race: A Historical Perspective. This is the second of a two- part course exploring the current status of the Jewish response to ongoing racial inequity and trace its historical trajectory. -Learn about the most important historical moments for American Jews and questions of race. Explore how white-presenting Jews have, and have not, been considered privileged in U.S. history.  Dive deep into the civil rights movement of the 1950s and early 1960s, learning new insights into both southern Jews and northern Jewish participation in racial justice causes. Learn about the apparent break-up of the Black/Jewish alliance in the mid-1960s with a close reading of the Black Power movement and its inspiration for American Jewish public identity. Finally, examine actual historical documents going back 360 years revealing the interconnection between Jews, race, and racism, that show us how “becoming American” often meant participation in racist systems.

Cooking Your Jewish Customs: Culinary Action for Self, Community, and Society (6 sessions)

Instructor: Sara Gardner
Dates: November 7, 14, 21; December 5, 12, 19, 2021
Day and Time: Sunday afternoons, 4-5:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $108| Register now 

While food has long been an expression of Jewish culture and identity, it can also be a powerful tool for social justice. Join food historian Sara Gardner for this 6-session class to explore how Jewish culinary heritage affirms and reflects diverse expressions of Jewish identity throughout the diaspora.  As we cook authentic recipes from global Jewish communities, we will gain deeper understandings of the ways in which food and cuisine represent the uniqueness of these communities that make up the Jewish diaspora.  From the Ethiopian Jewish buna (coffee) ceremony to Ashkenazi blintzes and Sephardic borekas, we will discuss how food can act as a powerful tool for social change, healing, and connection. Each session will explore a different cuisine and culinary community of the Jewish diaspora through a variety of texts including art, literature, rabbinic texts, and — of course — recipes. We will also work together to construct our own individual “culinary action plans,” enacting change in our kitchens and beyond.

Fat Torah Beit Midrash: Diving Deeper (8 sessions)

Instructor: Rabbi Minna Bromberg
Dates: October 24, 31: November 7, 14, 21; December 5, 12, 19, 2021
Day and Time: Sunday mornings, 9:30-11 a.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $144| Register now

Our Fat Torah learning is taking a deep dive into texts–from the Hebrew Bible through modern writers–that can help us make meaning of weight stigma and body liberation. Come and learn how to deploy Jewish tradition in ways that are liberatory for all bodies.

The Fragility of Democracy: The Rise of Nazism and its Lessons for America and the Jewish Community Today (8 sessions)

Instructor: Jan Darsa
Dates: Oct. 19,26; Nov. 2,9,16,23, 30; Dec. 7, 2021
Day and Time: Tuesday evenings, 7:30-9 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $144| Register now 

How does a democratic society evolve into a dictatorship? What are the choices individuals make that enable this to happen? In this course we will explore how it was possible that citizens who were thought to be the moral barometers in German society became participants in dictatorship and genocide.  How did the Nazis build such a large and devoted following, and how was propaganda used to create allegiance and promote hatred? By looking at decisions people made during the rise and the subsequent takeover of power by the Nazis, we will explore this period of history and how the responsibility for losing or sustaining a democracy belongs to both its leaders and citizens as we investigate how members of a society, with a lens on Jewish values, can work to prevent something like this from happening again.

Mussar through an Anti-Oppressive Lens (5 sessions)

Instructor: Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife
Dates: Oct. 20; November 3, 17; December 1, 15, 2021
Day and Time: Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $90| Register now 

How might one experience Spirituality and Social Justice as mutually reinforcing? And how do we ensure that they have an ongoing relationship? In Mussar Through an Anti-Oppressive Lens, explore how this intentional practice of self-reflection can also strengthen our ability to counter oppression and lead us towards social justice work. As we attune to various middot (soul traits) and work toward greater personal refinement, we uncover the connection between our inner ruminations and clarity towards social justice, committing to action and then returning to our practice to refuel. By the end of the class, participants will have engaged with 4 middot, and begun the journey of balancing working on oneself with working on the world.

Shmitta 5782: A Year of Release, Healing and Balance (6 sessions)

Instructor: Rabbi Natan Margalit, PhD
Dates: Oct. 28, Nov.4,18: Dec.2,9,16, 2021
Day and Time: Thursday evenings, 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: In-person at Temple Beth Zion, Brookline, MA
Fee: $108| Register now 

In 5782 the Jewish world will enter its “sabbatical” or Shmitta year. Shmitta means “letting go” or “releasing.” While this ancient biblical practice centerd on the releasing debts, land and property, Shmitta values include equality, liberation, rest and community Today we are experiencing crises in all these areas: run away inequality is tearing up the fabric of our society; awareness of racial injustice and discrimination against immigrants and other minorities has come to a boiling point; the earth, the oceans and the air are in desperate need of rest and recuperation from years of exploitation, and so are we in need of rest in an economy that expects 24/7 attention. There is nothing more vital than learning from our biblical ancestors about the wisdom of Shmitta and how we can access it to restore health and harmony to our world.

Zivug for Activists (6 sessions)

Instructor: Rabbi Getzel Davis
Dates: Oct 20, Oct 27; Nov 3, Nov 10, 17; Dec 1, 2021
Day and Time: Wednesday evenings, 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $108| Register now 

How can couples grow and sustain vibrant relationships that incorporate a commitment to social activism along with their commitment to one another? Join Rabbi Getzel to explore this dynamic through Jewish wisdom and text study, guided exercises, and frank conversations. This class is geared towards partners interested in exploring power dynamics, gender equity, and how decisions we make in partnership impact the world. Over the course of the class, each couple will create a “plan of action” committing to work together on a cause/causes that speak to them personally and also brings them together in activist partnership. Open to couples in the year preceding or following a wedding who are interested in a conscious and healthy transition to marriage. All gender and multifaith expressions of partnership strongly welcome!


Arts & Culture

Glimpses of Light and Darkness: The Book of Genesis Through a Photographic Lens (6 sessions)

Instructor: Leann Shamash
Dates: October 17, 24, 31 November 7, 14, 21, 2021.
Day and Time: Sundays 10:30 a.m.-Noon
Location: Online via Zoom
Cosponsor: Jewish Arts Collaborative
Fee: $162 | Register now

One can often visualize each parsha (weekly Torah portion) by a certain word or concept. The parshiyot (plural of parsha) of Genesis have rich themes to explore.  Participants in this class will internalize these themes by photographing them each week, sharing images and connecting them to the fountain of ideas that come from each parsha.

The [Jewish] American Songbook (6 sessions)

Instructor: Elliot Lazar
Dates: Nov. 4,11,18; Dec. 2, 9, 16, 2021
Day and Time: Thursdays, 4:30-6 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom
Cosponsor: Jewish Arts Collaborative
Fee: $90 | Register now 

What do the songs “Summertime”, “Over the Rainbow” and “White Christmas” have in common? They are all part of the “Great American Songbook,” the canon of significant early-20th-century American jazz standards and popular songs. But what else do they have in common? All these songs were written by Jews. -yes, even “White Christmas”!  “The Great [Jewish] American Songbook” will explore the work and lives of those Jewish artists who shaped the musical landscape of the last century, from Gershwin to Garfunkel, Cohen to King, even the likes of Adam Lambert, Adam Levine and David Guetta! How has their Judaism influenced their music? And how has their music influenced our lives as American Jews? Open to music lovers of every generation! 


Mindfulness

Intermediate Mussar: A Jewish Character Development Journey for Today! (8 sessions)

Instructor: Rabbi Carol Glass
Dates: October 5, 19; November 2, 16; December 7, 21, 2021; January 4, 18, 2022
Day and Time: Tuesdays 10 -11:30 a.m. Eastern Time
Location: Mostly remote and sometimes in person in Newton
Fee: $216 | Register now 

When practiced with intent and commitment, Mussar can support us to lead lives of greater connection and more profound ethical and spiritual depth. It is said in fact, that Mussar can show us how to become the best people we can possibly be! All that, received in the context of a loving community of practice and friendship, may be just what you need or just what you are looking for.

While studying and applying teachings from the weekly Torah portion, Hasidut, contemporary writings, and modern poetry, we will discover spiritual guidance and meaning for our 21st century lives. The curriculum will include the introduction of new middot (plural of middah or ethical character trait) as well as emphasis on foundational middot requested by group participants. Additionally, we will each work on clarifying our own individual spiritual curriculum as we discover more about our personal strengths and challenges. Sessions will include spiritual grounding, community building, text study, interactive discussion, contemplative listening, personal sharing, and the introduction of brief practices to be undertaken between sessions. Confidentiality and safe dialogue guidelines will be respected. Prospective new students are strongly encouraged to speak with the instructor well before the semester begins.

Mussar for a Meaningful Life (8 sessions)

Instructor: Laila Goodman
Dates: October 31, November 21, December 19, 2021; January 23, February 20, March 20, April 24, May 22, 2022
Day and Time: Sunday mornings 10-11:30 a.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $216 | Register now 

Come explore the ancient, Jewish practice of Mussar. Tapping into Jewish wisdom about character development, we will learn about how to notice your behaviors and how to take small steps to work toward wholeness. This is a course that touches heart and head. Come discover your “soul curriculum,” a peek into a path that can help you to tap into your holiness

Traveling the Mussar Path (8 sessions)

Instructor: Rabbi Eric Gurvis
Dates: October 21; November 4, 18; December 2, 16, 2021; January 13, 27; February 10, 2022
Day and Time: Thursday evenings, 7:45-9:15 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Session will be on Zoom or in person depending upon class decisions.
Hosted by: Temple Emanuel
Fee: $216 | Register now

In our confusing and contentious time, many are seeking to find a greater sense of grounding in core virtues which can guide us, uplift us and inspire us to become the best persons we can be. For the Jewish world, seeking such a focus is hardly new. Yet, in our time, we have the uncovering of a rich part of our Jewish heritage which was nearly lost to our people – the study and practice of Mussar. In large part inspired by the work of The Mussar Institute and other contemporary efforts at reclaiming mussar for our day, an ever- expanding number of communities and individuals are bringing the study of Mussar teachings and their accompanying practice into their lives.

Traveling “the Mussar Path” is a powerful, meaningful and life-affirming spiritual practice. This Va’ad (Mussar group) is both for new students/practitioners as well as those with some previous experience in Mussar study and practice. We will begin by exploring middot (soul-traits) such as Achrayut/Responsibility; Bitachon/Trust; and Ometz Lev/Courage. From there we will move on to middot (soul- traits) chosen collaboratively by the members of the group. The experience will involve bi-weekly group sessions, alternating with hevruta text study outside of our group sessions. Our goal is to deepen our awareness and practice of these key Jewish values in our hearts, souls and lives. All materials will be presented in English translation.


Texts & Traditions

A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven: Ecclesiastes (5 sessions)

Instructor: Naomi Gurt Lind
Dates: November 7, 14, 21, 28, December 5, 2021
Day and Time: Sundays 7:30-9 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $135 | Register now 

This course begins with the passage in Ecclesiastes (3:1-8) that inspired the famous Pete Seeger song, “Turn, turn, turn,” and moves on to consider the emotional, spiritual, and psychological problems and resonances in the Book of Ecclesiastes as a whole. We will study that famous passage and others, slowly and deliberately, in multiple English translations, and relate what we find in the sacred text to our own lives. This is a course for deep thinkers, seekers of meaning, and people who like to consider profound questions from multiple angles. Studying Ecclesiastes offers us the strength and wisdom that comes with taking “the long view” of human affairs. Join us for meaningful study, reflection, and conversation!

Exploring Talmud through the Daily Daf Yomi – 2021-2022

Instructor: Layah Kranz Lipsker
Day and Time: Mondays (or *Tuesdays) and Thursdays 9-9:45 a.m. EST
Location: Online via Zoom
Sessions and Dates:

Daf Yomi ALL (Sept 9-May 26):
Sept: 9, 13, 20, 23, 27, 30; October: 4, 7, 12*, 14, 18, 21,25, 28; November: 1,4,8,11, 15, 18, 22; December: 6, 9, 13, 16, 20, 23, 2021; January: 3, 6, 10, 13, 18*, 20, 24, 27, 31; February: 3, 7, 10, 14, 17, 22*, 24, 28; March:3, 7, 10, 14, 21, 24, 28, 31; April: 4, 7, 11, 14, 25, 28; May: 2, 5, 9, 12, 16, 19, 23, 26, 2022. (66 sessions)
Fee: $890. | Register now

Daf Yomi FALL (Sept 9-Nov 22):
Sept: 9, 13, 20, 23, 27, 30; October: 4, 7, 12*, 14, 18, 21,25, 28; November: 1,4,8,11, 15, 18, 22, 2021. (21 sessions)
Fee: $284. | Register now

Daf Yomi WINTER (Dec 6-Feb 28):
December: 6, 9, 13, 16, 20, 23, 2021; January: 3, 6, 10, 13, 18*, 20, 24, 27, 31; February: 3, 7, 10, 14, 17, 22*, 24, 28, 2022. (23 sessions)
Fee: $310. | Register now

Daf Yomi SPRING (Mar 3-May 26):
March: 3, 7, 10, 14, 21, 24, 28, 31; April: 4, 7, 11, 14, 25, 28; May: 2, 5, 9, 12, 16, 19, 23, 26, 2022. (22 sessions)
Fee: $297 | Register now 

This is your opportunity to join Jews around the world in the daily study of Talmud. Layah will lead a 45-minute study two times each week to discuss themes in the daily Daf (page or folio) and its relevance for the modern Jew. This is a beginners Talmud class and is entirely in English.

Finding the Words: A Personal Exploration into the Book of Psalms (8 sessions)

Instructor: Rabbi Mona Strick
Dates: October 7, 14, 21, 28; November 4, 11, 18; December 2, 2021
Day and Time: Thursday evenings, 7-8:30 p..m Eastern Time
Location: On-line via Zoom
Hosted by: Boston Synagogue
Fee: $216 | Register now

How do these ancient prayer-poems give voice to the most human experiences of joy, grief, despair and hope? How do they give us permission to explore our complicated feelings about God? Using a variety of translations, commentary, musical settings and liturgy, we will dive into select Psalms to deepen our understanding of the text. Together we will consider what continues to make this unique book of the Bible so compelling.

The God(s) of Judaism (6 sessions)

Instructor: Rabbi Or Rose
Dates: October 13, 20, 27, November 3, 10, 17, 2021 (Dec 1 make-up date)
Day and Time: Wednesdays 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom
Cosponsored by: Temple Israel Boston, Brigid Goggin
Fee: $210/$150/$60 Supporter/Standard/Reduced| Register now 

Judaism is widely regarded as the world’s first great monotheistic tradition. What is not widely known is that Jewish thinkers throughout the ages have held very different views of God. Is the Divine all-powerful and all-knowing? What about evil? Can human actions impact God? From the Hebrew Bible to Maimonides to Abraham Joshua Heschel, these questions have been answered in a variety of ways. In some cases, these answers are radically different! Join us for this unique historical and theological journey, as we explore writings from different time periods and genres of Jewish thought, including art, music and poetry. As we survey these diverse sources, we will ask ourselves how these works might inform our own understandings of theology, history, and creativity.

Hitchazkut: Rebbe Nachman and the Journey Towards Self-Encouragement (6 sessions)

Instructor: Sabrina Burger
Dates: Nov 10, 17, Dec 1, 8, 15, 22, 2021
Day and Time: Wednesdays, 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online Via Zoom
Fee: $162 | Register now

So many people today struggle with depression and anxiety. It is likely that you or someone you know is looking for practical ways to build resilience, a growth mindset, and more joy. While Jewish tradition offers many helpful teachings and tools, perhaps the most well-developed approach is that of the Hasidic master Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810). Through his own struggles with disappointment, personal tragedy, and suffering, he developed relevant and accessible tools to cultivate renewal and joy. In this course we will focus on developing our ability to practice what Rebbe Nachman called, hitchazkut, or self-encouragement. Through text study, discussion, and short practices, we will learn from and with each other, as we zoom into the core aspects of this timely Jewish wisdom.

Jewish Life and Living – Themes in Jewish Day to Day Life (6 sessions)

Instructor: Rabbi Lila Kagedan
Dates: October 13, November 10, December 8, 2021; January 12 or February 9, March 9, April 6, 2022 (Make-up date:  May 4, 2022)
Day and Time: Wednesdays 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Location: In person in Newton and Needham, or online via Zoom, TBD
Fee: $162 | Register now 

We look at current issues and relate them back to the Torah. We also discuss themes like cooking, movies and other topics. We see how things today are similar to the past and what the significance is today!

Kabbalah of Family (8 sessions)

Instructor: Layah Kranz Lipsker
Dates: October 4, 18; November 1, 15, 29; December 13, 2021; Jan 3, 18*, 2022
Day and Time: Mondays 10-11:30 a.m. Eastern Time
Location: Some sessions in-person in Newton, Needham and Brookline; others on Zoom
Fee: $216 | Register now 

This series will explore family dynamics through biblical and Talmudic texts with a Kabbalistic lens.

*The last session will take place on Tuesday January 18th.

Kabbalah of Personal Growth – Wayland (8 sessions)

Instructor: Layah Kranz Lipsker
Dates: September 13, October 6, 13; November 3, 17; December 1, 15, 2021; January 5, 2022
Day and Time: Wednesdays 4-5:30 p.m. except for Monday Sept 13, 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Some sessions in a private home in Wayland; others on Zoom.
Fee: $216 | Register now

Explore the world of personal growth and navigating transitions while showing up as our best selves. We will explore Jewish wisdom and texts through the lens of Kabbalah. Join the conversation!

Living in Three Dimensions: Jewish Wisdom for Reconnecting in our Relationships with Others (8 sessions)

Instructor: Rabbi Eric Gurvis
Dates: October 19; November 2, 16; December 7, 21, 2021; January 4, 18, February 1, 2022
Day and Time: Tuesdays 7:15-8:45 p.m.
Location: Online
Fee: $216 | Register now 

In the series we will explore Jewish teachings on creating meaningful relationships and improving our interactions with others. After a year-and-a-half of being asked to remain at a distance from all but our immediate families, we are now re-entering the world. And at the same time, we are re-entering interactions in-person in three-dimensions. Life under COVID helped us develop new skills and ways of being. As we re-connect, what can our rich Jewish heritage offer us as guidance for re-connecting and living in three dimensions.

We will look to the teachings of Martin Buber, Abraham Joshua Heschel, as well as the Mussar and Hasidic traditions for useful insights as we re-engage with our world and create our new reality.

All texts will be studied in translation.

Market Mussar: Rabbinic Perspectives on Finance (6 sessions)

Instructor: Allen Lipson
Dates: November 8, 15, 22, 29, December 6, 13, 2021
Day and Time: Monday evenings 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom
Cosponsored by: Temple Israel, Boston
Fee: $210/$150/$90 Supporter/Standard/20s & 30s | Register now 

Financial markets have come to influence virtually every activity of our daily lives, whether we are financial professionals pondering professional ethics; charitable donors debating just how much to give; future retirees looking into socially responsible investing; inheritors of wealth grappling with money’s complicated legacy; or workers trying to build power through contracts. This class asks all of us to bring our financial experiences to bear in looking closely at the much-neglected field of rabbinic financial law. Through our own stories, we’ll join the rabbinic conversation over the place money and its institutions do play and ought to play in our lives. In the process, we’ll become familiar with core topics in the field, including ribit (interest), ona’ah (fair pricing), yerushah (inheritance), ma’aser (tithing), and sekhirut (labor contracts). No previous textual or religious background is required, beyond a willingness to bring your full self to the texts!

Mystical Connections: Kabbalistic Teachings on Relationships and Intimacy (8 sessions)

Instructor: Rabbi Getzel Davis
Dates: September 30, October 7, 14, 21, 28, November 4, 11, 18, 2021
Day and Time: Thursdays, 8-9:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $216 | Register now

Join Rabbi Getzel Davis on a search for the spirituality of encountering one’s beloved.  Explore kabbalistic, rabbinic, and philosophical wisdom on the nature of relationship, sex, and intimacy. Dive into teachings from the Zohar, Rabbi Isaac Luria, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, Martin Buber, Jacques Derrida, Rabbi Menachem Froman, and Bell Hooks. This class welcomes partnered and unpartnered folks of all ages, faith backgrounds, gender identity and sexual orientation.

Our Relation to Creation (8 sessions)

Instructor: Rabbi Natan Margalit, PhD
Dates: October 20, 27; November 3, 10, 17; December 1, 8, 15, 2021
Day and Time: Wednesday evenings, 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $216 | Register now 

Our teacher Rabbi Art Green has often said that as Jews, we are in need of renewing our relationship with Creation. With science and evolutionary theory, our creation stories have been seen as irrelevant or, worse, have been made into fundamentalist dogma. We need new, inspiring ways to look at a Jewish story or stories of Creation. The Piaseczner Rebbe used Kabbalah and his own deep intuition and insight to create new/old mystical and ecological creation stories –maybe exactly the stories we need today to save our world and find personal meaning.