Basic Judaism Classes Fall 2023

The best start for anyone – Jewish or not – who wants to understand Jewish culture and tradition is to take a Basic Judaism class. I will list the classes that are offered here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Let me know if your synagogue or Jewish institution is offering a beginner’s class so I can add it. (You can email me at  I will continue to add classes as I find them so check back!

Introduction to Judaism Class
Explore Our Wonderful Tradition for the First Time — Or All Over Again
Beth Am’s Introduction to Judaism is an engaging learning program designed for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Jewish life. Taught by the Beth Am clergy, this course designed for individuals and couples who are Jewish or of any faith background. All are welcome: non-Jews, Jews, interfaith couples or those considering conversion.
We’ll explore all the significant building blocks of Jewish life and practice through the Reform perspective. It’s a great way to learn (or re-learn) more about Judaism.

Dates:  Tuesdays, beginning Oct. 3rd
Time:   7:30 to 9pm
Place:   On Zoom.  There will be a few in-person gatherings to celebrate Jewish holidays together.
Cost:    Registration includes one siddur (prayerbook) per household.
$180 (per person) for Beth Am members and full-time students
$270 for non-members
Go here to register
Hosting congregation is Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills
For more information about Introduction to Judaism, the conversion process or Beth Am in general, please email Rabbi Jon Prosnit.

Intro to Judaism
Judaism is built around community, ritual, tradition, and faith. If you are Jewish, interested in converting or raising a Jewish family and looking to learn more, delve deeper, and connect – learn with us! Our engaging, university-accredited Intro To Judaism course is interactive and encourages questions, discussion, and hands-on learning. No knowledge of Hebrew is required.

This Introduction to Judaism class will be taught in three units. For those who are on the path for conversion, please register for the full course – all three units, as this is not a drop-in model.

Upon registration, each person or couple will receive a hard copy of the Introduction to Judaism course book. You should also order Aleph Isn’t Tough: An Introduction to Hebrew for Adults, which we will be using for learning the Hebrew language. There is also a recommended reading list for the class.

Time:   6:30 to 8:30pm in-person
Dates:  There are three 6-session units. First class begins Oct. 5.  See registration link for dates.
Place:   Beth Sholom, 301 14th Ave., San Francisco
Cost:    A single unit of the class for each student is $100 for members and $150 for non-members. The full 3 unit course for each student is $225 for members and $350 for non-members.
Register here

Exploring Judaism
This course is a year-long exploration of the history, beliefs, traditions, and practices of the Jewish people. “Exploring Judaism” will be interesting and meaningful whether you are becoming an adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah, you are just beginning to explore Jewish studies, you are considering choosing Judaism, you are in an interfaith relationship, or you are simply looking for a deeper and more mature understanding of Jewish history and tradition. Students are encouraged to expand their Jewish literacy by taking this course in conjunction with Beginning Hebrew.  Books for the course will be announced; please note that books are not included in the price for the course.

This is a Year-long Course (22 sessions)
Dates:  Sundays, Oct 8, 15, 22, 29, Nov 5, 12, Dec 3, 10, 17, Jan 21, 28, Feb 4, 11, 25,  Mar 3, 10, 17, 24, April 14, 21, 28, May 5
Time:   9:00-10:00am
Place:   Temple Isaiah, 945 Risa Rd., Lafayette. In Room 206 of the Contra Costa Jewish Day School Building across the parking lot from the entrance.
* I encourage you to drive by to be sure you know where to go BEFORE the class begins.
Cost:    $400/non-members.
See more information here

Intro to Judaism 101
Judaism 101 is an introduction to Judaism for people who are new or returning t Judaism and are looking for a starting point to dive into Jewish learning and/or Jewish practice.  Anyone from any background is welcome.  We will be covering everything from Torah to Israel, spirituality to ethics, through a queer-positive, progressive, inclusive Jewish lens with plenty of room for questions.  Our learning will be interactive and communal; come ready to be in the learning with us. If you have questions, please contact the office (

Open to members and non-members!

Dates:  Mondays, October 16-December 11
Time:   7:00-9:00pm
Place:   Sha’ar Zahav, 290 Dolores St. San Francisco and on Zoom. If you are participating online, the link will be sent on October 13th.
Cost     $149 However, no one turned away for lack of funds.  For financial assistance requests please email Susie Idzik ( before completing the registration form.

Introduction to Judaism: Exploring Jewish Concepts and Practices
This survey course addresses four questions: How do Jews worship? What holidays do Jews observe? How do Jews approach life cycle events? And what do Jews believe? This course is designed for adults interested in learning about Judaism and is the first step in our Journey to Judaism conversion program.

Dates:  14 Wednesdays beginning Oct. 18
Time:   6:30 to 8pm
Place:   Sherith Israel, 2266 California St., San Francisco
Cost:     Free for Sherith Israel members. Class fee for nonmembers is $180 per person. Couples are encouraged to attend together. Scholarships available. No one turned away for financial reasons.  Questions? Give us a call: Talia 415-349-5209.

Introduction to Judaism

Join Emanu-El clergy to learn about the breadth and wonder of Jewish tradition. This class is a pathway for the adult learner who wishes to discover or deepen Jewish knowledge, non-Jews who are marrying a Jewish partner, and those who are considering conversion to Judaism. Participants register for each trimester separately.

Dates for each trimester:

Fall 2023: Oct. 24, 31; Nov. 7, 14, 28; Dec. 1* 5, 12
Winter 2024: Jan. 9, 16, 23, 30; Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27
Spring 2024: April 2, 9, 16; May 3*, 7, 14, 21, 28

*Shabbat Service and Dinner experience (location TBD)

Dates:  Tuesdays beginning Oct. 24
Time:   7:00 – 9:00 pm
Place:   In person classes will be at Star of the Sea School (360 – 9th Avenue, between Clement and Geary); some classes will be on zoom.
Cost per trimester: Emanu-El Member $72; Non-Member: $118
Host:   Congregation Emanu-El, 2 Lake Street, San Francisco
Register here for Fall
PLEASE NOTE: You will have to create an account on the Emanu-El website in order to sign up. It’s simple, but necessary.
Click here to view the 2023-2024 syllabus.

Essentials of Judaism
Join Rabbi Dev Noily for this seven week in-person ONLY course for a deep dive into some of the juiciest parts of Jewish practice and life. This class, or a comparable Intro to Judaism class, is required for Conversion Students and is open to all. Please note: This class is not a drop-in course. Students must register for the full series.

The topics that are expected to be covered are:
What is Judaism, Anyway?
Lashon Kodesh – Hebrew as a Holy Language
Mapping the Texts – Sacred Sources
Touching the Source – Prayer & Liturgy
Cycles of Jewish Sacred Time
The Jewish Life Cycle
Walking the Path – Halacha and post-Halachic Judaisms
Being a Jew in the 21st Century

Dates:  Mondays, Nov 6 to Dec. 18
Time:   7 to 9pm
Place:   Kehilla Synagogue, 1300 Grand Ave., Piedmont
Cost:    Members – $198 for all sessions; Non-Members – $234 for all sessions
No one turned away for lack of ability to pay; please pay what you can at registration or $0. REGISTER HERE
Please email Rabbi Sam Luckey at if you have any questions about registration.
Note: If meeting in person isn’t accessible, we recommend Exploring Judaism, a 16-session course offered online by our friends at Reconstructing Judaism.

Introduction to Judaism with Rabbi Stein
In 2023-204, Congregation B’nai Shalom will again participate in American Jewish University’s Miller Introduction to Judaism Program. The program is designed for individuals seeking to convert to Judaism, along with individuals and families seeking to deepen their understanding of the Jewish people.

The Miller Intro to Judaism strives to be the premier, innovative leader in educating, engaging, and supporting Jews-by-Choice, interfaith couples, and those re-entering the Jewish community both in Southern California, and through our affiliates, across North America.

Dates:  Sundays, beginning November 12 –this is a weekly event
Time:   11:15am to 12:15pm
Place:   B’nai Shalom, 74 Eckley Ln, Walnut Creek, in the Conference room
Free; Register here 

Judaism 101
Classes forming on an ongoing basis.
Join Rabbi David Booth for our Introduction to Judaism class, where you can encounter the foundations and traditions of Judaism in a warm, non-judgmental environment.  Class cohorts form on a rolling basis,  and we welcome beginners and explorers of all backgrounds.  Some details here.
To learn more about the class, or to find out when the next cohort will launch, please contact us.

Place:   Kol Emeth, 4175 Manuela Avenue, Palo Alto