Online Class: Intro to the Jewish Experience!

Image: Two hands fit two puzzle pieces together, with the words “Introduction” above and “To the Jewish Experience” written below. Artwork from pixabay, modified by Rabbi Ruth Adar.

CLASSES BEGIN SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 26.

Introduction to the Jewish Experience, or “Intro,” is a 24-week online class in Basic Judaism. The series is for anyone who hasn’t had a basic Jewish education, or who wishes to learn as an adult.

We study in three terms of 8 weeks, which students may take in any order:

In Jewish Holidays & Lifecycle, we learn about the Jewish year and Jewish time as we explore the important days in the Jewish year, as well as the life ceremonies of Judaism.  (Offered Sunday afternoons, 3:30-5pm Pacific Time, via Zoom, beginning 9/26)

In Jewish History Through Texts, we learn the history of the Jewish people through approximately 1000 CE, along with the literature of Rabbinic Judaism (Torah, Hebrew Bible, Midrash, Talmud) and we explore the concept of “Jewish Law.” We also explore the origins and history of antisemitism and Jew-hatred. (Offered Sunday afternoons, 1:30-3pm Pacific Time via Zoom, beginning 9/26). Will also be offered in January 2022.)

In Traditions of Judaism, we explore those things that the Jewish People worldwide share (Shabbat, the prayer book, the worship service) and we learn about Jewish history through the lens of the varieties of Jewish communities: Sephardic, Ashkenazi, Mizrahi, and others. We learn about modern-day streams of Judaism (Reform, Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist) and the history of North American Judaism. We finish with an exploration of Jewish food customs. Will be offered in January and March 2022.)

TO REGISTER: Simply send an email to CoffeeShopRabbi@gmail.com, with:

  • Your name
  • The class(es) you want to attend
  • A phone number
  • The name of your rabbi, if you have one.
  • Late signups will be accepted until October 1.

TUITION: The cost of classes is $240 for each 8-session term. However, we will be offering a sliding scale, and absolutely no one will be turned away for inability to pay.

We aren’t set up to receive tuition yet. For now, email CoffeeShopRabbi@gmail.com to register. When there is registration set up, I will let registrants know where and how to do so.

I have had students from the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist traditions. I welcome students from many places: curious about Judaism, converting to Judaism, just want to understand Jewish relatives better, and some who just began working for a Jewish nonprofit. I welcome students from marginalized Jewish backgrounds: persons of color, LGBTQI persons, and students with disabilities. I am myself a lesbian with disabilities, and I became a Jew as an adult. I am a member in good standing of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Women’s Rabbinic Network, and the Northern California Board of Rabbis.

Yemima: An Elul Opportunity

Image:

Naama Sadan is offering a wonderful online class this Elul. She is a teacher of Yemima, which she learned from her grandmother. What’s Yemima? This is Naama’s account of it:

Yemima Avital was a contemporary Moroccan-Israeli healer and a feminine Hasidic Rebbe. Her teachings help the learners build stability and groundedness and develop personal mastery.
The practice includes dictation, journaling, discussion, and self-inquiry. She teaches us tools to help us come back to ourselves with acceptance and compassion. Classes are taught in English and require no prior knowledge. 

“In fact, it is an awakening, to an understanding to renewal. Act to your ability and make many errors. You are allowed to make mistakes and as many as you want. Here she makes a mistake, here she repairs. The power of repair is greater than the power of the error. “ (Yemima)

— Naama Sadan

The art of effortless change. Elul is a time of introspection, the high holidays are coming to remind us that one year has passed and another is about to come. They ask – what has changed?

This question can be intimidating since we often have a complex relationship with the idea of change. 

Yemima suggests a different way: inner work isn’t about change but about connecting. My job is to connect with the soul instead of trying to correct what is wrong. The focus of this series is to prepare for the new year by learning Yemima’s teaching about connecting with our inner world, our source of renewal. 

My name is Naama, I was born in Jerusalem, I learn and practice Yemima for 11 years and it grounds and nourishes me every day. I want to share it with anyone who can benefit from it.

Want to learn a bit more? Click here for more information about the series and Yemima.

FREE Passover classes at HaMaqom | The Place!

HaMaqom | The Place in Berkeley, CA is offering free online Passover classes and events over the coming month. Are you ready to learn? Ready to get ready? Worried about how you’re going to get into the mood for Passover this year? Interested in learning some new and interesting possibilities for enjoying the holiday? Help is one the way!

All events are free of charge, but you need to register in order to attend. To register for each event, use this link.

Passover 101 (Tuesday, March 9, 2021, 7-7:30 pm Pacific Time.

Passover, also known as Pesach or Chag HaAviv, celebrates the Israelites Exodus from Egypt and includes themes of liberation, redemption, and renewal. Join us to learn more about this holiday and its traditions in this interactive session with Rabbi Ruth Adar.

Bsisa 101: Celebrating the New Jewish month of Nissan with Libyan and Tunisian Jews (Tuesday March 16 7-7:30pm Pacific Time

The new Jewish month of Nissan brings with it themes of renewal and hope for prosperity and health, as Passover is just around the corner. Join Asher Grinner and Tamar Zaken as they share the home-based tradition of Bsisa, where family members gather to bless and be blessed, celebrating the season of renewal marked by Rosh Hodesh Nissan.

Come to the Seder Table (Thursday, March 18 7-8pm Pacific Time

At HaMaqom, we celebrate and lift up the diversity of our Jewish community and practice. Passover is the perfect time of year to showcase the ways different families celebrate this holiday of liberation and new beginnings. This event will feature 6 family seder traditions from HaMaqom and One Table community members and staff. Get ready for Passover with us!

Community Cafe: Stories of Liberation, Deliverance, Revelation, and Rebellion (Tuesday, March 23 5:30-6:45pm Pacific Time)

Stories connect us and add meaning and depth to our lives. Come to HaMaqom’s community cafe event, where you will hear inspiring, Passover-themed storytelling this Spring. This semester, HaMaqom’s Community Cafe participants workshopped true stories from their lives about liberation, resilience and other Passover themes.  Join us to hear these moving stories as our participants perform them for a live zoom audience.  

Mimouna 101: Moroccan Post Passover Celebration (Sunday April 4, 7-7:30pm Pacific Time)

Mimouna, a celebration that marks the end of Passover, is celebrated in Moroccan and North African Jewish communities. Mimouna includes themes of renewal, joy, coexistence, and inviting in neighbors. Join Ziva Trau as she shares her family Mimouna traditions, featuring special foods, music, and other rituals.

Passover @ The Place is generously sponsored by The Douglass-Pearlmutter Family, the Kabat Family, and Fred Isaac & Robin Reiner.

HaMaqom’s commitment to keeping our learning opportunities affordable and inclusive is a part of who we are and is only possible because of the generous support we receive from our wonderful community.

Are You Curious About Judaism?

Image: Three people learning, and the HaMaqom Logo. (hmqm.org)

Are you curious about Judaism? Have you ever wanted to have a chance to ask a rabbi a few questions?

I’m offering a class titled “Sampling Judaism” online this month and next, three meetings in which I’ll make a 30 minute presentation about:

  • What do Jews think about God?
  • What is Torah, exactly?
  • Who are the Jews and what do they want?

Then in each class, students can ask questions about the presentation or about anything else about which they are curious. This is a very basic class, an introduction to Jewish learning and life, and it is built around YOUR questions. No Hebrew required, no credentials required.

If this is something that interests you, Sampling Judaism is easy to sign up for. Just click the link to go to the HaMaqom website and there you can get all the info about cost, times, and registration.

The class is offered on a sliding scale and financial aid is available. Class will meet on Monday nights from January 25 through February 8, from 7-8pm Pacific Time.  

New Online Class: Sampling Judaism!

Image: Samples of food. Photo by Jose B. Garcia Fernandez | Pixabay

Sometimes a whole loaf is too much. Sometimes we want a sample. I’ve been thinking for a while about offering something for people who want to learn a little about Judaism, without a huge investment of time and money.

— What do Jews believe about God? How do Jews pray?

— Why are Jews called the People of the Book? Which book? What is Torah? What is in Jewish scripture? What is the Talmud?

— What is the biggest Jewish holiday? How can some Jews insist on their Jewish identity, and at the same time say they are “not religious”?

Starting November 9, HaMaqom |The Place is offering a new class, Sampling Judaism. It will be a three week series of one-hour classes with short presentations by a rabbi (me) with plenty of time for questions.

This class is a short dip into Jewish culture and practice, not intended to be the equivalent of a full “Introduction to Judaism” course. The content will follow a basic structure of Jewish ideas about God, Torah, and the Jewish People, but the details will be driven by students’ questions.

For more information about Sampling Judaism, take a look at its page in the HaMaqom online catalog. Tuition is on a sliding scale, and further financial aid is available to those who need it.

If you are curious about Judaism, or know someone who is curious, please share this information with them. I’ll see you (or them!) in class!

Online Class: Learn About Jewish History and Texts!

Image: A group of people studying together. (Pixabay.com)

Have you ever wished you could take a class to sort out what words like Torah, Tanakh, Gemara, Mishnah, and Talmud really mean? Wondered how “Jewish law” is related to the Torah text? Ever wished you could learn more about the history of Israel and the Jews?  Ever hoped to go to a Torah or other text study class with confidence? Here’s your chance.

Starting on Sunday, October 18, 2020 and running through Dec 13, I will teach a class on the history and texts of Judaism. No Hebrew is required; this class is geared for beginners to Jewish study. Classes will meet from 3:30 – 5pm Pacific Time via Zoom.

Class Sessions:

Oct 18 — Welcome and Shabbat Texts

Oct 25 — What is the history of Ancient Israel?

Nov 1 — What are Torah, Tanakh & Midrash?

Nov 8 — What are Biblical Judaism and Rabbinic Judaism and how are they different?

Nov 15 — What are Mishnah, Gemara, and the Talmud?

Nov 22 — What are Codes, Responsa, and Jewish Law?

Dec 6 — What is Antisemitism?

Dec 13 — History of Zionism & Modern Israel

Besides lecture on the history and concepts, we will also engage in Jewish text study, encountering these texts first-hand.

This class is part of a series, Intro to the Jewish Experience, but students are welcome to take the class as a standalone class.

For more information and to register, check out the class page in the HaMaqom online catalog. Tuition is on a sliding scale, and financial aid is available.

HaMaqom creates inclusive communities through Jewish learning and practice. We have deep roots in the Bay Area. We have been the leading provider of transformative adult Jewish learning experiences since 1974. We offer courses and programs from leading Bay Area Jewish educators and take seriously our responsibility to serve the most diverse Jewish community in the world. We welcome all who wish to learn with us and do not discriminate on the basis of religion, gender, sexual identity, or national or ethnic origin. HaMaqom was previously known as Lehrhaus Judaica.

Tehillim: Psalms from the Heart – New Class Starts 7/9/2020

Image: King David with his harp, mosaic from the Gaza Synagogue, 6th c. CE. (Alexander Siviridov, Shutterstock, all rights reserved.)

The Book of Psalms is a treasury of poetry that expresses the full range of human emotion, from despair to ecstasy. Many traditional translations obscure the richness in the Psalms with flowery or euphemistic language, but the original psalms themselves are muscular, even raw, as they express the deepest truths of the heart.

I would like to study this 2500-year-old collection of human expression with you. Each week we will explore another Psalm in English; I will offer some insights from the Hebrew, and from various commentaries. Students bring their own insights to the mix. No Hebrew is required, although students who read Hebrew are welcome. 

Registrants will receive a Zoom link from me the day before the start of the course.

Tehillim: Psalms from the Heart will meet Thursday, July 9, 2020 thru Thursday, August 20, 2020, from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM Pacific Time. For more information, and to register, please visit the course’s page in the HAMAQOM | The Place online catalog. Sliding scale for tuition, and financial aid is available.

News! Intro to the Jewish Experience starts 7/19/2020

Image: Quilt by Barbara Kadden RJE, z”l, Genesis 12:1: YHVH said to Abram, “Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.Photo by Ruth Adar.

Do you identify as Jewish, but feel like an outsider to Jewish community? Have you been assigned to take an “Intro” class? Would you like to explore Judaism as an adult, with adult topics and choices? 

This summer I am teaching Part A of “Introduction to the Jewish Experience,” a class designed to equip students for full participation in Jewish community. No Hebrew is required, although students will acquire some basic Hebrew or Yiddish vocabulary they are likely to encounter in Jewish settings.

The full course consists of three terms of eight sessions each. The terms may be taken in any order. This summer we will be offering Jewish Holidays and Life CycleThis term consists of a basic introduction to Jewish theology, the cycle of the Jewish year, and to the Jewish life cycle from cradle to grave.

I shall offer “Part B: Israel and Texts”  in Fall 2020 and “Part C: Jewish Diversity: A Big Jewish World,” in Winter 2020.

The course includes:

  1. Welcome & Shabbat
  2. God, Covenant, Mitzvah
  3. Fall Holiday Cycle: High Holy Days, Sukkot, Simchat Torah
  4. Spring Holiday Cycle: Purim, Passover, Shavuot
  5. National Holidays: Chanukah, Tu B’Shevat, The Yoms, Tisha B’Av
  6. Death and Mourning in Jewish Communities
  7. Birth and Conversion – Welcoming New Jews
  8. Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Jewish Weddings

Classes will meet via Zoom on Sunday afternoons, Sunday, July 19, 2020 thru Sunday, September 6, 2020, 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM Pacific Time. For information about tuition (which is on a sliding scale) and registration, please visit the course page in the HAMAQOM | The Place online catalog.

Growing Jewishly in a Challenging Year: Options for Study Online

Image: A person sits alone with their laptop. (Image by 8212733 from Pixabay)

Are you trying to figure out what to do with yourself as you sit at home hoping to avoid exposure to COVID-19, or after exposure, in isolation? Why not invest some of your time and attention in Jewish growth? Coffee Shop Rabbi is offering some options, some FREE and one, through HAMAQOM | The Place, which has a fee attached.

I use the Zoom platform for teaching, so you can attend via a laptop, tablet or smartphone.

TORAH STUDYEvery Saturday morning at 9 am in a Zoom Room online, I’ll lead a Torah study session on the weekly Torah portion. Invitations to the class will be sent out on Friday before 5pm Pacific Time; registrations that arrive after then will get an invitation for the following week. This class is FREE, but you do have to register. First class meeting will be tomorrow, March 14, but you can join at any point.

TEHILLIM (Psalms)Thursday evenings, at 7pm Pacific Time. In times of trouble, the Jewish people have traditionally turned to the book of Psalms to express the full gamut of human emotion. We are going to explore the Psalms together. Bring whatever copy you have at home, and I will be working from several sources, including the new translation and commentary from Rabbi Richard N. Levy, z”l, and Robert Alter’s translation. This class is also FREE. First class meeting will be March 19.

I will teach in English, and will assume that students do not speak or read Hebrew. Absolute beginners are especially welcome.

To enroll in either free class, send an email to happy dot adar at gmail dot com with:

  • your real name (first and last please)
  • your email address
  • which class you would like to take
  • or “BOTH” if you would like to receive invitations for both.

You will receive an acknowledgement of your enrollment, and will be added to my list for a Zoom invitation.


Introduction to the Jewish Experience, Spring Term. Sunday afternoons, 3:30 – 5 pm, Pacific Time. In this 8 week series, we will explore the things that Jews worldwide have in common, and those things that are different about various Jewish communities: Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Mizrachi, American, Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, etc. While there are other parts to the IJX series, this class stands on its own. To enroll, go to the class page on the HAMAQOM | The Place website. Fees are on a sliding scale and are listed with the class description. The first class will be Sunday, March 22.

What is Daf Yomi? Also – an online class for beginners in Jewish text study

Image: A graphic representation of rabbinic literature. Graphic by Ruth Adar, all rights reserved.

There’s a lot of talk online and elsewhere about “Daf Yomi” right now. It means “Page of Talmud of the Day” – actually TWO pages of Talmud per day, for seven plus years until the whole thing is read. If that’s your cup of tea, mazal tov. But as Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg (@TheRaDR) said very eloquently recently on Twitter, Daf Yomi isn’t for everyone, and that’s OK. There are lots of other ways to swim in the sea of Talmud.

If you’re new or nearly new to Jewish texts, I have an an option for you. This coming Sunday, I start teaching an online class called “Introduction to the Jewish Experience: Israel and Texts.” We learn about Jewish text study by studying texts together on one kind of text after another.

Jan 12 – Welcome — A Shabbat Text: the Kiddush

Jan 19 – Ancient Israel — The Land where the Bible is set and where it may have been written

Jan 26 – Torah, Tanakh, and Midrash — What they are, how we engage with them.

Feb 2 — Rabbinic Judaism – The pressure cooker and its cooks.

Feb 9 — Mishnah, Gemara, Talmud and Codes — Lions and Tigers and Bears, O My!

Feb 16 — What is “Jewish Law” – and What it is Not.

Feb 23 — Antisemitism

Mar 1 — Zionism(s) and History

Does this sound interesting? It is an introduction to the texts along with the history that gives rise to them. It doesn’t last seven years, but it will give you the basic information you need to engage in pretty much any Jewish text study class that intrigues you.

Registration is open NOW on the HaMaqom,org website.

The fees are on a sliding scale. Classes meet on Sunday afternoons from 3:30-5 Pacific Time, but many people take the class by following the video recordings of the live classes.

See you there?

IMPORTANT NOTE: Registration goes through the HaMaqom office, which is open M-F. If you sign up for the class on a Saturday or Sunday, I won’t get the information until Monday. However, the class you missed will be available via a recording and I will send you the link as soon as I become aware of you as a student.