Adult Education

5779 Classes

As a Driven Leaf Book Discussion with Rabbi Kalender, Sunday, January 6, 6:30pm. This dramatic novel is based on the life of Elisha ben Abuyah, a member of the Sanhedrin who, in the wake of tragedy, begins to doubt his faith. In this imagined biography, author Milton Steinberg examines the 2nd century struggle to reconcile Rabbinic Judaism with Greek Hellenistic society, speculates about questions and events that may have driven Elisha to apostasy, addresses questions of Jewish self-determination in the Roman Empire, and above all, explores the interdependence of reason and faith. Available for purchase in paperback and Kindle.

Smile for the Camera: A Look at the Last Century of Jewish Life through Photography with Debra Beland Ackerman, Thursdays, January 10 and 17, 1:00pm. We’ll be looking at and exploring photographs taken across the Jewish world over the last century. What do these images tell us about the values Jewish communities share, the ways we celebrate, and how we come together in difficult times? Join us for an exploration of history, art, and community.

What’s New is Old: A Jewish Exploration of the New Testament with Rabbi Ravski, Wednesdays, January 30, February 6, and February 13, 7:30pm. Written at the end of the 1st century, the texts that make up the New Testament were written at a time when there was little difference between Jews and those who would become the first generation of the Christian faith. Using The Jewish Annotated New Testament, we will take a critical, contextual look at select passages of the New Testament and examine how Jewish law, culture, practice, and texts of the 1st and 2nd centuries influenced, and in some cases were appropriated by, the New Testament.

A Season for Everything: The Book of Kohelet with Rabbi Kalender, Wednesdays, February 27, March 6, and March 13, 7:30pm. The Book of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) – immortalized by The Byrds’ song “Turn Turn Turn (To Everything There is a Season)” – struggles with the meaning of life in the face of death. We will take a textual and philosophical approach to the question “Does any of it matter?” in a way that embraces the author’s ambivalence towards life when confronted by death.

Like Dreamers Book Discussion with Rabbi Kalender, Sunday, March 31, 6:30pm. Following the lives of seven young members of the 55th Paratroopers Reserve Brigade, the unit responsible for restoring Jewish sovereignty to Jerusalem, author Yossi Klein Halevi reveals how this band of brothers played pivotal roles in shaping Israel’s destiny long after their historic victory. While they worked together to reunite their country in 1967, these men harbored drastically different visions for Israel’s future, which continue to define Israel today. Available for purchase in paperback and Kindle.

JTS Evening of Learning, Sunday, May 19, 5:00pm at B’nai Israel Congregation in Rockville. Explore this year’s topic “What do we mean by ‘God?’” with Jewish Theological Seminary’s renowned faculty.

Scholar In Residence

April 5-7, 2019

Dr. Joshua Kulp

Dr. Joshua Kulp is the Rosh Yeshiva and co-founder of the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, where he has taught Talmud and halakhah for over 20 years. He is the author of Reconstructing the Talmud and The Schechter Haggadah: Art, History, and Commentary. He also writes the material for the Mishnah Yomit and Daf Shevui online learning programs. For the past thirteen summers, Dr. Kulp has served as the scholar-in-residence at Camp Ramah in New England. Dr. Kulp made Aliyah in 1994 and lives in Modiin with his wife, Julie Zuckerman, and their four children. In his spare time, he is an avid triathlete and runner and has completed three Ironmans.

We are excited to welcome Dr. Kulp to our community and spend the weekend learning from him. Dr. Kulp will speak at Friday night Shabbat dinner, on Shabbat morning, and at Sunday brunch.


Ongoing Classes

OT offers adult programs throughout the year. There is no fee unless specified. New students are welcome to join most continuing classes at any time.

Mishnah Study with Rabbi Kalender, Wednesdays, 9:15-10:15am. Gather each Wednesday morning to discuss the first Jewish law code. Join this lively group as we consider this core text for Jewish ethics, ritual, and theology. No prior knowledge necessary, and the English translation is used. New students are welcome to join at any time throughout the year.

Talmud Study with Rabbi Ravski, Sundays, 6:45-8:00pm. Navigate the Talmudic thought process in Tractate Avodah Zarah, one of the most controversial sections of the Talmud. Avodah Zara (idol worship) was seen as an active denial of God and God's power. Through the construction of laws, the text explores the limits and boundaries of relationships between Jews and the larger ancient world in which they lived. The English translation will be used and copies of the text will be provided. If you would like to purchase your own volume, we will use the Koren-Steinsaltz edition of the Talmud, Tractate Avodah Zarah/Horayot (volume 32 of the whole series). New students are welcome to join at any time throughout the year.

Beginning Hebrew taught by Karyn Selko, Thursdays, 6:30-8:00pm. Are you ready to take the next step in your Hebrew skills? Our new Beginning Hebrew class is just for you! Focusing on skills like decoding, reading, and comprehension, this class will help you on your way to fluency in Biblical Hebrew. Tuition is $150 per year. To register, please contact Melissa Benson.

Modern Conversational Hebrew taught by Efrat Moses, Thursdays, 6:30-8:00pm. Students in this class meet weekly to read, speak, and write Modern Hebrew. The class is focused on expanding vocabulary and fluency. Tuition is $240 per year. For questions or to register, please contact Melinda Roth.

Shabbat Dinner and Study Group Newcomers always welcome! Join us at a congregant's home each month to welcome Shabbat and enjoy a delicious potluck fish/dairy meal. Discussions include the weekly Torah portion, a book of the Tanach, holiday topics, and contemporary themes. No Hebrew knowledge or previous Torah study experience is necessary. Our dynamic multigenerational group draws singles and couples, families with kids, older members, long-time members, new members, and people with a range of knowledge levels. Contact Eric Rothberg for more information and to get on our email list.