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Program Catalog

Life Lessons From Rosh Hodesh

With each new moon, the Jewish calendar marks and celebrates the start of a new month, also called Rosh Hodesh. This class series is taught in connection with Rosh Hodesh and each month's session will explore life lessons we can glean from themes and ideas central to the new month. 

How the Waves of Aliyah Shaped the State of Israel

In 1948 the population of Israel was 800,000 people. By 2022 the State of Israel has grown to a population of 9.5 million people. This growth was largely driven by waves of immigration from Jews from all over the world. As these immigrants settled in Israel they had far reaching impacts on many aspects of Israel. In this course, we will focus on the impacts of these new olim (immigrants) on the nation's culture (food, music, inclusivity, art, etc.) Available as single session or multi-session class.


Hakarat HaTov - Recognizing the Good

Most people know that it's good to be grateful. So why can it be so hard to recognize the good in our lives? Using lessons from Jewish texts, modern media, consumer marketing, and advertising, and "The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money" by Ron Lieber this course explores what obstacles and environmental factors impact our thinking and presents principles and tools to find the way to Hakarat HaTov - recognizing the good. Available as 1 session, though multi-session is preferred.

One version of this course is taught to elementary and teen students as they consider how these ideas impact themselves and the world around them. A second version of this course is well suited to guardians which has special sections to help adults use the learning in their parenting, in addition to the learning they get for themselves.


This I Believe

Wade into the complicated and difficult topic of interacting with others when we disagree with them. Using Jewish texts as jumping off points, we will discuss why people should treat others with respect and how to enter conversations that include topics that may trigger us. With the radio program This I Believe as a model, we will look to find common ground in some core beliefs knowing that the goal is not to persuade others to agree on the same beliefs, but to encourage people to develop respect for beliefs different from their own. Available as single or multi-session class.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in Judaism

Judaism has a long and winding history of ritual and texts related to the supernatural - sorceresses, demons, mystical creatures, and more. Starting from the biblical texts and ending with comics and Anime, this class considers the growth of interest in fantastic creatures from the bible through rabbinic literature. The class also traces the liturgical origin of a few specific creatures, how their stories developed in conjunction with the needs of the community and how they've wound their ways into modern culture. Available as a single or multi-session class.


Lilith: From First Wife to Demon to Feminist

Building off of Torah and Rabbinic texts, this class will review attitudes towards magic and demons in Judaism. The focus of our discussion will be the character of Lilith, whose story grew and changed over the ages, reacting to the needs and imaginations of the Jewish people. Available as 1 session class.


"Pu, Pu, Pu," Red Strings, & Other Enduring Superstitions

Some rituals are so ingrained in a tradition and culture that their origins are forgotten. This class explores the origins of Jewish superstitions, including many well-known ones and some not-as-well known, including a review of how the meaning changes over time. A wonderful add-on is a "Balderdash" style game on superstitions. Available as a single session class.

Truth vs. TruthS

The definition of "truth" can seem simple, but it is actually layered with complications. Participants in this class will probe the concepts of a single truth versus the potential for multiple truths in a given situation. With examples from traditional midrash, contemporary midrash and contemporary life, the goal of this class is to allow you to think more critically, be open to others, be aware of bias and misperception and how that impacts our thinking. Available as a multi-session class.

Parsha Inspired Menus

Find new and delicious ways to connect to the weekly Torah reading. In the class, participants will be shown how to explore the text to spark ideas and will be given example ideas and recipes.

Scattergories of Jewish Identity

The composite of one's Jewish identity is a complex topic. In this interactive course, participants will begin by answering several survey questions related to Jewish identity. In part 2 of the course, the participants' group survey results will be presented and compared to the larger society using two published surveys on teens and Jewish identity. Course discussion will focus on exploring the various elements that make up a person's Jewish identity. Available as a 2 session class. Suggested age range is 8th - 12th grade.

Everyone Loves a Torah Parade

Delve into the ins and outs and ups and downs of the Torah service. Participants will learn about how a Torah is created, when it is read and why at that those times, the meaning and source of the texts used in the Torah service, the choreography and symbolism of this part of our service and how it connects to the revelation at Mount Sinai when God first gave the Torah to the Jews, which is celebrated on Shavuot.

Why Midrash?

The story of Abraham smashing the idols in his father's shop...the story of baby Moses being tested with a bowl of glowing coals and a bowl of gold...the alternate identity of Shifra and Pua...these are stories many have heard in our Jewish tradition that are often assumed to be directly from the Torah. However, they are midrash. Midrash has an important place in Jewish texts and learning. During this course, we will discuss the purpose of midrash and review some prime examples of texts that begot Midrash Aggadah (narrative midrash.) For longer sessions, participants will have an opportunity to write their own midrash. Available as single or multi-session class.

Shabbat Customs From Around the World and Your Home

While some Shabbat customs are universal, Jewish practice on Shabbat is a rich tapestry of traditions that reflect history, familial ties, and the local culture. We will delve into that rich tapestry and from the comfort of our class, we will travel all over the world to learn about how Jews celebrate Shabbat by leaning about their ritual objects, foods, songs, and more. Available as single or multi-session class.

Prepping for a Seder to Remember

As the saying goes "a little preparation goes a long way" and while we often focus on the preparation of our homes and meals, it's equally important to focus our attention on preparing for a meaningful seder. The details of what this looks like will vary depending on the makeup of your seder guests, but together we will explore ideas, options, and resources that can help make your seder a seder to remember.

Parenting Lessons from Jewish Tradition

Jewish tradition is rich with stories, rituals, liturgy, and values that can help navigate the sometimes complicated and challenging job of being a parent. From ancient texts to modern interpretive rituals, Judaism can help ground parents as they work to help their children develop into mensches (at any age.) This class will bring examples and how-to's that incorporate the lessons into everyday life.

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