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Fall 2023 Classes

Parsha Insights for our Time with Beth Huppin

You are invited each Thursday this October to examine the weekly Torah portion with teacher, Beth Huppin. Starting with the end of the Torah, and then on to the first three weekly portions, examine lessons for our time through the lens of the weekly Torah portion. Through a close read of text and commentaries, the goal of study and discussions will be to help us learn from Jewish wisdom about how to live ethically and meaningfully in our increasingly complicated world.

No previous knowledge needed. Everyone is invited. Drop-ins are welcome. This course will be in-person, in the CBS Beit Midrash. 

Cost: No charge. Donations to the synagogue are always appreciated

Time: Noon-1:00pm (feel free to bring your vegetarian lunch) 
Dates: Thursdays, 10/5, 10/12, 10/19, 10/26 


Exploring Problematic Power Dynamics and Sexual Behavior in Biblical and Rabbinic Texts with Rabbi Borodin

We will look at a number of different biblical texts (including connected to King David) and rabbinic texts that raise questions about appropriate boundaries and misuse of power. Studying these original texts and later commentaries on them will add layers as to how we might learn from these texts as we consider Jewish values and texts that can help us safeguard our communities from problematic relationships and interactions.

This class is coming out of learning Rabbi Borodin has been doing with the organizations Jewish Sacred Spaces and the Shalom Hartman Institute on this topic. This course will be in-person, in the CBS Beit Midrash. 

Time: Wednesday nights, 7:30-8:45pm
Dates: 10/25, 11/1, 11/8, and 11/15 (4 weeks) 


Neshama Body and Soul with Rabbi Jaymee Alpert 

Neshama Body and Soul is a workout-worship experience that combines Jewish prayer with body-weight strength-training and mobility exercises in an effort to help participants connect the physical with the spiritual.  

Rabbi Jaymee Alpert and Fernando Martinez, a gym owner and fitness trainer, created Neshama Body and Soul in 2014, after many discussions about how the physical and spiritual sides of people necessarily impact one another, and how too often, we separate being in our heads or hearts from being in our bodies.

 All ages, genders, and levels of fitness welcome.  Please bring a yoga mat if you have one. We will be doing some work on the floor and some while standing. Classes will be in-person in the CBS Social Hall. 

Time: Tuesday mornings, 8:30-9:30am Dates: 10/3, 10/10, 10/17, 10/24, 10/31, 11/7, 11/14, 12/5, 12/12, 12/19 (10 sessions)

Cost: $18/member per class. Members - Sign up for all 10 classes for $160. $24/non-member per class. Non-members – Sign up for all 10 classes for $220.


Writing the Self and Other: Journaling Workshop with author Esther Altshul Helfgott

Short writing exercises - with prompts from poems and art - will transport you back to childhood, to your teen years, to young adulthood or even to yesterday, wherever your pens take you. Bring a piece of material from a parent’s or another relative’s wardrobe. Or bring a favorite piece of art. Don’t forget your notebook and pen. Take a seat at the table. I’ll give you a prompt – a poem, say. Or a piece of conversation—and begin writing. In any form or style that comes to mind. Don’t worry about commas, semicolons, question marks or spaces. Just write - scribble, ramble - until I tell you to stop.  Then, if you want, you’ll read, or talk about what you’ve written. This course will be in-person, in the CBS Beit Midrash. 

Time: Sundays, 1-3pm 
Dates: 10/22, 11/5, 11/19, 12/10


(Re)discovering Queer Talmud with Betzalel Rosser

Join Svara fellow Betzalel to dive deep into the glittery radical magical roots of our tradition - Talmud! We'll learn in the original language in chevruta (pairs) using the Svara method to peel back the layers of this dense and often inaccessible text. This is not your yeshiva's Talmud class - irreverance, disagreement, and hot takes encouraged! How can Talmud be queer? Come find out for yourself! 

This class is open to beginners and experienced Talmud learners alike! All you need to know is your alef-bet.  This course will be in-person, in the CBS Beit Midrash. 

Time: Wednesday nights, 7:00-9:00pm 
Dates: 11/29, 12/6, 12/13, and 12/20 (4 2-hour sessions)  


Hanukkah Class with Shalom Sabar from Israel
Sunday, 12/10, 10am on Zoom

Shalom Sabar, who was previously a visiting professor to the University of Washington and a Beth Shalom member, is rejoining us from Israel on Zoom to teach about  Judith, Esther, and Hanukkiot. Please read the apocryphal Book of Judith beforehand. 

Shalom Sabar, author of Ketubbah: The Art of the Jewish Marriage Contract was born in neo-Aramaic speaking Kurdish-Jewish community in Zakho, Iraq.  He studied art history and related fields at the Hebrew University and UCLA, where he earned his PhD on the illustrated Ketubbah (marriage contract) in the life of Italian Jews during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. His research joins together the disciplines of art history, Jewish history, and folklore highlighting issues such as the folk nature of Jewish art and Jewish material culture, visual materials and objects associated with rituals in the life and year cycles, and the evidence these materials provide about Jewish daily life and the relationships between the Jewish minorities and the societies that hosted them in Christian Europe and the Islamic East.

Register here.

Winter 2024 Classes

What is a Get? (And Why has Rabbi Rose been Studying about them for 2.5 years?!)

As you may know, Rabbi Rose has been studying gittin (Jewish divorce documents, singular: get) for the past few years as she trains to serve as a Mesaderet Gittin (a rabbinic specialist who facilitates the divorce process) under the auspices of the Conservative/Masorti Movement.  

Join her to learn more about what a get is, how it is written (there are quills and hole punchers involved!), and questions about the halakhot (Jewish laws) of gittin in the present moment and beyond. This course will be in-person, in the CBS Beit Midrash. 

Time: Wednesday nights, 7:30-9:00pm  
Dates: 1/17, 1/24, and 1/31 (3 1.5-hour sessions)  


B'tzelem Elohim: Rereading The Bible Through The Lens of Disability with Carl Sayres
There are so many ways to read The Bible. Using very close readings of the text (known as p'shat), we can discover new dimensions of biblical characters that we thought we knew. In doing so, we learn more about them, and also ourselves.  Sessions will include:
1. Rereading Esau as having ADHD
2. Rereading Isaac as born with Developmental Delays
3. Rereading God as having Autism
4. Biblical Family Dynamics with Disabilities and Giftedness
5. Anxiety and Depression in The Bible
Time: Wednesday nights, 7:30-8:30pm
Dates: 1/3, 1/10, 2/7, 2/14, 2/21 (5 weeks)

Time: Wednesdays, 7:30-8:30pm
Dates:  1/3, 1/10, 2/7, 2/14, 2/21 (5 weeks)
Cost: Suggested donation of $48 to our Adult Education Fund.  

Register here.

Mikraot Gedolot, the Commentator’s Bible with Rabbi Fern Feldman 

We will explore Mikraot Gedolot, the Commentator’s Bible, which collects the Torah commentaries of some of our greatest medieval sages. We will become familiar with the thinking of three of the most foundational of these—Rashi, Ibn Ezra, and Nachmanides/Ramban— and get little tastes of a few others, looking at each individually, as well as in relation to each other. These commentaries are the basis of much of how we still understand Torah, as well as themselves being shaped by Talmud and midrashic sources. We will find literary analysis, cultural awareness, (and the lack thereof), psychological insights, spiritual depth, and quite a bit of humor. Sitting in conversation with these ancestors ultimately will deepen and enrich our relationship with Torah. Texts will be presented in Hebrew and English. This course will be in-person, in the CBS Beit Midrash. 

Time: Wednesdays, 7-8pm 
Dates:  2/28, 3/6, 3/13 


Sacred Cycles of Time: Hasidic Teachings on Purim, Pesach, and Shavuot with Rabbi Fern Feldman

Reading Hassidic texts, supplemented with background from Tanakh, Midrash, and Kabbalah, we will explore how to ride the waves of sacred time through the major spring holidays, allowing us to interweave our own journeys with the journeys of our people, the earth, and the flow of divine presence. This course will be in-person, in the CBS Beit Midrash. 

Purim: Wednesday, 3/20, 7-8pm 
Pesach: Wednesday, 4/10, 7-8pm 
Shavuot: Wednesday, 6/5, 7-8pm  


2023-2024 Classes

Exploring Jewish Living

Taught by Gus Feliu. A basic introduction to Judaism, including holidays, texts, and home traditions and a Hebrew class (below).  This is our required course for conversion students. 

Our Exploring Jewish Living has reached capacity and registration is now closed.  If you're interested in conversion and/or want to inquire about class for next year (2024-25), please contact our rabbi's assistant, Ellis Engbar.

Hebrew I with Ellis Engbar

Eliminate angst and build confidence while learning the Hebrew alphabet and gaining Hebrew reading competence. Come prepared for energized, spirited practice guaranteed to lay the foundation for your love of Hebrew. This is a beginning level course; no prior knowledge needed. 

Format: In-person 
Time: Tuesdays, 7:00-7:55pm
Dates: Oct. 10, 2023–Apr. 16, 2024 (24 sessions with weeks off for holidays)


Beyond the Aleph Bet with Gus Feliu

This class focuses on developing proficiency in reading and understanding Biblical Hebrew. Over the 12 weeks of class you’ll have the opportunity to practice sight reading, grow your vocabulary, become familiar with Hebrew grammar and develop your skills as a translator.  We will also spend some time learning to write in and read the cursive Hebrew alphabet.  We'll be using The First Hebrew Primer (Simon, Resnikoff, Motzkin) as our primary text. Prerequisite: Knowledge of the alef-bet is required.  

Format: In-person
Time: Tuesdays, 7:00-7:55pm
Dates: Oct. 10, 2023–Jan. 16, 2024 (12 sessions with weeks off for holidays)


Prayerbook Hebrew with Sharon Greenberg

This class will increase your familiarity with the Siddur (prayerbook), building vocabulary, grammar, and understanding of the structure and meaning of prayers based on learning Hebrew roots. We will use the Siddur itself as our main textbook, with student interest informing the prayers we study.  In fall semester we’ll focus mostly on the Shacharit service.
Format: In-person

Time: Tuesdays, 7:00-7:55pm
Dates: Oct. 10, 2023–Jan. 16, 2024 (12 sessions with weeks off for holidays)

Tuition: $215/Member, $289/Non-member


Beginning Yiddish with Marianne Tatom

Kum arayn (come in) – join the Yiddish revival! Marianne Tatom will help you learn the Yiddish alphabet and basic conversation skills. The class will use free materials from the Yiddish Book Center website and additional material provided by the instructor.

Beginning Yiddish is canceled due.  We unfortunately did not have enough students register to make it a viable class.

Intermediate Yiddish with Marianne Tatom

This class will help you develop intermediate Yiddish skills, including reading comprehension, conversation, and translation. We will use a variety of textbooks and supplementary materials. Prerequisite: open to students who have completed Intermediate Yiddish at Beth Shalom OR to others with prior instructor approval. The lowered tuition for this class for non-members is possible due to the projected class size.  

Format: Virtual (on Zoom)
Time: Tuesday nights, 7:00-8:30pm
Dates: Oct. 3 – Dec. 12 (10 1.5-hour sessions with week off for holiday) 


Tune In

Honi's Circle
Ḥoni's Circle is a climate chevruta (partner text study), in which Rabbi Paula Rose and Tamar Libicki explore Jewish texts from the Torah, the Talmud, and Commentaries to grapple with climate change. Every two weeks, we will release a new 15-minute episode with its own source sheet, allowing listeners to study along with the discussion. This Podcast is a project of Congregation Beth Shalom and Ahavat V'Avodat HaAdama, our community's environmental group. 

Follow along with the source sheet here.

Our Podcast is Live! Catch the latest episode

Additional Learning Opportunities




EO is a Jewish community-wide social & education program sponsored by Temple De Hirsch Sinai, Congregation Beth Shalom, Congregation Kol Ami, Jewish Family Service, Kline Galland, Temple Beth Am and Temple B’nai Torah.

Please see our Adult Social Groups page for more information.

Fri, September 29 2023 14 Tishrei 5784