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Jewish Learning for Adults

Course Offerings, Spring 2019

Courses are open to members and non-members alike, unlike otherwise specified. Courses strive to be accessible to learners at multiple levels of experience, even while some specify that they are geared to learners at a particular level. Come and learn!

 

image of reading glass on stack of books

Pirkei Avot (Teachings of the Early Masters)
Four Shabbat afternoons: Saturdays May 4, 11, 18, 25, from 4:00-5:30 PM

Pirkei Avot is both a classic source of Jewish ethics and a great wisdom book in world literature. In our class, we will examine the highlights of this work together.  The questions we will consider include:  How did our Sages understand its most important ethical principles? How relevant are these principles  today?  Can we accept them or not?  If so, how can they help shape our Jewish lives and our actions in love, work, family, and community? The class will meet during the traditional time for studying Pirkei Avot, between Pesach and Shavuot.

Led by Sandy Kessler, FTJC member. Sandy taught political theory at North Carolina State University for over 40 years, has done considerable scholarly work on religion and modern political thought, and is a long-time reader of Pirkei Avot.

Location: Home hosted by participants. Register for location information. 

Suggested donation: $18 for the series, no one turned away for lack of donation.
Pre-Registration requested, please click or tap here.

 

image of hand shaped pointer for reading Torah

Reading Halachah: Laws of Learning Torah
Three Monday evenings: May 20, May 27, June 3, from 7:30-9:30 PM

Why is learning Torah a mitzvah? How do traditional sources say we should go about it? As a lead-in to Shavuot (when we celebrate the Giving of the Torah), we'll read Hilchot Talmud Torah (Laws of Learning Torah) directly in the original Hebrew from the Shulchan Aruch, with occasional reference to the Tur and other commentaries (and with help from translations and teachers). The format will be "beit midrash style," learning in pairs and discussing as a group. The course is geared toward more experienced learners who can read Hebrew; but no previous fluency with the Shulchan Aruch is assumed, and learners at all levels are welcome. As participants, we'll also reflect upon what our own regular Torah study can look like, including for parents who want to study with their children.

Led by Rabbi Tali Adler, who serves on the faculty at Yeshivat Hadar; and FTJC's Rabbi Guy Austrian.  Cosponsored by FTJC and the Hadar Institute.

Location: Hebrew Tabernacle Gold Wing (enter on 185th Street, corner of Fort Washington Ave. Wheelchair accessible. 

Suggested donation: $18 for the series, no one turned away for lack of donation.
Pre-Registration requested, please click or tap here.

 

Jewish Parenting as a Spiritual Practice
Two Shabbat afternoons: Saturday March 30 and Saturday May 18, 4:00-5:30 PM

Join Rabbi Guy Austrian and Rabbi Ilanit Goldberg-Gradess as we explore the spirituality of Jewish parenting--in all its challenges and blessings. It can profoundly change our routines, our experience of community, and our relationship to Judaism. It can be a spiritual practice in itself. These two sessions will invite parents to share from our experiences as we also search for Jewish resources and rituals that can sustain us in the stressful and sacred work of raising children. Best of all -- Childcare will be provided onsite!

Led by Rabbi Ilanit Goldberg-Gradess, FTJC member, parent of two, and a chaplain on the faculty of the Center for Pastoral Education at JTS; with FTJC's Rabbi Guy Austrian. Please e-mail Ilanit with any questions.

Location: Hudson View Gardens Lounge, Pinehurst Ave at 183rd St. 

Suggested donation: $18-$36 per family, includes childcare on-site. All are welcome, no one turned away for lack of donation.
Pre-Registration required so we can plan for childcare, please click or tap here.

 

Previous Course Offerings: Winter 2019

Machloket Matters: How to Disagree Constructively
Four weeknights: Wed Jan 23, Wed Jan 30, Thu Feb 7, Thu Feb 14, at 8:00 PM

At the core of the traditional beit midrash (study hall), are chavrutot (study pairs) critically studying together machloket: conflicting opinions found on every page of classic Jewish texts. This methodology of studying text can be used to increase the desire and ability to understand and engage more constructively with conflicting opinions in today in communities and politics. A new curriculum from the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem.

Led by FTJC's Rabbi Guy Austrian.

Hosted in participants’ homes. Please register for address of first session.
Suggested donation: $18-36 for the series. All are welcome, no one turned away for lack of donation.

Pre-Registration requested, please click or tap here.

 

bust of I.B. Singer, by Przemysław Czopor

The World of Isaac Bashevis Singer
Four Tuesday evenings, 8:00 PM: Feb 12, 19, 26, and March 5.

Women dressing as men to study Torah, geese that shriek inexplicably, people possessed by dybbuks and demons, Hitler seen in a cafeteria on Broadway... This is the world of I. B. Singer, one of the greatest Jewish writers of all time and the only Yiddish writer to win a Nobel Prize (1978). Many of his stories depict a world that is no longer here yet he does so in a profoundly modern way. We shall look at a mix of memoir and short stories. Participants are asked to acquire The Collected Stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer and In My Father's Court, both available online in inexpensive used copies.

Led by FTJC member Sheva Zucker, author of the textbooks Yiddish: An Introduction to the Language, Literature & Culture, Vols. I & II, and currently academic director of the Uriel Weinreich Program in Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture, under the auspices of Bard College and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York City.

Hosted in participants’ homes. Please register for address of first session.
Suggested donation: $18-36 for the series. All are welcome, no one turned away for lack of donation.

Pre-Registration requested, please click or tap here.

 

How to Lead Shabbat Shacharit
Three Thursdays at 8:00 PM: Feb 28, Mar 7, Mar 14

Ready to grow into a new challenge and expand your ritual leadership skills? Here's an opportunity to learn and practice with a supportive and friendly group of peers. The first two sessions will cover the nusach (melodic chant modes) and other basic how-to's of the Shabbat Shacharit service (from "Shochen Ad" through taking out the Torah), while the third will explore aspects like choosing melodies, using the power of your voice, and what it means to "lead" the congregation in prayer. (Those who know how to lead Shabbat Shacharit but just want to practice in front of a small group can show up for the third session only.) Open to adult Jews of all genders who can pronounce Hebrew fluently and can carry a tune; previous experience leading prayer not required; bravery and enthusiasm a plus!

Led by Talia Lakritz and Maddie Richer, both FTJC members and experienced shelichot tzibbur (prayer leaders).

Hosted in participants’ homes. Please register for address of first session.
Suggested donation: $18-36 for the series. All are welcome, no one turned away for lack of donation.

Pre-Registration requested, please click or tap here.

 

More Learning Opportunities?
If you have ideas about something you want to learn, and you have a hunch that you could pull together a group of others who want to learn it too,
e-mail Rabbi Guy Austrian and let's talk about it.
 

Fri, April 19 2019 14 Nisan 5779