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.

supported by cjp logo

young adults talking in living room
  • time 20s and 30s
  • location Living rooms and community spaces
  • duration Eser Classic: 10 (eser) Weeks; Eser Select: 6-8 weeks
Register for Eser

Eser Programs

Eser Classic

Eser Classic participants meet for 10 sessions of facilitated discussion and Jewish learning each spring 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. 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.

We welcome the opportunity to partner with other organizations in the Greater Boston area to offer a tailored Eser experiences. Bring 10 friends and pick a theme or topic, and we’ll find a facilitator and provide texts to enrich your Jewish journey!

Past Eser Classic "Top Ten" Themes

What would Maimonides say if he lived now? How would our reading of the Torah change if it were on an iPad rather than a scroll? We update our phones, we update our operating systems, why not update our Judaism? We’ll explore traditional perspectives while giving voice to what Jews in their 20s and 30s seek now.

Does God exist? Does Israel connect Jewish people? What’s the meaning of life? This year, Eser is taking on the big questions you’re already thinking about from the Jewish perspective in 10 Not-So-Small Questions.

This spring, talk about bigger issues and sticky situations that challenge our assumptions. You’ll explore Jewish and contemporary ideas dealing with money, family, community and dating in Ten Ethical Dilemmas: What Would You Do?

From climate change and immigration to gun control and race relations, social issues have come to the fore in today’s discourse. What does Judaism have to contribute to the conversation? Join Eser, a vibrant community of young adults in their 20s and 30s, to discuss Jewish perspectives on 10 different controversial issues.

This year’s Eser theme is “Ten Best Kept Secrets,” an intriguing focus that promises engaging conversation on a number of little-known and fascinating topics. More than an opportunity to poke around in curious corners of Jewish life, each topic functions as a gateway to a specific set of important and deep issues, generating the kind of exciting and thought-provoking conversations that make Eser unique.

Eser Select

Eser Select is a six to eight week program offered in the fall and summer that features topics and conversations from past Eser “top tens,” or explores new themes. One example is Eser Maker Mishkan, an opportunity to explore new activities, develop your Jewish identity, and build new connections through hand-on crafts like cooking, woodworking and embroidery.

Past Eser Select Classes

This 8 class series on Jewish mindfulness and meditation is open to all levels of practitioners. Led by Hebrew College student Genevieve Greinetz and Temple Emunah’s Beni Summers, Awakening to Daily Wonder Through Jewish Mindfulness offers texts and practices that will serve to create or deepen a regular, personal meditation practice for participants.Using the elements of our everyday to guide the eight sessions, we will explore different techniques and texts to cultivate awareness, acceptance, and a loving relationship with the present moment and ourselves in it. All are welcome and participants can expect to find joy and challenge in a supportive community along the way. Facilitators: Genevieve Greinetz & Beni Summers

Have you recently lost someone in your life? Are you looking to honor a loved one through Jewish rituals? Do the Jewish mourning rituals feel compelling to you? Are they not compelling enough? The Jewish tradition offers so many models of dealing with grief, but it can be overwhelming to contemplate how to integrate them and even to understand what they are. In this 6-session support and learning circle, led by rabbinical student Batya Ellinoy, we’ll explore what Judaism offers to get through difficult times, learn about Jewish rituals for grief and loss, and cultivate a community of supportive friends. Facilitator: Batya Ellinoy

 

We live in one of the most religiously diverse societies in the history of humankind. In this rich cultural context, how do we honor our similarities and differences, and create a vibrant and inclusive pluralistic ethos? This discussion group welcomes people who identify as religious, secular, seeking, or spiritually curious, who want to explore questions of identity, meaning, community, and justice with other young adults from different walks of life. Facilitators: Sara Gardner & Tom Reid

Never done Eser before and want to give it a try? Dying to revisit a past year’s theme? You’ll be able to explore past favorites and new discoveries over the course of this 6-session class, facilitated by Rabbi Elizabeth Bonney-Cohen. In conjunction with BASEHillel Boston, you’ll discuss topics ranging from tattoos to interfaith relationships to life’s big questions in EBC’s very own living room. Explore the Best of Eser while you’re BASEd in Boston! Facilitator: Elizabeth Bonney-Cohen

Does Judaism have value in 2018? Is God real? Does Hell exist for Jews? What should Israel mean for me? This fall, Yisod and Eser are partnering to offer a rare discussion-based learning opportunity with our very own Rav Hazzan Aliza Berger. Facilitator: Rav-Hazzan Aliza Berger

 

Food has long been an expression of Jewish culture and identity. Through this workshop, led by Eser’s Sara Gardner, an avid cook and food historian, you’ll explore how Jewish culinary heritage connects to the identity of Jews throughout the Diaspora, and you’ll learn a few new recipes along the way.

Eser Maker Mishkan is an opportunity to explore new activities, develop your Jewish identity, and build new connections through hand-on crafts like cooking, woodworking and embroidery

From mezuzot to dreidels to gorgeous wooden synagogues, woodworking has long been a means to express Jewish identity. In this workshop, led by woodworker extraordinaire Eugene Zeleny and almost-rabbi Sam Blumberg, you’ll woodwork your own Judaica and explore your Jewish identity’s artistic expression.

Eser Maker Mishkan is an opportunity to explore new activities, develop your Jewish identity, and build new connections through hand-on crafts like cooking, woodworking and embroidery

Many Jewish sacred objects are embroidered, from Torah covers to Kippot to Tallit and Tzitzit. In this workshop, led by local artist Kit Collins and a rabbinic facilitator, you’ll work on embroidering your own Jewish practice.

Eser Maker Mishkan is an opportunity to explore new activities, develop your Jewish identity, and build new connections through hand-on crafts like cooking, woodworking and embroidery

Six sessions of learning and discussion in advance of specific holidays.

Using the writings of 20th century theologians and philosophers, these groups focused on developing mindfulness practices based on individuals’ experiences and goals.

Eser Events

A sample of the Eser experience with other young adults from across Boston with plenty of drinks, snacks and schmoozing. Visit Facebook to see upcoming events.

Past Eser Events

January 2019: The Nosh: Jewish Stories Told Live… at Mameleh’s

More than 100 young adults in the Greater Boston area came together on Tuesday, January 26, 2019 at Mamaleh’s in Cambridge for  Eser’s “The Nosh 2019: Jewish Stories Told Live…at Mamaleh’s.” The event featured more than a dozen storytellers, including a few who were inspired to participate at the event.

 

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Sara Gardner
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Bennie Summers
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Jessica Goldberg
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Jordan Schuster
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Eser on Campus

Available to most colleges and universities within the Boston area, Eser on Campus consists of ten sessions of group learning facilitated by either an Eser educator or a Hillel professional. Contact us if you’re interested in bringing Eser to your campus!

I cannot recommend Eser highly enough. It is an invitation to a surprising new relationship with your Jewish self.

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

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.