Basic Judaism Classes Fall 2017

Rabbi Adar teaching
Rabbi Adar teaching

It is autumn and the Jewish year will start up very shortly. Along with the new year come all the new BASIC Judaism classes. I am listing all those of which I am aware. Do email me ( to tell me of other BAY AREA basic Judaism classes.

Introduction to Judaism:
Exploring Jewish Beliefs and Practices

Looking for a good foundational knowledge of Judaism? Whether you are in a relationship with a Jew or want to become Jewish or are just plain curious, this is a good starting place. Sherith Israel has provided the following syllabus for the class:

Sept. 13: Introduction to the course and High Holidays: The Meaning of the Shofar with shofar expert Maurice Kamins
— High Holidays / no classes —
Oct. 18: History and texts—Torah to Second Temple period
Oct. 25: History and texts—Second Temple period to modernity
Nov. 1: Theology and belief
Nov. 8: Prayer and liturgy—overview
Nov. 15: Prayer and liturgy—arc of the service
Nov. 29: Calendar and festivals
Dec. 6: Mitzvot—exploring the commandments
Dec. 13: Shabbat
Dec. 20: Kashrut—dietary laws
Jan 10: The Jewish lifecycle
Jan 17: Zionism and Israel
Jan 24: Judaism in contemporary society: Reform, Conservative and Orthodox
Judaism; Responsa; Keeping an ancient tradition relevant
Jan 31: Personal Reflections/What do I believe?
Don’t worry if you miss the very first class; it will mostly be introductions. Contact Allison Green to get started.
FYI: street parking is free in the evening and many take Lyft to Sherith Israel.

Date: Wednesdays September 13, 2017 and then Oct. 18, 2017–Jan. 31, 2018
Time: 6:30–8 pm
Place: Sherith Israel, 2266 California Street, San Francisco
Cost: Free to Sherith Israel members; $180 for nonmembers. Interfaith couples are encouraged to attend together: $180 plus $72 for a second person. Scholarships available. No one turned away for financial reasons.
For more information or to register, contact Allison Green at or 415.346.1720, x 24.
Note: Allison is incredibly nice and will work things out for you. Give her a call.

Exploring Judaism Part One: An Introduction
This course will provide participants with a foundation in the basic tenets of Judaism. The course is organized around the three pillars of Judaism mentioned in the Mishnah: Torah, Prayer, and Acts of Loving Kindness/Social Justice. Within these topics we will also cover the Jewish calendar, Shabbat practice, and deepen our ability to interpret and understand texts. Participants in this class have ranged from 40-year-long members of Rodef Sholom to individuals completely new to Judaism. This class welcomes learners of all ages and levels looking to (re)-ground themselves in the basics of Judaism. Participants will also have the opportunity to experience Shabbat and havdalah together. RSVP to

Dates: Sunday, September 24; Oct. 8, 15, 22; Nov. 12; Dec. 3, 10, 17
Time: 9:15-10:15am
Place: Marin JCC in the library, 200 N San Pedro Rd, San Rafael
Sponsored by Rodef Sholom, 170 N San Pedro Rd, San Rafael

The Building Blocks of Judaism
This course is for those who wish to learn (or re-learn) Judaism. All are welcome: non-Jews, Jews, interfaith couples, those considering conversion, and anyone who is interested in learning more about Judaism. Students will learn the basics of Judaism in a friendly and informal atmosphere. We’ll explore fundamental aspects of Jewish practices such as holiday observance and life-cycle celebrations, including opportunities for some hands-on practice and 2 field trips. We’ll also cover Jewish understandings of God and religious beliefs, essential Jewish texts, Jewish history, literature, and the significance of Israel in Judaism today.

There are two semesters. You may enroll for just the Fall or for the entire year. Look here for details.
Please note, there was a first class on Sept. 7th but the class will really get underway in October. So don’t hesitate to enroll.

Date: October 5 to Dec. 7
Time: 7:30 to 9pm
Place: Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills
Cost: $245 for the public, reduced rates for members, students and émigrés.
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 are TBD; please note that books are not included in the price for the course.

Dates: Sundays, Oct.8 through May 20, 22 sessions*
Time: 10:10-11:10am
Place: Contra Costa Jewish Day School on the Temple Isaiah campus, 945 Risa Rd, Lafayette, Room 207 of the CCJDS Building
Cost: Tuition: $100/ Temple Isaiah members; $250/non-members
*Year-long Course Sundays, Oct 8 through May 20 (No class: 10/29, 11/19, 11/26, 12/17, 12/24, 12/31, 1/14, 2/18, 4/1, 4/8, 5/13)
Details and enrollment here.

Introduction to Judaism
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. Sessions will rotate among local synagogues and the APJCC based on which rabbi is teaching.

Date: October 10, 2017 to May 1, 2018
Time: 7:00 to 8:30pm
Place: Classes rotate between synagogues and the JCC.
Cost: $180 for a set of books. A couple who buys only one set will pay only $180.
Details and registration here.
For more information, please contract
Instructors: Rabbi Berkenwald of Congregation Sinai, Rabbi Aron of Congregation Shir Hadash, Rabbi Ohriner of Congregation Beth David, Rabbi Magat of Temple Emanu-El, and Rabbi Seid-Valencia of the APJCC.

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? Calling all potential conversion students and interfaith couples!

Our engaging, university-accredited Intro to Judaism class is interactive and encourages questions, discussion, and hands-on learning. No knowledge of Hebrew is required, but you will learn to read the language as part of the class.

Dates: 8 Sundays, meeting monthly on Oct. 14, Nov. 4, Dec. 9, Jan 13, 2018, Feb. 10, March 10, April 14, and May 12
Time: 10 am – 12 pm
Place: Beth Sholom, 301 14th Avenue, San Francisco
Cost: $360 for an individual, $540 for a couple, with 20% discount offered to Beth Sholom members. Some financial aid and payment options are available — CBS is committed to never turning people away. For more information, contact email Amanda Russell or call us at 415-221-8736.
Details here.

Judaism 101
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.

Date: 18 Sundays, October 15 – May 6
Time: 9:30 am – 12:00 pm
Place: Kol Shofar, 215 Blackfield Dr., Tiburon
Cost: $275 for the 18-week series or $20 per class. Free for members.
To register, contact Alona Shahbaz at or 415-388-1818 x100

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.

Date: Begins on Tuesday, October 17
Time: 7:00 -9:00pm
Place: Temple Emanu-El, 2 Lake St., San Francisco
Cost: Public/$75 each trimester; members of Emanu-El $54
Register here.

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.

Dates: Wednesdays, October 18 – December 13 (no class 11/22)
Time: 7:30 – 9:00 pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Cost: $105 for the public; $90 for members
Register here.
There is also an ONLINE version of this class. Go here to explore that option.

Introduction to Judaism
Whether your familiarity with Jewish learning and experience is academic or informal, you are warmly invited to join a conversation that seeks to integrate your knowledge and explore your questions. This four-week-long class is comprised of classic and contemporary thought on Jewish ethics, the Jewish calendar, Shabbat, life-cycle events and theology. All materials will be provided.

Date: 4 Wednesdays, October 18 – November 8
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Place: San Francisco JCC, 3200 California St., San Francisco
Cost: $120 for the public and $110 for JCC members
Register here.

Judaism 101
Bring your questions and insights to this introduction to Jewish thought and practice. We will explore Jewish denominations, theology and atheism, liturgy/services, the role of learning and key Jewish texts, death and the afterlife, relationship to Israel, Judaism as a spiritual practice, the Jewish lifecycle, Shabbat and holidays. This class is perfect for Jews and non-Jews, those brand new to learning about Judaism, people who are looking for a refresher, interfaith couples exploring Jewish life, and those hoping to convert to Judaism through our Journey to Judaism program. No previous knowledge required-just bring a thirst for learning and discussing! Open to members and non-members.

Dates: 7 Mondays, Oct.30-Dec.11
Time: 6:45 – 8:00pm
Place: Sha’ar Zahav, 290 Dolores St., San Francisco
Cost: $149/public
If you’re a Sha’ar Zahav Member, email heidy@shaarzahav to access your discount code.
Register here.

AND ONE MORE that begins later in the year –
Introduction to Judaism
Join this 12-week course taught by Rabbis Dennis Eisner, Sara Mason-Barkin, and Lisa Kingston. This course is for anyone who wants to learn more about Judaism. Course will cover life cycles, holidays, culture, and belief. Text: Living Judaism by Wayne Dosick.

Dates: Thursdays, November 2, 9, 16, 30; December 7, 14; January 11, 18, 25; February 1, 8, 15
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Beth El 1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo
Cost: Public/$180 and members are free

THIS JUST IN! For those of you who plan far in advance, Rabbi Bloom of Oakland’s Beth Abraham sent this class listing in for 2018.

Introduction to Judaism
Rabbi Mark Bloom’s class will be aimed primarily at those interested in conversion but open to everyone who is curious to learn more. Running approximately 10 weeks, it will cover Jewish texts, holidays, the Jewish life cycle, prayer, the Holocaust, Israel, and more.

Date: Begins Wednesday, January 31, 2018 & continues through mid April 2018
Time: 7:30-8:45pm
Place: Temple Beth Abraham, 341 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland
Cost: $54
If you would like to register for this class you can contact Rabbi Bloom at:, 510-832-0936