Basic Judaism Classes: Winter 2022

It’s 2022, a good time to start a basic Judaism class! Here are the ones I’ve been told about so far. I will continue to add to these as more come in.


Intro to Judaism
Maybe you have always wanted to better understand the Aleph-Bet? Perhaps you don’t quite understand the difference between Torah, Talmud, Mishnah, and Midrash? This course might be for you! The course will be taught on a rotating basis by the Peninsula Temple Sholom clergy. Each session will consist of one hour of Judaic learning and one hour of Hebrew learning. Your registration fee includes a Hebrew workbook and all other materials for the course. We are excited to dive deeply into Jewish learning with you!

Tuesdays 7-9 pm beginning January 12th
Continuing for 13 sessions minus February 22nd and March 29th
Via Zoom for the time being
Cost is $100
Register Here
Hosted by Peninsula Temple Sholom, 1655 Sebastian Drive, Burlingame
If you have questions contact Rabbi Liora Alban at

Silicon Valley
Intro to Judaism
Want to learn more about being Jewish? Have questions about the Jewish religion? Join local Rabbis each week for the Intro to Judaism class.
An overview of the Jewish life-cycle, holidays, and ritual. During the course of the year, students will gain an understanding of Jewish belief, history and calendar and gain exposure to important Jewish books including the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud. Each session includes thirty minutes of Hebrew instruction. For at least the first semester, this year’s class will be presented on Zoom.

Instructors: Rabbi Hugh Seid-Valencia of the APJCC, Rabbi Jaymee Alpert of Congregation Beth David, Rabbi PJ Schwartz of Congregation Shir Hadash, Rabbi Josh Berkenwald of Congregation Sinai, and Rabbi Dana Magat of Temple Emanu-El.

Please register to receive an invitation to join the class and purchasing the necessary books.

Begins Jan. 18, 2022
Tuesdays 7 to 9pm
Cost:    $180
Register here

Introduction to Judaism​
Rabbi Mark Bloom will be starting an Introduction to Judaism class open to anyone and everyone interested in learning about Judaism. Those interested in converting, those who are just exploring, or those who feel they have “gaps” in their Jewish learning are all welcome.  It will run for approximately 12 weeks and will cover Jewish texts, holidays, the Jewish life cycle, prayer, the Holocaust, Israel, and other topics within Judaism.

Cost is $36 (free for a significant other if they want to take it along with you), and one should purchase the book “How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household” on their own.

Vaccinations and well fitting masks preferably medical masks, KN 95, N95’s or similar, are required.

Begins Wednesday, January 19
Temple Beth Abraham, 327 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, in the Baum Youth Center
For any questions, contact Rabbi Bloom directly at

Judaism 101
with Director of Education Sue Bojdak
Judaism 101 is an introduction to Judaism for people who are new or returning to 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. Cost is $149.  No one will be turned away for lack of funds.  If you have questions, please contact Sue Bojdak at

Dates:  Mondays, February 28-May 2
Time:   6:30-8:30pm
On Zoom
Hosted by Sha’ar Zahav, 290 Dolores St., San Francisco
Cost:    $149
Open to members and non-members
Details here

Intro to the Jewish Experience: Traditions of Judaism
Taught by Rabbi Ruth Adar, this class we will look at the things that unite Jews worldwide, and at the vast diversity of Jewish practice and experience.

Topics, week by week:
3/6 Welcome & Shabbat – Shabbat is the great unifier of Jews worldwide, whether individual Jews observe it or not.
3/13 Jewish Community & Institutions – The synagogue and other Jewish institutions have evolved over time, but they are the primary ways Jews organize ourselves.
3/20 Jewish Public Prayer – Jewish prayer services follow the same basic outline all over the world, whether they are orthodox or liberal. The goal this week is to help students get a feel for the outline and purpose of the service, so that wherever you go, you won’t feel lost, even if you speak no Hebrew.
3/27 Sephardic Judaism: History & Culture – What is Sephardic Judaism? We will explore this rich and beautiful Jewish tradition both in the past and today.
4/3 Ashkenazi Judaism: History & Culture – Ashkenazi Judaism is the Jewish culture most familiar to Americans — we will look at its origin and history and current expressions.
4/10 Mizrahi & Other Jewish Communities – We will learn about the historic Jewish communities of the Middle East, of Africa, of India, of China, and of Central Asia. Some of them still flourish in those places, and some have worked to maintain their distinctive cultures in new places. Some have nearly disappeared.
4/17 – No class, since this is both the second day of Passover and Easter Sunday.
4/24 North American Judaism & the Movements – North America has become home to all of the communities above, and in the process acquired its own history and culture, too. We will look at the intersection of Jews and politics, the history of Jews in North America, and at the movements of Judaism.
5/1 Jews & Food – Food practices are one way we Jews express both unity and diversity. We will talk about kashrut (keeping kosher) and other Jewish food traditions.

Dates:  8 weeks beginning Sunday, March 6, concluding May 1.
Time:   3:30 until 5pm Pacific Time
We meet via Zoom, and welcome students from all over North America and (occasionally) the world.
Students may take this class as a stand-alone experience, or may take it as one part of the three-part Introduction to the Jewish Experience, a course in the basics of Judaism.
Cost:    $200 per term, but we have a “pay what you can” option — no one is ever turned away for lack of funds, nor do we question need.
The last day for sign-up is March 6, the first day of class.


A number of synagogues run a basic Judaism class from October through the spring. You can scroll through the fall-starting classes here to see if there is one near you that you would like to join.  Contact the hosting synagogue to see if they are adding students. Ask if there is a good time/session to join in. If you are converting, talk to your sponsoring rabbi about joining a class midstream.