Young Adult Learning Circles
Hebrew College’s Young Adult Learning programs bring together young adults in their 20s and 30s in living rooms throughout Greater Boston to build connection and community through conversation.
Open Circle Jewish Learning 20s and 30s offers small-group discussions on topics including mindfulness and mysticism; politics and history; arts and culture; social action; and texts and traditions. Eser, our 10-week spring program, focuses on contemporary issues and ideas through a Jewish theme that changes each year.
- time 20s and 30s
- location Living rooms and community spaces
- duration 6-10 weeks
What is Eser?
Eser is Hebrew for 10, a number with special significance in Judaism. Ten is a symbol of good luck and power: there are 10 Commandments; 10 members of a minyan, the quorum for communal Jewish ceremony; and 10 sefirot, or elements of the divine existing in nature.
Named for Eser’s 10 sessions, Eser brings young adults together in living rooms and community centers throughout the Greater Boston Area to explore contemporary issues and ideas through a Jewish lens, and to build connection and community through conversation.
Picture this: Ten young professionals sitting around a living room on a weekday evening, eating snacks, drinking wine, laughing, talking and studying sources on some not-so-small questions like: “Is there a Jewish hell?” “Does God exist?” and “Why be Jewish?” If anyone had any doubts about the vibrancy of American Jewish life today, they should sit in on an Eser session.Ilana Zietman, Rabbinical Student and MJEd
Eser participants meet each spring for 10 sessions of facilitated discussion and Jewish learning around a specific “top ten” theme in convenient locations across the Boston Area. Weekly discussion sessions are held at the home of a group member and facilitated by a Jewish educator or rabbi-in-training.
Eser welcomes participants from all religious, political, gender, and economic backgrounds. No prior formal Jewish education or knowledge of Hebrew is required. Past participants include secular and religious Jews from a variety of movements, and non-Jews, including partners in interfaith relationships, and those considering going through conversion.
A few Eser groups are designated for participants that share something in common, such as our Keshet group for the LGBTQ community and our Russian-Speaking Jews group for young adults from the Former Soviet Union. Groups also come together for Shabbat meals and other social gatherings.
Over the program, I formed a close bond with nine other people who I wouldn’t have even met if not for Eser. In the weekly conversations, I started to appreciate the diversity of perspectives answering life’s question and obtained a deeper understanding of how Judaism has intellectually evolved over the past 3000+ years.Mark Goldman, Graduate Research Fellow, Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology