Open Circle Jewish Learning

Open Circle Jewish Learning brings together groups of curious, engaged learners with exceptional educators to dive into an array of compelling topics and practices.

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Open Circle Jewish Learning
  • time Adults of all ages
  • location Virtual and real living rooms, synagogues, and community spaces
  • duration 8 or fewer sessions, 1.5 hours each
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Find meaning and community in Jewish sources of wisdom through personal conversations via virtual or in-person living rooms, synagogues, and community centers throughout the Greater Boston Area.

Create your own learning circle on any topic of your choice with friends and fellow community members, or even a favorite instructor. Hebrew College is a pluralistic institution. All learners are welcome, regardless of religious background.

We are delighted that you are interested in studying with Hebrew College’s Adult Learning program and look forward to your joining our learning community. Guided by our commitment to the values of derekh eretz (ethical living), shmirat halashon  (guarding of language), and kavod habri’ot (respect of all people), we expect Hebrew College Adult Learning students to participate in our classes in a respectful manner, and be mindful of the time and learning needs of other students and instructors during in-person and remote learning.

 

 

Open Circle Jewish Learning Classes

Learning circles for young adults interested in making new connections to the Jewish community through a shared learning experiences. (Formerly known as Eser.) We are grateful to Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston and to IYUN for generously subsidizing classes for Young Adults. 

Course NameInstructorLocationTimeDatesCourse Description# SessionsFeePartner OrgsRegister
Mystical Underpinnings of Teshuva: Elul through SukkotRabbi Getzel DavisOnline via ZoomThursdays 8-9:30 p.m. ET9/1, 9/8, 9/15, 9/22, 9/29, 10/6, 10/13Read course description

7$126Register now
BlessingsDavid MahfoudaOnline via ZoomThursdays, 7-8:30 p.m. ET11/10, 11/17; 12/1, 12/8, 12/15, 2022; 1/5, 2023Read course description6$108432Register now



Cook the Book: Claudia Roden's The Book of Jewish FoodAriella AmshalemOnline via ZoomSundays 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. ET10/23, 11/13, 12/18, 2022, 1/8, 2/12, 3/19, 4/23, 5/21, 2023Read course description8$144Register now


Dreaming with Rabbi NachmanRabbi Getzel DavisOnline via ZoomThursdays, 8-9:30 P.M. ET10/27, 11/3, 11/10, 11/17, 12/1, 12/8, 2022Read course description6$108Register now




Mysticism, Music, and MindfulnessRabbi Alison Adler & Aaron Zev KatzIn-person, Temple Bnai Abraham, Beverly, MAThursdays, 7:30-9 ET10/13, 10/20, 10/27; 11/3, 11/10, 11/17, 2022Read course description6$108Temple Bnai Abraham CANCELLED


Plagues and Prophets in PerformanceKyra Smith & Noah StraussOnline via ZoomTuesdays, 7-8:30 p.m. ET10/25, 11/1, 11/8, 11/15, 11/22; 12/6, 2022Read course description6$108Register now



Portrayals of Jewish Mothers: From the Bible to the Borscht BeltElisha GechterOnline via ZoomMondays, 8-9:30 p.m. ET10/24, 11/7, 11/14, 11/21, 12/5, 12/12, 2022Read course description6$108Register now


This year we are partnering with IYUN on a Hebrew College/IYUN Fellowship program. Ten rabbinical students and alumni have been selected to be Fellows. We are grateful for IYUN’s generous funding that includes pedagogical consulting and training that will benefit our Fellows and their students for years to come. 

For additional information about classes, please contact Ahava Rosenthal

To register for multiple courses or to apply for a financial scholarship, please contact Cindy Bernstein at 617-559-8709. 

In order to gain access to courses, all class fees must be paid prior to the beginning of class. To ensure timely access to classes, we recommend that late registrations submitted less than 48 hours prior to the start of class be submitted over the phone with Cindy Bernstein, 617-559-8709 during regular business hours. Any requests for financial aid should be made at least two days prior to the start of class. 

Please note: Currently we can accept on-line payment using MasterCard or VISA credit cards only. Credit card payments are subject to a 4% administrative fee.

Learning circles that encourage social action and social justice work for all adults in the community. Social Action topics include Racial Justice and Equity, Gender Equity, Social and Economic Justice, and Environmental Guardianship through a Jewish lens. We are grateful to Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston and to IYUN for generously subsidizing Social Action classes.

Course NameInstructorLocationTimeDatesCourse Description# Sessionstuition feePartner OrgsRegister
Fat Liberation through a Jewish Lens: Learning from the Last 50 YearsRabbi Minna BrombergOnline via ZoomSundays, 12:30-2 p.m 11/6, 11/13, 11/20, 12/11, 12/18, 2022Read course description


5$105 Register now


The Fragility of Democracy: The Rise of Nazism and its Lessons for Today’s Jewish Community Jan DarsaOnline via ZoomWednesdays, 8-9:30 p.m.10/19, 10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16 11/30, 12/7, 12/14, 2022Read course description 8$168Lexington Institute of Jewish Studies (LIJS)Register now



Stepping Forward: Repairing What is Broken and Restoring What We’ve LostRabbi Sonia SalzmanTemple Emanuel, Newton, MAWednesdays, 7:30-9 p.m.10/12, 10/19, 10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 2022Read course description6$126Temple Emanuel, Newton, MARegister now




This year we are partnering with IYUN on a Hebrew College/IYUN Fellowship program.Ten rabbinical students and alumni have been selected to be Fellows. We are grateful for IYUN’s generous funding that includes pedagogical consulting and training that will benefit our Fellows and their students for years to come.

For additional information about classes, please contact Ahava Rosenthal

To register for multiple courses or to apply for a financial scholarship, please contact Cindy Bernstein at 617-559-8709. 

In order to gain access to courses, all class fees must be paid prior to the beginning of class. To ensure timely access to classes, we recommend that late registrations submitted less than 48 hours prior to the start of class be submitted over the phone with Cindy Bernstein, 617-559-8709 during regular business hours. Any requests for financial aid should be made at least two days prior to the start of class. 

Please note: Currently we can accept on-line payment using MasterCard or VISA credit cards only. Credit card payments are subject to a 4% administrative fee.

Learning circles that fulfill the mitzvah to beautify the commandments (hiddur mitzvah) by examining Judaism through visual, dramatic and musical arts.

Course NameInstructorLocationTimeDatesCourse Description# SessionsFeeRegistration
Ansky, Asch, Aleichem & Adler: A Journey Through Yiddish TheatreElliot LazarOnline via ZoomWednesdays, 4:30-6 p.m.10/12,10/19, 10/26; 11/16, 12/7, 12/14, 2022Read course description6$216POSTPONED TO FALL 2023
From Arlen to Zimmerman: The Impact of Jews in the Music IndustryMatt RobinsonOnline via ZoomMondays, 12:30-2 p.m.11/14, 11/21 11/28, 12/5, 12/12, 12/19Read course description6$216Register now


Coats of Many Colors-The Stories of Joseph Through Images Leann ShamashOnline via Zoom or in personSundays 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. ET10/23, 10/30, 11/6, 11/13, 11/20, 12/4 Read course description6$216CANCELLED

Cook the Book, Claudia Roden's The Book of Jewish FoodAriella AmshalemOnline via ZoomSundays 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. ET10/23, 11/13, 12/18, 2022; 1/8, 2/12, 3/19, 4/23, 5/21, 2023Read course description8$144Register now



Plagues and Prophets in Performance Kyra Smith and Noah StraussOnline via ZoomMondays, 8-9:30 p.m. ET10/25, 11/1, 11/ 8, 11/15, 11/22, 12/6, 2022 Read course description6$108Register now



This year we are partnering with IYUN on a Hebrew College/IYUN Fellowship program. Ten rabbinical students and alumni have been selected to be Fellows. We are grateful for IYUN’s generous funding that includes pedagogical consulting and training that will benefit our Fellows and their students for years to come. 

For additional information about classes, please contact Linna Ettinger.

To register for multiple courses or to apply for a financial scholarship, please contact Cindy Bernstein at 617-559-8709. 

In order to gain access to courses, all class fees must be paid prior to the beginning of class. To ensure timely access to classes, we recommend that late registrations submitted less than 48 hours prior to the start of class be submitted over the phone with Cindy Bernstein, 617-559-8709 during regular business hours. Any requests for financial aid should be made at least two days prior to the start of class. 

Please note: Currently we can accept on-line payment using MasterCard or VISA credit cards only. Credit card payments are subject to a 4% administrative fee.

Learning circles that provide safe spaces with instructors trained in Mussar ethics and values.

Course NameInstructorLocationTimeDatesCourse Description# SessionsFeePartner OrgsRegistration
Advanced Mussar Study/Practice GroupRabbi Marcia PlumbOnline via Zoom or In personTuesdays 7:30-9 p.m. ET9/13 - Planning Session (1 hour zoom)
10/25;
11/1, 11/15, 11/30
12/6, 12/13, 2022;
1/10, 1/17, (1/31 Makeup Date) 2023
Read course description8$288Temple Shir Tivkah WinchesterRegister now
Blessings (Mishna Berachot)David MahfoudaOnline via ZoomThursdays 7-8:30 p.m. ET11/10, 11/17; 12/1, 12/8, 12/15, 2022; 1/5, 2023Read course description
6$216432Register now




Finding the Gifts and Healing the Traumas of our Jewish History through DreamworkLinda SchillerOnline via Zoom or In personMondays 6-7:30 p.m. ET10/24, 10/ 31, 11/7 Read course description3$108Register now
Mussar for a Meaningful LifeLaila GoodmanOnline via Zoom or In personSundays 10-11:30 a.m. ET10/30, 12/20, 12/11, 2022; 1/8, 1/29, 2/12, 3/5, 3/26, 2023Read course description8$288Register now



Thirst of the Soul: An Exercise in Practical Mysticism Rabbi David CurielOnline via Zoom or In personTuesdays, 7:30-9 p.m. ET11/15, 11/22,11/ 29; 12/6, 12/13 Read course description5$180Postponed to Winter/Spring 2023



Parenting with MussarRabbi Marcia Plumb OnOnline via Zoom or In personWednesdays, 9:15-10:45 a.m. ET10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/30; 12/Read course description6$108Register now
Zivug: Conscious Transitions into a Second Marriage Rabbi Getzel DavisOnline via Zoom or In personTuesdays, 8-9:30 p.m. ET10/25: 11/1, 11/8, 11/15, 11/22, 11/29Read course description6$216Register now



This year we are partnering with IYUN on a Hebrew College/IYUN Fellowship program. Ten rabbinical students and alumni have been selected to be Fellows. We are grateful for IYUN’s generous funding that includes pedagogical consulting and training that will benefit our Fellows and their students for years to come. 

For additional information about classes, please contact Linna Ettinger.

To register for multiple courses or to apply for a financial scholarship, please contact Cindy Bernstein at 617-559-8709. 

In order to gain access to courses, all class fees must be paid prior to the beginning of class. To ensure timely access to classes, we recommend that late registrations submitted less than 48 hours prior to the start of class be submitted over the phone with Cindy Bernstein, 617-559-8709 during regular business hours. Any requests for financial aid should be made at least two days prior to the start of class. 

Please note: Currently we can accept on-line payment using MasterCard or VISA credit cards only. Credit card payments are subject to a 4% administrative fee.

Learning circles that offer different gateways of modern interpretation and understanding through the study of history, Jewish thought, literature, Kaballah and Talmud.

Course NameInstructorLocationTimeDatesCourse Description# SessionsFeePartner OrgsStandard Registration
Reading the Rabbis: Rabbinic Writingson the Holidays, Section 1: High HolidaysRabbi Natan Margalit, PhDOnline via ZoomThursdays 3-4:30 p.m. ET9/8, 9/15, 9/22, 2022Read course description


3$108Aleph: Alliance for Jewish RenewalRegister now
Reading the Rabbis: Rabbinic Writings on the Holidays, Section 2: HanukkahRabbi Natan Margalit, PhDOnline via ZoomThursdays 3-4:30 p.m. ET 10/20, 10/27, 11/3, 11/10, 11/17, 12/1, 12/8, 2022Read course description6$216Aleph: Alliance for Jewish RenewalRegister now


Reading the Rabbis: Rabbinic Writings on the Holidays, Sections 1 & 2: High Holidays and Hanukkah Rabbi Natan Margalit, PhDOnline via ZoomThursdays 3-4:30 p.m. ET9/8, 9/15, 9/22, 10/20, 10/27, 11/3, 11/10, 11/17, 12/1, 12/8, 2022Read course description9$324Aleph: Alliance for Jewish RenewalRegister now



An Introduction to Talmudic StoriesRabbi Lev FriedmanOnline via ZoomMondays 7:15–8:45 p.m. ET10/24, 11/7, 11/21, 12/5, 12/19; 1/2/2023Read course description6$216Temple SinaiRegister now




How We Became the People of the Book: Audacious Translations that Saved JudaismRabbi Navah LevineOnline via ZoomTuesdays 12noon-1:30 p.m. ET10/25, 11/1, 11/8, 11/15, 11/22, 11/29, 2022Read course description6$216POSTPONED UNTIL WINTER/SPRING SESSION
Israeli Current EventsDr. Shayna WeissIn Person at Temple EmanuelWednesdays 12:30-2 p.m. ET10/12, 12/16, 2022 Read course description2$72Temple Emanuel NewtonRegister now




Living in The ImageRabbi Eric GurvisOnline via ZoomThursdays 7:15-8:45 p.m. ET10/20, 10/27, 11/3, 11/17, 12/1, 12/15Read course description6$216Cancelled
Living Seasonally through the Jewish Year Ketriellah GoldfederIn person in a private home in Sharon, MASundays 7-8:30 p.m. ET 11/20, 12/11, 2022; 1/22, 2/19, 3/19, 4/23, 5/21,June date TBD, 2023Read course description8$288Register now



Mystical Underpinnings of Teshuva: Elul through SukkotRabbi Getzel DavisOnline via ZoomThursdays 8-9:30 p.m. ET9/1, 9/8, 9/15, 9/22, 9/29, 10/6, 10/13Read course description7$126Register now


One God, Many Aspects: Examining God Metaphors in Jewish Sacred TextNaomi Gurt LindOnline via ZoomSundays 11-12:30 p.m. ET10/30, 11/6, 11/13, 11/27, 12/4, 2022Read course description5$180Register now



PIrkei Avot - Ancient WisdomRabbi Mona StrickOnline via ZoomThursdays 7-8:30 p.m. ET10/13, 10/20, 10/27, 11/3, 11/10, 11/17, 12/1, 12/8, 2022Read course description8$288Boston SynagogueRegister now




Realistic Utopias: What's the Best Future We Can Hope For?Aron WanderOnline via ZoomSundays 12:30-2pm ET10/23, 10/30; 11/6, 11/13, 11/20, 12/4, 2022Read course description6$216Temple Israel BostonRegister now



The Sacred Feminine in Judaism Kohent D'vorah J Grenn, PhDOnline via ZoomTuesdays 1-2:30 p.m. ET 10/25, 11/8, 11/29, 12/13, 2022Read course description4$144Lilith InstituteRegister now


The Tanakh in Historical PerspectiveDr. David BernatOnline via ZoomTuesdays 7-8:30 p.m. ET10/25, 11/1, 11/8, 11/15, 11/22, 11/29, 2022 Read course description6$216Temple Emanuel AndoverRegister now


We are Bound, We are Cut Loose: Exploring a Jewish Ethic of Obligation and LiberationSara KlugmanOnline via ZoomWednesdays, 6:30-8 p.m. ET10/19, 10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/30, 2022Read course description6$216Register now


When Does the Good Outweigh the Bad? Lessons from the TalmudRabbi Talia LasterIn person at a location in BrooklineWednesdays, 7-8:30 p.m. ET 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/30, 12/7, 12/14, 2022Read course description6$216Congregation Kehillath IsraelPOSTPONED

This year we are partnering with IYUN on a Hebrew College/IYUN Fellowship program. Ten rabbinical students and alumni have been selected to be Fellows. We are grateful for IYUN’s generous funding that includes pedagogical consulting and training that will benefit our Fellows and their students for years to come. 

For additional information about classes, please contact Linna Ettinger.

To register for multiple courses or to apply for a financial scholarship, please contact Cindy Bernstein at 617-559-8709. 

In order to gain access to courses, all class fees must be paid prior to the beginning of class. To ensure timely access to classes, we recommend that late registrations submitted less than 48 hours prior to the start of class be submitted over the phone with Cindy Bernstein, 617-559-8709 during regular business hours. Any requests for financial aid should be made at least two days prior to the start of class. 

Please note: Currently we can accept on-line payment using MasterCard or VISA credit cards only. Credit card payments are subject to a 4% administrative fee.

Learn from both ancient and contemporary sources of wisdom that you are not alone in your respective parenting or grandparenting journeys and connect with other families to create supportive communities. Explore Jewish values and teachings that can enrich your family. We welcome the participation of parents from all faiths, cultures, families, and experiences.

Course NameInstructorLocationTimeDatesCourse Description# Sessionstuition feePartner OrgsRegister
Antisemitism and Our Kids: A workshop Series for Parents and GrandparentsJan Darsa, Dr Jonathan Golden, and Yoni KaddenTemple Beth Shalom, Needham MASundays, 5-6:30 p.m. 10/23, 11/6, 12/11, 2022; January 22, 2023Read course description



4$72Temple Beth Shalom, Needham MARegister now
Parenting with MussarRabbi Marcia PlumbOnline via Zoom or In personWednesdays, 9:15-10:45 a.m. Eastern Time10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/30; 12/7Read course description6$108Register now



Open Circle Jewish Learning FAQs

We are currently accepting Winter/Spring course proposals for Classic and Special Programs Open Circle Jewish Learning courses and for Hebrew College-IYUN Fellowship courses. Current and prospective instructors and class liaisons are invited to submit proposals.

Open Circle Jewish Learning Classic and Special Programs

Open Circle Jewish Learning courses fall within the categories of Texts and Traditions, Mindfulness, Arts and Culture, Social Action, Young Adult and Parenting/Grandparenting classes. All prospective instructors are encouraged to submit a proposal. Please see guidelines and expectations here.

The Hebrew College -IYUN Fellowship is back for Hebrew College rabbinical students and RS graduates.

The Hebrew College Adult Learning Department and IYUN are delighted to announce the second cohort of the Hebrew College-IYUN Teaching Fellowship in Adult Learning. IYUN, a project of the Office of Innovation, is a cohort-based Jewish learning experience for adults. By merging the goals of Hebrew College’s Rabbinical School and Community Education department with IYUN’s curriculum development and engagement expertise, we are creating more opportunities to build Jewish community and love of Torah study for adults as we explore essential questions through the lens of Torah. Please see more details about the Fellowship and how to apply here.

For more information, contact Linna Ettinger or Ahava Rosenthal.

Hebrew College is committed to accommodating adult learners with accessibility needs for a limited number of courses. Please contact us so we can determine how we might best accommodate you.

Generous financial scholarships are available. Contact us  for more information.

For best results, register more than 48 hours prior to the start of a class in order to guarantee that the instructor receives your contact information in time for class.
Currently we can only accept MasterCard and VISA payments. All payments are subject to a 4% credit card convenience fee.
To register for more than one class at a time, you must contact Cindy Bernstein at 617-559-8709 to process it over the phone. Otherwise, the system will not compute the payment correctly.
Should you wish to avoid the credit card convenience fee, you may pay by check. Please make your check payable to Hebrew College, and include a note with your name, address, phone number and email address, and the name of the course and instructor for which you wish to register. Send the check and your note to Hebrew College, 160 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, MA 02459.  It will help us if you email Cindy Bernstein to let her know to expect your payment in the mail.

  • All cancellations prior to the start of a Hebrew College Adult Learning class will be refunded in full (less a 4% credit card processing fee).
  • After the first session, a $50 administrative fee (and a 4% credit card processing fee) will be deducted from the refund.
  • No refunds will be made after the second session.
  • For extenuating circumstances, including requests for withdrawal after the second session, please contact us.
  • Credit card processing fees apply to all transactions, regardless of the time of withdrawal.
Kelsey Peterson

I am immensely grateful to my Open Circle Jewish Learning teacher Elisha Gechter and our community of learners, which is why I made a gift to Hebrew College in her honor with tikkun olamin mind—a concept I first learned about in Elisha’s course. Since her wonderful eight-week class, I have enrolled in two more Zoom courses with Hebrew College, and can’t wait for her next Open Circle course, “From Miriam to Marlee Matlin: Brave and Brilliant Jewish Women.”

Read Kelsey’s blog, The Year of My Jewish Learning Journey.

Want to learn more about Open Circle Jewish Learning?

For more information contact Linna Ettinger, Director of Classic Open Circle Jewish Learning, or Ahava Rosenthal, Director, Specialized Programming for Open Circle Jewish Learning. Generous financial scholarships are available for all adult learning courses.