Intro Class Registration is Open!

Image: Hands putting puzzle pieces together, with the heading “Introduction to the Jewish Experience.”

Are you seeking an online class about the basics of Jewish life? Introduction to the Jewish Experience will be starting a new cycle of classes beginning on October 23, 2022 under the sponsorship of Jewish Gateways in Albany, CA.

Register for Intro to the Jewish Experience: Jewish Time and Life

The class meets in three terms of eight weeks each:

  • Jewish Time and Life – The Jewish Calendar, Holidays, and Life Cycle events. (Fall)
  • Jewish History Through Texts – Bible Times through Modern Texts (Winter)
  • Jewish Unity and Diversity – Jewish Prayer, Jewish Institutions, Jewish Food, plus the many varieties of Jews: Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Mizrahi, Reform, Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and secular. (Spring)

How much does it cost? – Tuition is set at $200 per term. If that doesn’t fit your budget, we offer the option to “Pay What You Can.” I will not know who pays how much.

Do I need to read Hebrew? – I assume that no one taking the class has any Hebrew background. Over the year, you will learn some phrases that you are likely to hear in Jewish environments, some of them Hebrew, Yiddish, or Ladino.

How much homework is there? – The syllabus lists readings for each week and you will receive a book list if you’d like to learn more. You decide how much homework you want to do, but remember that you get out of the class what you are willing to put into it.

What if I have to miss a class? – I supply short recordings of the lecture content for anyone who needs to make up a class. However I discourage people from taking the class from recordings only.

Can I take this class for conversion to Judaism? – For conversion, you need to work with a sponsoring rabbi. Many Reform, Conservative, and other rabbis send students to me for “Intro” classes, but the classes are only a part of the conversion process. I can help you find a rabbi, if you need one. This class is not a “conversion class” but it can be part of your process.

Can I take this class if I’m not Jewish? – Certainly! People have taken the class for many reasons: they are curious about Judaism, they love someone Jewish, or they have gotten a job at a Jewish institution and need to learn the lingo.

Do you take late registrations? – Sorry, no. It is better for the class if we all begin together at the same time. Registration for this class closes the same day the class begins, Oct 23, 2022. If you register on time but have to miss the first class, let me know and we can work that out.

Register for Intro to the Jewish Experience: Jewish Time and Life

Got more questions? Contact me at coffeeshoprabbi -at- gmail -dot- com and I will be glad to address your questions about the class.

Are You Curious About Judaism?

A Jewish group studying text together
Class with Rabbi Adar

Are you curious about Judaism? Interested in getting a basic introduction to the subject? Considering conversion, or just want to figure out your in-laws?  It’s that time of year again, folks – “Intro” classes are beginning in many synagogues!

I teach two such classes in the East Bay Area of CA: “Exploring Judaism” starts this Sunday at Temple Isaiah in Lafayette, CA. The class meets for an hour each Sunday, starting at 10:10am. For more information, click on the link which will take you to the registration page. My other class “Intro to the Jewish Experience” will begin October 22 at Congregation Beth El in Berkeley, CA. That class meets for an hour and a half on Wednesday evenings, starting at 7:30pm. For more information or to sign up, check out the class page in the online Lehrhaus Judaica catalog.

Don’t live in Berkeley or Lafayette? Check with your local synagogue or Jewish Federation to find out what classes are starting in your area.

Some concerns I hear every year:

  • Will you expect me to convert? [No]
  • Will you burn me at the stake because I’m L, G, B, or T? [No, I’m a lesbian myself.]
  • Will you be mad if I don’t believe in God? [No, we’ll talk about the many different Jewish ideas about God.]
  • What are you “selling,” rabbi? [Nothing other than a learning experience.]
  • This class is very expensive! [If it is too much for you, say so. Financial aid is often available.]

If you have questions or needs, speak up. This is your first lesson in Jewish community.

My classes have multiple entry points. If not now, maybe then! Get in touch for more information.

I hope that you find an “Intro” class in your area! If you will be taking one of mine, feel free to leave a comment and say “Hi!”

Got Photos? A Request to My Readers

This is the sort of photo I'm hoping to get: real people celebrating a Jewish moment.
This is the sort of photo I’m hoping to get: real people celebrating a Jewish moment.

I’m in the process of developing better visuals for my Introduction to Judaism classes. The first thing I need to do is collect good photos and graphics about lifecycle and holiday celebrations.

I will use photos from my own collection, but that would not represent the vast diversity of practice in the Jewish world. That’s why I’m coming to you to ask for this. If you have pictures of your holidays, or of your lifecycle events, that illustrate the holiday or event in some way, I would be most grateful if you would allow me to use them.

You will retain ownership of your photo. No one but me will be able to download it, and I promise to use it ONLY for the PowerPoint presentation I will use in my classes. 

The most useful photos will illustrate some aspect of the event: someone lighting a menorah, a 13 year old reading from the Torah, a family around the seder table, the wedding party dancing the hora. If you have a beautiful mezuzah on your door, send a photo of it! If you have a lovely ketubah and you have a picture of it, that would be great!

I’m using a website called DropEvent.com for this. The photos will be visible at that site, under the name IntroJudaismPhotos, with the tag “now33420.”

Emailed photos can be sent to now33420@dropevent.com 

To upload a photo from this screen, you can just click on THIS LINK.

Thank you very much! By doing this, you’ve made my classes better and my students better informed about the wonderful diversity of the Jewish world!

 

Gearing up to Learn and to Teach

Lathe operator machining parts for transport p...
Lathe operator machining parts for transport planes at the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation plant, Fort Worth, USA (1942). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been rebuilding the website for my Intro and Beyond the Basics classes. My body has been sitting at the computer, but my spirit feels more like the photo of the real-life Rosie the Riveter, above: tired, grubby, but getting the job done.

By the way, the images I use on this blog are all either in the public domain, or they have a Creative Commons license. There’s a wordpress widget that finds them for me and keeps me from sinning against my fellow creative person (and out of copyright trouble.)

Back to blogging tomorrow.