Open Circle Jewish Learning

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

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all Hebrew College Community Learning classes, including Open Circle Jewish Learning, are currently being offered online, including Summer and Fall 2020 classes.

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Open Circle Jewish Learning
  • time Adults of all ages
  • location Virtual living rooms, synagogues, and community spaces
  • duration 6 to 8 Sessions, 1.5 hours each
Take a summer online course

Summer 2020 Community Learning Offerings:

PROGRAMCOURSE TITLEINSTRUCTORDATESTIMECOST (per person)REGISTER
OPEN CIRCLE
Open Circle Jewish Learning: Text/TraditionsDaf YomiLayah LipskerJuly 6, 9, 13, 16, 20, 23, 27, 30; August 3, 6, 10, 13M/Th from 9-9:45 am$150Register
Open Circle Jewish Learning: Arts & CulturePoetry as a Spiritual ExerciseRoslyn WeinerJuly 15, 22, 29; August 5, 12, 19Wednesdays, 12:30-2 pm$150Class canceled
Open Circle Jewish Learning: Arts & CultureYetzirah ChavurahJackson MercerJuly 14, 28; August 11, 25; September 8; October 6Tuesdays, 8-9:30 pm$150Register
Open Circle Jewish Learning: MindfulnessThe Mussar BridgeRabbi Eric GurvisJuly 14, 21, 28; August 4, 11, 18Tuesdays, 7:15-8:45 pm$150Register
Open Circle Jewish Learning: MindfulnessMussar For EveryoneMerry ArnoldJuly 9, 16, 23, 30; August 6, 13 Thursdays, 7:15-8:45 pm$150Register
OPEN CIRCLE YOUNG ADULT
Open Circle Jewish Learning: Young AdultJewish Myth BustersElisha GechterJuly 13, 20, 27; August 3, 10, 17Mondays, 7:30-9:00 pm$72Register
Open Circle Jewish Learning: Young AdultZivug: From Finding Love to Transitioning to MarriageRabbi Getzel DavisJuly 9, 16, 23, 30; August 6, 13 Thursdays, 8:00-9:30 pm$72Register
Open Circle Jewish Learning: Young AdultMystical Underpinnings of TeshuvaRabbi Getzel Davis & Rabbi David CurielAugust 20, 27; September 3, 10, 17, 24Thursdays, 8-9:30 pm$72Register
OPEN CIRCLE SOCIAL ACTION
Open Circle Jewish Learning: Social ActionJewish Approaches to Economic Justice in the Time of Covid-19Tyler DratchJuly 6, 13, 20, 27; August 3, 10 Mondays, 7:30-9:00 pm$96Register
Open Circle Jewish Learning: Social ActionLiving Sanctuaries: Immigration and Jewish TraditionRyan LesznerJuly 7, 14, 21, 28; August 4, 11Tuesdays, 7:00-8:30 pm$96Class canceled
Open Circle Jewish Learning: Social ActionRitual Hebrew Calligraphy: Bringing Change Through Traditional CraftRachel JacksonAugust 4, 11, 18, 25; September 1, 8Tuesdays, 6:00-7:30 pm $111 (include a $15 materials fee)Register

Recommended reading
Open Circle Jewish Learning: Social ActionSpiraling Through Time: Radically Rethinking Our Relationship to LandRabbi Getzel Davis & Leora MallachJuly 14, 21, 28; August 4, 11, 18Tuesdays, 8:00-9:30 pm $96Register
Open Circle Jewish Learning: Social ActionWitness as Activist: The Lessons of Elie Wiesel

(co-sponsored by the Witness Institute)
Rabbi Ariel BurgerJuly 13, 20, 27; August 3, 10, 24Mondays, 12:00-1:30pm$96Register

We have recently moved to a new online payment system. If you encounter any problems, including not receiving a registration confirmation via email for your class, please email Anna Katsevman (akatsevman@hebrewcollege.edu). Please be sure to log out of the system and refresh your history once you have paid for your class, even if you are registering for more than one class or for a second person in the same household. Please note that we only accept payment via credit card or e-check, and all are subject to a 4% administrative fee.

Please note when registering and paying: we cannot accept American Express. Many thanks.

The financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic have created a need to increase our student fees slightly. Thank you for your understanding.

Please note: Those who withdraw from a course before the first session will be given a full refund. If you choose to withdraw from a course after the first session, a $50 administrative fee will be deducted from your refund.

Current Course Descriptions

DAF YOMI
Instructor: Layah Lipsker
Mondays and Thursdays, 9-9:45 am, July 6-August 13
Cost: $150
Register

This is your opportunity to join Jews around the world in the daily study of Talmud. Layah will lead a 45-minute study two times each week, on Mondays and Thursdays, to discuss themes in the daily Daf and its relevance for the modern Jew. This is a beginners Talmud class and is entirely in English.

THE MUSSAR BRIDGE
Instructor: Rabbi Eric S. Gurvis
Tuesdays, 7:15-8:45 pm, July 14-August 18
Cost: $150
Register

Many regular Mussar students/practitioners find that their Va’adim (Mussar groups) take a break in the summer. In Summer 2020, faced with the challenge of our lives, this is not a time for “a break from our Mussar.” In this series we will explore “off-the-beaten path” middot (soul traits) and reconsider well-traveled paths in light of our current existential reality. Mussar study and practice need not go on summer break—especially as we need our Mussar to ground us in these uncertain times.

MUSSAR FOR EVERYONE
Instructor: Merry Arnold
Thursdays, 7:15-8:45 pm, July 9-August 13
Cost: $150
Register

We will use the class to look at and practice middot (traits) that could assist us to cope in new ways with the demands placed on us by COVID-19. We might also look at how the middot can help us gain a new understanding of the High Holy Days. Each class will have a settling in period, reflections on the week past, introduction of a new middah, and text study. Weekly practice of the new middah will be strongly encouraged.

POETRY AS A SPIRITUAL EXERCISE
Instructor: Roslyn Weiner
Wednesdays, 12:30-2 pm, July 15-August 19
Cost: $150
Register

Listening for what is meaningful to you is a sacred act. Poetry can help us access spiritual insights and emotional truths. This course will introduce a unique process that invites personal reflection through the experience of hearing poetry. Participants need not be well versed in studying poetry; the class will be quite interactive with voluntary sharing and participation.

YETZIRAH CHAVURAH
Instructor: Jackson Mercer
Tuesdays, 8-9:30 pm, July 14-September 22
Cost: $150
Register

Utilizing traditional Jewish texts and Jewish studying concepts, alongside the traditional meaning-making and storytelling process of songwriting, Yetzirah aims to steward and cultivate creative, authentic, and intimate relationships with Judaism. The Chavurah will be open to serious Jewish musicians, who will take part in an hour-and-a-half, weekly virtual Beit Midrash and spend personal time in between focused on composing Jewish music inspired by Jewish texts found in liturgical settings.

JEWISH APPROACHES TO ECONOMIC JUSTICE IN THE TIME OF COVID-19
Instructor: Tyler Dratch
Mondays, 7:30-9 pm, July 6-August 10
Cost: $96
Register

The Covid-19 pandemic has shaken our community. It has us questioning many of the assumptions we have made about our governing institutions and has shined a spotlight on the vulnerabilities many in our society face. A number of questions feel pertinent now: How do we ensure that people have access to food, housing, and healthcare? How will we share natural resources as we find they are more limited? How do we balance immigration and community protection? In this course we will look at biblical and rabbinic texts that approach these topics and others. We will use the spiritual technology of our Jewish texts to spark a conversation about what a just society means in our time, and make commitments to take impactful and sustained action.

LIVING SANCTUARIES: IMMIGRATION AND JEWISH TRADITION
Instructor: Ryan Lezner
Tuesdays, 7-8:30 pm, July 7-August 11
Cost: $96
Register

This course explores the sanctuary movement in the United States of America through the lens of our ancient texts. Together we’ll dive deep into our ancient texts to examine what it says about immigrants, as well as deliberate how our tradition impacts our world today. We’ll ask questions about responsibility, activism, and showing up for those who need it. Active volunteers in the sanctuary movement are welcome, as are those who are curious to learn more. Come to class with an open mind and an open heart, as we explore together how we can best support those seeking sanctuary.

RITUAL HEBREW CALLIGRAPHY: BRINGING CHANGE THROUGH TRADITIONAL CRAFT Instructor: Rachel Jackson
Tuesdays, 6-7:30 pm, August 4-September 8
Cost: $111 ($96 + $15 materials fee)
Register

When you imagine a sofer, a scribe—what do you think of? Is it someone from your community? Often, it is not. This class will have two components: a practical introduction to sofrut (ritual Hebrew calligraphy), and text learning about how, as individuals and communities, we can make choices that align with our values. This information is often inaccessible, and this class aims to shift the realities of who writes and repairs Torahs by training students to pursue the skills, and understand the issues needed to do our holiest work. Students will share with their home communities how what they have learned can be applied to their specific practice. Recommended reading.

SPIRALING THROUGH TIME: RADICALLY RETHINKING OUR RELATIONSHIP TO LAND
Instructors: Rabbi Getzel Davis and Leora Mallach
Tuesdays, 8-9:30 pm, July 14-August 18
Cost: $96
Register

How can Shabbat, Shmitah (sabbatical), and agricultural cycles disrupt our assumptions about what it means to own, rest, and relate to the earth? Join us in study and contemplation as we delve into rabbinic and biblical agricultural wisdom. We’ll use these as our guide to inform and transform our contemporary understanding and practice in our relationships with the land and each other.

WITNESS AS ACTIVIST: THE LESSONS OF ELIE WIESEL
Instructor: Rabbi Ariel Burger
Mondays, 12-1:30 pm, July 13-August 24
Cost: $96
Register

We will explore the practical legacy of Nobel Prize winner, Holocaust survivor, author, and human rights activist Elie Wiesel. Drawing on his own book, “Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom,” and especially his chapter on Activism, Rabbi Ariel Burger will explore questions including: What did Elie Wiesel teach us about our role as activists? What does it mean to bear witness? How might we cultivate courage and compassion, so that we can put our courage in the service of our compassion? Ample time for conversation and shared contemplation will be included, so bring your questions.

Want to learn more about Open Circle Jewish Learning?

If you need additional information or want to create your own course, please email Linna Ettinger, Director of Open Circle Jewish Learning, at lettinger@hebrewcollege.edu.

If you are a teacher and wish to submit a proposal for consideration for the Spring of 2021, we will begin accepting Spring 2021 proposals in the Fall of 2020.