Young Adult Learning Eser

Eser Classic, a 10-week spring program sponsored by Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), brings together young adults in their 20s and 30s to explore contemporary issues and ideas through a specific Jewish theme. Eser Select offers shorter themed classes in the summer, fall and winter that build connection and community through conversation.

young adults talking in living room
  • time 20s and 30s
  • location Living rooms and community spaces
  • duration Ten (Eser) Weeks
Register

Eser Participants

Eser is open to all young adults in their 20s and 30s who are interested in Jewish learning and facilitated discussion. Eser welcome individuals 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, as well as non-Jews, including partners in interfaith relationships and those considering conversion.

Meredith Reiches, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, the University of Massachusetts Boston

I abandoned Jewish education in high school, the moment my parents stopped insisting that I go… In the years that followed, I hopped from congregation to congregation for Shabbat and High Holiday services. I struggled to find a community where questions were as important as practices and where text-based inquiry combined with progressive values in a way that engaged my mind and heart…. Eser helped me to reimagine a Jewish identity that had not been updated in decades. Every week, through close textual reading in community with a gifted facilitator, was a fresh invitation to consider something I thought I’d made up my mind about, be it mysticism or the afterlife or the existence of the divine.

Sarah Gordon, project coordinator, Cincinnati Children's Hospital

I come from an interfaith family. My father is Jewish and my mother was raised Presbyterian…. My three siblings and I were raised Jewish and all identify as such, yet we don’t have the same rooted faith and practice that some of our fully Jewish cousins do. That’s why when I heard about Eser, my first thought was how much my Grandma would love and appreciate me taking it… Upon my first of the ten classes, I knew instantly that Eser would offer me so much more than just that. My group had deep, intimate, and sometimes difficult conversations. Seeing as the program’s theme was “Ten Not-So-Small Questions,” these big topics really cracked open the heart of each person’s Judaism and how we identify with and practice our faith. While we were all 20 and 30-year old Jews living in the Boston area, we each had such different stories and ways of connecting to our Jewish roots. We learned so much from one another and the texts that we read.

Naomi Weinblatt, researcher, Brandeis University.

Although I wasn’t new to Boston, I was new to the feeling of wanting to connect with other Jews in the area. And there are few things I love more than having deep conversations about meaningful topics in a homey environment. After speaking with staff at Eser about scholarship opportunities, I eagerly signed up for Spring sessions. Every week we met as an eager cohort excited about the topic to be discussed. The diverse backgrounds of each participant engendered unique perspectives as we shared opinions, experiences, and questions to ponder…. There were times in which everyone agreed with the way a topic was presented, and times in which no one did! These moments were important for investigating ourselves and how we felt about ideas we might not have considered in years…. Having the chance to connect meaningfully with my peers made a significant positive impact on my Jewish life in Boston, and I’m grateful to Eser for that opportunity!

Visit our JewishBoston.com page to read additional reflections by our past participants.

Ready to Register for Eser?

If you need additional information, want to get involved, or just want to grab coffee, email Sara Gardner, associate director of young adult learning, at sgardner@hebrewcollege.edu, or call 617-559-8809.