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Jewish Learning for Adults

Course Offerings, Winter-Spring 2020

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!

The Liturgy of Labor and Birth
with FTJC student clergy intern Eliana Kissner
Two Mondays, January 6 and 13, 2020, 8:00-9:30 PM, home-hosted

amulet papercut for mother and child, David Elias Krieger, ca. 1900, GaliciaThis class explores Jewish liturgy and practices relating to labor and childbirth. We will look at how various communities used poetry and prayer in both Hebrew and vernacular, amulets, incantations, and other religiously oriented practices to ease the birthing process and foster a sense of safety and protection for those experiencing it. We will also look at if and how these prayers and practices can be applied in the present day. This class is open to all who are interested. Pre-Registration requested, please click or tap here.

 

 

Fifty Words: Learning Hebrew Prayer
with Rabbi Guy Austrian
Four Tuesdays, January 14, 21, 28, and February 4, 2020, 8:00-9:30 PM, home-hosted

amulet papercut for mother and child, David Elias Krieger, ca. 1900, GaliciaFifty words are at the core of Hebrew prayer. We'll use these words to simultaneously improve our Hebrew reading from the Siddur while delving into key spiritual concepts and approaches to Jewish prayer. Geared toward less experienced learners, who mostly know the letters and vowels, and want to deepen their practice of Jewish Hebrew prayer. Pre-Registration requested, please click or tap here.

 

 

 

Book Talks with FTJC Authors

We're thrilled to feature our talented FTJC members who are publishing new, relevant, and exciting books! 

"God and the Big Bang" in Hebrew Translation
by Daniel Matt, just published in Hebrew translation by Igal Harmelin
Saturday, January 25, 2020, 12:00-12:45 PM, Hebrew Tabernacle Library during Kiddush

book cover for God and the Big Bang, image of gas nebula in outer spaceMany in our day and age have substituted their faith in a Creator for faith in science and technology. Science has, indeed, enhanced the quality of our life materially but has failed to tackle the most important question: life's ultimate meaning. Daniel Matt, one of the world's preeminent Zohar scholars who has authored the Pritzker English edition of the book, also wrote God and the Big Bang (1998) to foster a dialog between the two descriptions of the process of creation: the scientific and the biblical, as seen through the lens of Kabbalah and Chasidism. The Hebrew translation has just appeared in Israel, published by Yediot Aharonot, Israel's largest book publisher. The translator, FTJC member Igal Harmelin, who will share some key passages and his experience translating this fascinating book. Order the Hebrew translation here. Order the original English here.

"High Risk: A Doctor's Notes on Pregnancy, Birth, and the Unexpected" by Dr. Chavi Eve Karkowsky, M.D.
Saturday, March 28, 2020, 12:00-12:45 PM, Hebrew Tabernacle Library during Kiddush

book cover for High Risk, doctor's gloved hands

As a maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) doctor, Chavi Karkowsky imparts the emotional rewards of a profession with no shortage of tough choices, supporting expecting parents through high-risk pregnancies and deliveries. With clarity, humility, and deep compassion, she conveys the large and small indignities for expectant mothers singled out by a worrisome amniocentesis, an abnormal ultrasound, or family history. In an age when women’s health is a rights issue debated in the highest courts, High Risk also addresses chronic problems within America’s healthcare system, in which more and more American women—particularly women of color—are dying from complications that arise during pregnancy or childbirth. Much of that can be traced to a culture, and a medical community, that fails to take women’s reproductive care more seriously. In this book talk, Chavi will share highlights and discuss working with religious and secular patients. Pre-order here.

 

... And another top secret title we're not yet at liberty to reveal!
Saturday, April 25, 2020, 12:00-12:45 PM, Hebrew Tabernacle Library during Kiddush

black box rectangle

Stay tuned to this space, the surprise will be worth it.
 

 

 

 

 

Past 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
Second of two sessions: 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. 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.

 

weightlifting stick figure - image by ElisaRiva from Pixabay

How to do Hagbahah and Gelilah
Tuesday June 4 and Thursday June 6, 8:00 PM

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. A hands-on workshop in two parts on the skills of Hagbahah and Gelilah (lifting and wrapping the Sefer Torah after it is read in shul). Open to adult Jews of all genders, body types, and levels of Jewish education and skill. Led by FTJC members Meggie Kwait and Sarah Wolk.

Led by FTJC members Meggie Kwait and Sarah Wolk.

Home-hosted (wheelchair accessible, please call 209-747-8533 in advance; home also has a  dog and cats). Please register for address of first session.
Suggested donation: Free.

Pre-Registration is appreciated, 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.
 

Sat, December 7 2019 9 Kislev 5780