Two Jews, three opinions. It’s an old joke, but it captures something essential about the process of Jewish learning. Questions and debate have been central to the process of Jewish study for millennia, most notably recorded in the Talmud. Engaging with a teacher and other students, in chevruta (pairs) or in a group, is also key. When we learn together, the whole of our acquired understanding is always greater than the sum of each individual’s knowledge and contribution to the discussion.
Here at Beth Israel, you’ll find all kinds of adult learning opportunities, whatever your starting point. We’re also open to suggestions, if there’s a subject you’d like to explore. Check our Calendar of Events for details. Below is a sampling of recent offerings:
Learn About Judaism and Jewish Values
Exploring Judaism—A yearlong course with Rabbi Fellman. Looking to convert to Judaism? Born Jewish and want to know more? We will cover everything from the Jewish holidays and life-cycle events to Jewish history, theology and Israel. Our course follows guidelines established by the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative Movement. Individuals and couples of all backgrounds who wish to engage and explore our religious and cultural traditions are welcome.
Ta Sh’ma—Learn a bissel of Torah with Rabbi Fellman. Recent topics have included what is a mitzvah, what makes one Jewish, Jewish views on disability and inclusion.
Go Deeper with Prayer
Inclusion Shabbat—Join us for our annual Shabbat marking Jewish Disability Awareness Month. We’ll explore potential barriers that could prevent full participation for those with either visible or invisible conditions and how we can aspire to be a house of prayer for all people.
Shabbat Plus—Text study and discussion on special topics, including Jewish seasons, holidays and current events, following Kiddush lunch.
Shabbat in Shul—A full day of worship and study, including an alternative mindfulness meditation and Torah study service, as well as special programs in the afternoon, ranging from current events and book discussions to Bibliodrama and Yiddish for Kids. Following Seudah Shlishit, we close Shabbat together with Havdalah.
Study and Socialize
Brotherhood Breakfast—Meets on Sunday mornings twice each month; guest speakers discuss everything from genetic engineering to latest developments in Israel.
Hearing Men’s Voices—BI Brotherhood members explore the full spectrum of men’s relationships with family, community and Judaism, using texts as a springboard for discussing everyday challenges. Contact the BI Office for location.
Junior Hot Topics/Book Club—For BI members grades 3-7. Join Rabbi Fellman several times a year to discuss current issues from a Jewish perspective and some great books. Books have included Isaac Bashevis Singer short stories and All of a Kind Family.
Sisterhood Book Club—Meets monthly at members’ homes. Recent selections have included The Art Forger, The Kitchen House and Defending Jacob. See Calendar of Events for details.
More Community Learning
92nd Street Y—Monthly broadcasts from NYC of topical conversations with noted Jewish speakers; co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts, JCC and Temple Emanuel Sinai. See Calendar of Events for details.
Torathon—This annual community-wide event presents a wide range of Jewish learning opportunities for one Saturday night in November. Coordinated by the Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts.