News: I got a new desktop computer and spent the last 24 hours setting it up so it would be ready for class Sunday afternoon. I missed posting my usual Friday message with online links, but I will get back into that routine this week, for sure.
The new computer is very exciting – faster, nicer camera, speakers, audio, etc. I just have to get used to it.
The Book of Ruth is a one-meeting class I’m offering both live and online this coming Thursday, May 19 from 7:30 – 9pm Pacific Time. My focus will be the following question: What insights does Ruth have to offer us today about Jewish community, conversion, and interfaith marriages?
Sorry, the class has been cancelled for lack of enrollment.
Image: Israeli President Ezer Weizman greeting Ethiopian Jews celebrating the Sigd Festival at Jerusalem’s Haas Promenade. Photo: SAAR YAACOV, GPO. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.
A new online Intro to the Jewish Experience class starts Sunday at 3:30pm Pacific Time. As always, I’m excited.
The Spring segment of the class is “Traditions of Judaism.” We look at all the different communities and traditions within Judaism today, and how we came to have those various communities. We’ll look at Ashkenazi, Sephardic, and Mizrahi traditions, the Movements (Conservative, Reform, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Renewal, etc), American Judaism and why it is unique, the Prayer Book [Siddur] and the service, and finish up with Jewish food customs. Given that this is an election year, we may talk a little about American Jews and politics, too.
The class is also available by via recordings if you have a schedule that makes that time impossible. To sign up for the online class, go to its page in the Lehrhaus Judaica catalog. If you are interested in the offline, Wednesday night class, it has a different page in the Lehrhaus catalog.
This class (either on- or off-line) is the Spring portion of a three part series that can be taken in any order. Every class also works as a stand-alone entity, for those who already have some knowledge of Judaism but want to enrich their learning on a particular area. (Fall: Lifecycle & Holidays, Winter: Israel & Texts, Spring: Traditions of Judaism.)
I love teaching “Intro” – it’s my passion. If the subject above interests you, I hope you’ll join us!
There’s a Lehrhaus online class about to begin that may interest some readers of this blog. Here’s the description from the online catalog:
Bible Circle: The Text in its World with Jehon Grist, PhD – Tuesdays, Feb 23 – Mar 15, 7-8:30pm ($35) Since childhood, we’ve all visited some of the great Bible stories, but we’ve also sometimes scratched our heads, not really understanding everything they have to say.
To fully explore the story, you need to go full circle and discover the Biblical world from which it came. That’s what this course will do. We’ll study selected texts, covering everything from the basic story line, to the meaning of obscure words and phrases (all in English translation), to the fascinating differences found in other ancient versions of the Bible.
But we’ll also visit the places and cultures that thrived when these stories were composed, from Biblical villages and the Jerusalem temple to Egyptian palaces and more. Richly illustrated with hundreds of images and numerous video clips, we will time-travel through four selected Bible texts, bringing them and their world to life.
Dr. Grist is the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Educator of Lehrhaus Judaica. He received his doctorate in Near East Studies and a California State Teaching Credential from the University of California, Berkeley with Doctoral research time at Hebrew University, Jerusalem. A veteran of excavations and field research in both Israel and Egypt, Jehon has published articles and presented papers on a variety of topics, from research identifying an obscure Egyptian queen, to the conflict between Egypt, Israel and the Philistines at the beginning of Biblical history.
A personal note: Dr. Grist was my Hebrew teacher for several years before I went to rabbinical school and continues to be a friend and mentor. He is one of the most entertaining lecturers I know. I have enrolled (and will attend online and via recording) because I know that it will enrich my own study and teaching.
Image: Ten menorahs on a table, each with 6 candles lit. 10 people sit behind the table in the dark.
The final meeting of the Fall session of Intro fell on the 5th night of Chanukah, so I invited the class to bring their own chanukiot to class. (Thank you, Lisa Hanauer, for the great suggestion.)
We sang the blessings, then paused for a quick class photo with the glowing candles, before we turned the lights back on to learn.
I was still glowing on the drive home – what a lovely, lovely memory of a wonderful group of students!
We are now in the midst of the Yamim Noraim – the Days of Awe. It’s a time of serious spiritual work. It’s also, for many of us, a time of getting ready for the fall activities that will begin after the holidays are past.
I’m preparing for these fall classes in the San Francisco Bay Area now:
Exploring Judaism – This “Intro to Judaism” class meets on Sunday mornings from 10:10 to 11:10am at Temple Isaiah in Lafayette, CA. It’s a year long course, but you can sign up for shorter parts of the class, too. Non-members are welcome. For more information including registration arrangements, check out the class description on the Temple Isaiah website.
Intro to the Jewish Experience (aka Jewish Foundations) – a Lehrhaus Judaica course for newcomers and others who are interested in getting the basics about Judaism in the context of a class community. We’ll meet on Wednesdays from 7:30 – 9pm at Congregation Beth El in Berkeley, CA. You can learn more and register on the class page in the Lehrhaus Judaica online catalog. Begins Oct 17.
Homer & Moses, Poets of their People – a Lehrhaus Judaica course for theater lovers (or Torah lovers!) who are interested in exploring two ancient blockbusters, the Iliad and the Torah via lectures by a classics teacher and a rabbi (yours truly) and a performance of the Iliad at the Berkeley Repertory Theater. Why do we love the Iliad so much? What is it about the Torah that captures the imagination? You can learn more and register for the three-session class on the class page in the Lehrhaus Judaica online catalog. Begins Oct 18.
I wish you a sweet and happy year of learning!