Image: Two hands fit puzzle pieces together, with the heading “Introduction to the Jewish Experience”
Registration is open for the Spring Term of Introduction to the Jewish Experience. The spring topic is “Traditions of Judaism.” We will look at the things that unite Jews worldwide, and at the vast diversity of Jewish practice and experience.
This is an eight week course, beginning March 6 and concluding on May 1, meeting on Sunday afternoons from 3:30 until 5 Pacific Time. (The Eventbrite page has an incorrect date for the last week.) We meet via Zoom, and welcome students from all over North America and (occasionally) the world.
Students may take this class as a stand-alone experience, or may take it as one part of the three-part Introduction to the Jewish Experience, a course in the basics of Judaism. Tuition is $200 per term, but we have a “pay what you can” option — no one is ever turned away for lack of funds, nor do we question need.
The last day for sign-up is March 6, the first day of class.
Topics, week by week:
3/6 Welcome & Shabbat – Shabbat is the great unifier of Jews worldwide, whether individual Jews observe it or not.
3/13 Jewish Community & Institutions – The synagogue and other Jewish institutions have evolved over time, but they are the primary ways Jews organize ourselves.
3/20 Jewish Public Prayer – Jewish prayer services follow the same basic outline all over the world, whether they are orthodox or liberal. The goal this week is to help students get a feel for the outline and purpose of the service, so that wherever you go, you won’t feel lost, even if you speak no Hebrew.
3/27 Sephardic Judaism: History & Culture – What is Sephardic Judaism? We will explore this rich and beautiful Jewish tradition both in the past and today.
4/3 Ashkenazi Judaism: History & Culture – Ashkenazi Judaism is the Jewish culture most familiar to Americans — we will look at its origin and history and current expressions.
4/10 Mizrahi & Other Jewish Communities – We will learn about the historic Jewish communities of the Middle East, of Africa, of India, of China, and of Central Asia. Some of them still flourish in those places, and some have worked to maintain their distinctive cultures in new places. Some have nearly disappeared.
4/17 – No class, since this is both the second day of Passover and Easter Sunday.
4/24 North American Judaism & the Movements – North America has become home to all of the communities above, and in the process acquired its own history and culture, too. We will look at the intersection of Jews and politics, the history of Jews in North America, and at the movements of Judaism.
5/1 Jews & Food – Food practices are one way we Jews express both unity and diversity. We will talk about kashrut (keeping kosher) and other Jewish food traditions.
After this class, I am going to break for summer. We’ll resume in the fall with the rest of the series:
Introduction to the Jewish Experience
- Fall: Jewish Holidays & Life Cycle
- Begins after High Holy Days
- Winter: Jewish History through Texts
- Begins after January 1
- Spring: Traditions of Judaism
- Begins in March
If you would like to be notified of the upcoming class, email CoffeeShopRabbi (at) gmail.com with your name, email, city, and the name of your rabbi, if you have one.
I look forward to learning with you!