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.

UPDATE: This spring, many Hebrew College Open Circle Jewish Learning courses will be offered live, online via Zoom. Other classes will be offered live at synagogue sites or in private living rooms throughout the Greater Boston community. Please check our class listings for location information. All in-person classes must adhere to the Covid policies of the host institution.

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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
View winter/spring classes

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.

Check here for Summer 2022 course details, coming soon!

Proposals for Fall 2022 courses may be submitted by prospective faculty and class liaisons here.

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 NameInstructorLocationTimeDates# Sessionstuition feePartner OrgsRegister
“Moses: Man, Midrash, Mystery"Rabbi Shani RosenblumIn person, Temple Beth Shalom, Cambridge MATuesdays, 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern time March 22, 29 April 5, 12, 20224$60Temple Beth Shalom, Cambridge MARegister
“Rethinking Reproduction: New Approaches to an Ancient Jewish Conversations"Rabbi Shani RosenblumZoomTuesdays, 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern time May 3, 10, 17, 24, 20224$60Register
From Miriam to Marlee Matlin: Brave and BrilliantElisha GechterZoomMondays 8-9:30 p.m. Eastern TIme March 21,28; April 4, 11, 25; May 2, 9, 23; June 13, 20228$120Register




Inner Journeys with the OmerRabbi David Curiel and Rabbi Getzel DavisZoomTuesdays 8-9:30 p.m. Eastern TimeApril 12, 19, 26; May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, 20228$120Register
Jewish Wisdom for Life’s Great Questions (Rabbi Rachel Putterman)Rabbi Rachel PuttermanZoomWednesdays 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern TimeApril 13, 20, 27; May 11, 18, 25, 2022 Please note these dates reflect a one week postponement.6$90This course is partially funded by the Hebrew College/IYUN Fellowship grant.Register



Jewish Practice & Creative Practice: A Search for CongruityDavid MahfoudaZoomWednesdays, 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern Time March 30; April 6,13, 27; May 4, 11, 20226$90This course is partially funded by the Hebrew College/IYUN Fellowship grant.Register
Rest in the Seventh: Shabbat, Shmitta, and the Sabbatical Cycles of Redemption and FreedomRabbi Getzel Davis and Leora MallachZoomWednesdays 8-9:30 p.m. Eastern TimeMay 4, 11, 18, 25; June 1, 8, 20226$90Cancelled
There Is a Season: Through the Jewish Calendar (Sara Klugman)Sara KlugmanZoomWednesdays, 6:30-8 p.m. Eastern Time March 30; April 6, 13, 20, 27; May 4, 20226$90This course is partially funded by the Hebrew College/IYUN Fellowship grant.Register

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 NameInstructorLocationTimeLocation/Dates# Sessionstuition feePartner OrgsRegister
Part Two: American Jews and Race: A Historical PerspectiveMarc DollingerZoomThursdays 7:15-8:45 p.m., Eastern TimeMarch 17, April 7, May 5, June 2, 20224$72Register
The Case for Reparations: Talmudic Text in Conversation with Today’s AmericaAlona Weimer ZoomTuesdays, 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern TimeFebruary 22, March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 2022 6$108Register


From Narrowness to Freedom: Preparing for Passover with Fat TorahRabbi Minna BrombergZoomSundays 2:30-4 p.m. Eastern TimeMarch 13, 20, 27; April 3, 10, 20225$90Register


Pursuing Justice: Walking Whole-heartedly in a Broken World (Rabbi Navah Levine daytime)Rabbi Navah LevineZoomTuesdays, 12 noon-1:30 p.m. Eastern TimeMarch 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; April 5, 20226$90This course is partially funded by the Hebrew College/IYUN Fellowship grant.Register

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 NameInstructorLocationTimeDates# Sessionstuition feeRegister
Amulets, Incantations and the Evil Eye: Jewish Magic and Folklore Kohenet Dr. D’vorah J. Grenn ZoomTuesdays, 10-11:30 a.m. Pacific Time; 1-2:30 p.m. Eastern TimeMarch 1, 15, 29; April 12, 20224$108Register
Feasts, Fasts, and Fakeries: The Scroll of Esther through a Photographic LensLeann ShamashZoomSundays from 10:30 a.m.-12 noon Eastern Time February 13, 20, 27; March 6, 13, 20, 2022 Please note later start date6$162Register
Jewish Practice & Creative Practice: A Search for Congruity David MahfoudaZoomWednesdays, 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern TimeMarch 30; April 6,13, 27; May 4, 11, 2022 6$90Register

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 NameInstructorLocationTimeDates# Sessionstuition feePartner OrgsRegister
Advanced Mussar Study/Practice GroupRabbi Marcia Plumb  ZoomTuesdays, 7:30-9 p.m. Eastern TimeJanuary 25; February 8, 15; March 8, 22; April 5, 26; May 10, 24, 2022 (Make-up session)  8$216Temple Shir Tikvah Winchester Register
Mussar: A Jewish Spiritual Path of Conscious LivingRabbi Carol GlassZoomTuesdays, 10-11:30 a.m. Eastern TimeFebruary 22; March 8, 22; April 5, 19, May 3, 17, 31 20228$216Cancelled


Yiddish Tkhines & Spontaneous PrayerRabbi Noam LermanZoomMondays,6:30-8 p.m. Eastern TimeFebruary 14, 21, 28; March 7, 14, 2022 5$135Register

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 NameInstructorLocationTimeDates# Sessionstuition feePartner OrgsRegister
Amulets, Incantations and the Evil Eye: Jewish Magic and Folklore Kohenet Dr. D’vorah J. GrennZoomTuesdays, 10-11:30 a.m. Pacific Time; 1-2:30 p.m. Eastern TimeMarch 1, 15, 29; April 12, 20224$108Register
B'Simcha: The Myths and Realities of Cultivating True Happiness Ketriella GoldfederHybridSundays 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern TimeFebruary 6, 20, March 6, 20, April 3, 24, May 8, 22, 20228$216Register


Exploring Talmud through the Daily Daf Yomi - Winter 2021 Layah Kranz LipskerZoomMondays and Thursdays 9-9:45 a.m. Eastern TimeDecember: 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)23 Half sessions$310Register


Exploring Talmud through the Daily Daf Yomi –Spring 2022 Layah Kranz LipskerZoomMondays and Thursdays 9-9:45 a.m. Eastern TimeMarch: 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 Half sessions$297Register




Feasts, Fasts, and Fakeries: The Scroll of Esther through a Photographic Lens Leann ShamashZoomSundays from 10:30 a.m.-12 noon Eastern Time February 6, 13, 20, 27; March 6, 13, 20226$162Register



Jewish Feminist Theology: What Does God Have to do with it? Rabbi Rachal PuttermanZoomWednesdays 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern TimeFebruary 9, 16, 23; March 2, 9, 23, 20226$162Register



Torah for Tough Times: Jewish Wisdom for Life’s Great Challenges Deborah AnstandigZoomMondays, 7:00-8:30 p.m. EasternApril 4, 11, 25; May 2, 20224$60Register
Mishna Yoma: Horror Vacui (Fear of the Void) Matt SchultzZoomMondays 7:15-8:45 p.m. Eastern TimeFebruary 21; March 7, 21; April 4, 25; May 9, 23; June 6, 20228$216Temple SinaiRegister




Reading the Rabbis: The Puzzle of Pesach Rabbi Natan Margalit, Ph.D.ZoomThursday 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern TimeFebruary 10, 17, 24; March 3, 10, 20225$135Register



Song of Songs in the Rabbinic and Mystic Imagination Rabbi Natan Margalit, Ph.D.ZoomThursday 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern TimeMarch 24, 31; April 7, 28, May 5 20225$135Register






Reading the Rabbis: Pesach and Song of Songs Rabbi Natan Margalit, Ph.D.ZoomThursday 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern TimeFebruary 10, 17, 24; March 3, 10, 24, 31; April 7, 28; May 5, 202210$270Register



Rebbe Menachem Nachum's Luminous Torah: The Me'or Eynaim/Light of the Eyes Rabbi Lev FriedmanZoomTuesdays 2:30-4 p.m. Eastern TimeFebruary 15, 22; March 1, 8, 15, 22, 20226$162Cancelled


The Soul of a Mitzvah (Wayland) Layah Kranz LipskerZoomWednesday 4-5:30 p.m. Eastern Time in January and February; Thursdays 12 noon-1:30 p.m. Eastern Time March through MayJanuary 19, February 2, 16; March 3, 24; April 7, 28; May 5, 2022 8$216Register
The Soul of a Mitzvah (Rashi Moms) Layah Kranz LipskerZoomMonday 10-11:30 a.m. Eastern TimeFebruary 7, 28; March 7, 21; April 4, 11; May 2, 16, 2022 8$216Register




TEXT MESSAGES: Jewish Wisdom on Love, Loss and Change Naomi Gurt LindZoomSundays 7:30-9 p.m. Eastern TimeMarch 13, 20, 27; April 3, 10, 24; May 1, 8, 20228$216Cancelled
Tzedakah, Taxes and Torah: Dilemmas in Jewish Finance Ethics Allen LipsonZoomMondays 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern TimeMarch 7, 14, 21, 28; April 4, 11, 2022 6$162Register
The Wisdom of Rabbi Irving "Yitz" Greenberg: A Modern Roadmap Rabbi Craig MarantzZoomTuesdays 7:15-8:45 p.m. Eastern TimeFebruary 15; March 1, 15, 29; April 12, 26; May 10, 24, 2022 8$216Cancelled




Yiddish Tkhines & Spontaneous Prayer Rabbi Noam LermanZoomMondays, 6:30-8 p.m. Eastern TimeFebruary 14, 21, 28; March 7, 14, 2022 5$135LabshulRegister
The Kabbalah of Mindfulness


Layah Kranz LipskerZoomMondays 10-11:30 a.m. Eastern TimeFebruary 14, March 14, 28; April 25, May 9, 23, 20226$162Cookbook Learning CircleRegister

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.

HC-IYUN Fellows 2022

Meet the Inaugural 2022 Hebrew College-IYUN Fellows

Hebrew College’s Community Education department and IYUN are excited to announce the initial cohort of the Hebrew College-IYUN Teaching Fellowship in Adult Learning. IYUN is a cohort-based Jewish learning experience for adults, modeled on the success of Hillel’s Jewish Learning Fellowship.

Open Circle Jewish Learning FAQs

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 processing 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.

  • 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 Open Circle Jewish Learning. Generous financial scholarships are available for all adult learning courses.

Proposals for Fall 2022 courses may be submitted by prospective faculty and class liaisons here.