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.

Traditions of Judaism Starts Sunday!

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!

Update on the Online Torah Study

I’ve heard from 15 of you that you are interested in studying together. The tricky bit is that we’re scattered all over the earth.

I have sent emails with possible class times to all those who replied. Check your email box – and if you left me a comment but haven’t got anything, please check your spam folder!

Pick the times that might work for you, and hit “reply” to let me know. Please don’t “reply to all” – I don’t want us to be a nuisance in each other’s in-boxes!

Shavua tov – have a good week!