Spread the Light: Hanukkah 2020

Image: A lit chanukiah (esbeitz / Pixabay)

This Hanukkah is a special one: we’ve all been stuck with the horrors of pandemic for SO long that the pleasures of this little holiday are especially sweet. The pleasures add up to two things, sweetness and light. I’d like to offer you one thing to DO and one to NOT DO to increase the joy of this week.

To DO: Join me for the “Eight Days of Light & Learning” with HaMakom | The Place. HaMakom (formerly Lehrhaus Judaica) is where I grew up as a Jew: I took Intro there, I learned Hebrew there, and now I teach there. For Hanukkah we are offering a short program each night at 7pm (Pacific) with a little bit of learning, a little bit of light, and a little bit of silly happiness. It’s free to all, and I hope you will join us. All you have to do is follow the link above and register to get the Zoom link. (P.S. – I am teaching on Sunday night.)

To NOT DO: The darkness and confusion of conspiracy theories has been a plague upon us during the election and the coronavirus crisis. Please do your part by refusing to pass on far-out theories, even as something to laugh about. If something seems intriguing, check it out with Snopes.com or some other fact-checking site. Be skeptical, especially if the “news” excites you: that’s how these things spread.

Chag Urim Sameach! Happy Feast of Lights!

This time next year, we will hug our cousins and gather to celebrate. This year, we will gather online. Chag Hannukah sameach!

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.