Basic Judaism classes around the bay

Wish you knew more?  Wish you could explain Judaism better to your partner?  Take a class together.  Not only will you both learn a lot, you’ll spend quality couples time talking about what you learned.

Introduction to the Jewish Experience

A three-part course designed to equip students to engage with Jewish life and Jewish institutions.  The course will follow the course of the Jewish year, preparing students for the holidays shortly before they occur. The course is designed to engage students not only intellectually but experientially:  we will visit Jewish institutions, study with panels of local rabbis, and have many opportunities to experience Jewish life in the East Bay first hand.   You can sign up for Part I, or Part II or III separately, or all three at once.

Part I:  God & Jewish Lifecycle

Jews express our faith more by “doing” than by “believing.”  Jewish lifecycle celebrations and rituals express the relationship of the Jew to the world, and Jewish understandings of the Holy.  This course will explore Jewish concepts of God and the world as they are expressed through the experiences of Jewish lifecycle events. 
Begins Oct. 14, 7:30pm at Beth El in Berkeley 

Part II:  Torah, Memory, and History

As the Jews travel through history, we have recorded our experiences in various texts: Bible, Midrash, Mishnah, Talmud, Codes, and Responsa literature, and the Prayer Book, which Jacob Petuchowski, a scholar of Jewish liturgy, has described as “the diary of the Jewish people.”  This course will begin with an overview of Jewish history, followed by an examination of how those texts illuminate Jewish life in the past, as well as in the present day.  The class will culminate in a study of the Haggadah, the “script” of the seder, and a model seder. 
Begins Jan. 6, 2010, 7:30pm at Temple Sinai , Merritt Campus 

Part III:  The People Israel Who is a Jew? 

Who are the Jews?  We will explore these questions by looking at Jewish life from many different angles:  kashrut, Israel , the Movements of Judaism (Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionism, Renewal), Jewish institutions, and the relationship of Judaism and its sister religions, Christianity and Islam. 
Begins March 17, 2010, 7:30pm at Temple Sinai , Merritt Campus

Cost:   all three units:  $240non-members; $195/members             
Each individual unit: $95non-members; $80/members 
Enrollment is NOW open on the Lehrhaus Judaica website,
Rabbi Adar has devoted to this new Intro class, a site that includes the syllabus, the book list, links to resources, and a more complete description of the class.  And a mechanism for asking questions and communicating directly with her.

Discover Judaism!
Discover Judaism: Join this series of classes, designed to help you access the deep meanings of Judaism through a friendly, beginner-level journey.  Participants can join one series at a time, and are welcome to begin at any point.  Jews, non-Jews, and those on the journey are welcome!

Series 1: Torah Discovery
With Rabbi Menachem Creditor
The Torah demonstrates the earliest dynamic conversations that became Modern Judaism.  One book of the Torah, each with its unique style and content, will be discussed each session.  We will also engage questions of Biblical authorship, interpretation, and theology. No Hebrew is required for this class.

Dates:   Tuesdays, Oct. 13, 20, 27; Nov. 3, 10
Time:    7:30 to 9pm
Place:   Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Ave., Berkeley
Class fee: $50-$75 — (sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of funds)
For more information or to enroll call Netivot Shalom at 510-549-9447.
Series 2: Jewish Holidays
With Rabbi Shalom Bochner

The rhythm of a Jewish year is based on the cycle of Holidays.  And while Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur are the days where more people might attend a synagogue, there are many calendar-based moments for Jewish connection that evoke joy, memory, celebration, sadness, commemoration, and pride.  Each session in this series will focus on a different “type” of Jewish Holiday, including those based in the Torah, and those that have emerged since. No Hebrew is required for this class.

Dates:   Tuesdays, Nov. 17, 24; Dec. 1, 8, 15
Time:    7:30 to 9pm
Place:   Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Ave., Berkeley
Class fee: $50-$75 — (sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of funds)
For more information or to enroll call Netivot Shalom at 510-549-9447

Series 3: Spiritual Practice and Jewish Law
With Rabbi Menachem Creditor
What is the system of Jewish Law, and is it the same as spirituality?  Over the course of Jewish history, communities and individuals have developed many forms of Jewish spiritual practice.  Is there a sense of “command” in Judaism today?  Can a search for spirituality influence the way Jewish law functions?  We will explore these questions, and also engage questions of Denominations and modern community. No Hebrew is required for this class.

Dates:   Tuesdays, Jan. 19, 26; Feb. 2, 9, 16
Time:    7:30 to 9pm
Place:   Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Ave., Berkeley,
Class fee: $50-$75 — (sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of funds)
For more information or to enroll call Netivot Shalom at 510-549-9447


2009-2010 Introduction to Judaism

This series of classes will offer an opportunity to learn about the foundations of the Jewish tradition, including calendar, life cycle, history, philosophy, liturgy, theology, and Israel. Most of all, it will be an opportunity to address your needs and hopes for a deeper involvement with Judaism and the Jewish people. Through readings, meetings with the rabbi, attending services, and sharing meals together, we hope to form a community within the community during our time together. Space is limited.


Thursdays twice a month beginning October 8 and ending May 20 with a Shabbat dinner together.
Temple Beth Sholom, San Francisco
For more information, or to register, email please Jill Pettegrew in the synagogue office at

An Introduction to Jewish Texts, Prayers, Holidays, and Lifecycles
Hit the basics with Rabbi Dennis Eisner and Rabbi Karen Citrin!  This is a great opportunity to ask questions and to become knowledgeable about basic Jewish concepts and practices.

Dates:   Sundays, October 11, 25, November 8, 15, 22, December 6 and 13
Time:    9:30 – 11 am
Place:   Peninsula Temple Beth El, 1700 Alameda De Las Pulgas, San Mateo
Cost:    $54, includes the text Living Judaism: The Complete Guide to Jewish Belief, Tradition and Practice.
For more information or to enroll contact Cindy by October 1 — or call (650) 341-7701