Open Circle Jewish Learning
Open Circle Jewish Learning, sponsored by Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), brings together small groups of curious, engaged learners with exceptional educators to dive into an array of compelling topics and practices.
Explore our mindfulness and meditation, texts and traditions, arts and culture, and social action classes, or create your own Open Circle with seven friends or colleagues.
- time Adults of all ages
- location Living rooms, synagogues, and community spaces
- duration 6 to 18 Sessions
Open Circle Classes and Registration
Register for Winter/ Spring 2019 Open Circle Jewish Learning classes in the following table, find all of our offerings in the accordion menus below, or create your own salon on any topic ranging from Israel to the Torah.
Winter/ Spring 2019 Open Circle Jewish Learning Classes:
|Course Name||Instructor||Location||Time||Register Link|
|Advanced Mussar Va’ad||David Jaffe||Private Residence, Sharon||TBD||Register|
|Cultivating an Authentic Relationship with Yourself, Others and God Through the Lens of the Hebrew Months||Ketriellah Goldfeder||Private Residence, Sharon||Sunday evenings, Jan. 6, 20; Feb. 3, 17; March 3, 17; April 7; May 5, 19; June 2, 16.||Register|
|Jewish Contemporary Life and Living/ the Leadership Development Learning Circle||Lila Kagedan||Private Residence||Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m, October 10; November 14; January 16; February 13; March 27; April 10.||Register|
|Jewish Food & Identity/ the Cookbook Learning Circle||Lila Kagedan||Private Residence||Wednesdays, 12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m., September 26; October 24; November 28; December 12; February 6; March 6.||Register|
|Jewish Religious Movements||Rachel Greenblatt||Vilna Shul, Boston||Mondays, 7:30 p.m., January 28, February 12, February 26, March 12, March 26, April 9. Snow dates: April 23, April 30||Register|
|Kaballah: The Spiritual Side of Judaism||Layah Lipsker||Vilna Shul, Boston||Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m., Jan 22; Feb 12 and 26; March 5 and 19; and April 2 (April 4 snow date)||Register|
|Mussar Practice Group||Rabbi Eric Gurvis;||Temple Emanuel, Newton||Thursdays, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., February 14, 28; March 14, 28; April 11; May 2, 16, 30.||Register|
|Mussar Practice Group||Rabbi Eric Gurvis||Beth Shalom, Needham||Thursdays, February 7; March 7, 21; April 4, 25; May 9, 23; June 6, 13;||Register|
|Mussar Practice Group||Rabbi Eric Gurvis||Temple Isaiah, Lexington||Mondays, 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., February 11 and 25; March 11 and 25; April 8; May 6 and 13; June 3 and 17.||Register|
|Mussar Practice Group||Nina Piken||Private Residence, Lexington||Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., February 12, 26; March 19; April 2, 23; May 7, 21; June 4.||Register|
|Rabbinic Thought: God, Body, Soul||Shani Rosenbaum||Temple Sinai, Brookline||Mondays, Feb 11, 18, 25 March 4, 11, 18 April 1, 8||Register|
|Shabbat Table Rituals – A Practical and Spiritual Guide: Creating Heaven on Earth||Lev Friedman||Private Residence||Tuesdays, 7:30-9 p.m., January 2, 9, 26, 23, February 13, 20.||Register|
|Women of Valor||Layah Lipsker||Hebrew College, Newton||Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m., October 23; November 6; December 4; January 8; February 5; March 5; April 2; May 7.||Register|
Open Circle Jewish Learning Offerings:
Mindfulness and Mysticism Circles
Discover meditation, mysticism, and mussar, a Jewish spiritual discipline through which to nurture the soul, the spirit, and the capacity to live mindfully.
It is time to shatter the complacency of the modern age! We need to address the loneliness and isolation of living a life without God by allowing Heschel to help us once again feel the presence of God’s living light and teaching. This involves both learning how to think and how to read religiously in such a way as to allow us to respond more effectively to the ultimate questions of our lives. This will require a careful reading and study, an ambitious reading over a ten week period, of the two leading works of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel — Man is Not Alone and God in Search of Man. We will quickly recognize that Heschel, even in his prose, is a poet. And we will find a “blazing fervor” where Heschel will reintroduce us to the experience of wonder so as to provide a life-long resource for reflection and prayer. This is the goal of the class!
Fall Semester: Thursdays, 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., October 4, 11, 18, 25; November 1, 8, 15, 29; December 6, 13. Instructor: Rabbi Dov Y. Bard; Location: Boston Synagogue, Boston; Fee: $200.
Lexington: Instructor: Nancy Weiss; Location: Lexington; Fee: $140.
- Sharon: Instructor: David Jaffe; Location: Private Residence, Sharon; Fee: $160.
Cultivating an Authentic Relationship with Yourself, Others and God Through the Lens of the Hebrew Months
During this series of 10 classes you will create and/or reinvigorate a daily Jewish practice that is mindful, compassionate and that supports you to develop a more authentic relationship to yourself, others and God. These classes will include Torah text study, mindfulness and body centered exercises, journaling and compassionate listening partnerships. This intimate group of women will be supported between classes with a private/secret Facebook group as well as one private personal coaching session with Ketriellah.
Fall Semester: Instructor: Ketriellah Goldfeder; Location: Private Residence, Sharon; Fee: $200.
Spring Semester: Sunday evenings, Jan. 6, 20; Feb. 3, 17; March 3, 17; April 7; May 5, 19; June 2, 16. Instructor: Ketriellah Goldfeder; Location: Private Residence, Sharon; Fee: $220.
An introduction to Mussar, the study and practice of Jewish ethics and self-development. Mussar offers a practical approach, rooted in Jewish teachings, to enhance our lives by studying and thoughtfully working on traits we wish to develop or improve in ourselves. These range from lovingkindness to curiosity, honor to humility. Join us as we work toward becoming the people we’d like to be!
Fall Semester: Thursdays, 7:15 p.m. – 8:45 p.m., October 4, 11, 18, 25; November 1, 8. Instructor: Merry Arnold; Location: Temple Sinai, Brookline; Fee: $120
In our confusing and contentious time, many are seeking to find a greater sense of grounding in core virtues which can guide us, uplift us, and inspire us to become the best persons we can be. In this series, we will delve into the study and practice of some of the Mussar tradition wisdom for our lives in our times. Come travel Mussar’s “Jewish Road to Character” into a profoundly meaningful and nourishing spiritual practice for our Jewish souls, hearts and minds
- Belmont: Mondays, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m., October 22; November 19; December 17; January 7; February 4; March 4; April 1, 29; May 20; June 3; Instructor: Rabbi Eric Gurvis; Location: Beth El Temple Center, Belmont; Fee: $200.
- Lexington: Mondays, 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., October 8, 29; November 5, 26; December 3, 10; January 14, 28; Instructor: Rabbi Eric Gurvis; Location: Temple Isaiah, Lexington; Fee: $160.
- Newton: Thursdays, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., October 4, 18; November 1, 15, 29; December 13; January 3, 17; Instructor: Rabbi Eric Gurvis; Location: Temple Emanuel, Newton; Fee: $160.
- Needham: Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m., September 13, 27; October 11, 25; November 8; December 6, 20; January 10, 24, 31; Instructor: Rabbi Eric Gurvis; Location: Beth Shalom, Needham; Fee: Fee: $200.
- Sudbury: Wednesdays, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., October 3, 17, 31; Nov. 14, 28; Dec. 12; Jan. 9, 23; Feb. 6, 20; March 6, 27; April 10, 24; May 8, 22; June 5, 19; Instructor: Rabbi Eric Gurvis; Location: Congregation Beth El, Sudbury; Fee: $360. Register.
- Lexington: Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., October 9, 23; November 6, 20; December 4, 18; January 8, 22; Instructor: Nina Piken; Location: Private Residence, Lexington; Fee: $160.
- Winchester: Tuesdays, 7-8:30 p.m., October 23; November 13, 27; December 18; January 8, 29; February 19; March 12; Instructor: Rabbi Marcia Plumb; Location: Temple Shir Tikvah, Winchester; Fee: $160.
- Sharon: Instructor: Ronit Ziv-Kreger; Location: Private Home, Sharon; Fee: $160.
The Rabbinic era crucially shaped Judaism as we know it – both Jewish law and practice, and the way Jewish thinkers conceive of our world. How might we characterize “Rabbinic thought”? How did Rabbinic conversations deal with fundamental human questions: who and what is God? How do we relate to the body; to desire; to death and what lies beyond it? Our journey through rabbinic text will take us through a range of Rabbinic responses to these and other questions at the heart of the human spiritual experience.
- Spring Semester: Mondays, Feb 11, 18, 25; March 4, 11, 18; April 1, 8
- Instructor: Shani Rosenbaum
- Location: Temple Sinai, Brookline
- Fee: $160>> REGISTER
This class is based on Alan Morinis’ book Everyday Holiness. It is for those who are new to Mussar or who would like to revisit the middot of Humility, Anger, Trust, Gratitude, Honor and Alacrity. Theses classes are for those who have completed Season of Mussar I and are ready to dive deeper into their study and practice.
Through text study of the Shabbat home blessings, with an emphasis on the Friday night kiddush and Saturday morning kiddush, we will deepen our understanding of what we are already doing at home on Friday evenings and/or Saturdays. We will learn texts from Talmud, Midrash and Zohar, which help us to address the following questions: How is Shabbat foundational to the Jewish concept of time? What do the blessings ask of us? What do all the words that we say actually mean? What do these rituals have to do with our lives? What insight can they offer to our own spiritual connections and calling? Using music, reflection and meditation, we will delve together into the richness of Shabbat lore, Shabbat practice, and Shabbat community. No Hebrew skills required, but certainly useful.
- Wednesday evenings, January 2, 9, 26, 23, February 13, 20, 2019;
- Instructor: Lev Friedman;
- Location: Private Residence.
Those of us in our fifties, sixties, seventies and beyond can count ourselves as part of a history-making generation—pioneers in understanding and making the most of this “third chapter” of life. These years of aging are full of opportunities for learning, growth and finding new meanings and connections. The Wise Aging program provides resources and support to live the later years with spirit, resilience, and wisdom, drawing upon Jewish texts and traditions as our guides. Topics include: exploring this stage of life; a life review; relationship to one’s body; revitalizing and nourishing relationships; practicing forgiveness; learning to live with loss, change, and death, cultivating wisdom, and leaving a legacy.
- Instructor: Debra Rosenblum;
- Location: Private Home, Arlington;
- Fee: $120.
Art and Culture Circles
Experience Israeli film, poetry and short stories; examine the works of Jewish authors and artists around the globe; and analyze the connections between literature and the Bible.
- Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m, October 10; November 14; January 16; February 13; March 27; April 10.
- Instrutor: Lila Kagedan;
- Location: Private Home;
- Fee: $120 (FILLED)
- Wednesdays, 12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m., September 26; October 24; November 28; December 12; February 6; March 6.
- Instructor: Lila Kagedan;
- Location: Private Home;
- Fee $120.
Texts and Traditions Circles
Explore Jewish rituals, practices and values, such as those surrounding Shabbat, death and grief, the start of a new month, and ritual immersion. Or delve into vibrant Jewish texts, including the Torah, Talmud, and contemporary Jewish thought.
- Tuesdays, 7-8:30 p.m., Dec. 3, 10, 17; Jan. 7, 14, 28.
- Instructor: Rabbi Ariel Burger.
- Location: Congregation Sha’aray Shalom, Hingham;
- Fee: $120.
We commonly hear the newest spiritually-oriented Jewish organizations and educational institutions describing themselves as “post-denominational.” But where did Jewish denominations come from? We will look at the European origins of Orthodox, Conservative and Reform movements that would come to dominate Jewish communal life in mid-twentieth century America, at the birth of Mordecai Kaplan’s Reconstructionist movement, and later, of the Renewal movement, in the US. Our goal is to understand how these building blocks of Jewish communal structures came into place and took the shapes they did, helping individual learners, on their own, to distinguish what they see as “wheat from chaff” in their current functioning.
- Mondays, 7:30 p.m., January 28, February 12, February 26, March 12, March 26, April 9. Snow dates: April 23, April 30.
- Instructor: Rachel Greenblatt
- Location: Vilna Shul, Boston.
- Fee: $120.
This course will focus on fascinating topics such as the nature of a soul, a different approach to faith, finding one’s purpose, and creating spiritual relationships.
- Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m., Jan 22, Feb 12 and 26, March 5 and 19, April 2 (April 4 snow date)
- Instructor: Layah Lipsker
- Location: Vilna Shul, Boston
- Fee: $120.
- Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., October 23; November 6 and 20; December 4, 11, 18.
- Instructor: Layah Lipsker;
- Location: Hebrew College, Newton;
- Fee: $120.
- Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m., October 23; November 6; December 4; January 8; February 5; March 5; April 2; May 7.
- Instructor: Layah Lipsker;
- Location: Hebrew College, Newton;
- Fee: $160. (FILLED)
Social Action Circles
Join together with your peers to learn about the importance of the practice of tikkun olam (repair the world), tzedek (justice), and tzedakah (charity) in Jewish tradition, work with community organizers in local advocacy organizations, and make a difference through a meaningful social action activity on a specific theme.
The insights from my class continued to provide spiritual and intellectual nourishment throughout the week, enhancing my personal conversations with friends, family, colleagues, and even spilled over into social media posts– Arinne Braverman, Jewish educator and consultant