Basic Judaism classes around the Bay

Basic Judaism Fall 2016

I have put together a list of all the basic Judaism classes that I know of in the SF Bay Area. If you know of one that I have not listed, PLEASE email me the class info. You’ll see that the first three locations’ classes began in September. However, the one in Tiburon is available on a drop in basis. AND you can join ANY of them anytime and simply ask the instructor to give you catch up information. Please be aware that the class, Introduction to the Jewish Experience: Lifecycles and Holidays offered in Berkeley is also available online on Sunday mornings. If you miss a session, either on Sunday or on Wednesday evening, Rabbi Adar will have you watch the session online. So you are covered!

Rabbi Susan Leider
Rabbi Susan Leider

Judaism 101
with Rabbi Leider
This 18-week course is for those who would like to learn about Judaism from the ground up, or to fill in gaps from what they learned (or didn’t learn) as a child. The class also prepares those considering conversion. It covers Hebrew pronunciation, biblical and rabbinic writings, history and culture, holy days, festivals, Shabbat, Jewish concepts of God and ethics, life cycle, dietary laws and Israel.
By the end of the course, students will be able to read aloud any Hebrew text with vowels. Students who wish to take a single class by topic may do so. Topical learning begins a half hour into the session.
See course details here.

Dates: Sundays, September 18 though May 7, 2017
Time: 9:30 am – 12:00 pm
Place: Kol Shofar, 215 Blackfield Drive, Tiburon
Tuition: $180 for the 18-week series; or $20 per class; Free for members
To register, contact Alona Shahbaz at or (415) 388-1818, ext. 100

Rabbi Oren Postrel
Rabbi Oren Postrel

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 Jewish Literacy by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, along with Michael Strassfeld’s The Jewish Holidays and The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel. The books are not included in the price for the course. Taught by Rabbi Oren Postrel.

Year-long Course (22 sessions): Sundays, Sept 25 through May 7 (No class: 10/2, 10/23, 11/27, 12/18, 12/25, 1/1, 1/15, 2/19, 3/12, 4/9, 4/16)
If you would like to sign up for 1 or more blocks of Exploring Judaism (instead of registering for the whole year), we welcome you to do so. Tuition is $30 per block for members; $70 per block for non-members.
• Jewish Calendar & Holidays: How we Celebrate Together – 9/25, 10/9, 10/16, 10/30, 11/6, 11/13
• Jewish Life Passages and our Homes: How Jews Do Jewish – 11/20, 12/4, 12/11, 1/8, 1/22
• Jewish Text and History – 1/29, 2/5, 2/12, 2/26, 3/5
• Jewish Thought, Prayer, and Music – 3/19, 3/26, 4/2, 4/23, 4/30, 5/7

Dates: Sundays, beginning Sept. 25
Time: 9:00-10:00am
Place: Contra Costa Jewish Day School, 955 Risa Rd, Lafayette (Room 206) Immediately across the parking lot from Temple Isaiah.
Cost: The year long class is offered in 4 blocks. Tuition is $100/members; $250/non-members for the year or $30 per block for members; $70 per block for non-members.
Details here.

Rabbi Elana Rosen-Brown
Rabbi Elana Rosen-Brown

Exploring Judaism
Part One,with Rabbi Elana Rosen-Brown
This course will give participants a foundation in the basic tenets of Judaism. We will explore areas such as history, holidays, life-cycle events, theology, Torah and prayer through foundational Jewish texts, beliefs and customs. Whether you grew up Jewish and are looking to explore more deeply as an adult, are entirely new to Judaism, or are part of an interfaith family and want to study together, we welcome you to join us!

Dates: Select Sundays starting September 25
Time: 9:15 – 10:15 am
Place: Rodef Sholom, in the Library, 170 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael
RSVP here.

Rabbi Ruth Adar
Rabbi Ruth Adar

Introduction to the Jewish Experience: Lifecycles and Holidays
Communal and individual Jewish life dances to the rhythm of two different cycles: Jewish lifecycle events and the cycle of the Jewish year. This class covers a basic introduction to the Jewish lifecycle (weddings, birth, bar mitzvah, conversion, mourning, and funerals). Then we will look at the Jewish year, with its cycles of fall and spring holidays as well as holidays reflecting historical events.
(This class is part of a three-unit series. You are welcome to take one or more in the series.)

Date: Wednesdays, October 19 – December 14 (no class 11/23)
Time: 7:30 to 9pm
Place: Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley
Cost: $105/public; $90/members of Beth El
Register here

Introduction to the Jewish Experience: Lifecycles and Holidays – online class registration here.

Emanu-El in San Francisco
Emanu-El in San Francisco

Introduction to Judaism (2016-2017)
Join with 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. Mark your calendars now for the 2016-2017 classes:
Fall: Oct. 25; Nov. 1, 8, 15; Dec. 6, 13
Winter: Jan. 17, 24, 31; Feb. 7, 14, 21, 28
Spring: Mar. 21, 28; Apr. 4, 25; May 2, 9, 16

Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Place: Temple Emanu-el, 2 Lake St., San Francisco
Cost: Emanu-El Member Cost: $54, Non-member cost: $75
Register here.

Rabbi Melanie Aron
Rabbi Melanie Aron

Intro to Judaism
Introduction to Judaism is offered in partnership with our local Reform and Conservative congregations for anyone interested in exploring Judaism – individuals, interfaith couples, those considering conversion, and Jews looking for adult-level basics. This class introduces the fundamentals of Jewish thought and practice in 20 weeks.
Topics include Jewish holidays and life cycle celebrations, theology and prayer, Israel, history, and Hebrew. In addition to the weekly class and reading, there will be two Shabbat Dinners and two Shabbat Lunches, one at each of the sponsoring congregations.
Whatever you are seeking, Introduction to Judaism offers you a time and place to broaden your Jewish awareness and give you the skills necessary to “do Jewish”.

Dates: Tuesdays, November 1, 2016 to May 9, 2017
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Place: Each class is at the facility associated with the teacher for that evening: Rabbi Aron at Congregation Shir Hadash; Rabbi Ohriner at Congregation Beth David; Rabbi Berkenwald at Congregation Sinai; Rabbi Magat at Temple Emanu-El; and Rabbi Seid-Valencia, the Center for Jewish Living and Learning at the APJCC.
In the South Bay.

Cost: $180 for an individual or a couple. Registration Fee includes one set of books for the class. For more information or to register, please contact the Center for Jewish Life and Learning at (408) 357-7411 or look here.
Register here

Rabbi Molly Plotnik
Rabbi Molly Plotnik

Intro to Judaism
From concepts of God to Jewish history, learn the fundamentals of Jewish thought and practice with our clergy. This ten-session course is perfect for interfaith couples, non-Jews considering conversion, and Jews looking for an adult-level introduction.

Dates: Mondays, November 7, 2016 – January 30, 2017
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Sholom, 1655 Sebastian Drive, Burlingame
Taught by Rabbis Dan Feder, Lisa Delson, and Molly Plotnik
Cost: Free for members of Peninsula Temple Sholom; $36 for non-members
For more information look on the synagogue’s website.

A class at Beth Sholom in San Francisco

Intro to Judaism: Learning for the Mind, Heart, & Soul
Jew-Curious? Interested in converting to Judaism? Sharing your life with a Jew and want to crack the code? Or maybe you’re a Jew who doesn’t know much about Judaism or Jewish identity?

Our engaging, university-accredited Intro To Judaism course is interactive and encourages questions, discussion, and hands-on learning. No knowledge of Hebrew is required, but you will be learning to read the language as part of the class. The 2015-16 course syllabus is available for download here. The syllabus and schedule for the 2016-17 course will be distributed during the first class and available for download here shortly thereafter.

Dates: Sundays, 2016: Oct. 23, Nov. 6 & 20, Dec. 4 & 18; 2017: Jan. 15 & 29, Feb. 5 & 19, March 5, 12 & 26, Apr 9 & 23, May 7 & 21, June 4 & 18
Time: 10am to 12 noon
Place: Beth Sholom, 301 14th Ave., San Francisco
Cost: $344/person, $533/couple. Some financial aid available – Beth Sholom is committed to never turning anyone away. For more info, contact or call the shul at 415-221-8736.
Details here.
Note: Yes, the first class on Oct. 23 is past. You can ask to prorate the tuition and to have the rabbi give you any reading for the class.