Twice monthly Torah Study - Our Torah study group meets in a casual setting, to read in depth from the five books of Moses. We are currently reading the book of Exodus.  Participants are encouraged to read the text and commentaries in English from various editions to better understand what the Torah has to say to us.  Lively discussions ensue and we have a lot of fun.  Please join us: second and fourth Saturdays noon to 1:30 PM.  No previous experience necessary.

 

Bible Study Thursdays 3:00 to 4:30 PM  We have begun to study some of the shorter books in the Hebrew bible. Using Robert Alter’s most recent book, Strong As Death Is Love, we will spend the winter months reading Song of Songs, Esther, Ruth, Jonah and Daniel. These Late Biblical books differ from each other and from the rest of the Bible, with themes that may seem at odds with what is usually regarded as sacred Scripture.

Song of Songs is a series of frank erotic poems. Esther is about a plot to wipe out the Jews of Persia, and features a beautiful, assertive woman as its heroine; neither of these two books mentions God. Ruth is a tale of loyalty, love and righteousness. Jonah is about a prophet who is reluctant to accept his assignment, and the trials he endures as a consequence. And Daniel, believed to have been written during the Maccabee uprising, is an apocalyptic vision that accords well with other non-Jewish writings of a later time. All of these books except Daniel are associated with Jewish holy Days: Passover, Purim, Shavuot and Yom Kippur, respectively.

All are welcome to attend, and there are no prerequisites. If you have a different version of the books we’re reading, feel free to use them.

                                                    

Continuing Hebrew Class - Tuesdays 1:30 to 3:00 PM  This class is for people who can read Hebrew and want to brush up their skills. We read either from the weekly Torah portion or from the prayer book, with attention to proper accenting, and some aspects of Hebrew grammar.  

Bnai Torah (beginning in the winter of 2016, running for about a year).

A class for Beth Israel members who want to learn about the practices, beliefs, history and values of Judaism, so as to lay claim to their heritage. The class will conclude with a service at which all participants will read from the Torah and conduct the service themselves. Hebrew reading is required; a new Beginners’ class will begin in the fall of 2015 (see below) and those who can read Hebrew will be required to join the continuing Hebrew class (see above).

Intermediate Hebrew

This class will introduce the Hebrew alphabet and teach novices how to read. The goal is to be able to follow in Hebrew in the prayer book during services. Students will be expected to work independently between weekly classes, perhaps using online instructional tools to bolster their progress. People entering the Bnai Torah class who cannot read Hebrew will be required to take this class.

 

Past Programs

January 2016 at United Community Church: Judaism and Christianity: Siblings. A 6-week class considering the origins, commonalities, differences between the two “Abrahamic faiths”, as well as the structure of the two communities.

November-December, at Beth Israel (details TBA): What Happens After I Diean examination of various answers to that question that have been (and are) espoused by various groups of Jews over the course of our history. Text: what Happens After I Die by Soncino and Syme.

Scholar-in-Residence

Beth Israel's Scholar-in-Residence program's purpose is to bring to our congregation, experts on topics of Jewish interest for a weekend of intense study. Since its inception in 2005, we have had yearly weekends dedicated to such topics as: Esther, The Megilla of Exile; Good and Evil: Jewish Detectives in Literature; The Jewish Love affair With Food; An Overview of the Hebrew Bible; The Joy of Jewish Music-American Songbook, Klezmer; A Different Kind of Mitzvah: Judaism in the 21st Century, The Spirituality of Love and "The Bible Doesn't Say That" and "The Bible's Cutting Room Floor: The Holy Scriptures Missing from your Bible".

The Scholar Weekend takes place in late February or March. The format for the weekend is usually a Shabbat Service followed by an Oneg Shabbat, Saturday Service and Kiddish, or Torah and Dinner, and on Sunday, Brunch and Learn.

Beth Israel has had the pleasure of hosting the following guest scholars: Rabbi Gustav Buchdahl, Rabbi Frank Sundheim, Rabbi Larry Maher, Rabbi Daniel Levin, Cantor Riselle Bain, Kevin Frye and the Mike Eisenstadt Klezmer Band and Dr. Joel Hoffman.

Beth Israel gladly accepts contributions to the Scholar-in Residence Fund.

Bagels and Discovery – sponsored by the Men's Club and open to all Temple, Sisterhood, Men's Club members and their guests provides speakers on topics of interest plus a delicious brunch.

Link to URJ – http://urj.org/

 

INFORMATION

Educational programming at our Congregation offers opportunities for congregants to engage in a journey of learning and spiritual growth. Members of all ages are challenged to think, question and contribute creatively to our common journey.